Earlier this week I found Three Beautiful Things, a blog with a glorious economy of words written by Clare Grant, who believes that the most beautiful things are often the smallest things.
In the same spirit, I offer two beautiful things this morning, not too bad considering it’s barely 1pm and I’ve not yet ventured from the house.
1) Toasted crumpets, with the Hampstead Heath blackberry jam I made some weeks ago, for breakfast. To make the jam you’ll need a pound of white sugar for a pound of fruit. Put it all into a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the juice of a lemon or two (important this, the lemon will help it set) and bring to a rolling boil, skimming off the resultant scum periodically.
Larousse, the grandfather of Western cookery, says jam will set and is ready to bottle when the temperature reaches 104 degrees centigrade. I am amazed that it is such a precise number – how many jars of jam did he make before he reached that figure? If you don’t have a thermometer – I don’t – put a little jam on a cold saucer and see if it sets. It’s a bit of a gamble this way but much more fun. For watery fruits like cherries and blackberries, it may help to cook and reduce them a little before adding the sugar; you can always add more water if you need to. Sterilise jars by washing them and drying them in a hot oven. Here’s a picture of the dregs that weren’t enough to fill a jar:
2) Sheets hanging on the line to dry. Several things here, in fact: the sun shining on the linen itself; the faint, pleasing scent of washing in the garden; the singular pleasure of easing into a bed made with linen smelling of wind and sun.