Even the title of this book fills you with a warm feeling of comfort. Good Old-Fashioned Jams, Preserves and Chutneys is an old-fashioned and charming cookbook with text in sepia tones and photography by Tara Fisher. Clearly-written recipes and a bit of history with many of them is a nice touch in a National Trust book.
Sara Paston-Williams is a celebrated author and broadcaster. Her books include Good Old-Fashioned Puddings. She has a wealth of experience of traditional recipes which are now finding an appreciative audience among a new generation of cooks who want to make the best of fruit and vegetables when in season.
Apart from the aforementioned Jams and Chutneys there are plenty of interesting and classy preserves. The Pickles chapter offers modern-sounding recipes that include Pickled Chillies, Spiced Blackberries, and Spiced Orange Slices. All of these are simple to make and would be lovely Christmas gifts.
If you have a taste for the more exotic then there are Preserved Lemons which will look stunning in large glass jars. They are expensive to buy in the deli but you can make them yourself with a few spices and some coarse sea salt. They are delicious and add a truly authentic touch to many Moroccan Tagines.
Perhaps the most quintessentially English recipe has got to be that of Trelissick Lemon Curd. Trelissick is a National Trust property near Falmouth in Cornwall, where this curd is a filling for homemade lemon sponge. What could be nicer for breakfast, though, than some thick-cut toast and Lemon Curd or Blackberry Curd, or the tangy Strawberry and Orange Curd?
Mincemeat is another uniquely British confection and it’s true that Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without it. There is a Traditional recipe here but also some variations that are well worth trying. Cherry and Walnut Mincemeat encased in philo pastry would add a more continental flavour, and Pear and Fig Mincemeat is flexible as you can substitute dates for figs and use rum, whisky, sherry or cider instead of brandy.
Good Old-Fashioned Jams, Preserves and Chutneys is a book of solid, well-written recipes that will encourage you to fill your larder with the best that each season has to offer. The jars will look amazing and the contents will persuade you that home-made is best.
Good Old-Fashioned Jams, Preserves and Chutneys
Author: Sara Paston-Williams
Published by: Anova – National Trust
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018