Dates (the fruit, not the act people) are SO in right now.

As you know, this time last week I made an abundance of baked products for a bake sale. There are two in particular that I would like to comment on.

1. Date Filled Windows.
These little ditty's came out of a Farm Journal's Cookie recipe book that Matt gave me for my Birthday last year. Published in 1971 it features truly riotous copy such as "Keep your cookie jar filled with these for a good hostess reputation" or "a favorite of men." BUT patriarchy aside, their are some damn good cookies in this volume.

Due to an abundance of dates left over from a presentation on Islam, I decided to make "Date Windows." Like any "window" cookie you make a dough, roll it out, create two circular cookies and then cut a shape out of one. You place filling on the uncut circle, place the cut circle on top and press the two together. Thanks to my mama, I had some darling fall themed cookie cutters with which to create these windows. So my date window cookies featured apple, pumpkin and leaf shaped windows.

Here is what shocked me. THESE SUCKERS SOLD LIKE HOT CAKES. I sold out of Date Windows in 20 minutes, and then had perfect (if I do say so myself) chocolate chip cookies and Snickerdoodles a al SmittenKitchen sit for another 3 hours. And I don't think it was just their charm. People were all about the dates, and the nostalgia of this kind of cookie.

Date Windows
adapted from Farm Journal's Homemade Cookies (1971, p. 159)
*The adaptation here is that I use self-rising flour. I find that self-rising flour for standard cookie recipes works great, cuts down on a little measuring and provides a softer cookie. If you're a purist, the original calls for 2 1/2 cups flour, 1/4 tsp. baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. salt.

For the Filling:
2 cups finely cut or ground dates
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 tsp. lemon or orange zest

For the Cookie:
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups self-rising flour

Mix shortening, sugar and sugar until combined. Add eggs and whisk until light and pale yellow colored. Stir in vanilla and incorporate thoroughly. Blend flour into mixture. Dump dough out onto a square of cling wrap, wrap up dough and chill for at least an hour, but can be chilled overnight.

In the mean time prepare filling. Combine dates, water and sugar in a saucepan. Cook slowly over medium heat until mixture thickens. When thick, stir in zest and let cool. This can easily be stored in the refrigerator over night or for several days.

When dough is chilled, flour a surface and rolling pin. Roll dough out very thin, about 1/16th of an inch. Using a cookie cutter or a glass, cut out circles from dough. Place half the circles on a greased cookie sheet. Spoon a generous tsp. full of date mixture into the center of these circles. Cut out a shape with a cookie cutter or smaller glass from the remaining circles. Gently place these on the date covered circles, and seal the edges by pressing down firmly with your finger tips.

Bake in a 400 degree oven until cookies are just barely browned. Allow to cool on cookie sheet. Share with folks who are classy and appreciate dates (the fruit! the fruit.).

2. Cardamom
I also made a number of cardamom rolls for the bake sale. Now, these did not sell quite as well - but that is because people are afraid of what is different (an excuse? maybe.) Needless to say I ended up with an abundance of left over rolls - and Matt and I have been slowly making our way through them. My favorite new method of cardamom roll consumption? Heating the roll in the microwave for about 20sec, and then gingerly tearing it open to stuff a piece of hard salami inside. Delicious. Perfect breakfast. I think the Finns would be proud.

Cardamom Rolls
Adapted from Beatrice A. Ojakangas The Finnish Cookbook (1989, p. 34).
Makes at least 2 1/2 dozen

For the dough:
1 package active dry yeast (or 1/2 tbsp).
2 cups milk, lukewarm
1 cup white sugar
7-8 Cardamom pods, crushed (you can use already ground - but the flavor is not quite the same)
4 eggs, beaten
8-9 cups white flour
1/2 cup butter

Mix the milk, sugar, salt, cardamom, eggs and 1 cup flour to make a thin batter. In a separate bowl stir the yeast into 2 cups of flour. Add the milk batter to the yeast and flour and incorporate thoroughly. Add two more cups of flour and continuing working in until the dough is smooth and glassy. Add the melted butter and incorporate entirely.

Then, continue adding flour until the dough becomes to difficult to stir. At this point dump dough out onto a floured surface and kneed until smooth and only barely sticky. You can continue adding flour if necessary. When dough holds it's shape well (without "oozing" or spreading) place in a greased (can be greased with canola oil, butter, etc.) bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. When dough has doubled, punch down and let rise again.

After second rise, form your rolls. Pull small knobs of dough and shape into round balls by rolling between your palms. Placed on a greased baking sheet and cover with clean towel. Let rise until doubled (about 20 minutes). If desired, brush with egg. Bake in 400 degree oven for 25 - 30 minutes. When rolls come out they should easily bounce back when pressed on. This dough is EASY to over bake which causes it to dry out, so be careful.

Let rolls cool completely and then keep in a bread box or airtight bag.

Butternut Squash Soup with Caramelized Onions, Rosemary, Goat Cheese and Bacon

From the time I was very small my need for punctuality has caused great anxiety, and still does today, although I feel things have greatly improved. Who can say for sure where it comes from? Most people I am close with are not timely individuals, my family included. Perhaps it's thanks to my grandfather on my mom's side who was a general in the US Air force? His capacity to be precise and punctual is something worth seeing. Whenever we go out for dinner he puts his suit on and parades around the front of the house, frequently announcing in a terrifically booming voice Are you ready yet? It's time to go! Which is met with much frantic grumbling and scurrying about as everyone else tries to catch up. Truth is though, he's just early.

For the past five years, it's as if I've been living in a windstorm of Jude and her madness over time. Madness about getting things done, about being the best, about loving, about not loving, about trying to conquer the world in a day and achieving everything I could and more. It's made me really ill, to be honest, this racing, this frenzy. No, I haven't been in and out of the hospital etc., it's been more of the old western maladie: anxiety over mere existence and losing what we wanted to keep forever. Oh dear. But when you hurry hurry hurry so that you won't miss out, or when you squeeze squeeze squeeze so that you won't lose what you have, it will surely end, as I have unfortunately (and very fortunately!) found out, in tears and madness.

It's because I fear the end of things. It's because I love this place so much, this life, this world, and I don't ever want it to go away. Oh but it will go away! I know. And the only way to be happy while it's slowly going is to know that it is, and that things will change, for better and for worse.
I've spent a lot of time fretting about not having enough time. At the old wise age of 23, I appear to have found a sort of thread of rationality somewhere in the depths of my dramatic exuberant mind, and I know time is tick tick ticking away, but it doesn't seem to bother me as much. When it does, I don't slip so hard and crash to the ground, I just kinda stumble, and then take off running again. I still get up every day and kinda do a little fist pump, a little skip and a hop, ready to tackle mountains of sometimes unachievable tasks; I still plan my days, make lists, worry, grumble, cry etc., but this is drive and this is living and there is a lightness, a warmth, and an ease of acceptance that wasn't there before. It just doesn't feel so heavy, and I'm glad, because with so little time, why and how could we spend so much time worrying about it all?

But how in the heck does this relate to soup?! Well, I was thinking about this while I made the soup and while I wandered around today, going to the library, translating some for work, riding my bicycle. And how I cook with much more patience these days, how I don't look at the clock, how I don't panic about overcooking things (ahem, most of the time). It's like I've let Time have his way with me a little, like I've let him lead.

I've been creating this soup in my head for four days and excitedly planning when and how I was going to make it. Finally tonight I did, listening to Dvorak's New World Symphony super loud, and man, she was a tasty little one.

Butternut Squash Soup with Caramelized Onions, Rosemary, Goat Cheese and Bacon

Makes lots!

3 C chicken stock
1 big butternut squash (about four cups of squash I'd say)
1 massive white onion
1 1/2 C apple juice (or cider)
some rosemary (about 2 TBS)
8 strips of bacon
a small round of goat cheese
salt and pepper

- Preheat oven to 375 degrees C
- Cut the squash in half and place it face down on a baking sheet. Bake until soft (about an hour).
- Cut the onion in half and then into very thin slices. Put the sliced onion into a skillet with butter and olive oil. Fry over medium heat until soft and golden (about 1 hour). Set aside.
- Chop up the bacon into small bits. Fry them in the onion pan. Set aside.
- Chop up the rosemary. Set aside.
- Reduce the 1 1/2 C apple juice to half in the same skillet, so you collect all the good left over charred bits from the bacon and the onion.
- When the squash is done, remove the skin and add the flesh to the stock, already in a pot.
- Add 3/4 of the onions.
- Add the reduced apple juice.
- Blend with a hand blender, or a food processor.
- Taste.
- Add rosemary and some salt and pepper.
- Dish up the soup into bowls, add a dollop of reserved caramelized onion, cover with goat cheese and a handful of bacon. Let the cheese melt for a couple minutes, and then eat.

On the side, I recommend the following Spiced Cranberry Chutney on buttered biscuits or a loaf of homemade bread!

Spiced Cranberry Chutney
As adapted from Lucy Waverman

We made this for Thanksgiving and it was really TO DIE FOR on those sweet potato biscuits. Holy! Plus it cooks itself, which is terrific, and it's not too spendy.

1 green apple, peeled, cored and diced (about 1 cup)
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon maple syrup
½ cup cider vinegar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon chili flakes
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (375-ml package)

Place all ingredients in a medium pot over medium-low heat. Bring to a boil and let simmer gently for 10-12 minutes or until apples are soft and some of the cranberries have popped.

PS I bought some sausages to go along with everything, but I wasn't so hungry, so I kept them for another day. However, if you have more mouths to feed, or some protein hungry monsters on your hands, some sausages would be a welcomed addition, I'm sure. Maybe accompanied by a spinach salad with a honey mustard vinaigrette, dried cranberries and walnuts on the side? Delicious. Also, I have this feeling that putting the chutney into the soup would be quite sublime.

Enjoy dear friends and readers, enjoy.

When in doubt, add jam.

Oh my. The muffins did not turn out. I woke up optimistic, however a little fuzzy from lack of sleep and one or two many gin and tonics, but ready to give it my best shot. I knew the batter was too soupy! And I knew that because I didn't have the right amount of baking powder, something bad would happen. But because I've made some progress in the anxiety/worry department over the outcome of my cooking projects and life in general, I didn't really think much of it. I even wrote in a good morning email to Alix saying, oh yeah the muffins, the batter was way too soupy, but I'm sure it'll be fine. No, they're not fine, they're pretty awful. Because when you add more baking soda to compensate for the lack of baking powder, your muffins taste salty and like soda bread. If I wanted soda bread, I would've made some. And I am not an advocate of waste, but the pan on the left may not survive when I try and take the muffins out of the pan. So I've salvaged what I can, dumped a tablespoon of Katherine's apricot jam on top, made an incredibly strong cup of tea, and turned on the Beatles album Let It Be so the day has still managed to start with a bang.

An Old Favourite: Chicken Marbella

Today it snowed. Not a lot mind you, but enough to remind us that he is indeed still coming. However, I plan to welcome Sir Winter with wide open arms. Thanks to my incredibly stimulating retail job at the outdoors store, I have outfitted myself for 75 % off and will have little to complain about when those glacial winds come tearing across the city. Plus, I'm going to perfect my skating technique, buy a stick and become an expert hockey player. Nothing better than roaring across the ice on skates!

This fall I have become obsessed with the art of cooking chicken. It's a terrific sort of meat, one that can be used for a multitude of delicious recipes, from roasted and salt-rubbed with herbs, to one elegantly stuffed with chestnuts, mushrooms, thyme and cream, and to a rich broth made from the bones: the essential base for a killer winter soup. The rents cooked too many roast chickens with potatoes while we were growing up, and my sister Katherine developed a violent aversion to the bird. But now she appears to be coming round. Why would they torture us like that? It's damn easy, super satisfying, and a sure way to always have a good source of protein around for a couple of days, not to mention the reliable cup of soup stock in the freezer, ready to pour into thick gravies or to braise winter greens with.

Chicken Marbella was our go-to recipe from the Silver Palate Cookbook and probably a saving grace for my parents as they balanced symphony concerts with the chaos of two little girls at home. Originally a deli and food store that opened up on Manhattan's Upper West Side, the Silver Palate wanted to facilitate good eats and people who didn't have time to cook themselves. It has since become a cook book and one that I have spent many a breakfast reading. However, beware, the revised editions aren't quite the same. Our "need" for "healthier" dishes resulted in the reduction of cream and butter in many of the recipes. But, older editions are still available and the carrot and banana cakes are to-die-for. There are also great meal ideas, a terrific brunch section and quotes from Alice in Wonderland.

I've been wanting to cook this dish for a long time and finally searched the recipe on the Internet (a clearly well-loved recipe by everyone), bought myself a whole chicken, bought the olives, prunes, and capers, (the rest of the ingredients were in the cupboard) and set to work. I did not plan to have company and although this never deters me from making things, it's kind of hilarious to find myself alone at the table grinning, chewing, tasting, lip-smacking, swinging my legs and laughing about how DELICIOUS my meal is. So, I jumped at the chance to invite two friends I have hardly seen over the last five years. Both people I know from my first year at McGill, they appeared back in Montreal around the same time, and I must say, it's terrific to have become reacquainted with such fine folks.

Chicken Marbella
As adapted from our loyal cooks at the Silver Palate

Most recipes for chicken require a slightly longer cooking time than is required. This can be avoided by checking the chicken after 40-45 minutes of cooking. The chicken is done when an instant read thermometer is inserted into the thigh and reads 165 deg F. Or, what I usually do is pierce the thigh and then push on the meat to release the juices: if they run clear, you're ready to go. And then due to some (small) level of paranoia, I usually cut into the breast to make sure she's not drying out or too pink. I find people shy away from cooking meat because they don't know how to. But there are simple guidelines to follow and once known, they relieve a lot of the pressure. I suggest you put on some John Lennon, in particular the album Walls and Bridges (which I've been head-bopping around to for the past 24 hours) and do a little of this and a little of that, keep your head about you, and love that chicken to a delectably, eatable state.

1 1.5 kg chicken
one huge clove of garlic, or a couple smaller ones
1 TBS dried oregano
coarse salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1/8 C red wine vinegar
1/8 C olive oil
a generous handful of prunes
a generous handful of pitted green olives
1/8 C capers with a bit of juice
2 bay leaves
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C white wine (or red)
1 TBS fresh parsely

- Cut up the chicken
- Place in a large 9 X 12 baking dish
- In a separate bowl, mix together the garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar, olive oil, prunes, olives capers and bay leaves. Mix well and pour over the chicken. Cover and refridgerate.
- An hour before you want to eat, preheat the oven to 350 F and sprinkle the chicken with the sugar, add the wine and fresh parsely. Uncover the chicken and slide the pan into the oven.
- Baste frequently throughout the cooking (every fifteen minutes or so). I did this by turning the chicken with tongs. I am NOT YET the proud owner of pastry brushes. Some day, some day.

* If you take the chicken out a couple hours before you cook it, it will warm up to room temperature and cook faster.
* I cooked my chicken for about 45-50 minutes in total.

And then someone said, these are the best prunes I've ever tasted.... They really were very good.


Opperation Bake Sale

My Graduate Student Club (for lack of a better term) decided to a bake sale to raise money for our travel costs. At the bottom of the totem pole you MUST GO TO CONFERENCES OR YOU'LL NEVER GET A JOB (it sounds just like that), but there is no departmental money to pay for it and you make next to nothing, thus, bake sale.

Many of my less food inclined colleagues decided to give me money so that I could bake on thier behalf - something I of course was delighted to do. So for the next two days my Kitchen is going to turn into a bakery extraordinare, but right now I am roasting pork. Then bake.

Here is the game plan:
2 batches chocolate chip cookies
2 batches snicker doodles
Puffed Rice Treats (no oven!)
"Window" Cookies
Date Bars
Jars filled with homemade hot cocoa mix
Cardamom Rolls
Foccacia Bread


Thanks for the Cookies

Someone brought cookies to my house last night! Thank you Kelsey, your recipe rules!

They would have, of course, been totally gourmet if I had used 72 % Valrona chips, or whatever it is that everyone is always announcing we HAVE to put into our cookies, but you know, it was nice to use Hershy's milk chocolate Chipits - they were perfect.

All of you, I recommend you stop what you're doing, buy some chocolate chips - of whatever "grade" you feel is necessary - make these very classic, very delicious and very soul-soothing cookies. They certainly pulled me out of my worry and stress over assignments. I putzed around the kitchen, turned on Sarah Vaughan, used way too many bowls, dumped flour everywhere and had a pretty nice time.

- murph

Thanksgiving!!!! (Canadian, that is...)

The afternoon did not start out well. I blame exhaustion and an upset stomach. After blubbering for a while, I phoned my very patient and loving sister, said hi to my dad, and gladly welcomed Alix when she arrived at 4:00, ready to start cooking. Alix, however, was late. Turns out her world also fell to pieces, and tears were shed. Ah the joys of being emotionally volatile. But it only took a cup of tea and a piece of gingerbread to set us enthusiastically back on track: we had, you see, a pretty killer menu ahead of us, inspired by some of our favourite foodies.

Although we weren't cooking for an army, just four in fact (Alix's dear Oscar and his friend Glauco), we split the task up. It was really fun to plan the meal together, prepare a bit on our own, and then come together for the big bang on the day of. Despite mutual tears for different reasons, we produced a nourishing and delicious meal, created with very few misshapes, and one heck of a lot of love.

A close friend and former teacher gave Alix an ORIGINAL copy of Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking. For the past two weeks she's been pouring over it at breakfast, lunch and dinner, learning about how to read foaming butter and luckily for us, how to roast a chicken. And roast a chicken is what we did. More precisely: Julia's Roasted Chicken Tarragon with Mushroom Port Stuffing. Accompanied by of course, the delicious sauce made at the end from all the juices, reduced down with more tarragon and more port. Roasted in my newly acquired, but second-hand dutch oven, the chicken was fall-off-the-bone succulent, perfectly seasoned and perfectly cooked. The mushroom stuffing was something to be giddy and grin into the plate about, and the sauce! Need I say another word?

[The long orange thing holding the chicken together is Alix's silicone contraption for trussing the chicken. Brilliant eh? Needle included.]

I scoured the Internet (well, mostly Molly's website, I must admit) for Thanksgiving specialties I would like to make. I've never made an entire feast by myself; the years spent away from home I was either invited to a meal, or in a country where they didn't know what Thanksgiving was. My family has traditions, but we often vary what we do, so I took the liberty to find some new delicacies to prepare. Recently introduced by Alix to Lucy Waverman, a Canadian food writer, I made her Spiced Cranberry Chutney, Molly's Sweet-Potato Biscuits, and her Hashed Brussels Sprouts with Poppy Seeds and Lemon. When I was mixing up the biscuits, which you add mashed sweet-potato to, I was worried: the dough was too moist, there was too much butter, oh no, oh no, oh no. But after they reached the 15 minute mark in the oven, I saw they were going to perform just fine. Being more moist than normal biscuits, they need to cook longer. And Holy Molly. They were rich, buttery, with that warm flavour of sweet-potato. Everyone had seconds.The cranberry chutney was spiced up with chili pepper, ginger, cardamom and smoothed out with an apple. It was cheap and easy to make, and stupendous on top of the biscuits. Although the Brussels sprouts weren't my favourite way I've eaten them, they were pretty darn good and a fresh green medium for the rest of the meal.

We knew we wanted pumpkin pie. Alix found a Lucy Waverman recipe on the Internet for Pecan Pumpkin Pie; yes that's right, a marriage of our two favourite holiday pies. Oh my! It was heavenly: chopped pecans in the sweeter-than-normal filling, and creamy pumpkin, topped with candied pecans, dolloped with more whip cream than appropriate. And she did a damn fine job with the pastry as well.
And then we all sat back, bellies full, refilled our wine glasses, had a bit more pie, a bit more whipped cream and sighed. What a wonderful way to start in a new home.

PS Here's a shout out to my mother for equipping me with beautiful table cloths, place mats, napkins, and dishes. You have taught me well, and it turns out that I do care about those sorts of things! And, everyone commented on how beautiful the table looked, rustic, but still, beautiful.


Dear eaters,

I am throwing a party on Friday, in which I will provide my guests with an antipasto plate (consisting mostly of pickles, you're shocked I know), and then copious amounts of pasta which can be dressed in homemade pesto, Alfredo, and/or Bolognese. (Do we need a traditional tomato? I don't think so...thoughts?)

I would like to serve dessert, but have not hit on a good idea yet. I don't want to over extend myself I am looking for something perhaps along the trifle line, but I feel like tiramisue might be a bit much.

In addition I would like to incorporate a pear-ginger syrup I made earlier this summer. My thoughts are perhaps to make an almond cake and that douse it in the syrup and serve it with cream. But I would like input.

Faithfully yours,

Crumbs 4 (and Cookies).

  • The difference a good baking sheet makes is astounding. A cookie recipe that I have pretty much perfected (if I do say so myself) is about, oh, A MILLION TIMES better when cooked on an excellent baking sheet rather than my crappy one. Thank you professor who let's me babysit and hijack your children for cooking projects/home for glorious baking sheet and other amenities.
  • Goal: Career that pays enough for me to afford LeCruset cookware, but not so much that everyone around me knows what LeCruset cookware is.
  • There is a famous Texas chef who shall remain nameless, that I officially dislike. This chef's food is wonderful - but their recipes - lies! Whenever I cook one of their recipes, it NEVER comes out as it is described. Thus, poo, poo, I'm finished with you. I will probably still eat at your restaurant thought, because I am weak.
  • I made a moderately misshapen epi loaf the other night (further attempts are warranted). Matt came home, looked at, and said, "Why can't you make normal sandwich bread." Resisting the urge to beat him with the lovely stick of French bread which I had slaved over, I promised to also make sandwich bread in the future. This is called compromise. The epi was delicious however. Just saying.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

3/4 cup butter
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 and 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Sift flour, baking soda and salt - or use two cups self rising flour. Melt butter. Let cool until warm to the touch. Whisk sugars and honey into melted butter. When uniform, whisk in egg and extra egg yolk. Whisk until uniform, thick, and shiny. Fold in flour mixture, until just combined. Fold in chips. Place teaspoon sized lumps on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 8 minutes, or until cookie is entirely puffy and no longer shiny (anywhere!). Remove from oven and let cool on the cookie sheet. Enjoy. Hide from boyfriends, children or other exuberant eaters, or they will be gone immediately.

Jude makes Jam

Montreal is blustery and cold. Her sweat inducing summer days are long gone; her thick leafy trees are turning burnt orange and shriveling up brown. People are riding their bikes wearing ear-mitts, scarves, gloves, and heaven forbid even toques! Yes, fall is upon us. Luckily, before summer skipped and slipped so quickly away, like she has a habit of doing, I bottled her tight in jars, safe now until a winter afternoon, when the snow's blowing all around, the kettle's whistling and fresh scones are coming out of the oven. Then I'll pop the lid off one of my jars and inhale the sweet citrus apple gold smell of ground cherry jam, or as we say here in Quebec, cerries-de-terre.

I'd never tried them until I moved to Montreal, nor had I heard of them. Apparently, they do grow out West, but not as prolifically as they do in Eastern Canada where they flourish in the hot summer sun and are often referred to as weeds (similar to the humble, but prolific, western blackberry). Someone at work brought me ground cherry jam that his mother made and I only had a little spoonful, but this juicy orange berry whose relation to the Chinese lantern family is recognizable by its delicate papery skin, produces une confiture sublime. That one spoonful was like eating warm late-summer sun and Meyer lemons and yellow plums all at once. When they started appearing at the market, in huge baskets, I admit, I was intimidated, but knew it was a necessary project.
A few weeks ago, after completing the major, more pressing tasks of my move, and with fall swirling across the city, I quickened my steps and hastened to the market to buy an enormous basket of ground cherries (we're talking more than 16 cups of berries people) determined to make some preserves that would last. I always think it's against my nature to preserve - it takes patience and much waiting for things to reduce, or boil, or sterilize, and I do love the intensity of sauteing, or frantic chopping, or quick minute sauces. But to my surprise, with a little help of Katherine's recommended super duper low-sugar, all-natural, universal do-everything pectin, I managed to produce delicious results.

Because of my schedule, I'm not home in the evenings very much, and in the day I race around the city (rather enthusiastically I might add) taking care of business. So it was in the hours after 10:oo pm that I made the jam. It took me several days to take the skins off all the berries, wash them, mash them, and make them into the aforementioned breakfast-ready delight.

I have no recipe to leave you because you can find it inside a box of Pamona's Universal Pectin, or here, and I really think it's worth using. I am not a fan of syrupy jam, call me particular (and you won't be wrong), but I like jam that can hold it's own. My sister makes the most delicious, unctuous jams I've ever tasted. They're sweet enough so that you put it on toast by the spoonful, but not so sweet you feel the crash and burn of a sugar high, and they don't sadly slip or drip off your fluffy buttermilk biscuit. It only takes a Saturday and a batch of muffins for my family to devour a whole jar! And she, uses Pamona's Pectin. I have finally found a natural foods store in Montreal that carries this brand, but before I did, she had to send me some. It was with those boxes that I made some damn terrific jam.