Blueberry Jam Recipe

My recipes aren’t the healthiest are they…

Jam is actually really easy to make and doesn’t require any fancy equipment (unless you want it to). This recipe makes four small jars (the ones in the picture) or two larger jars. I make this jam to eat right away so don’t use any canning techniques or equipment – if you wanted to use this recipe for long term food storage you would need to. This isn’t the sweetest jam and as such is really good with a whole variety of food. I like it best on a buttered scone.

Ingredients:

800g (approx) blueberries
500g (approx) caster sugar
juice of half a lemon.
2tbsp water

(These mesurments are aproximate as I don;t ussually weigh them, I prefer to go off sight, so if you are a little over or under it won’t make much difference.)

Method:

Add the sugar and water into a pan over a medium-low heat. Stir until the sugar is just starting to dissolve.

Add all the blueberries to the sugar and continue to cook over a medium heat until the jam starts to boil, stirring all the time. Allow to boil for about 5mins, making sure you don’t stop stirring (if you do the jam at the bottom may burn).

After 5 minutes reduce the heat and continue to simmer (still stirring…) for about 15 mins. The easiest way to check if jam is done is to put a drop of it onto a clean plate and wait 30 seconds for it to cool. Then push it with your fingernail. If the Jam is done, it will have formed a skin which will wrinkle, if no skin has formed keep simmering!

When the jam is cooled pour it into your desired containers and enjoy!

E x

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Sock Knitting

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I love the idea of knitting socks. The beautiful fine yarns in gorgeous painted shades. The idea of cosy feet inside squishy warm socks. The reality however is so different for me. For some reason no matter how hard I try I have never finished a pair or socks. I usually get 90% of the way through one and then give up. I think it’s the idea of sewing up the toe I don’t like.

This cute little green/blue example has been sat in my knitting box for weeks. I am going to finish it today and start on a second to make a pair. They will be perfect for autumn weather.

E x

Pre Autumn Knitting

It’s the end of August, which means it is nearly autumn (or fall, depending on where you live). While it is still to warm to be dressing in thick, cosy knits, it certainly is not too early to begin knitting them. Knitting is a slow process and the finished garments are all the more special because of it. Currently I am working on a grey and green cardigan with a wrap front in a aran yarn. I actually started it a few years ago but never got around to finishing it.

After I’m done with this one – just a sleeve and a half left – I’ve already got plans to start on  project for my boyfriend, a mid green men’s cardigan with a lovely set of dark wooden buttons.

I love the slow sense of repetitive motion that you get from knitting as well as the accomplishment from finishing something that has taken so much work and dedication.

E x

Playing the Cello – A Sort of Making.

I have recently taken up playing the cello. I feel like this comes under a type of ‘making’ – not as permanent as knitting or sewing or drawing but just as valid. It is something I find very calming and meditative, it is also something I am doing purely for myself and so I feel no pressure or rush to become ‘good’. It is simply something I can enjoy in the moment.

My cello itself is a cheap, pretty low quality instrument – I bought it on Ebay for about £200 – but this takes any pressure learning I feel, as I haven’t invested so much if I change my mind or decide I want to learn something else instead. I haven’t taken music lessons since I was about 15 and even then I struggled to stick with an instrument for more than a year or two. Hopefully cello will be a long term endeavour for me, but if not that is not a problem either. If I decide I love it then in a year or two I can get myself a decent instrument.

One of the ways in which I am probably going about my cello playing ‘wrong’ (although I don’t think there is a truly wrong way to do something you enjoy) is that I haven’t as of yet found myself a teacher. I had one or two lessons a year or two ago before deciding it wasn’t the right time for me to start learning. These meant I learnt the absolute basics like how to hold the cello and bow, but I have had no more personal tuition since.

I am aware that without a teacher I will never be ‘good’ and quite honestly a large part of this decision is financially motivated – I just can’t afford a teacher right now. Maybe when I am no longer on a student budget I will reconsider. I also feel though that by learning through the wealth of resources available in books and on the internet I am able to learn at my own pace and in a stress free way. If I am busy and can’t practice one week I don’t have to worry about disappointing my teacher or not having made enough progress.

I have been playing for about two months now and while my progress has been slow I have had some proud moments – for example learning how to play Hedwig’s Theme (the music from Harry Potter) or replacing a string for the first time, or the first time I played for someone else.

Some of the most useful resources can be found in the book Cello for Music Lovers: A Self Taught Method