Monday, August 19, 2013

Quick Blackcurrant and Rhubarb Jelly – Appeals to my inner cave-dweller !

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From disgusting to delicious in about 20 minutes

As a devoted eater, I love trying tastes new to me. This isn't always a success initially. I often need to try a food several times to check if I still don’t like it, or whether the taste is something I could get used to – or might even get to like.

Among the foods that have grown on me over time are: avocados, anchovies, olives, asparagus, some blue cheeses, oysters, smoked fish, snails, liver (but only in certain guises) – I could go on but there’s quite a list. 

We can acquire a taste for something previously repellent, but it needs repeated trials before your inner cave dweller will accept that you are not trying to poison yourself.

When it comes to blackcurrants, however, repeated trials have failed … eh… repeatedly. The cave-dwelling part of my brain flatly refuses to allow fresh blackcurrants past my lips. The taste of this beautiful little berry nauseates me... which is funny because if I could eat just one jelly or jam for the rest of my life, I would probably choose blackcurrant. There is obviously some alchemy in the cooking that magically transforms the taste from disgusting to delicious.

For a small pot of jelly (approximately 400g) you will need…

260g blackcurrants
140g rhubarb, washed and sliced into 1cm chunks
4 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice (or water)
400g sugar
4 tablespoon lemon juice

Wash the blackcurrants and pick them over to remove any stray leaves etc. You needn’t be too fussy about removing the stalks as the solids will be sieved out at the end.

You’ll need to select a saucepan large enough to allow the ingredients to expand up to 5 times without bubbling over. Place the washed berries in the saucepan with the rhubarb and apple juice (or water). Cook for about 20 minutes over a medium-low heat until the fruit has softened.

Meanwhile, place 3 saucers in the freezer – use these later to check if the jelly will set.

Add the sugar and lemon juice and keep the heat low until the sugar has completely dissolved. (If you stir the mixture with a wooden spoon, you will feel any undissolved grains of sugar on the bottom of the pan.)

When the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat so that the mixture begins to boil energetically. Boil for 6 minutes before testing to see if the end product will set.

To test that the jelly will set: remove one of the saucers from the freezer and spoon a little of the mixture onto it. Let it cool for a minute then push your finger through it. The surface should wrinkle and your finger should leave a clear path. If not, continue to cook for a further minute or two before testing again on another cold saucer.

Pour the mixture into a metal sieve set over a bowl to catch the liquid. Press the fruit with the back of a spoon to extract as much juice and pulp as possible (We’re not aiming for a clear jelly here). Transfer the contents of the bowl to a *sterilised jar and discard the solids left in the sieve. 

This quick and easy preserve will keep for up to a month in the fridge and is delicious on toast, with goats cheese, or as an unusual filling in a Victoria Sponge.

The End

What foods have you come to like over time? What tastes are still to pass the cave-dweller test?

*The easiest way to sterilise jars is to run them through a hot cycle of the dishwasher. Otherwise, wash in hot soapy water, rinse, and dry in the oven at 100°C. 

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  1. I could lick this stuff off the spoon even if I didn't live in a cave. Gorgeous photos!

  2. I fell in love with blackcurrant jelly on my first trip to London many years ago. It isn't easy to find here in Kansas, but I always stock up when I visit the little British shop in a neighboring town. As for foods I've learned to love, my list is short because I've always loved all kinds of food. However, I did have to develop a taste for asparagus, many pungent cheeses, and wine. One I will never enjoy is liver...unless it's in pate!

  3. That jelly is enough to send me running to go blackberry picking - what a beautiful recipe :D


  4. It's interesting how something can be eaten in one form and not another. It happened to me with mushrooms for years, loved the flavor and hated the texture. I would dive right into this jam! Gorgeous!

  5. Haha! I'm so like you with blackcurrants - but with rhubarb? Who would have thought? This looks wonderful, Hester.
    One thing I just can't really enjoy is celery. Don't ask me why. Keep trying it and it still has the same effect when I was a wee girl. Shiver! Oh, and goat cheese: now I can't get by a week without eating the stuff. Ah, the smelly life in France ;-)) Now this jam may just go with chèvre too... hmmmm.

  6. The empty jar says it all- so good that you have to eat it all in one sitting. There are some foods I still cannot tolerate: watermelon and any other kind of melon. My mother always said, "Well, learn to like it!" Therefore, from time to time I will sit down and try to like watermelon again, but with no luck!

  7. That looks and sounds incredible. Can't wait to try!

    Happy Blogging!
    Happy Valley Chow

  8. Nice combination...blackcurrant and rhubarb...unfortunately I do not find fresh blackcurrant...
    I love the pictures...
    Hope you are having a great week :D

  9. I would be hoarding this jelly! I adore blackcurrant jelly and adding rhubarb makes it even more sublime!!

  10. I have always been crazy for black currants, especially their mixture of strong flavours and tanginess. I like also the black currant jam, but would have never thought of mixing it with rhubarb. Very original idea! Unfortunately black currants are here too expensive to make jams (at least for me). It would almost cost as much as a jar of foie gras ;-)

  11. Yummy flavours in this jelly, would love it on some fresh scones!

  12. Whoa! That is a beautiful shot, Hester! I mean like magazine shot of the plate there. Nice! :)

  13. I love your portrait shot and pinned - so pretty! This blackcurrant and rhubarb combination must be so good. I will eat extra bread just to enjoy extra jelly.

  14. I love blackcurrents especially jam and juice. My acquired taste list is nearly identical with the exception of liver I love that.

  15. Mine is lamb. I had a tough time learning to love it and living in Australia amongst lamb lovers - I had to learn to enjoy it. :)

    I've never had black currants and rhubarb together - sounds good!

  16. I LOVE blackcurrants (so difficult to find in the States) and the jelly looks lovely - beautiful photography!
    Mary x

  17. This looks beautiful. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

  18. aww,we heart currant,berries and jam,this recipe is obviously going to be one of our favorites,thanks a lot for this delish spread :-)

  19. Oh you've got me wanting to taste a black current! The jam is just gorgeous! Rhubarb is something I'm afraid to cook with. I have this silly idea that if I don't cook it properly I'm going to poison someone! But I have truly acquired a taste for oysters! Hmmm...maybe I can combine that with black currents somehow! Your photos are beautiful and so always! : )


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