Mary Manion

A Warm Jam of Blueberries and Cherries

Mary Manion
A Warm Jam of Blueberries and Cherries

Last weekend, I received one of the coolest hostess gifts ever.

As a person who is most likely rushing out the door to a dinner gathering – desperately looking for a missing shoe, or wallet while barking instructions to teenagers to be sure to feed the cat (and/or themselves), my standard operating procedure is to grab a bottle of wine from the wine rack as I fly out the door.  Sorry to shatter the illusion that I’m a really pulled-together gal.

It would therefore come as no surprise that I am a bit in awe of a guest who takes the time to arrive at my home for dinner with a perfectly wrapped, thoughtful gift.  Imagine my delight when a dinner guest last week arrived with a copy of Nigel Slater’s latest cookbook – Notes from the Larder – with two Mast Brothers chocolate bars tucked on top, all tied up with an elegant deep purple ribbon.

Jackson and I ate the chocolate bars before I could photograph them.  But I just have to show you this book:

Notes from the Larder

Isn’t it gorgeous?

Please know that all hostess gifts of wine and flowers have always very much appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed over the years at House Morell.  (But wow – right?)

The thing is, this book came as a welcome balm to my harried summer existence… It’s a thoughtful, serene collection of thoughts, ideas, stories, observations and recipes.  This is the first of Nigel’s books I have added to my collection, and I suspect it won’t be the last.  I adore his style.  In the introduction, he notes: “I suppose each book feels like a chat with another cook… It is a simple premise.  I make something to eat, and everyone, including myself, has a good time, so I decide to share the recipe.  To pass on that idea, and with it, hopefully, a good time to others.”

What a lovely thought… and quite honestly, what I’d like to be doing by sharing my favorite recipes on this blog.

I’ve only just begun to explore Notes from the Larder, but a recipe for jam caught my eye almost immediately.  Nigel writes: “I do make traditional long-life summer jams from time to time, but more fun, I think, are the ones for instant consumption…  The advantage of these is that they contain less than half the sugar you need for a preserve that has to keep til winter.”

Nigel makes his jam with gooseberries and strawberries.  He’s London-based you see.  I am not, and don’t happen to have any gooseberries handy.  Nor do I have any idea where I might find some. However, I happened to have a fridge full of too many blueberries and cherries.

Hmm… this might just be the perfect recipe for me today.  I do like four-ingredient recipes.  And things for instant consumption.

After finishing this breathtakingly simple jam, Nigel suggests you should:  “Pour into a bowl and serve with scones (where it will drip down your fingers) or slices cut from sponge cake, or spoon over goat’s milk yogurt, or stir into a mess of whipped cream and crumbled meringue.  Just don’t expect it to set or keep for very long.”  

I’m sure that won’t be a problem at House Morell… I’m thinking it will be particularly lovely on toast.  And vanilla ice cream.  And pancakes…

So very nice to meet you Nigel.  Oh, and Jen – thanks so much for introducing us!  You’re welcome at our house any time.

(Originally Published July 2014)

A Warm Jam of Blueberries and Cherries

A Warm Jam of Blueberries and Cherries

  • 2 lbs blueberries
  • 1 lb cherries, pitted And halved
  • 1 1/4 cup organic sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  1. Place the fruit into a large pot, crush it with a potato masher, then sprinkle the sugar and the lemon juice over the crushed fruit.  
  2. Cook, stirring occasionally for 15 to 20 minutes, spooning off the pink froth as you go.  
  3. The jam should be thick enough to fall slowly from the spoon, like syrup, but not thick enough to set.  
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.