No pain, no gain


My daughter causes me great pain and suffering on occasions – see!

With only one week left until the wedding (what wedding I hear you cry) last weekend was to be the Great Tidy. This was the opportunity to get the house shipshape and ready to greet the hordes invited to descend upon us the morning after.

But I have a small problem, well 105 small problems to be exact. I am the designated “eat me” maker and I’ve not made anything to eat.

The wedding guests will receive a small token or keepsake to remind them of the best day of B’s life. They will each get an “eat me” and a “drink me” (in keeping with the Alice in the wondrous Yorkshire vintage countryside theme) and I am making the “eat me”.

As the day approaches and the stress levels rise I haven’t bother to mention to B my view that presenting such items labelled “eat me” and “drink me” to the assembled guests may not obvious as wedding favours and run the risk of being considered condiments or amuse bouche for the wedding feast.

The “eat me” will be a small pot of confit de vin. I’ve been practising my recipes and a couple of months ago having produced on red and one white version decided that I’d cracked it. So I made up my first batch on Friday night with 1.5 litres of wine (Semillon Blanc), potted (or jarred it) and went to bed.

On Saturday morning MOB and the jam were not happy. MOB demonstrated the unhappiness by pouring the liquid contents of a jar of what by all rights (and recipe following) should have been a thick set jelly. Then she tasted the runny, gooey concoction and declared that it tasted funny. She also insisted that Aunty Annie from next door, should also try it, and Aunty Annie concluded that it was far too sweet.

So I tried again after a “quick” trip to the local store, as of course I now needed more wine, jam sugar and some extra pectin, just in case. This time I was cautious and only used 750ml of wine (Pinot Grigio this time, in a wine box, if you were wondering). I managed to ensure the entire bottle of wine, sugar and gelling compounds turned into a thick syrup.

By this time, of course, word had spread like wildfire through the local wasp population that I was making jam and there were treats to be had. So my second batch of jam was not entirely wasted, it proved a useful diversionary sugar bath for local insects while I cracked on with a third and potentially final batch.

Just for good measure with this version I added extra pectin to the wine and lemon juice mixture and brought it to a boil. Then followed the most exciting bit – setting the evaporating alcohol alight. A few minutes later and the flames were starting to die down so I added sugar and did some rolling boiling stuff.

In retrospect creating a flambé was obviously the key event missing from previous attempts, because this time the jelly set, the little pots can be inverted and everything stays-put. So I repeated the exercise twice more and created 105 little pots of confit de vin, of which 104 remain.

The last pot? – that was the taster/tester pot which got passed around for everyone to declare a success.

As for the injury – no it’s not a jam-maker’s burn, it’s the remains of a burst blister acquired securing the lids of the little pots.


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