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May Newsletter


This month’s newsletter is late because I just returned from a week in Melbourne, Australia.  I made the journey down under to be the ring bearer at a friend’s wedding.   Before the wedding, my friend and his now husband took me to a town called Sassafras in the Dandenong Range, where we popped into Miss Marple’s Tea Room for some scrumptious scones slathered in raspberry jam and piled high with whipped cream.  It made me very excited for the raspberry jams I’ll be making in a month or two.

I also had some excellent gelato at Pipapidó-(the ricotta with fig jam was a winner) and ate the best almond croissant I’ve ever had at Lune. 


I finally harvested enough rhubarb to whip up another batch of rhubarb & strawberry jam with star anise.  People seem to love it, so I’ll try to keep it in stock this Spring.

A few months back, I watched a tv show from England that showed how they “force” rhubarb by growing them in spaces with no light brighter than candlelight or by covering the rhubarb with a clay pot.  I don’t have a proper clay rhubarb forcer, but I have five gallon buckets so I popped one over a plant. The stalks grew twice as fast and tall.  Now I just have to find a potter who’s willing to make me some rhubarb forcers.  Know anyone?

I also wanted you to be the first to know that I just made my final batch of Strawberry Lavender Jam of the year so stock up.   


Saturday, May 11th -the day before Mother’s Day, so come on down and pick up a gift)

Eat Real Fest + Head West Marketplace

4th Street in Berkeley 11-5


Blueberry Jam with Vanilla Bean

Ingredients: blueberries, sugar, lemon juice, vanilla beans


-Spicy Apple Jelly 

-Strawberry Guava Jam

-Apricot Lavender 


Blueberry Jam & Lemon Curd Parfaits

An easy summer dessert.  You can make the components, or just buy everything in a local grocery store.  If you have the time, my favorite recipes for the curd and whipped cream are below.


1 jar or batch of lemon curd (recipe below)

1 jar of blueberry jam

1 batch of whipped cream ( recipe below or a jar of Reddi Whip)

Your favorite Amaretti Cookies

Fresh blueberries

4 empty jam jars (I’ve also used white wine glasses, martini glasses and whisky glasses for parfaits)


  1. Put down a spoonful of lemon curd in each of the glasses
  2. Add a layer of jam, then a layer of whipped cream 
  3. Top with crushed amaretti
  4. Repeat two more times so the top layer is whipped cream, amaretti & fresh blueberries
  5. I like to let it chill for at least an hour, so it’s a great make ahead treat.

My Favorite Freezer Lemon Curd  by UCCE Master Food Preservers

4 tsp grated lemon peel

⅔ cup fresh or bottled lemon juice

5 eggs

1 cup sugar

½ cup melted butter (let cool a bit)

  1. Heat oven to 250* and put in a couple jars & lids in for 30 minutes to sterilize the jars. 
  2. In a blender, blend the first four ingredients until smooth
  3. With blender motor running at lowest setting, gradually add the melted butter, pouring in a steady stream until just blended.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a small, heavy saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until mixture bubbles and thickens.  Cooking it to 180* is an easy way to know when it’s done. 
  5. Remove from heat.  Pass through a sieve into a bowl.  Ladle into hot jars leaving ¼ inch headspace.
  6. Make an ice bath in a cake pan and put the jars in the ice bath and stir occasionally until cool to the touch.  
  7. Cover with cap and ring, cool fully in the refrigerator, then freeze.

My Favorite Whipped Cream

It’s my favorite because the powdered sugar keeps it stabilized and can be refrigerated for a day or two.  It’s alsIngredients: o not too sweet. 

2 cups whipping cream

2 tbsp powdered sugar

½ tsp vanilla extract

Optional (the seeds of 1 vanilla bean)


Combine everything in a bowl and whip it up until soft peaks form.  Use right away or refrigerate for a day or two.

Enjoy these late Spring days, my friends.