I’ve always found cooking to be therapeutic, but sometimes it’s hard to push myself to cook on a bad day. It’s all such an effort: so much chopping, so much washing, so many ingredients, so many steps, and then I just end up sulking in bed as I think about how my one and only passion is a chore.
Baking is too much because I can’t be bothered to weigh everything. For bread-making, there’s the waiting for it needs to prove and rise and I get impatient. Then I thought about jam-making and how it’s perfect. Minimal effort: you peel, you core, you crush the pears with your hands, put them in a pot with sugar and just let it do its thing. Yes, you have to wait, but unlike bread dough rising, where it’s left in a dark cold place, isolated and covered, you get to stand by the stove and stir the jam. It’s quite hypnotizing, watching the mixture bubble and boil away. And you can stir and stir, smell the aroma and feel the sweet warmth. It’s all so relaxing and wonderful.
They also make great gifts. So here, this is a luxurious and therapeutic pear and saffron jam.
Makes about two cups
Four cups pears
Two cups sugar
Three pinches saffron
Peel and core the pears, and roughly chop.
Place in a heavy bottomed pot with the sugar and the saffron.
Stir and bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low and let it simmer for two to three hours. Stir it every now and then, and skim off the foam on top.
It’s ready when it reaches 105C, or place a teaspoonful of the jam onto a plate and put it in the fridge to let cool. After five minutes, take it out and push it with your finger: if a crinkly skin has formed on the jam, then it has set. It if hasn’t continue to boil for another five minutes, then do another test.
Learn more recipes at: happybelly.org.uk