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, September 25, 2011

Jam and Coconut Slice

If you really want to feel a bit pleased with yourself, I recommend whipping up a slice this weekend.  There is nothing more satisfying than pulling out a tray of loveliness and having your friends smile like you’ve just made their day. 

I think I love slice because it always seems a bit moister than a cake or a biscuit.  And this one is terrific because (as usual) there are no weird ingredients, and you can use any old jam you like.  Apricot jam is nice too, or even lime marmalade or lemon curd if you have some. 


1 cup plain flour
1/4 cup caster sugar
125g butter, melted
1 cup strawberry jam (or replace with your own favourite jam)

2 cups desiccated coconut
1/4 cup caster sugar
2 eggs, whisked


Preheat oven to 180°C and line a 20cm x 20cm pan with non-stick
baking paper.  Place the flour, sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and whisk  
until combined.   Pour into the tin and spread evenly over the base. 

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden on the top.  Set aside to cool for 10
minutes.  Spread the jam evenly across the cooled cake.

Now for the topping, mix together the coconut, sugar and eggs.  Spread
evenly over the jam, roughing up the top so that it gets nice and crispy.  Bake
for 20 minutes, or until golden on top with a few browned pieces of coconut. 

Allow to cool in the tin for 15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to
cool completely.  Slice into squares and eat immediately with a cup of tea. 
This slice will keep well in an air tight container for up to one week. 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Gingerbread Cake

When you feel like a spot of baking, but don’t want to fiddle with crazy ingredients, it often helps to look to the past.  Old-fashioned cook books are often filled with easy recipes like the one below. 

This recipe comes from the Parkes Country Women’s Association Centenary Cook Book from 1983.  The CWA ladies each submitted some of their favourite recipes for inclusion – including such delights as the hasty tasty tea-cake; 10 minute apple pie; and coconut chiffon cake.

I had to cut the edges off two sides as they were a little over-done.  But overall it was a nice and tasty cake for a quick afternoon tea.


100g soft butter
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup honey
2 ½ cups plain flour
1 ½ tsp bicarb soda
½ tsp each of salt and ground cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 cup hot water


Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a small baking tin (approx 20cm x 20cm).

Cream the soft butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and mix well.  Pour in the honey, and then sift in the dry ingredients.  Pour in the hot water and mix again until well combined. 

Using a spatula, pour the mixture into the tin.  Bake for 40 mins or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.