~ A Provence Summer Preserve ~
French Set Apricot and Lavender Jam (Confiture)
Heady perfumed lavender fields, rolling hills of thyme and oregano, hot sun, dusty paths, aching backs and grape stained fingers, hawks sitting on hay bales, the distant throb of a tractor, diesel, warm hands and faces, rich pate, crusty bread, herb scented rillettes, metallic red wine and crisp rose wine, straw baskets, fields of happy sunflowers, gayly coloured fabric table cloths, wooden handled knives, old chipped glasses, straw, floppy cotton hats, red noses, sweet peaches, furry apricots, ripe golden melons, juicy red watermelons, black dusky olives, bitter green olives, salty anchovies, charred sardines, salted butter, crisp flaky pastries, white acidic goat’s cheese, hard mature sheep’s cheese, glossy tapenade, a tian of purple aubergines, stuffed courgettes, ripe, juicy tomatoes, pungent basil leaves, grass-green olive oil, cotton hammocks, old metal chairs, rickety wooden tables, faded oil cloth, red hot sun, wild shrub, tired looking sheep and frisky goats, gnarled olive trees, dusky pink tamarisk, pastis, the clink of boule on boule, fish soup and rouille, bouillabaisse, a tired church clock chimes lazily, couronne bread and apricot jam……………..
I bought a crate of apricots the other day, in the local covered market, €5 for 6 kilos…….their fuzzy loveliness shone out from the box and although we love fresh apricots, I put 5 kilos to one side for jam making, as well as poached fruit and tarts…..and other delectable culinary things. MY lavender in France is in full bloom now and I love using it in baking and cooking, as well as preserves……this idea of popping a spring of lavender on top of freshly made apricot lavender hails from the South of France……it adds a subtle flavour whilst discouraging mould……and a pot of this jam, (or should I say confiture) on your table at breakfast or tea time will bring a sunny smile to all, especially in the midst of winter.
This is an easy jam to make, and it what I call a French set….not that hard stiff jelly that is often beloved in the British kitchen, but an unctuous soft fruity set, where the apricots almost bust out of the jar……the colour is glorious and it’s like a spoon of sunshine…..try this jam dolloped on fresh yoghurt, or spread on croissants, brioche or fresh toast…..how about making little jam tarts with this, or another idea is spread this in or on a freshly made sponge cake…..
As the sun is still shining, I must make hay whilst the sun shines – read harvest herbs and weed the garden, so, I will leave you with my pots of golden apricot goodness for now…..I have shared the recipe below and DO let me know if you make this and are brave enough to add the lavender……see you later with more delectable treats, a new giveaway and more culinary notes from my kitchen……Karen