The fabulous Sarah of Maison Cupcake announced on the 8th December that she was going to start hosting a blog event to encourage us all to explore Nigella's vast repertoire of recipes. What a fantastic idea! I have (as I'm sure many of you have) many of Nigella's books but don't cook from them nearly often enough. I think my most used one is 'How to be a Domestic Goddess' but this is probably because I've had it the longest. I really must flick through my other Nigella books and mark some of the recipes I want to try - I'm absolutely sure there are loads of them!
The first theme is 'Seasonal Sensations' giving us a wide choice of what to make. As usual I'm posting just before the deadline (last minute lifestyle!) but when I made my entry for the event there couldn't really have been anything more seasonal..... fresh cranberries! They're only around for a short while in the UK, appearing just before Christmas and being gone from the supermarkets just before Christmas. Although I was out and about today and spotted them in a couple of smaller greengrocers near me, so they are still available should you have a yen to make this jam now! The other great thing about cranberries is that they freeze very successfully so you can buy the berries now, and then store them for when you've got more time to make jam.
Googling for the recipe showed me that although not readily available in an official format (hence no link!) many, many bloggers have made this as an edible Christmas gift. Not me, I'm keeping all of mine greedily for myself - I think Nigella would approve!
I've made this recipe before, and the original is from Nigella's 'Feast', naturally in the Christmas section of the book. It must be the easiest jam ever to make - equal quantities of cranberries and sugar with a little water. I decided to add my own twist by grating the zest of an orange in with the cranberries. There is never any problems with a set here because cranberries are high in pectin.
The resulting jam is not too sweet at all - the sharpness of the fresh cranberries comes through quite clearly, and my addition of orange adds just a subtle citrus twist as a background note. It's perfect on hot toast dripping with butter....
Next time I think I might try making it as a more traditional jam - stewing the cranberries in a little more water before adding the sugar and bringing to a rolling boil for the set. I think this might break the cranberries up a little more - this is a chunky jam. Nigella's way is perfect, but I can't resist tinkering! Thanks to Sarah for organising this fabulous event, I can't wait to see what the theme for next month is.