Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Strawberry Rhubarb Rose Jam (Cornersmith)

My son and I are having a common dream for years. Since the day that my son started counting, we wish that we can open our own café.

"Mum, you will bake the cakes in the kitchen and I will collect money from the customers." said my son who confidently claimed that no customers can escape from his sight without paying.

"Then who serves the customers?" I asked.

"Daddy!" This answer came instantly.

Believe it or not, my son and I seems to have this conversation again and again. And even until today, we still don't have our café. LOL! Well although a dream is a dream, I believe that dreams like these are sometimes good to keep us alive. Agree?

You don't have to totally agree with me because I know people who are brave enough to step out of their comfort zone and can sometimes live larger by fulfilling their dream. After reading how Alex and James went through to open and operate the successful Cornersmith café in Marrickville, New South Wales, I wish that I can be as brave as them!

To me, Cornersmith café is not just an ordinary café that sells coffee, sandwiches, breakfast and cakes... then ka ching! Definitely not the kind that my son thinks... LOL! It is is a family-run business who believe in ethical food production and getting involved with their local community. Besides operating a café, Cornersmith do their own pickling too and run a range of home food craft workshops to impart the art of preserving food at home.

Sad to say that I have never been to Cornersmith café before but reading their book has been given a great vision of their honest and friendly café and I have become more inspired to make homemade jams and fruits compote at home.

strawberry rhubarb rose jam cornersmith
Strawberry Rhubarb Rose Jam (Cornersmith café recipe)
This is the newly published book, Cornersmith by Alex Elliott-Howery and James Grant.
The recipes in this book are classified according to seasons and shares many tips and techniques about preserving food.

This strawberry, rhubarb and rose jam is one of the Spring season recipes that I love to try as this is the time of the year when strawberry and rhubarb are in their best quality and also in abundance.

If you are planning to make five jars of 300ml jam, you will need:
1 kg strawberries, hulled and halved
1 kg rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2 cm pieces - Do not use the leaves!!!
1 kg caster sugar
juice and finely grated zest of 3 lemons
rosewater to taste

Basically, the ratio of strawberry to rhubarb to sugar by weight is super easy to remember which is simply 1:1:1! Sweet!

Knowing this, I know that some of you might ask... can we use a reduced amount of sugar to make this jam? The book says NO! ... especially if you are storing the jam in sterilised jars and at room temperature as this amount of sugar is required to act as preservative to prevent the growth of bacteria and mould at room temperature.

For me, I would say that you can reduce a little to 2/3 of its full amount but ONLY if you store your jam in your freezer. Please do not use reduce the amount of sugar added to any lesser than 2/3 of its full amount as any further reduction will affect its setting point.

Here I made 300ml jam using about a fifth of this recipe and this is what I did...

Here are my glowing red rhubarb and strawberries :)
Wash wash wash dry dry dry cut cut cut ... 
Before cooking, I need to weigh the rhubarb and strawberries first so that I can mix them into the right ratio and know how much sugar I need to add.
For every kilogram of strawberries you cook, you need to add 250ml (1 cup) of water.
This cooking will take about 20-30 mins. 
Remove from heat and leave to cool for a minute or two, then do these...
Return to cook in low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved.
strawberry rhubarb rose jam cornersmith
Turn up the heat to boil and boil rapidly until setting point is reached.
At this stage, I think mine has reached its setting point.

What is setting point?
The book says "To successfully 'set' your jam, the right levels of pectin, acid, heat and sugar all have to come together, so understanding the pectin and acid levels in your produce is important.

Testing for setting point?
The book says "... the easiest method is to put several small saucers in the freezer before you start. Once the sugar is in the pan and the jam has been bubbling away for 20 minutes, get one of the suacers out of the freezer and drop a small spoonful onto it. Let it sit for a minute or so, then run your finger through it: if your finger leaves a clear line that stays put, your jam has reached setting point."

The book also says "others signs that your jam is ready include a thick tecture, glossy surface and bubbles that are heavy and slow.... keep in mind that a brightly coloured, fruity-tasting, soft-set jam is a better option than a hard-set, dark over-cooked and lifeless jam."

What's next?
Turn off the heat and leave the jam to cool slightly.
Then stir in about 1/3 tsp of rosewater or more according to your taste.
I would strongly recommend the addition of rosewater as this combination of strawberry, rhubarb and rose is actually very lovely :)

Transfer jam into a clean container. Keep in the fridge and use within one week.

For longer storage, you can either keep the jam in the freezer for up to 3 months. Or if you wish to store the jam in sealed sterilised jars in a cool dark place for up to 12 months, you might wish to read this book in details for proper sterilising technique, bottling and sealing procedures.

As this post is specially written to review this book, I'm sorry that I have agreed to the publisher that I can't publish the recipes in this book in this post. However, if you really wish to make this jam, please read my post in details, you will see that you can actually do it without a written recipe as I have fully illustrated the process very thoroughly to you. *Hint*

To conclude this post, I would like say that this book is a must if you enjoy making your own jam and preserves at home. Besides its recipes, I really enjoy reading its inspiring stories and love admiring its photographs showing spectrum of colourful food in every season and mood. Beautiful! Please stay tune for more in my next blog post if you are interested to see more pictures of this book...

If you can't wait or know that you want the book NOW - LOL!, you may wish to know that it is available now at the retail price of AUD$49.99 in most retail or online book shops. Due to its heavy weight and large size, I'm so sorry that I can't giveaway this book.

Before ending this post, I like to thank Murdoch Books for giving me this opportunity to do this review. I like to make a disclaimer here that I'm not paid to do this and like to share my most honest opinions with everyone who read this review.

Happy Cooking
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This post is linked at Carole's Chatter, Food on Friday: Victorian or Afternoon Tea Party.


  1. Ahhh, I see strawberries, I see homemade jam, reminds me of the breadmaker that is advertising now on Astro.. The breadmaker can be used to make jam too.. Sedapppp..

  2. Strawberries and rhubarb is definitely a great combination! Yummy!

  3. Zoe, I've got some rhubarb at home I'll give it a go.

  4. Thats a lovely dream Zoe...may it come true one day....

    The jam looks absolutely delish...nice combo of strawberry and rhubard

  5. Hi Zoe,
    Yeah we all have dreams. .. and I'm always dreaming ha ha ! But of course dreams will come true if we are determined to make them ^-^
    I've not tried cooking with rhubarb ... but your jar of strawberry and rhubarb rose jam looks very yummy-licious with some bread.

  6. Zoe, this would be a super contribution to Food on Friday: Victorian or Afternoon Tea Party over at Carole's Chatter. Cheers

    1. Hi Carole,

      Thanks for the invite! I have managed to link this post to your event :D