Money for Jam – How to Make Rosella Jam

Ever heard of Rosella Jam?

Possibly not, unless you are Australian? So what is it, you say?

Only the best preserve known to man! Known more to our grandparent’s generation as Rosella, the Queensland Jam Plant is a native of Africa and Asia, yet has become such an iconic part of Aussie folklore, Rosella Jam is considered quintessentially Australian.

If you want to make some yourself and have loads to share with family and friends, this is my Grandmother’s family recipe, along with some general tips for successful preserve making.  Once you’ve tasted freshly made jam, you’ll be forever spoiled for eating the supermarket brand jam varieties again.

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Tart, tasty and packed full of vitamin C, hands down, this is the best jam! Making the jam is not the arduous operation you think it might be; in fact, picking/sourcing the Rosellas is the most time consuming part of the process.

Growing ‘Rosellas’ in the Garden

The Rosella is a medium shrub that is related to the Hibiscus family and needs a growing season of at least 6 months of warm weather to mature, so is best suited to tropical or sub-tropical areas. The fleshy red calyx can be used in salads, jellies, cranberry-like sauces, jam and cordial, syrups and wine. Furthermore, you could plant the hardy Rosella as a hedge, a fast growing windbreak or privacy screen in the summer garden.

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According to Green Harvest: Dried the red calyx is used for tea and it is an important ingredient in the commercial Red Zinger, Hibiscus and Fruit teas. The tea is very similar in flavour to rose-hips and also high in vitamin C. Seeds can be roasted and ground into flour. Young leaves can even be steamed or stir-fried and are known as Red Sorrel in the Pacific.

Tips for Jam/Preserve Making

For Rosella or any other jam, the addition of a good knob of butter when adding the sugar will prevent most scum from rising to the top.

Any that does rise, can be stirred in on completion of cooking.

Other points to watch are:

  • Warm sugar for jam making.
  • Use a wooden spoon for stirring and never over boil, as this darkens the colour.

  • If you must add extra water, add it to the seeds when boiling. If you add water when cooking the leaves, you will need to purchase ‘Jamsetta’ (available from supermarkets), in order to make the jam set, as the seeds are the parts from which the pectin is sourced. It is the pectin that makes the jam set.

* To Prepare Jars for any Jam Preserves:

  1. * Wash jars well with a bottle brush, detergent and warm water.
  2. * Dry and warm the jars by placing on a tray in a low oven, heated to around 120 degrees Celsius, for 10 minutes.
  3. * Pour boiling water over the lids and drain.
  4. * Fill the jars with jam whilst they are still warm.

 The Recipe

To Prepare Rosella Jam:

  1. Moldiv_1435922052883* Separate red flower petals and seeds
  2. * Wash and drain.
  3. * Cover seeds with cold water. Tip: (Add a little extra water to the seeds, at this stage, if necessary, rather than adding extra later)
  4. *Bring to boil and boil covered, for 30 minutes.
  5. * Strain and reserve this juice.
  6. * To this juice, add the Rosella petals which have been thoroughly washed and drained. The leaves may not be completely covered with juice, but they will boil down very quickly.
  7. *Boil for 20 minutes.
  8. * Measure cooked pulp and return to pan.
  9. Add one only good teaspoon of butter, and the juice of one lemon.
  10. Add  1 cup of sugar, (which has been warmed on a heat proof tray, in a oven on low heat), to each cup of pulp, stirring well till all the sugar is completely dissolved.
  11. Boil quickly uncovered for 20 minutes or until jam falls thickly from a spoon when tested.

Moldiv_1435922545283Tip – How to tell if the jam is set:

Monitor the jam stirring occasionally to ensure it does not burn on the bottom. … to see if the jam has reached setting point pour a teaspoon of jam onto a cold saucer, which has been sitting in the freezer. Leave the jam on the saucer for 1 minute then lightly push from one side with your finger – if the jam crinkles and is gluggy then it is set so turn the heat off. If the jam stays like a syrup then continue simmering and check again every 10 minutes until setting point is reached.[http://www.selfsufficientme.com]
  1. Fill jars with jam while the jars and jam are still warm. Allow to cool a little and then seal.

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Trust me, you will have the family begging for more…

Delicious on toast, scones or pancakes, or even as chutneys, Rosella jam is worth ‘Pondering About ‘

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Need a Chocolate Fix? – Chewy Chocolate Slice

Need a chocolate fix in a hurry?

My quick and simple recipe can give you that hit of chocolate you are seeking! And the dark chocolate means there is added health benefits. Dark chocolate aids in preventing heart disease and, is loaded with minerals – read 7 health benefits of chocolate here. After all, we can do with a little indulgence, at times.

And chocolate is good for our mood, isn’t it?

Chewy Chocolate Slice

Chewy Chocolate Slice

1 23 cups sugar

34 cup butter, melted

(you can use margarine too, but I prefer the natural qualities of butter)

2 tablespoons water

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 13 cups flour

34 cup Baking Cocoa

12 teaspoon baking powder

14 teaspoon salt

Optional: – (to increase decadence and flavour!)

1/2 cup dark cooking chocolate, coarsely chopped (I like to chop this into chunky choc chip sized pieces and grate a little, to sprinkle over the top of the mix as well)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 ° C and grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan ( I line the pan with baking paper as well).
  2. Combine sugar, butter, and water in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Stir in eggs and vanilla extract.
  4. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in medium bowl; stir into the sugar mixture.
  5. Fold in chopped dark chocolate
  6. Spread into prepared baking pan.
  7. Sprinkle grated chocolate on top ( optional)
  8. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out slightly sticky. Cool completely in pan on wire rack.
  9. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut into bars.

Chocolate indulgence is Something I often Ponder About

Scones with Tea – A Morning Tradition

In my husband’s family, it is a tradition to have morning tea. That is, a cup of hot tea with a scone of two with butter or jam. My husband’s paternal grandmother was a brilliant farmhouse cook and used an old wood burning stove – one that was without thermostat or temperature gauge. Yet she cooked everything to perfection, testing the temperature only with the back of her hand. Wouldn’t we all love that skill? Granny Mac was of German heritage, so perhaps her cooking skills came from a  background of generations of women cooking in the kitchen? Or perhaps from necessity?

Together with her husband, they owned a dairy farm atop ‘Clear Mountain’, so it is self-evident that there was plenty of fresh cream available. Thus, making scones was a way to supplement the farm’s income and feed Granny Mac’s ten hungry children at morning tea time. This same recipe made the scones served to the State of Queensland’s Governor, as well as many tourists, or day trippers, in the 1950’s, who drove up the steep, Clear Mountain Road, for a weekend picnic.  This is that never-fail secret family recipe!

Granny Mac’s Scones

Ingredients:

NB. the quantities of ingredients were never measured by the original cook, just estimated. However, for the rest of us, I have provided the following measurements:

2  1/4  cup Self Raising* flour

*(Self raising flour can easily be made by combining 2 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of plain flour and sift well)

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup milk

3/4 cup cream

Optional: a good handful of currants/sultanas/chopped dates – my kids love that)

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, place all the dry ingredients, (and fruit), and stir to mix thoroughly.
  2. “Cut” the wet ingredients into the mix by stirring thoroughly with the blade of a flat butter knife.

  3. Knead mix a little with extra flour, if needed. (You will want a dough that is smooth enough to handle, but not too dry)

  4. Roll or pat out on a floured board, to 1 inch high  (no less)

  5. Cut 6 cm rounds with a scone cutter or as Granny Mac used: a used, empty, small baked beans tin, (cleaned and dried, of course)!

  6. Bake 12 -15 minutes @ 210 degrees on a metal scone tray

Delightful served with butter or jam and cream.

Best eaten while hot, however they do freeze well.

Is there a traditional recipe within your family heritage? Do you still make this food?

Will you keep up this tradition for generations to come?

Something to ponder about….

Everything gives you Cancer?

This information came into my inbox from Marine Essentials Vitamin products. Some of this I was aware of, and some of it, I wasn’t.  There are so many forms of Cancer, and each of it a separate disease in itself, so the best thing we can do is follow a varied diet, with all things in moderation.

I am posting this in the interests of sharing information that is important to others, (which is one of the aims of this blog). I am not in the business of scaremongering, nor selling, merely offering information that gives one more “food” for thought:

Ty Bollinger is considered to be one of the world’s foremost cancer experts

Here is what foods to avoid:

1.    Genetically Modified Foods (GMOs):

This is not a new topic, but it is one that is really important to remember. The rapidly growing industry of genetically modified crops is infiltrating our food supply at an alarming rate. More than 90% of our corn, soy, cotton, and sugar beets are now genetically modified. In a study done by Dr. Pusztai at the Rowett Institute in Scotland, rats were fed GMOs and 100% of the rats showed damaged immune systems, pre-cancerous cell growths, along with smaller brains and livers, in just the first 10 days of the project.

The 2012 Seralini study in France proved that GMOs cause cancer and premature death. Most American consumers believe that the FDA has approved these GMO foods and this is simply not the case. The FDA has NO testing procedures for GMO foods, NONE.  

Look for “NON-GMO Project Verified” label and don’t buy anything that is GMO.

2. Refined sugars and flour:

Cancer cells have a sweet tooth. This is a known fact that has been around for many years. The Nobel laureate in medicine, German Otto Warburg, back in 1931, first discovered that cancer feeds on sugar. Refined sugars not only feed cancer cells, but they also spike insulin levels.

High-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is particularly harmful, since cancer cells have been shown to quickly and easily metabolize HFCS in order to proliferate (spread).

The same goes for refined flour. Why? Mills are no longer content with waiting for their flour to whiten with time; mills now bleach flour with a chemical called chlorine gas. Not only that, but white processed flour has a very high glycemic rate which quickly raises the blood sugar level and insulin levels, which can be a direct cause of diabetes, not to mention feeding cancer cells. And since cookies, cakes, pies, sauces, cereals, and many other popular, mostly processed, food items are loaded with HFCS and other refined sugars and refined white flour, this helps explain why cancer rates are on the rise these days.

By avoiding sugar and refined grains such as white flour, you can avoid, or at the very least, starve cancer.

3. “Diet” Anything: Diet foods (frozen foods, prepackaged foods, diet sodas)

Diet foods (frozen foods, prepackaged foods, diet sodas) almost always contain aspartame. A recent scientific review issued by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) of more than 20 separate research studies found that aspartame causes many diseases and sicknesses such as cancers, birth defects, and heart problems. There is mounting evidence that aspartame breaks down in the body into a deadly toxin called DKP. When your stomach processes this chemical, it in turn produces chemicals that can cause cancer, especially brain tumors.

The bottom line is that ALL “diet” food is chemically processed and made from super refined ingredients, excessive sodium levels, as well as artificial colors and flavors to make it taste good. But these additives are actually addicting. They feed that “feel good” part in your brain, similar to cocaine!

Eat nature’s own, natural “diet” food; fruits and vegetables! Organic and NON-GMO, of course!

4. Hydrogenated oils

Let’s start from the point that all hydrogenated oils are vegetable oils. Vegetable oils cannot be extracted naturally like butter is, vegetable oils must be chemically removed from their source, and then they are changed to be more acceptable to consumers. They are frequently deodorized andcolored to look appealing. They are commonly used to preserve processed foods and keep them shelf-stable. But hydrogenated oils alter the structure and flexibility of cell membranes throughout the body, which can lead to a host of debilitating diseases such as cancer.

5. Processed meats

What exactly are processed meats? This is a long list that includes, but is not limited to, sausages, hot dogs, bacon, and most lunch meats. They contain chemical preservatives that make them appear fresh and appealing, but that can also cause cancer.

Both sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate have been linked to significantly increasing the risk of colon and other forms of cancer, so be sure to choose onlyuncured meat products made without nitrates, and preferably from grass-fed sources.

6. Microwave Popcorn

Conventional microwave popcorn bags are lined with a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This is a toxin you can find in Teflon also. According to a recent study at the University of California, PFOA is linked to infertility in women. Numerous studies in lab animals and humans show that exposure to PFOA significantly increases the risk of kidney, bladder, liver, pancreas and testicular cancers.  

Despite popular opinion, popcorn is not GMO, so it’s safe to eat as long as it’s not microwaved.

7. Grilled Meats & Farmed Fish

Yes… grilling meat tastes delicious. But scientists have discovered that grilling meat (especially processed meats like hot dogs) releases a carcinogen called heterocyclic aromatic amines. Be sure to be even more careful when grilling meat to the point of well done, as it changes the chemical and molecular structure of the meat itself. Commercial fish farming involves raising an incredible number of fish in a crowded environment. Salmon is a commonly raised farm fish, and 60% of the salmon consumed come from a farming operation where they are treated with antibiotics, pesticides, and other carcinogenic chemicals. These fish are fed unnatural diets and are contaminated with chemicals, antibiotics, pesticides, and other known carcinogens.  Also, due to their diet, they have less of the healthy omega-3 that we think we are getting when we consume fish. Studies have also shown that farmed salmon contain high levels of PCB’s, mercury, and cancer causing dioxins.

[Source Marine Essential Newsletter March 2015]

Your diet and nutrition is something very serious that requires pondering about.

Lemon and Ricotta Ring Cake

There are many Italian cake recipes but this one has to be one of my favorites….

It is delicious, quick, easy and with the exception of ricotta cheese, you probably have all the ingredients in your fridge and pantry.

Thanks to Sophie Calloca for the recipe. It is brilliant.

Lemon Ricotta RingIMG_20150215_161353 (Small)

3 eggs

200 g caster sugar

4 tablespoons extra virgin Olive Oil

170 g Full fat Ricotta Cheese

1 Lemon Zest and juice

1 teaspoon  Vanilla essence (optional)

70 g Ground Almond

200 g Self Raising Flour

Preheat Oven 170 degrees Celsius

Grease and line a Ring or Bundt tin

Method:

Combine eggs and sugar and whisk for 2-3 minutes

Add the Oil and Ricotta cheese (It must be full fat cheese, not the low fat option!- Sorry) and mix well.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients until thoroughly combined

Place in tin and cook for 35- 40 minutes till a skewer placed near the center comes out clean of mixture.

Cool in tin for 10 minutes

Dust with cinnamon sugar and Icing sugar and serve!

Something delicious to Ponder About!