In a Jam!

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Our home was raided by monkeys! It’s a true story!!

We live in a pretty, green part of the City & every couple of months in the year our terrace & the ones of neighbouring homes are “vacation resorts” for roaming hoards of our primate cousins. A few years ago our terrace was a nursing / maternity home for a monkey family. We would wake up with the noise of them jumping up & down on the roof. “Daddy” Monkey once even managed to stare down my otherwise intimidating husband, when the latter yelled at the baby monkey swinging on the cable! While the babies are absolutely adorable, & it’s lovely to observe them through the window grills… It’s a bit scary when you walk into the room to see tiny, dusty almost human paw prints on the chest or TV & notice missing apples!! And you know you have been raided! One morning we woke up to the sound of my sister-in-law running round with a broom, trying to coax a tiny, frightened baby monkey out of the house. The poor creature must have snuck in through an open window & forgotten how to get out 😦 We somehow managed to get him out the front door.

Since then, they pretty much stopped visiting. Until this afternoon…

Bombay’s actually got a winter happening this week. So of course I make the most of the crisp, cool weather by keeping all the windows wide open! And I definitely wasn’t expecting any visitors of this kind! I had lunch, checked on the dinner that was made for tonight. The food was still too warm to pop it in the fridge, so I made sure the bowls were covered & went to my room to watch The Truth About Cats & Dogs (sucker for romcoms!) & get a little shut eye before I started on my baking adventure of the day. I came down to the kitchen about 2 hours later & saw a pack of biscuits & another of chips strewn open on the window pane. The steel box of chapatis (whole wheat flatbread) was lying open with at 4 missing & one lying on the table! The bowl of spiced potatoes with peanuts was uncovered with nearly half the contents gone, with bits of food all over the table! And of course the creepy telltale paw prints. I freaked out! A quick look around the house… I was alone! Thank heavens! And thank the stars for making me lazy today… else the monkeys would’ve been in for a treat! I usually place things to cool by the window… well never again!

The recipe I’m going to share today has nothing to do with primates! The only thing that’s relevant here is that the key ingredient is from an area known for its notorious monkeys! My parents brought in the New Year with friends at a hill station called Panchgani, about 280 km from Bombay. And when they returned they brought back 4 kg of strawberries!! Now we are a family of strawberry lovers & I love using them when I cook, like here or here. But still 4 kgs?! Well anyway, after distributing (some), indulging in strawberries & cream (a lot!), we still had quite a bit leftover. So Ma said, “Let’s make Jam! (To be translated as, “YOU make Jam!”)

I looked up a recipe or two online that didn’t require pectin, jam sugar or any preservatives. From ones I liked, one used cornflour / corn starch & the other was made in the microwave. So I merged the 2, added my twist & here it is…

Homemade Strawberry Jam!

Ingredients

  • 250 gm fresh Strawberries
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • Juice of 1 small Lemon
  • A lot of patience!

Method

  1. Wash, hull & cut the Strawberries. I left the smaller ones as they were, as it’s nice to bite into a whole strawberry, once in a while!
  2. Mix in the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice, & leave to rest for 5 to 10 minutes in a sauce pan.
  3. Cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till the sugar dissolves.
  4. Bring to the boil & then reduce the heat to low.
  5. Now patience needs to kick in as you stir occasionally & wait for the jam to thicken. This could take up to 30 to 40 minutes.

And there you have it!

Note

Ma is a bit of a purist, so I made 2 batches of jam. One was with the above recipe & the other had “my twist”! I cut down the amount of lemon juice & added some orange juice along with mint & spices. I think it worked 🙂

This recipe yields about 250 gm of Jam & was absolutely delicious with:

  1. Candied Orange Peel & Rosemary Pancakes made with fresh cream as I ran out of milk and buttermilk! Can you believe that! 
  2. Raisin Scones I followed the recipe from my super talented friend Lidia’s blog. They were light, crumbly & yum!
  3. Peanut Butter & Jam Cookie Cups the baking adventure of the day when the monkeys attacked!
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