What is Operation Jam Jar?

Operation Jam Jar is all about getting back to basics in the kitchen.

Check out my efforts at cooking from scratch - cakes, soups, biscuits

Learn how to make things that you would normally buy at the supermarket - wraps, ice cream, pizza bases

Try to live a more 'country' lifestyle in the city - making your own jams or relish

Get the skills to enjoy cooking in a thrifty way, and have a bit of fun while you do it

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Inside Scoop

When I was in England a few weeks ago I managed to pick up a few old second hand cook books. When I looked at the recipes, at first they seemed so old fashioned.  The types of things they suggested making seemed so basic that at first it made me wonder why they would be in there.  A recipe for custard, a recipe for mayonnaise. Meringues.  Puff pastry.  Gravy.  Crumpets.  Ice cream.  Marmalade.  Why would you bother, I wondered at first, when you can get all of these quickly and cheaply at the supermarket?

And then it all clicked.  Why can’t I make these myself? How did I get to the age of 30 without knowing that the only ingredients in mayonnaise were egg, oil and lemon juice?  Look on the back of a store bought mayo jar and you will see much more than 3 ingredients, most of which are unrecognizable as ‘real food’. 

Cooking from scratch – I mean really cooking from scratch – is something that just isn’t part of our lives anymore.  When did it all change?

A lot of people say that they don’t have time, they are too busy to cook – let alone cook from scratch. I actually see cooking as a good use of my time as I enjoy it & find it relaxing - but that’s just me.  I guess the truth is, if you aren’t the sort of person that enjoys whipping egg whites into stiff peaks then of course you aren’t going to want to make your own ice-cream when you can just buy it from the supermarket.

It got me thinking though, is it any wonder our great grandparents weren’t struggling with their weight, cholesterol or blood pressure?  They ate very little processed foods; and the foods that were made from scratch were made with love & effort, to be savoured and enjoyed on occasion - not scoffed on the way out the door or standing over the sink (or is it just me that does that?). 

I know I’m ranting quite a bit here today, but I think it’s a really important point to make.  Things that are made from scratch taste better, and are better for you.  Simple. 

Here is a little recipe for you to try out – home made strawberry ice cream. I always thought you needed some sort of special machine to make your own ice cream.  Turns out a whisk will do just fine.  What shocked me the most was how un-pink it is compared to store bought versions. My husband said it was the best ice cream he’d ever had.  Was he saying that just so I would keep making it? Probably.  Oh well, I don’t care, it’s delicious.  Enjoy!

Strawberry Ice Cream
115g ripe strawberries
2 eggs
85g caster sugar
300ml double cream

1.    Blend the strawberries with some of the sugar until smooth
2.    Separate the eggs and beat the egg whites until stiff
3.    Gradually add the sugar to the egg whites and keep beating until you get a glossy meringue
4.    In another bowl, whip the cream until it’s thick but not stiff
5.    Add the egg yolks to your strawberry puree and mix with a fork
6.    Fold the whipped cream into the meringue, then fold in the strawberry puree
7.    Pour everything into a plastic freezer proof container and freeze for 6 hrs.  It’s best to use a wider container rather than a deep one.
8.    Remove the ice cream to thaw for 10 mins before serving

Be sure to be quite specific with the ingredients & measurements so that you get the right consistency.  Next time I am going to try mango…mmmm  


  1. I made the ice cream for friends who came over for dinner the other night. Lil, I tell you it was delicious! Thanks.

  2. Awesome Geoff! We love it too, finished the rest of it off last night on the couch......

  3. Hi Lee,
    I completely agree! I always, and I mean ALWAYS read ALL the labels while at the supermarket - that's why if I'm looking for some new things the trip takes me a while. I now make my own mayo - yes 3 ingredients, churn my own butter from organic cream and have recently started making ice cream. Will give yours a go! Thanks for sharing!