Slice of Wednesday: Grandma’s kitchen




I made blackberry jam today. We've found a bunch of brambles round here, all covered with luscious fruit. Super cool. And free! I've never made blackberry jam so I followed the usual rules re: weight of fruit and sugar and a couple of teaspoons of lemon juice. I let it boil and froth for five minutes and took my pre-cooled saucer out of the freezer to do the 'wrinkle' text on and it didn't 'wrinkle'. 

Am so not a jam expert. 

I let it keep boiling, tested again, still not 'wrinkling'. (Whatever the heck that means.) Took it off after fifteen minutes and unsurprisingly it has set too hard. Crapola.

Oh well, it has other uses. 

First, it took me straight back to my Grandma's kitchen. I don't even precisly remember her making blackberry jam but oh my goodness the smell of that jam on the stove! Ka-bam!

We went blackberrying every year when we were kids. Not on the farm, the brambles were all sprayed and under control, but around the cemetery, up and down the roads. Mum and Dad both remember blackberrying with a plank that allowed you to get right in the middle of the bushes. Long sleeves, always. 

I have a coffee date later this week which I've just converted to a blackberrying date. I need to try the jam again. And how much more fun is bramble surfing?!

Meanwhile, I used it in a slice.






Chocolate and blackberry jam slice

(This would work with any kind of berry jam, blackberry is just nice and waxy and tart. Goes well with chocolate.)


125g butter, melted

1 cup self-raising flour

half cup dessicated coconut

half cup brown sugar


Mix all the base ingredients together and press into a greased, floured and paper-lined shallow slice tin (18cm x 28cm). Bake for 12 mins on 180degC.

When cooked and cooled, spread with jam. 

Melt approx a cup of chocolate buttons, or 150g chopped dark chocolate. Spread over jam and allow to set. 

Sprinkle with unsweetened cocoa to serve. 







There's something else significant about my Grandma's kitchen: I'm moving to it shortly.

We're pulling up stakes on our rented acre, and moving down to the family farm. It's timely and exciting, we're building up our farm business, all our animals are there, and we're making a crazy number of trips across town every day at present. 

We promised ourselves this would be a year of adventure. 

One month down, eleven to go.

How is your February panning out? Been blackberrying this year? Does this slice look easy? It IS!!! And can anyone explain what I'm looking for on my saucer? No jammy wrinkles here.


23 Comments on “Slice of Wednesday: Grandma’s kitchen

February 8, 2012 at 10:21 pm

I have some mulberry jam that set too hard too. I’ve been using it in jam drop biscuits, but I think I shall have to give this a try!

When my jam has been successful, the wrinkle on the cold saucer is the difference between dripping a bit of the mix on the plate and tipping the plate and it runs, or tipping the plate and it stay still. Then when you push it with your fingernail the top of the drop wrinkles up, instead of just parting. *

* I’m pregnant and it’s 9 o’clock at night, not sure if that is the best explanation! But it will make sense when it happens.

February 9, 2012 at 7:42 am

I have spent so long trying to eradicate the blackberry on my place I have stopped even thinking about it nicely! Although this looks great. I made the GF passionfruit slice you featured for a work meeting and it was a great hit.

February 9, 2012 at 8:43 am

Oh yes, that is the general perception of blackberry round here too. Actually I just found Kate on Foxslane has just written about blackberrying too, and shes an organic farmer. I love the way she talks about the pest: for a short time stop stressing about it and enjoy its fruits something we didnt tend or weed or fertilize!

February 9, 2012 at 9:24 am

Actually Christina I think that’s a fab explanation – thank you for that!

Mel V
February 9, 2012 at 9:56 am

How exciting to be back at Buena Vista 20 years down the track. I will have to call down to the markets when i am at mums. xx

February 9, 2012 at 10:01 am

Christina has it correct – it should look like a skin has formed on top of the jam, wrinkly. The slice does look easy – easy to eat! One for me to save when I’m not trying to lose weight! I have passed it on to my sister who is the family slice expert. 🙂

Cheers – Joolz

February 9, 2012 at 10:39 am

Please do Mel!! xx

February 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm

When we lived on 12 acres there was one mess of blackberries on a fence that I insisted Dh leave alone for the purposes of harvesting and making into jam…and freezing fresh berries for all sorts of dessert through the winter. It’s one of the few things I miss about that place.

This slice looks absolutely delicious. And the perfect way to end a fast from wheat and sugar in a couple of weeks. It’s going to go on my list of things to look forward to. I didn’t have a list like that but I do now.

February 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Oh I do remember the blackberries at the cemetery…we were living in Fern St and would go up there above Boat Harbour to pick them and make yummy things including jam…cant add to the explanation of ‘wrinkling’ given…sounds perfect to me!
And the move to Grandma’s kitchen will be wonderful for you all.

February 9, 2012 at 3:45 pm

mmm. jam. yum.

good luck with the move. I sometimes think close moves are even harder than far moves…

brenda from ar
February 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Not once, but twice I have set out to make seedless blackberry jam, and ended up with jarred syrup instead. No regrets though – it was AWESOME on French toast, or over vanilla ice cream. That jellying is tricky stuff.

February 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm

My next job is now to look in the jam cupboard to see if we have any blackberry jam left from last year…

For seedless Blackberry (and apple) jam, as opposed to jelly, this is a great recipe
In fact every jam recipe I’ve tried on this site has been delicious (love her pear and lemon jam too) and she has lots of tips.

Hope you find it helpful.

February 9, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Oh that slice looks divine! i’ll be giving it a go. Yah for free blackberries!

February 9, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Youre a champion, thanks for going to the trouble of forwarding that link xx

kim at allconsuming
February 9, 2012 at 8:20 pm

the wrinkle, the drop on a plate that’s been in the freezer, it never works for me. Ever. And I make jam fairly constantly.

SO – somewhere I read an interview with an old biddy of jam making pedigree and she said ‘you know the jam is set when the size of the bubbles change and when you stir it the jam ‘hisses’ off the bottom of the pan.’

And you know what, it works an absolute treat. The jam is ready when the bubbles are small and uniform and when you stir it it hisses. GENERALLY about 25-30 minutes after you’ve brought it up to the boil.

February 9, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Yay for moving to the farm- your folks must be over the moon!
If you have many blackberries in the freezer, do you need to change the way you’d go about making jam, or just thaw them and go for it?
Love you!

February 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Damn those low-pectin fruits, they get me every time I make jam with them. That’s why I love quinces – so, so easy to jam.

Runny berry jam on a crumpet is pretty special. Toffeed jam in a slice or cheesecake is pretty special. So it’s all good (and yours looks amazing)!

February 10, 2012 at 1:55 am

New visitor via SouleMama and {this moment} and all I can say is Oh my! This looks/sounds yummy! Isn’t amazing how a particular smell can take you someplace? I’m so envious of your farm. I’ll get to one someday. Thanks for sharing!

February 10, 2012 at 10:16 am

Annnnnd bookmarked. 😉

February 10, 2012 at 10:32 am

Well done with your blackberry jam. If it goes too thick that you would prefer it be runny and spreadable you could always reboil it and add some cooked apples, and cook out until the apple is completely mushed and blended in. This will add to the bulk of your jam, give you another flavour, and you get another chance at getting the consistency you like in a jam.

Fiona, could you please send me an email with your details, as you were one of the winners for my garlic seed. Congratulations!

February 11, 2012 at 8:31 am

Hello from the States! I adore your blog; it is a must read in the morning before I go to work.
Have you try this recipe for jam?
I have been using it for three years now with much sucess. Cherry jam is the best! Strawberry a little bit tricker. Enjoy!

February 11, 2012 at 9:57 am

Hello from Australia and thanks!! I love Orangette, will check out this link. Thanks so much lovely to meet you. xx

February 13, 2012 at 2:11 pm

mmmmm now I am hungry!
And at least you didn’t burn it… I once made a HUGE batch of strawberry jam and because it never ‘wrinkled’ I burnt the lot! Have since found out that strawberry jam never really sets unless you add setter to it! Bugger!


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