Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Now there is a fabulous textile word that has slipped into language. Tenterhooks, to be on.
That's kind of the way I felt today. Uneasy and anxious. And really for no good reason, except maybe that I am waiting for the quilting to come back, but then there was a thousand other things I could have done in the studio today. 
Instead I ran errands and then came home. I made the urban harvest into jams. Even these aren't all quite right. I remembered why it's a good idea to make feijoa jelly not feijoa jam (the jam is gritty and I've made it before so I should have remembered that little bit  of information)- damn. The fig and ginger hasn't set totally but, really, is that a huge problem...?
But the lilly pilly was a huge revelation. I've never had a chance to try it, although I grew up with Mum talking about lilly pilly jam and jelly. Raw lilly pillies are sort of cellular and crunchy the way an apple is, the books say it is like a granny smith and that is pretty accurate. They have a single seed in the centre about the size of a small pea. If you are going to make jelly you can just chuck them in the pot whole but I decided to make jam with the flesh so that meant cutting them in half and de-seeding. It's rather nice prepping lilly pillies, their colour is just so lovely, mind you once you get them in the pot and on the stove it's a shock when the colour drains out of them. Add the sugar and suddenly the colour seems to reappear. And the taste? Lilly pilly jam is like the love child of raspberry, strawberry and rose-petal jams. Quite amazing. It whispers scones and clotted cream and light-as-air sponge cakes.
I didn't just stay home to make jam, I had a new project I wanted to start. Well I started it but I'm not convinced the first part has succeeded. It took about six hours for a key bit of information to click in my brain- I have never been so slow to formulate solutions as I am at the moment. I am finding it frustrating and annoying. Hence the tenterhooks perhaps.


  1. OMG lilly pilly sounds amazing...

  2. when I was a kid I thought tenterhooks was actually tenderhooks which I found very disturbing but it seemed to reflect the feeling perfectly. Lilly Pilly is also up there with Lapis Lazuli on the list of things I thought were fictional when I was little. not the brightest kid in the class! RB

  3. Hello, Lilly Pilly sounds amazing. I might drop you round some quince paste/ quince aioli (depending on time and wether it works out) if you're in the shop on saturday.

  4. you never cease to amaze pen, the lilly pilly sounds coepletely dreamy, what a magnificent love-child of the best of the berries, i'm too happy that a fruit with a name a delicious as lillypilly makes jams that tastes just as delicious.


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