Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

Last year when I attended the Ballymaloe Food and Drink Literary Festival one of the first things I did upon arriving, was to take myself to their beautiful living room and order tea and scones – as you do!  Needless to say it set the tone for the whole weekend, but one very lasting memory was that they served their scones and clotted cream not with strawberry or raspberry jam, BUT with rhubarb and ginger jam. It tasted sublime and I made a mental note to try making some at some point back at home.

Now ok it’s taken me a year but I got there and it tastes great so was keen to share it with you. My mother celebrated her birthday the other day and invited some friends over for tea. My youngest daughter and I made cakes (an elderflower and lemon drizzle, in honour of the recent royal wedding and a carrot cake) and scones and some mushroom tartlets with sour cream and parsley. My eldest daughter baked her legendary chocolate cake and my father made a wonderful Victoria sponge and scones with raisins.

As a side note, scones you can make ahead as they are great to freeze – I made around a 100 for my brothers wedding tea – the recipe is here and it works really well. So whilst strawberry and raspberry jam were on offer for the traditionalists, my rhubarb and ginger jam tempted those who wished to try something new and exciting. Hope you like it too.

Strawberry jam (left) my Rhubarb and Ginger jam (right)         Mama

 

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

1 kg of pink rhubarb, washed and cut into 2cm pieces

1kg of jam sugar

50g stem ginger

1 lemon, zest and juice

4cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated

 

Before you begin you will want to clean and sterilise the jars that you are planning on using.

  1. Place all the ingredients into a large plastic bowl, stir thoroughly and then cover and leave to one side for a couple of hours, stir a couple of times over this period,  so that the sugar dissolves and the flavours all harmonise together.
  2. Place a plate into the freezer.
  3. Use a large stainless steel pot – you do not need a preserving pan – and pour all the ingredients from the bowl into the pan. Place on a medium heat and stir so that the rhubarb tenderises and a setting point is reached. This will take no longer than 15 minutes.
  4. To test for setting point, simply remove the plate from the freezer and spoon a little jam onto the plate. Within a minute the jam will have little wrinkles if you move it with your finger. If it is still too runny, leave it to cook a little longer and try again.
  5. If setting point has been reached, remove from the heat and leave for a couple of minutes before pouring into the sterilised jars. Seal immediately and label. I find this easy fill funnel great for jam and chutney making.

 

 

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Wild Garlic Scones

Continuing with the wild garlic theme for another week, (I hope you are not bored yet!) I thought you might like my recipe for wild garlic scones, which are wonderful slathered with a little butter and a cup of tea. Scones are ridiculously easy to make and are great to freeze and then reheat when you want to eat one of two. All my family love this delicious snack, and as you can freeze them, are perfect all year round. A taste of spring even in the winter!

Unlike my wild garlic pesto you actually need no more than a handful of wild garlic but will still get the wonderful flavour resonating through the warm scone. If you have more of a sweet tooth then you might want to see my sweetened scone recipe here.

To make and cook these little beauties takes no more than 30 minutes, so are quick to prepare a batch. My girls always love to get involved in the kitchen and making scones is very straightforward so fun activity to do together.

 

Wild Garlic Scones

Makes around 22 scones

350g self-raising flour

pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

85g softened unsalted butter, cut into cubes

125g mature cheddar cheese, grated

1 handful of wild garlic, washed and finely chopped

2 eggs

1 tsp fennel seeds

175ml milk, gently warmed

1 egg, beaten to glaze

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7 and line a baking tray.
  2. In a large bowl sieve the flour and then add all the ingredients*, aside from the milk and the final egg to glaze.
  3. Mix together gently using your hands and slowly add the warmed milk to bind. Add a little more flour if it remains a little sticky.
  4. Flour your hands and the work surface and move the dough onto the surface. Flatten it with your hands and fold it over a few times. Use a rolling pin to flatten it to a thickness of about 3cm. Use the top of a small glass or a cutter to cut out the scones evenly.
  5. Place the scones at intervals on the lined baking tray so they do not touch. Brush the tops with the beaten egg.
  6. Once you have used up all the dough, place in the oven for 11 minutes exactly. Remove from oven and then either leave to cool completely and then freeze or eat immediately with some butter. YUM.

Note: *If the butter cubes are not super soft then add these first with the flour and baking powder and using your finger tips mix with the flour to create a crumbly mixture. Then add all the ingredients. 

If freezing, when you want to eat them simply defrost completely then heat in a very low oven for 2/3 minutes to rewarm the scones.

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Easy Classic Scones for a Big Occasion

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My little brother is getting married tomorrow so I thought I would do a spot of baking. I have co-ordinated a whole team of bakers in fact to make all manner of deliciousness for guests when they arrive back at the house from the church. Scones are great when you need to bake in advance as they freeze really well. When you’re ready to eat them all you need to do is defrost them completely and then place them in a low oven  for 2 to 3 minutes to warm them up. It’s that simple.

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After you have combined the self-raising flour, salt, baking powder, sugar and butter (you crumb the butter so that it is mixed in completely) you make a well in the centre of the mixture and pour in warm milk – which has a couple of drops of fresh lemon juice and vanilla extract. Using a knife mix the warm milk into the flour and a beautifully soft dough will form – you can add a little more flour if it remains too sticky.IMG_1361

Place it on a floured surface and fold it over a few times either by hand or using a rolling pin. Flatten it so that you still have about 4cm thickness and then using a cutter (5cm in diameter – smooth edges is probably more preferable but I only had a wavy edge one!) make your scones. I dug out one of my children’s cookie cutters that actually allowed the dough to bulge out the top, which I thought worked rather well. Place them spaced out on a large baking tray covered with baking paper. Glaze each scone with your beaten egg mixture.

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Place them in a preheated oven – 220C/fan 200C if using a non fan for 11 minutes precisely.

The proportions below will make 11-12 scones. I made mine in 6 batches as I found it a lot easier doing it this way.

You can either serve them immediately with clotted cream and strawberry jam or once cooled freeze them until ready to use (in which case defrost thoroughly and then reheat them for a couple of minutes in a low oven).

 

Easy Classic Scones

350g self-raising flour

pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

85g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

3 tbsp caster sugar (optional – see notes below)

175ml milk

few drops of fresh lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg, beaten to glaze

strawberry jam

clotted cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C Fan/ Gas 7 and line a baking tray.
  2. In a large bowl sieve the flour and baking powder. Add the salt, sugar and cubed butter and using your finger tips break up the butter to form little crumbs when mixed with the flour – you don’t want any large butter cubes remaining.
  3. Warm the milk in a pan/microwave so that it is warm but not boiled. Add the vanilla extract and lemon juice. Make a well in the bowl of flour mixture and gently pour in the milk.
  4. Using a knife mix the milk into the flour to form a dough ball. Flour your hands and the work surface and move the dough onto the surface. Flatten it with your hands and fold it over a few times. You can gently use a rolling pin but you need to make sure that the dough remains fairly thick – around 4cm deep.
  5. Place some baking paper onto your baking tray and place the scones at intervals so they do not touch. Brush the tops with beaten egg.
  6. Once you have used up all the dough place in the oven for 11 minutes exactly. Remove from oven and then either leave to cool completely and then freeze or eat immediately with jam and clotted cream.

Note: A couple of batches I completely omitted (forgot) sugar and honestly I could not notice a difference once I had placed clotted cream and jam on top.

If freezing, when you want to eat them simply defrost completely then heat in a very low oven for 2/3 minutes to rewarm the scones.

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