Jam & Chutney Recipe Exchange Nights

A Chutney Recipe Exchange night took place on Wednesday 3 October 2007 at Cafe Kino, with music from Sera, Eirlys Rhiannon & poetry from Yasmine Brien

Celebrate the abundance of the season, and get ready to savour the glutful flavours for months to come. Bring copies of favourite recipes, books to share for the evening, samples for tasting and as much curiosity as you dare...


Jam Recipe Exchange

The first Recipe Exchange night took place at Cafe Kino on Thursday 26 July 2007.

Revel in the joyful fruitfulness of the summer - and get ready to bottle it up for the winter!

Some kind comments about the Jam night:

"Really enjoyed the Jam evening at the Cafe last week - and tasting your blackberry & apple sort-of-sauce." - JB

"Thanks again for the jam evening! I loved everything, especially the sublime music from the Dearlings and you, especially 'Red Riding Hood'. I'm looking forward to the chutney evening." - EJ

"I am frankly delighted and honored! Thank you for including my song in your website and for the link as well. Keep on making that jam!" - Michelle Shocked


Why the Recipe Exchange Nights began...

One friend says her jam won't set, another says she's made glue. Everyone has a "my mum made..." or "my gran made..." story. But here in the noughties gender roles are rightfully blurred and most of the the best fruit-preservers I know are blokes. So I ask them for their recipes to supplement my family heirlooms, and discover: this is fun. Let's get together to exchange recipes and tips, put make an evening of it... put on some music... It sounds simple.

That's because it IS simple. It's simply DIY, simply learning, simply having a laugh, simply enjoyable and simply delicious.

As fruit and vegetables are flown in from around the world, heating up the globe and confusing our seasonal senses, there is something deliciously revolutionary - and yet comfortingly domestic - about preserving. The tedious ritual of scrubbing labels off jars is rewarded by how snug the jars look on the shelf in autumn. It's like throwing out an anchor to the tides of the earth. So what if summer is short, washed out or too hot? (Ok, so it was definitely the former this year.) Open the jar of plums or blackberries in February and inhale the scent - proud nostalgia washes in: that was my summer. Roll on spring.

So pull those jam jars out of the recycling and set off foraging for wild ingredients. You have nothing to lose but your storage space.

Eirlys Rhiannon, Summer 2007

Strawberry Jam - the song by Michelle Shocked

Introduction: Ms Shocked wrote this song as a metaphor (I think) for the musical kind of jam. I wrote another verse for it which related to Easton - where I live in Bristol, UK - and was even more literally about the fruit kind of jam. Also, Michelle had some US-centred words which were lost on me, so I replaced them with references to Tesco.

People started to request "the allotment jam song" as an encore at gigs, and when Rowan and I had a CD launch gig, although this song wasn't on the CD, we made a little feature of it - one reviewer was particularly taken: "They finished their first set with this number and then gave out home-made jam and cakes to the audience. I'm hoping this will start a trend among among other bands."

Now, I could get a bit miffed that we're remembered more for Michelle's song than for any of our own material, but you might say... well, you might say... that I'd brought it on myself. Suffice it to say, it's a damn fine song and a good singalong, too.

Lyrics in blue are those which I re-wrote. For more info on the lady herself, go to www.michelleshocked.com

Strawberry Jam
by Michelle Shocked

Saturday mornin' found me itchin
to get on over to my grandma's kitchen
where those sweetest little berries were cookin' up right
Gonna put 'em in a canning jar, and seal 'em up tight:
We'll be makin jam, Strawberry Jam
If you want the best jam in the land
you've got to make your own.

Now we've got Sainsbury's and Tesco, and Robinsons too
But there's a nasty aftertaste, and it makes me blue

A little local motion is all that we need
to close down that goddamn corporate jam factory.
We'll be makin jam...

Down at Gordon Road those plums need pickin'
All along Chelsea those old pans are sticking
Down the cycle path folks have got out their bags:
it's a big juice spree for those blackberries
We'll be makin jam...

There's a little revolution sweepin the land
Once more everybody's makin homemade jam
You call up your friends on the telephone
You invite 'em all over: make some jam of your own
You'll be makin jam...

Copyright words and music: Michelle Shocked www.michelleshocked.com