If breakfasting on Eggs Benedict on the top tier of La Tour Eiffel (with the London Philharmonic serenading you with renditions of Beethoven/the Beatles from hovering hot air balloons) is slightly beyond possibility this Valentine’s day, then perhaps some condiments with a romantic edge is a bit more do-able.

Breakfast in bed, with tea and toast, is a completely adequate way to usher in St Valentines, whilst simultaneously battling some mid-winter gloom. Be it Romantic, Platonic, or purely Narcissistic, nothing says ‘I love you’ like the sentiment and fore-thought behind an individualized, home-made jam. A spoonful of red or pink ambrosia is a sure-fire way to sweeten the heart, and needn’t be a lengthy exercise (leaving plenty of time to compose saccharine poetry and induce early hayfever with excessive scatterings of rose petals).

The Queen of Jams would have to be strawberry, with the most wonderfully ruby red juices and ever such a sweet touch. With a natural sweetness that lends itself to making a fantastically satisfying preserve, strawberries are a great source of vitamins A, E and C, so these token health benefits can be used to compensate for the jam’s sugar content.

Whilst not currently in-season, strawberries are readily available in the shops, even when snow is threatening. Try this super simple recipe to bring out the colour of love and the essence of summer, encapsulated in the Garden Strawberry, for your mid-February repast.

Strawberry Jam

You will need:

450g granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
450g strawberries (approximated two punnets)
3 2oz sterile jam jars

* In a heavy-based pan, combine the sugar with the lemon juice and warm over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and you have formed a syrup. Remove the pan from the heat.

* De-stalk and halve the strawberries before adding to the pan. Coat the strawberries with the warm syrup and leave for 15-30 minutes.

* Return the pan to the heat gently simmer for 10 minutes, till the strawberries are beginning to lose shape.

* Turn up the heat until the ‘jam’ has a gently bubbling surface. Leave to boil for approximately 10 minutes, until the jam passes the ‘crinkle test’. *

* Remove the pan from the heat and pour into sterile jars which have been warmed in the oven at 170 C for 10 minutes. Try to resist the temptation to eat the marvellously fragrant jam while it is still scorching.

(How to test for setting point: when you start preparing the jam, place three saucers in the freezer. When the jam has boiled for said time, remove from the heat and place a teaspoonful of the jam onto one of the chilled saucers. Put the saucer in the fridge to cool and then push the jam with your finger: it is set if a crinkly film is formed where you push it. If it hasn’t set, return to the boil and re-check intermittently every 5 minutes.)

Another addition to the colour palette of the breakfast ensemble could be the cerise and purpure of a plum and cherry jam. The plum provides a sweet yet tart fleshy body to the jam, immediately taking on the bright reddish-purple of the cherry and accented by the smaller fruit’s extreme redolence. Both stone fruits grow in orchards and conjure thoughts of secret love affairs conducted in the arboretums. With antioxidants rife in both fruits, and the cherry anthocyanins which have been seen to lower cholesterol, they are a culinary match made in heaven which will look truly scrumptious cloaking an English muffin.

* Subscribe to Country Life and save over £50 a year

Plum and Cherry Jam

You will need:

550g mixed cherries and plums
100ml water
350g granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

* Gently simmer the fruit and water for approximately 30 minutes, until the fruit has really softened and the stones are slipping out of the fruit.

* Pour the mixture through a sieve, suspended over a bowl, so that you can remove all the loose stones. Re-weighing the fruit will show that the quantity will have vastly reduced and so warrants far less sugar than the normal 1:1 ratio.

* Return the mix to the jam pan and add the sugar and lemon juice. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then bring the jam up to the boil.

* Allow to bubble for 5-7 minutes and then test the consistency with a blob placed on the side-plate in the freezer. When the jam has become desirously thick and smells as glorious as it looks, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before pouring into sterile jars.

A ginger and rhubarb jam is a beautifully coloured and well-packed preserve with multiple layers of tastes and a brilliant texture. Winter rhubarb is forced, the harvest induced by the use of candlelight (how romantic). Only available from January till March, forced rhubarb is sweeter and more tender than its summertime counterpart and its colour is uniquely radiant. The crimson colour comes from anthocyanin (like cherries) which contributes to the medicinal properties for which it has been used for centuries. Rhubarb can cleanse and rid the body of toxins and is the perfect coupling for ginger, a natural digestive. The two combine to pack a heart-warming, healthy(-ish) punch in an irresistible jam.

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

You will need:

500g trimmed rhubarb
500g granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
50g stem ginger and 2tbsp of the syrup
4cm root ginger

* Chop the rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and place in a heavy-based pan with the sugar, ginger (chopped finely) and ginger syrup. Cover and leave for several hours.

* Put the pan on a low heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved.

* Add the lemon juice and bring the pan to the boil. Boil for approximately ten minutes until the jam is at setting point.

* Pour into sterile jars.

And there is obviously more Vitamin C to be found in some Bucks Fizz.

http://bejammed.wordpress.com/

Breakfast in bed, with tea and toast, is a completely adequate way to usher in St Valentines, whilst simultaneously battling some mid-winter gloom. Be it Romantic, Platonic, or purely Narcissistic, nothing says ‘I love you’ like the sentiment and fore-thought behind an individualized, home-made jam. A spoonful of red or pink ambrosia is a sure-fire way to sweeten the heart, and needn’t be a lengthy exercise (leaving plenty of time to compose saccharine poetry and induce early hayfever with excessive scatterings of rose petals).

The Queen of Jams would have to be strawberry, with the most wonderfully ruby red juices and ever such a sweet touch. With a natural sweetness that lends itself to making a fantastically satisfying preserve, strawberries are a great source of vitamins A, E and C, so these token health benefits can be used to compensate for the jam’s sugar content.

Whilst not currently in-season, strawberries are readily available in the shops, even when snow is threatening. Try this super simple recipe to bring out the colour of love and the essence of summer, encapsulated in the Garden Strawberry, for your mid-February repast.

Strawberry Jam

You will need:

450g granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
450g strawberries (approximated two punnets)
3 2oz sterile jam jars

* In a heavy-based pan, combine the sugar with the lemon juice and warm over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved and you have formed a syrup. Remove the pan from the heat.

* De-stalk and halve the strawberries before adding to the pan. Coat the strawberries with the warm syrup and leave for 15-30 minutes.

* Return the pan to the heat gently simmer for 10 minutes, till the strawberries are beginning to lose shape.

* Turn up the heat until the ‘jam’ has a gently bubbling surface. Leave to boil for approximately 10 minutes, until the jam passes the ‘crinkle test’. *

* Remove the pan from the heat and pour into sterile jars which have been warmed in the oven at 170 C for 10 minutes. Try to resist the temptation to eat the marvellously fragrant jam while it is still scorching.

(How to test for setting point: when you start preparing the jam, place three saucers in the freezer. When the jam has boiled for said time, remove from the heat and place a teaspoonful of the jam onto one of the chilled saucers. Put the saucer in the fridge to cool and then push the jam with your finger: it is set if a crinkly film is formed where you push it. If it hasn’t set, return to the boil and re-check intermittently every 5 minutes.)

Another addition to the colour palette of the breakfast ensemble could be the cerise and purpure of a plum and cherry jam. The plum provides a sweet yet tart fleshy body to the jam, immediately taking on the bright reddish-purple of the cherry and accented by the smaller fruit’s extreme redolence. Both stone fruits grow in orchards and conjure thoughts of secret love affairs conducted in the arboretums. With antioxidants rife in both fruits, and the cherry anthocyanins which have been seen to lower cholesterol, they are a culinary match made in heaven which will look truly scrumptious cloaking an English muffin.

* Subscribe to Country Life and save over £50 a year

Plum and Cherry Jam

You will need:

550g mixed cherries and plums
100ml water
350g granulated sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice

* Gently simmer the fruit and water for approximately 30 minutes, until the fruit has really softened and the stones are slipping out of the fruit.

* Pour the mixture through a sieve, suspended over a bowl, so that you can remove all the loose stones. Re-weighing the fruit will show that the quantity will have vastly reduced and so warrants far less sugar than the normal 1:1 ratio.

* Return the mix to the jam pan and add the sugar and lemon juice. Stir until the sugar has dissolved and then bring the jam up to the boil.

* Allow to bubble for 5-7 minutes and then test the consistency with a blob placed on the side-plate in the freezer. When the jam has become desirously thick and smells as glorious as it looks, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before pouring into sterile jars.

A ginger and rhubarb jam is a beautifully coloured and well-packed preserve with multiple layers of tastes and a brilliant texture. Winter rhubarb is forced, the harvest induced by the use of candlelight (how romantic). Only available from January till March, forced rhubarb is sweeter and more tender than its summertime counterpart and its colour is uniquely radiant. The crimson colour comes from anthocyanin (like cherries) which contributes to the medicinal properties for which it has been used for centuries. Rhubarb can cleanse and rid the body of toxins and is the perfect coupling for ginger, a natural digestive. The two combine to pack a heart-warming, healthy(-ish) punch in an irresistible jam.

Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

You will need:

500g trimmed rhubarb
500g granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
50g stem ginger and 2tbsp of the syrup
4cm root ginger

* Chop the rhubarb into 1 inch pieces and place in a heavy-based pan with the sugar, ginger (chopped finely) and ginger syrup. Cover and leave for several hours.

* Put the pan on a low heat and cook until the sugar has dissolved.

* Add the lemon juice and bring the pan to the boil. Boil for approximately ten minutes until the jam is at setting point.

* Pour into sterile jars.

And there is obviously more Vitamin C to be found in some Bucks Fizz.

http://bejammed.wordpress.com/

* See our jam recipe guide