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Newsletter #47  - April  13, 2003

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Greetings from sunny South Africa!  Hope you are all doing well!

The previous Newsletter had a "bread" theme, and what better way to follow that up than with a "jam" theme! Our South African "boeretannies" are famous for their jams and other preserves, so scroll down and give some of the South African jams a try.

For me, the most Traditional of local jams is moskonfyt, or grape must jam. This dates back to the early days of the old Cape when they first started producing grapes in the 1600's.  Moskonfyt is so unique that you even eat it in a special way. Take fresh homemade bread, still warm out of the oven, spread with butter and cut into small bite sized squares. Cover the squares with moskonfyt, soaking them, then eat with a knife and a fork! Yummilicious!

As a matter of interest, my friend Cristina from Romania sent me an interesting email on jam in her country, go take a look here

The Elephant Stew recipe is still receiving regular suggestions. Go take a look and add your wacky suggestion.

If anyone is interested in Afrikaans, I am continually adding stuff to the Afrikaans section of the site.

My friend, Bitsy, is currently #2 on the Culinary Top 100 list and will appreciate any votes she can get, she needs 50,000 points to get into the Hall of Fame so please click here ( http://chef2chef.net/rank/inter.shtml ) and give her your vote! Thanx, everyone!

And that's it for now, folks!
Hamba kahle

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That's it for now
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The Recipes
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  Moskonfyt (Must Jam or Grape Syrup)

Ripe grapes
10 ml (2 teaspoonfulls) slaked lime per 5 litres grape juice

Remove grapes from stalks, place in a large bowl and crush. Cover bowl and leave till the grapes ferment- a couple of days.
Strain grape skins from surface, measure grape juice and add slaked lime. Stand for 30 minutes.
Skim and strain through a double layer cheesecloth or muslin.
Heat strained juice to boiling point and strain again.
Boil juice rapidly, skimming occasionally until it becomes syrupy.
Pour the jam into hot, dry sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Apricot jam

3 kg apricots, stoned (weigh after stoning)
3 kg white sugar
15 apricot kernels
knob of butter (optional)

1. Sterilise the jars and lids. In the microwave oven: half-fill jars with water and microwave on 100 percent power for 3 minutes. Pour out boiling water and leave jars to dry. On the stove: place jars in a saucepan of water, bring to boil and boil for 10 minutes. Pour out water, invert jars on a tea towel and leave to dry. Rinse lids in hot water and leave to dry on a tea towel.
2. Wash fruit in salted water. Rinse in fresh water and drain.
3. Discard stalks, halve fruit and remove stones. Crack 15 of them, using a nutcracker, remove kernels and set aside.
4. Place the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and warm over low heat for a few minutes. Add halved apricots and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to boil and stir in apricot kernels. Boil steadily for 30 to 45 minutes, or until jam thickens, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon to prevent its catching (burning). Skim off the scum (froth) that rises to the surface, using a slotted spoon. Just before bottling, add a knob of butter to dissolve remaining scum.
5. Test for setting: drop 5 ml (1 tsp) jam onto an ice-cold plate and leave for 20 seconds. Push the surface with your finger; if the jam wrinkles, it's ready for bottling. If it doesn't, cook for a few more minutes and test again. Alternatively, place a sugar thermometer in the jam (see tips); the jam's ready when the temperature reaches 105 ºC.
6. Pour the jam into sterilised jars, to within 1 cm of the top. Cool completely. Melt candles or beeswax over low heat. Pour the wax over the jam and leave until hardened, a few minutes. Seal jars with the screw-on lids, and affix labels. Makes 7 x 500 ml jars

Chilli jam

1 kg ripe tomatoes, skinned
60 ml olive oil
5 cloves garlic, peeled
25 g fresh ginger, peeled
4 fresh, red cayenne chillis, stems removed
15 ml cumin seeds
15 ml mustard seeds
100 ml red wine vinegar
30 ml fish sauce
150 g soft brown sugar
15 ml turmeric
half a bunch of fresh coriander, chopped

Toss whole tomatoes in olive oil and place both in a roasting pan. Roast at 180 ºC for 20 minutes, or until soft, but not coloured.
Combine garlic, ginger, chillis, cumin, mustard seeds and vinegar in a food processor and process until finely chopped and well combined (or bruise ingredients thoroughly in a pestle and mortar and stir into vinegar).
Transfer mixture to a large, heavy-based saucepan and add tomatoes, fish sauce, sugar and turmeric. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer over low heat for two hours or until thick and jam-like. Process in batches until combined but still coarse in texture. Return to heat and cook for a further five minutes. Remove from heat and stir in coriander.
Ladle into hot, sterilised jars and seal while hot. Refrigerate for up to one month.
Makes about 750 ml.

Grape jam

2 kg grapes, halved and seeds removed
250 ml water
2 kg sugar
lemon juice

Boil the grapes in the water until just tender (the back of a match should easily pierce the skin of the fruit). Arrange the grapes and sugar in layers in a saucepan and leave overnight. Add 15 ml (1 T) lemon juice for every 1 kg fruit. Heat, stir well and remove from heat. Leave until all the sugar has dissolved. Return the saucepan to the heat and boil slowly for about 45 minutes until the jam is ready. Scoop off the scum that forms on top of the mixture and stir occasionally. To test if the jam is ready, spoon a little of the jam on a saucer. If the jam feels smooth when sliding a spoon over it, the jam is ready. Spoon into clean, sterilised jars and store in a cool place. Enough for 3-4 jars.

Plum or nectarine jam

2 kg plums or nectarines
500 ml water
2 kg sugar
15 ml lemon juice
1 piece crushed ginger

Boil the fruit (stoned but with skin left on, and diced) and water until the fruit is just tender. The back of a match should easily pierce the skin of the fruit. Add the blanched pips to the mixture. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the sugar. Stir well and leave until all the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon juice and ginger, return the saucepan to the heat and boil slowly for about 45 minutes until the jam is ready. Scoop off the scum that forms on top of the mixture and stir occasionally. To test if the jam is ready, spoon a little of the jam on a saucer. If the jam feels smooth when sliding a spoon over it, the jam is ready. Spoon into clean, sterilised jars and store in a cool place. Enough for 3-4 jars.

Smooth guava jam

unblemished, ripe guavas, skinned
lemon juice

Halve the guavas and place in a saucepan. Cover with water and boil the fruit until soft. Cool slightly before processing in a food processor. Strain the mixture through a sieve. Measure the guava purée with a measuring cup and add the same quantity of sugar. Return the mixture to the saucepan. Add 15 ml lemon juice for each cup of guava pureé measured. Slowly heat the mixture, stirring continuously, until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer until the jam is no longer watery and falls off the spoon in flakes. Stir frequently to prevent the jam from sticking to the base of the pan. Spoon into clean, sterilised jars and seal.

Strawberry jam

500 g fresh strawberies, trimmed and sliced
20 ml lemon juice
4 cardamom pods, crushed
10 ml gelatine
70 ml boiling water
10 ml liquid sweetener

Place the strawberries, lemon juice and cardamom pods into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Pour 10 ml of cold water over the gelatine, stir, then add the boiling water gradually, stirring until smooth. Add to the strawberry mixture. Stir in the liquid sweetener and spoon into a sterilised glass jar. Allow to cool, then seal and store in the fridge. Makes 350 ml.

Waatlemoenkonfyt - Watermelon Preserve

1 preserving or ordinary watermelon
25ml (2T) slaked lime or 50ml (4T) bicarbonate of soda
per 5 litres of water for 1 melon
1 kg sugar per 1 kg peel
2 litres water per 1 kg sugar
20ml (4t) lemon juice per 1 kg peel
pinch salt
2 pieces bruised fresh ginger per 1kg peel

Slice melon, discarding soft flesh. Thinly peel hard green rind and discard. Cut remaining peel into squares, prick well on both sides and weigh pieces.
Soak peel in lime solution for 2 days ( 12 to 18 hours for ordinary watermelon). Rinse peel well and soak in fresh water for 2 hours.
Drain and place pieces in boiling water, one piece at a time. Boil uncovered until just tender, test with a matchstick.
To make syrup, combine sugar, water, lemon juice, salt and ginger in a saucepan over low heat and bring to the boil as soon as sugar has dissolved.
Place the peel in boiling syrup and boil rapidly until pieces are tender and translucent and syrup is thick. 
Pack into hot, dry, sterilised jars, fill jars with syrup and seal immediately.



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