Compote aux fruits rouges
I love myself a good jam, a sweet compote, there's no denying it. Not every day, but once in a while I have this deep craving for warm toast lathered with a good fruity jam, or a plain yogurt that has been enriched with a spoonful of this deep rich compote.
This recipe has - once again - been blatantly inspired by the ultimate domestic goddess, Nigella Lawson. She has this recipe in the Domestic Goddess book for strawberry jam that adds just a tinge of balsamic vinegar, and it is to. Die. For. Trust me. You have to try it. Like now.
So for this you'll need 675 gr of strawberries (we used a mix of strawberries, raspberries and blueberries on this); 700 gr of preserving sugar (again, we used a mix of preserving sugar and jam sugar, though Nigella is quite right: the larger crystals of the preserving sugar make a more jewel like and clearer jam, as this was the second time we did it and the first time we followed the recipe to the dot); 2 tablespoons lemon juice and one tablespoon balsamic vinegar. Now, if you cheat anywhere in this recipe do not cheat on the balsamic. It makes all the difference.
First you start by sticking a saucer in the deep freezer. (you'll soon understand why, just go on and do it.) Then put all those ingredients into a saucepan that is quite wide and stirr with a wooden spoon over a high heat, making sure you coat all the fruit with the sugar and the liquid. Turn the heat down to low, and keep stirring once and again, bringing it to a boil. Let it do so for 5 to 8 minutes (this will depend on the size of your pan, really) and start testing for setting point at about the 4 minute mark, taking the pan off the heat and dropping a scant teaspoon of the mixture into the frozen saucer. Leave this to cool and then poke it with a finger to check the consistency and see if it's ready. You'll know it's ready by the touch of it, keep in mind you do not want a runny jam, but neither do you want strawberry hard candy, right? When you reach the setting point you take it off the heat and let it cool for 20 minutes, after which time you can safely decanter the jam into cleaned, prepared jars and store in the freeze. Next time you're sitting at the kitchen table in the early morning light over a cup of tea and enjoying a piece of toast with this goodness on it, you'll thank me. Yes you will!!