Day one: gifts ideas we love

I thought about writing one post with all my non-gift gift ideas, but I think instead I’m going to spread them out and include one on each post leading up to Christmas.

First up: home made Jams

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I’m a huge fan of jams, if you haven’t yet ventured into jam making before it might take you one or two goes to nail it but I’ve always found it’s good to have the ‘test’ jams as it gives me an excuse to keep them as a little gift to myself 🙂

Last year I made a tomato and chilli jam which I gave to my Dad, I got great feedback on this as it tasted so good.

When preserved properly jams  are able to be kept for around 6 monthes which really gave him time to enjoy it and not have to rush through trying and finish it before it goes bad.

The best part of this though was that it was a very cost effective gift. I purchased my jars from a local op-shop and they were going for something like 50c a jar (it’s best of you can get the jars that have the little pop up seal on the lid so then you know when it’s airtight. An even better way of accumulating jars is to save your old ones to use (unfortunately we were not so forward thinking at the time).

The best way to tell if your jam is of the right consistancy is to place a plate in the freezer before you start cooking the jam and periodically put a slither of jam on this leave it for 30 seconds or so and then give it a little poke. If it’s still runny then you know it isn’t quite ready, when it’s sort of sticky (normal jam consistancy) then congratulations it’s time to start canning! This may take a bit of time so have a patient mindset going into this.

Also if your going to be making jams try and get your hands on some Jamsetta, you can normally find this in the  supermarket around where the gelatine is kept. It helps make the process a lot faster and easier for us ammeter jam makers 😉

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When sterilizing your cans place them in a pot of water and bring it to the boil, periodically check to see if the lids have popped in. Once they have it’s time to put them in the fridge and allow the jam to set overnight before labelling. Then all that’s left is to kick your feet up and wait for Christmas day to arrive 🙂

I hope this has given some inspiration.

If you want some extra tips taste.com has a nice little list.

Also Google as always has many ideas and recipes for jam recipes.

If you’ve got a good jam recipe or story we’d love to hear it!

Little Pop xx

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TGIF

Well Friday has come around again and since we’ve now been doing BNN for a little over a week I thought I would reflect on the progress we have made during the week.

On Sunday we went down to the farmers market and bought a nice sourdough loaf and then sat back and enjoyed a coffee and a Sri Lankan cooking demonstration as well as a nice bag o’ bones for puppy pop. We really love this market and would recommend it to anyone living in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne. http://www.mulgravefarmersmarket.com.au/

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Monday we went into Collingwood and had a nice browse of the various op-shops where Little Pop purchased some funky sunglasses. We also stumbled upon a lovely shop run by the NGO Friends of the Earth where you can buy local produce package free (so environmentally friendly!). what you do is come along with a few old tupperware containers fill them up with whatever you’re in need of (chickpeas, pasta, muesli… maybe some kidney beans?) then you pay and take it home, just like a regular supermarket! http://www.melbourne.foe.org.au/?q=co_op/home

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Tuesday we made a lovely mandarin jam which tastes great with a nice cheese or even just some plain toast 🙂

Here is the recipe we followed: http://www.recipelover.com/recipe/1724/mandarin-jam-marmalade-mirowave-recipe-recipe

Wednesday we received a lovely box of fruit and vegetables from CERES, a company dedicated to providing fresh, organic, fair trade, locally grown produce. It was so exciting, we had been anticipating what may be in the box since we ordered it on Sunday. I think one of the best bits is the mystery of not knowing what you will end up with. For just over $30 we got a whole box stacked full of yummy treats 🙂 http://www.ceresfairfood.org.au/

Photo: On the weekend Mum and I decided to purchase our weekly shopping online through CERES - An organisation committed to giving Melbournians access to organic, fair trade, locally grown produce + home delivery! Today our huge box arrived packed with goodies (all for just over $30) here is a small snapshot of what we received.

Thursday Big Pop did a big clean out of the corner of here bedroom, which has been blocking access to part of her wardrobe for months now (maybe years!) and ended up filling a bag with about 20kg of no longer needed clothing and she was so happy!

Now we have Friday, who knows what today will bring! Mothers Day is coming up this weekend what have you got planned?

I think we have been adjusting really well so far to our commitment to buy local and not be controlled by matierial items and being able to write this list has allowed me to visualise how hard we have been working. Something that did come up during the week which never really got settled was if BNN includes digital items such as apps and ebooks, what do you think?

Little Pop xx