Making jam. There’s something magical about it, and it’s nowhere near as complex as people make out. Sure, you can make it very complicated indeed, but the basics are very, very easy. My wife makes excellent jam. Can’t remember the last time we had to buy marmalade (but I do know my mum keeps buying us the stuff, though I couldn’t say why). The first jam I made from first principles was a sweet chilli jam using a Nigella Lawson recipe. I made this with scotch bonnet, Hungarian red wax and any other seriously hot chilli I could lay my (gloved) hands on. De-seeded, they added superb flavour and (amazingly) didn’t blow your head off when you ate the jam. This also led to one of my more experimental moments in cooking – figs poached in chilli jam.
Slash an X into the top of the fig, place 1 per person into a pan of chilli jam and boil until the figs are cooked through. Serve with a generous dollop of Greek yoghurt on top to mitigate the worst of the heat. I’ve made it a few times since and it’s a bit of a Marmite dish. You either like it or you don’t.
This, though I can’t say much about. Suffice to say that it involves ingredients local to us here on Shetland and there’ll be a fair bit of it about this Christmas. But it is a gorgeous colour.