Thursday, February 17, 2011

My manna called jam

I love food.

I make no bones about it! (Ho ho! Good one huh?!!!)

It's one of the first things you notice about me, (and I am not talking about the judgement you will be compelled to make after just looking at me).

I am constantly eating.

I am constantly talking about food.

I am constantly reading food blogs.

I am constantly buying and reading cookbooks.

Whenever someone needs a place recommended for a dinner out, they call me. This has been true of Bombay and Chennai - I usually know more about the restaurants in a city than most other people do.

The biggest portion of my salary was always spent on dining out.

Now that I am home, I spent a lot of time cooking. Or trying to cook. Or trying to learn how to cook. (We are talking about the process here, not the result.)

One of my favourite things to cook is jam, and there are many reasons why.

1. Jam is fruits and sugar - it is hard to screw that up. I have found that I need conveniences like this when it comes to cooking.

2. When the Bible talks about 'Manna', I am convinced that it was referring to jam. It can sweeten any palate and it will taste good with everything. EVERYTHING! Yesterday, I ate cheese souffle doused in jam and it was better than everything else I ate on the day, including the cheese souffle sans the jam.

3. It is so fun to make jam - such a stress buster! And the stirring action is the secret of whatever muscle tone I have on my arms.

4.It is one of the few things that taste awesome right from the beginning to the end of the cooking process. (I suspect that the reason I make a mess out of a lot of things I cook is my hesitation to keep tasting it during the cooking process. For me, there must be something compelling in it to taste boiling hot food! Raw pasta in salty water just doesn't cut it for me. Fruit reveling in sugar and lime does.)

5. Have you eaten bread crumbs, pliant butter and jam bits off a pot in which the jam was cooked. God decided to give us the gift of taste after he himself scraped out jam bits off the side of a jam pot, swirled it around with melted butter and soft bread and immersed himself in its sublime taste. That's when he realized that if he didn't share it, it might be the beginning of a new kind of sin.

So yesterday, as a homage to God and his kind gift to mankind, I decided to make a batch of tomato jam.

I love jam, but with tomato jam, I share a special kind of relationship, because that is how good it tastes.My grandmother used to make it for us when my brother and I were little and how we used to devour it!We used to spread it on everything - bread, biscuits, bananas, cakes, omelettes, tomatoes... Ok... I used to spread it on tomatoes. Happy?

Yesterday was the first time I attempted to make it and it tasted so darn good and it was so simple to make.

And I totally didn't screw it up. :)

Here's how you can make it.

You need

500 gms ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup sugar
1 tsp ginger juice

First you need to chop the tomatoes into tiny pieces and then leave it to macerate in the sugar.

Add the ginger juice as well and this time, and stir to combine everything. Watch in amazement as the sugar draws out the water from the tomatoes and magically, the amount of water increases about trifold.

Now go watch an episode of Desperate Housewives. You have deserved it for your earnest sincerity to the cause of good food.

When you are done with the show and your spirit and soul has been sufficiently nourished, get back to nourish your tummy, and add the lime juice. Pour this mixture into a pot and cook it over a low flame, stirring continuously.

If you see any scum on top, skim it off onto a slice of buttered bread and chomp on it. Go on. Do it. This selfless act is critical for the well-being of the jam.

Also don't forget to taste the jam every two minutes for doneness. There should be no hesitation or guilt in doing this. This action too, is solely for the well-being for the jam.

After about half an hour, you will see that the jam has become considerably thicker. Keep stirring and cooking until you think it has reach a desirable consistency, and then turn off the heat.

Allow it to cool and then transfer into a sterilized jar.

Now is the time for you to scrape off the pot with your buttered fingers.

Enjoy the jam with, on and in anything and everything.

1 comment:

  1. ur jam looks really good! i cant wait to try it... much better than making sauce when we have surplus tomato season! Now im eagerly waiting for tht season... so i can make me some tomato jam :)


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