Hello my lovelies! It is still hot. Too hot for cool weather creatures like me. I’ve been busy making preserves which is probably not helping the heat. I’ve been going mad with caramels. And I caught up with some friends I don’t get to see very often. Sugar featured strongly this week.
This weather. After a period of misty, cloudy oppression we are now flip-flopping between drizzle and cold nights and humid heat that makes me want to die. I am not good at heat. I live in Wellington because it should max out at about 25 degrees a couple of times and leave me in peace. The sun even fried the edible viola seedlings I had on the windowsill. They’d just sprouted and it had been more temperate during the week so I didn’t realise they were in danger. Poor shrivelled darlings. I will start some more and hope for the best.
So probably the least intelligent thing to do when it’s very hot is stand in front of a boiling pot for extended periods. With the oven on sterilising jars. Love knows no bounds. And I love to make me some jam. And chutney. The first batch of Chilli + Lemongrass Jam wasn’t going very far so I made another double batch so there would be enough to share around. It’s going to be a new staple I think. I am also working on apricot jam for you guys. And myself. The first batch I made last week caught on the bottom of the pan when I was distracted and I jarred it before it was set. I was tired and irritated and decided to reboil it later to get a set rather than pour it off and do it straight away. I finally got around to it over the weekend. It’s a nice jam but we can do better. A fresh hot take will be coming your way soon. And tips on rescuing a caught jam.
I’m working on a miso flavoured caramel for an art collaboration with a friend. Does a more hipster sentence exist? And I am getting caught in a caramelly rabbit hole. It’s such an excellent vehicle for so many flavours. I made a passionfruit caramel to go with coconut cake and I am in love with it. When I get my hands on more passionfruit I will share the recipe. Caramel is also such a fun science-y transformation. Once you master making a basic caramel it’s so satisfying and endlessly fascinating. Staring at the pot to detect a hint of change in colour. Playing chicken with it to decide when to take it off the heat. And making a small amount uses so few ingredients so errors are never very costly. Fun fun.
I went on an informative and new-ish bus journey to catch up with some old friends. Wellington has geography that tests the limits of space-time. It folds back on itself and goes up and down hills and round about. So I was excited to learn that I can get to one of my friends’ houses by catching a totally different bus (that starts by my house) because it doubles back underneath her suburb leaving only a short climb up a pedestrian walkway to her door. A short Wellington climb. That would cause a normal person to have a stroke. Excellent. I went round for dinner to catch up with some mutual friends who were visiting from Melbourne. I always take dessert. My friend’s children don’t usually get much sugar. I’m pretty sure they don’t remember my name but they sure do recognise me whenever I arrive.
Stay cool. Make jam. Enjoy experimenting. Show up with treats. Look after each other.