Bubble bubble, toil and reward

I’ve got a hankering this year I’ve not had for a while. I want to make preserves, bottle some fruit and I especially want to try my hand at Onion Jam. Apparently, according to a greengrocer I was chatting with, the stonefruits are late this year, so I am awaiting bounteous apricots, peaches and plums anytime now, fragrant and gorgeous.

I’ll get out my preserving pan – I can’t believe I actually have one, and I’ll get slicing, weighing and stirring. The warm sweet smells will fill the house and imagine I will be briefly transported back in time.

I have wonderful childhood memories of helping both my grandmothers and my mother in the kitchen at this time of year. Nothing beats a slice of really soft bread with butter and still warm raspberry jam slathered on top! Seeing all the jars of various hues all lined up in the cupboard afterwards is also both satisfying and a joy to behold.

There’s a great selection of jam and preserve books  throughout the libraries, if you lurk about in the 641.852 area of the non-fiction section of any of our libraries, you will find recipes and advice for the classics, such as raspberry jam or orange marmalade, through to the more exotic, such as pink pickled ginger or peach and passionfruit preserve.

Do you have a favourite recipe for jam, preserves, a pickle or sauce, care to share. Maybe a book you find invaluable?

Why I would never have got a job in Victorian England

Times Digital Archive  has recently been updated giving us access up to 2006 instead of the previous end date of 1985. I have to confess the joy of this resource for me does not lie in its more recent editions.  I ended up absorbed in the job vacancy section of Victorian England!

I am not sure I am of “undeniable character”? Certainly the language my mother uses during aftershocks and in heavy traffic would prevent me from saying that I am even from a “respectable  family”.

I am also short on the required skills – needlepoint, French, a dab hand at “preserves and jams”. I am not sure I know about “children management” nor the management of “house and table”. I think I could make it as a “clerk” but  I seem to be missing the appropriate body parts as they all seek “young men” – I don’t think at this point that was open to debate either. The language and belief systems make me want to seek out a Bronte novel and give a collective hug to the feminist movement all at the same time.

Family historians foam at the mouth when they come across this resource, but this is not just for those seeking an elusive death notice, it for anyone with idle hands and a curious mind.

This full text archive of the longest circulating daily newspaper in continuous publication spans from Doctor Livingstone’s reports on the exploration and discovery of Africa up until the fall of the World Trade Towers and the execution of Saddam Hussein. Do explore this resource – it really is a goldmine of all things interesting!