Baus Family Vineyard Zinfandel

Baus family vineyardVineyard: Baus Family Vineyard

Region: California

District: Sonoma county

Country: USA

Vintage: 2011

Producer: Baus Family Vineyard. Vinted and bottled by Great Domaines & Estates, Healsburg, CA

Grape: Zinfandel, private reserve


Price: $14.99 -$24.99


Divine! Beautiful like a perfectly ripe cherry. Under the veil of deep claret, vibrant red plum is hiding just below the surface.


Just as the appearance suggested the nose is deep and rich. Lush cherry and currants spring into you nose and tease the senses. Underneath are subtle hints of stewed berries and sweet tobacco.


A mouthful of delicious plum and berry jam gives way to very bright fresh cherries, black currants and blackberries. Your palate is treated to layers of the same fruit prepared in different ways, ranging from cooked down to straight from the bush. This wine fills every corner of your mouth and when the initial fruit washes away toasted tannins are left dancing on your cheeks. This little minx isn’t done with you yet, this has a loooong finish that ends with the tartness of freshly picked blackberries.


Wow, I was so busy falling head over heels, that I forgot about eating anything.

Florrie‘s footnote;

Amazing wine, perfect for washing away the day.

A Tale of Two Jams

Before I knew it the chilly mornings greated me when I woke and summer was speeding to a close. The gorgeous bounty of summer fruits would soon be disappearing so I’d have to act quickly.

This is a tale of two jams, and you’ll see why. Both in my opinion are delicious, however one decided it would rather be less structured.


Roasted Plum and Raspberry

I know can guess where I went wrong with this; It could have been roasting the plums to easily remove the skins. Doing this ruined the natural pectin in the plums. Or, over boiling after adding the rapberries, or using liquid pectin. Or stirring after adding the pectin. Or was it panicking that the jam was too runny and frantically adding more plum pieces?  Probably all of the above. On the bright side a very tasty thick juciy flavoursome sauce was made, it did firm up in the fridge.  I’ll be using this as a sauce for steamed sponge plum pudding and drizzling it over waffles.


9 pluots

1 1/2 pounds + 1tsp sugar

12oz raspberries

1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, half the pluots and place skin side down in an ovenproof dish.  Bake until they are soft and the juices begin to ooze.

I went through this rather elaborate roasting to remove the skins, So carefully pull off the skins and pop the plutos into a sauce pan. To that add the raspberries, sugar, juice of a lemon and then throw in the lemon too.

At this point, stir until the sugar is dissolved and bring to a rapid furious boil. As its boiling I add in the liquid pectin. I’ve never used liquid pectin before and put the entire sachet it, I’m not sure if this was correct or not, but that’s what I did. I then stirred some more. Jam making mistake! Don’t stir after the sugar has dissovled and the boil is rolling.

Not wanting to be wasteful I poured it into jars and processed them.

The other jam tale

Black and blue lime jam

12oz Blackberries

12oz Blueberries

1 pound of Sugar

3 teaspoons of pectin

3 limes

A day of reflection can work wonders.

The jars are steralised and still warm in the dishwaser. The little bowls to test the jam in are chilling in my freezer. The fruit is glistening from just being washed, and the sugar and pectin precisely measured.


I very roughly chopped the blackberries after I put them in the pan, what can I say? I sometimes get carried away and miss a step.


Into that, I added the juice of 3 limes, the pectin (powdered this time) and the sugar. Turned the heat on to medium and stirred until the sugar had dissolved.


Allow the frantic bubbling to go on for five minutes and then take a dish from the freezer and spoon a little of the syrup into it. Run your finger through it and if the syrup stays parted its time to get the jars. If not, I like to repeat the test every minute or two.

Hot jars, hot sugar syrup, be careful. Ladle the jam into the jars almost to the top. Seal them. My jar of choice is Weck, I’m completely and utterly obsessed with this brand. The clean lines, the rubber seal, the glass lids and little clips.


Anyway, when the jam is jarred, submerge it in a water bath, the water should be about 1 inch over the jars. Bring to a boil and boil for five minutes, remove the jars from the water and leave to stand for ten more minutes.



Knit. Eat. Repeat. f


I have been wanting to try out my new canning pot since I bought it last weekend, and with the great deals on strawberries and rhubarb in season this weekend was the perfect opportunity.

Just look at those gorgeous berries!

Don’t even get me started on the beautiful ruby-red rhubarb.

I started out by washing, hulling and slicing the berries. I bought 4 flats and it took a while but it was worth it. I used about 2/3rd for the jam and put a little sugar on the rest and popped it into the fridge for later.

That made a LOT of berries. That’s my big green bowl, filled past the brim!

Next I washed and chopped the rhubarb. It’s a pretty fibrous veg so I wanted to make sure that it was cut up well. Look at that beautiful interior.

The rhubarb is much tougher than the berries so I popped it into the pot first, with a cup of sugar to cook down a bit.

Meanwhile I put the empty jars in the canning pot and let them heat up.

Mix in the berries and give it a good stir. Bring to a boil and add in your sugar.

Add in your package of pectin (helps you achieve a nice jelly like consistency)

Juice a whole lemon into the pot and mix everything well.

Add in a little pat of butter to reduce the amount of foam. Trust me, it’s a needed step!

Boil it again until it is done, usually about 13 minutes at a rolling boil.

Use a spoon to skim off as much of the foam as you can, its ok if you can’t get it all, but if you want a nice clear jam its a necessary step.

It’s actually quite tasty, the foam.

Carefully take the sterilized jars out of the hot water and fill it nearly to the top with hot jam. Wipe of any jam that gets on the lip of the jar. Place a new lid on the jar and screw on the neck rings. Carefully put the jars back into the canning pot with some tongs.

Cover the pot, crank up the heat and when it comes to a rapid boil let her go for about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the jars sit for a few minutes more.

Carefully remove the jars and let them sit on a rack or some towels overnight. You’ll hear a little chorus of clicks as the jars cool and the lids seal themselves. The next day label your jars with the contents and date canned. Any that have tight seals will keep in your pantry until needed, any with compromised seals can just be put in the fridge and eaten within a week or two.

Beautiful AND delicious! It requires a bit of time, but not a lot of effort. Next up is raspberry, peach and something spiked with real vanilla bean. I’m thinking golden raspberries. Later this summer I am trying pickles again! Take advantage of all the great seasonal produce out there. Its so totally worth it.