Is it a Jam or a Marmalade?

“Urgh!!!, Mom, whats with this jam? It just wouldn’t spread! ”, cried out my younger one from the dining table. “And where is the fruit in it?”, added my elder daughter. Both of them were at the dining table buttering their toast and trying in vain to spread the store bought jam over the toast. Now one has got to agree that toast with butter tastes mighty good. But toast with butter and jam is quite scrumptious! And my daughters were used to having home made jams and marmalades made by their granny. My mom-in-law would make really good jams and marmalades with seasonal fruits available like strawberry, orange, mangos, pineapples etc.

Jams and marmalades were introduced to India by British. In Maharashtrian cuisine, we have our own variants called Muramba (मुरंबा) made by boiling sugar syrups to hard ball (पक्का पाक) stage and then adding the fruit to it. There is a very fine line of difference between a jam and a marmalade. According to the dictionary meaning jam is a preserve of whole, cut or slightly crushed fruit, boiled with sugar. And marmalade is a preserve made by boiling the pulp and rind of citrus fruits, especially oranges or lemon, with sugar. So the difference happens to be the type of fruit and the use of rind. Hence, it would be safe to say that marmalade uses the fruits that have very fragrant rind or zest like the citrus fruits. However, in jams also we use the juice of lemon to counterbalance the sweetness of the fruit used. Continue reading “Is it a Jam or a Marmalade?”

Strawberries Romanoff

Nothing inspires me more than an early morning stroll into the kitchen garden with a cup of tea in hand. I am eager and excited to see what God’s gift is waiting for me there! So last weekend when I sauntered into the garden, I saw this marvellous treat waiting for me there! The strawberry patch had these vibrant red beauties screaming to be plucked! My first reaction was to pluck out a juicy red one and plop it into my mouth. As I was savouring it, at least a dozen ideas flooded my mind as to what I could do with the handful of strawberries that were ripe. I had to remind myself that I was at my farmhouse away from the city where I had only a limited number of ingredients and no fancy kitchen equipment. And that is when this idea of making this old classic called Strawberry Romanoff dawned on me! Continue reading “Strawberries Romanoff”

Sweet syrups used in Baking

Every year in the season of strawberries, we make our annual trip to Mahabaleshwar, a hill station in the proximity of Pune. For me, apart from the strawberries and mulberries that grow there, honey sold in Mahabaleshwar is also a big attraction. Honey bee farming happens in the jungles of Western Ghats and Mahabaleshwar is a seat for Directorate of bee-keeping. So when I walked into the Government shop selling honey, I realised that they had a variety of honey based on the type of trees on which the bee-keeping happens.  My interest in honey stems from the fact that it is probably the oldest sweetener used in cooking and baking long before sugar was invented. This blog is not just about honey, it is also about all the sweeteners in syrup form.  Continue reading “Sweet syrups used in Baking”

For that sweet tooth – Sugars !!!

In one of my previous blog, we had discussed about different types of wheat flours and how to choose the correct one for your dish. This blog is all about different types of sugar used in baking.  We cannot imagine our lives without sugar.  Statistically, I do not know how the world is divided between people who have a sweet tooth and people who don’t. But going by the statistics in my family, I can safely say that the haves exceed the have nots by a whopping margin 🙂

Sugar is often associated with craving. Sweet is one of the important tastes amongst the five different tastes that our tongue can identify. Long before, honey was used as the natural sweetener before the discovery of sugar. It is said that, Indians can take the credit of discovering how to crystallise sugar during the reign of Gupta dynasty way back in 352 BC. Pastry industry was revolutionised once the sugar entered European markets. So why is sugar important in baking? What are the different types that can be used in baking? How do we decide which sugar to use in a particular recipe? Well these are some of the questions I will address in this blog.

Continue reading “For that sweet tooth – Sugars !!!”