I was contacted by Nanny Violets Jam to try and review their fantastic homemade jams in my cooking and baking. I was excited at the prospect of trying lots of different flavours of jams, chutneys and relishes since you probably wouldn’t find these in your supermarkets.
The 6 flavours that were given to me to sample were Blueberry, Kiwi and Strawberry and Champagne Jam, Orange and Whisky Marmalade, Fig and Basil Chutney and Sweetcorn Relish. Arriving in this fantastically hand decorated box, I was so eager to try the jams out in my baking!
Based in Essex and Gloucestershire, Nanny Violets Jam produces an entire selection of luxury preserves, ranging from jams to chutneys to relishes, originating from family recipes passed down through generations. You can find them on Facebook by clicking here.
As with every review, I do receive the products to review and receive no monetary payment to write these reviews. I have not been told to write falsely positive reviews and everything is my own opinion. I keep products after the review.
I was most excited to try the blueberry jam. I have struggled to find blueberry jam in shops and have wanted to use it my baking for a while and so pleased to finally be able to! I decided to use it to create a feathering effect on top of my Blueberry Cheesecake and to accompany a luxurious breakfast of Cinnamon Pancakes with Banana and Blueberry Jam.
Cinnamon Pancakes with Banana and Blueberry Jam
These are a fantastic breakfast or brunch dish perfect for a little treat. The pancakes are sweet with the familiar flavour of cinnamon and pair well with the ripe banana slices, blueberry jam and syrup. And by pancakes, I don’t mean crepes, I mean the thick American style pancakes!
225g self raising flour
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
3 tbsp sugar
30g margarine, melted plus extra for the pan
2 ripe bananas, sliced on the diagonal
Syrup, to drizzle – I used Sweet Freedom, you can use maple
Nanny Violets Jam’s Blueberry Jam
For the pancakes, whisk together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the centre and beat in the eggs, milk and melted margarine until the pancake mixture has just come together. Allow it to sit for 5 minutes.
Heat a frying pan over a medium heat and melt your additional margarine. Once the fat has melted, spoon 3 tablespoons of the pancake batter into the pan, repeating until you have filled your frying pan.
The pancakes are ready to flip when bubbles appear all over the surface and the pancake frees itself from the pan. The second side needs less time than the first. I like my pancakes a light golden brown on both sides. Drain the excess fat on some kitchen paper and then keep the pancakes warm under foil. Repeat until you have used all the batter.
Place 2 pancakes on the plate and top with banana slices, drizzle over your choice of syrup and the blueberry jam.
Baked Blueberry Cheesecake
I love cheesecakes and baked cheesecakes get a reputation of being difficult to make but my recipe gives you perfect baked cheesecakes with the right amount of wobble each time. Feel free to experiment a bit with the base by changing up the biscuits and adding flavours if you wish but I love the classic digestive base and it has to be thick! Having a thicker base also can help to reduce the risk of the cheesecake filling leaking during baking!
Cream cheese recipes often call for Philadelphia but I find it’s expensive when cheaper supermarket alternatives do the same job! With my cream cheese, I always find there’s a bit too much liquid in the tubs so I drain that off before using.
This recipe is suited for a deep 20cm loose bottomed tin
240g digestive biscuits
100g margarine, melted
450g cream cheese
150g granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 45ml jar of Nanny Violets Jam’s Blueberry Jam
Preheat the oven to 180ºC. Grease and line the base of a deep 20cm loose bottomed tin. I like to have a few strips of parchment running up the sides so that it can help to lift the cheesecake of the base.
For the biscuit base, crush up the digestive biscuits either in a food processor (which takes seconds!) or by placing them in a sandwich bag and bashing them with a rolling pin. They don’t need to be a fine crumb, a few larger pieces is okay. Pour into a bowl and add the melted margarine and stir until it comes together with the texture of damp sand. Pour into the tin and use the base of a spoon to level out the base, making sure there are no gaps. Bake for 15 minutes.
For the cream cheese filling, beat together the cream cheese with the icing sugar until it is even. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. It will look curdled to begin with but keep beating until it is worked in, avoiding incorporating too much air which could balloon in the oven and create a crack! Lastly add the vanilla extract.
Carefully pour the mixture into the cooled biscuit base. Take the jam and spoon it over the top of the cheesecake in a spiral pattern. Then take a cocktail stick and create a swirly effect by running it through the spiral randomly, without overdoing it so that it gets mixed in.
Turn the oven down to 160ºC and bake the cheesecake for 40 to 50 minutes until the cheesecake is browned on top and a circle in the centre of the cheesecake around 2 inches in diameter has a good wobble. Bring the cheesecake out to cool, leaving it in the tin to cool completely.
Lift the base out of the tin, and then slide the cheesecake onto its serving plate. Use a palette knife to lift the parchment base away and then place the cheesecake into the fridge to set for a further hour before serving.
Roasted Vegetable Crostata with Sweetcorn Relish
I decided to use the sweetcorn relish as a tangy accompaniment to my Roasted Vegetable Crostata, which consists of vegetables roasted in olive oil on top of a herbed shortcrust pastry, a mustardy and peppery cream cheese layer, sliced green olives and fresh leaves and feta cheese. This is a fantastic meal ideal for a picnic, an al fresco lunch or just for those times when you don’t want meat!
The crostata has the appearance of being underbaked but it’s from the moisture from the roasted vegetables and the cream cheese seeping into the pastry. You can also do individual portions of this, just divide up the pastry into 4 and roll in the same way. I like to crimp the edges which gives a better appearance.
200g plain flour
1/2 tsp chilli flakes, crushed
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
Cracked black pepper
About 2 – 4 tbsp cold water
1 red pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
1 green pepper, cut into 1 inch squares
1 red onion, cut into 1 inch squares
2 tomatoes, deseeded and cut into 1 inch squares
50ml olive oil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp mixed herbs
100g cream cheese
1 tsp English mustard
Cracked black pepper
A squeeze of lemon juice
100g feta cheese
Handful of leaves, plus extra to serve
Nanny Violets Jam’s Sweetcorn Relish, to serve
Prepare the pastry by rubbing in the margarine into the flour until it resembles a breadcrumb texture. Mix through all of the seasonings and add enough of the cold water to bring it to a ball of dough. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is 5mm thick. Trim the edges so it is a neat square. Transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Place the chopped up vegetables into a tin and toss through the oil, garlic and mixed herbs. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes until the vegetables have softened and the ends have started to catch. Turn the oven down to 180ºC. Drain away any of the liquid in the tray.
Meanwhile make the cream cheese layer by mixing together the cream cheese, mustard, pepper with the lemon juice until incorporated. Slice your olives into rings and cut up the feta cheese into cubes.
Bring out the pastry and crimp the edge between your thumb and forefinger. Spread over the cream cheese over the pastry evenly so that it fills the crimps up. Place over the roasted vegetables and sprinkle over the sliced olives, diced feta and the salad leaves.
Bake the crostata for around 20 to 25 minutes until the cheese has all melted, the top is golden brown and the pastry is cooked through. Serve warm with the Sweetcorn Relish.
I also played around with the Strawberry and Champagne jam which I used in my mum’s birthday cake, the recipe for which you can find by clicking here.
I had the Orange and Whisky marmalade on toast too. I don’t usually enjoy marmalade however the whisky added another dimension and made it thoroughly enjoyable!