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, December 19, 2010

Christmas Cake Ice Cream

So confession time - I really don’t like fruit cake, or Christmas cake, or Christmas pudding or whatever else you like to call it.  So when my friend told me she was making Christmas Cake Ice Cream I was pretty sure that I was not going to be a fan.  Boy was I wrong! 

You know how people say something ‘tastes like Christmas’? This actually does!  OK, maybe it’s only me that says that things taste like Christmas (mulled wine, gingerbread biscuits, anything involving honey and cinnamon).  This is a great option to serve up around this time of year since it cools you down and gets you a little tipsy – brilliant!

As with most recipes like this it is really up to you what you add in or take out.  So long as the consistency still feels right – go for it.  Another cute idea my mum told me about would be to leave out the fruit and booze altogether and make a kid’s version with Smarties, snakes and thinly sliced Mars Bar.   In her words ‘you would have turned yourself inside out to have some of that when you were little’.  It’s true, I was nuts about sweets.

So you want to make this the day before you serve it so that there is plenty of time for it to re-freeze.  Take it out of the freezer about 15 mins before you want to serve it so that it has time to thaw a little, making it easier to scoop out of the container. 

As with anything, buy the best ingredients you can afford.  Cheap chocolate still tastes like cheap chocolate when frozen


2L vanilla ice cream
200g sultanas
125g pitted prunes
125g glace cherries                                   
60g mixed peel
125 mls rum                                   
160g almonds
100g block of dark chocolate, broken up into small pieces                 
300ml cream

Leave the ice cream out on the bench to get really soft while you prepare the other ingredients.

Try to cut up the chocolate and fruits so they are all roughly the same size

Place all of the fruits into a saucepan on medium heat, and add rum. 

Heat gently for a few minutes so that the fruit begins to soak up the alcohol

Set aside to cool down a bit

Stir the cream into the ice cream, then add everything else and place into a plastic container (you could even use the ice cream container if it will all fit).

Freeze overnight. 

This ice cream is delicious on its own, or served alongside your favourite Christmas dessert such as cheesecake, mince pies or brownies.

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Simple Pancake Recipe

As a kid I spent most Saturday mornings making pancakes for breakfast.  It was one of the first things that I was able to cook for myself.   It might seem strange to post about such a simple recipe that most people probably already know.  But I just love food with just a couple of ingredients as you don't feel overwhelmed when you think about making it.  

Whip these up for breakfast next weekend, it's guaranteed to be a hit!

1 cup self raising flour
1 cup milk
1 egg

Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer or whisk in a big bowl.

Heat up a small frypan to med-high heat.  

Grease the pan with butter or olive oil spray and pour on the mixture so that it takes up most of the bottom of the pan.  

Once the bubbles begin to pop on the top of the pancake, flip it over to brown the other side.  

Serve any way you like:
- fresh lemon and sugar
- honey
- butter and jam
- bacon and maple syrup
- strawberries and cream

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Delicious Home Made Rum Balls

Whenever I taste rum balls I wonder why they are usually relegated to Christmas only.  We should be eating these all the time!  I don’t actually like rum as a drink, but the small amount that you use in these really adds a lovely sweetness to the flavour. 

These are super easy to make and involve no baking which is always a bonus.  They are lovely as a present wrapped in a little bag with a ribbon and card (thanks Tess for the inspiration from last Christmas!). 

I plan to make them to serve on Christmas afternoon – just when you think you can’t fit anything else in there is always room for a little treat!

1 pack (250g) Nice biscuits
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup desiccated coconut
1 can (395g) sweetened condensed milk
1 teaspoon vanilla essence (or ½ tsp of the real stuff)
1 ½ tablespoons rum (I used Bundaberg)
2/3 cup sultanas

¾ cup desiccated coconut, for coating

Slightly squash the Nice biscuits in their packet with a rolling pin, then pour them into a food processor with the cocoa and whiz until finely crumbed.  If you’re like me and only have a small food processor you may need to do this in batches.

Pour the fine crumbs into a large mixing bowl.  Add all of the other ingredients (except the extra coconut) and mix well with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Place in the fridge for 30 mins to harden up a little – this will make it easier to roll later.

Pour the extra coconut into a large baking dish and spread out over the base

Wet your hands and pinch a little of the mixture, and roll into a ball, adding it to the coconut and rolling to coat. Keep rolling and you should end up with about 30 rum balls depending on the size you choose to use.

Place into a single layer in a Tupperware container and chill in the fridge overnight to harden and intensify in flavour.