My dad and rhubarb jam

My dad, Chef Willy Slawinski,  was always cooking. There was always a pot of stock simmering on the stove and he was always making jam. I don’t remember him actually eating the jam, but I do know my mom loved his rhubarb jam. So I made a batch this week as my friends seem to love it too. It really is just rhubarb and sugar, nothing to it really, but it is made with love and very fond memories.

He left this world today 28 years ago (27 April 1992), and although I was just a 17-year old kid, I ve a lot of memories linked to food of course and of him being goofy and doing funny impersonations.

His copper jam pot is now my compost bin in the kitchen, I have not cleaned off the burnt bottom as it gives some authentic feel too it. I can’t use it on my induction so I repurposed it and gladly have it around and carry it to the garden compost.

SUGAR & FRUIT – I use jelling sugar that has pectin in it already, so I can use less sugar. General ratio is 1kg fruit for 1kg of this jelling sugar but I like my jam not too sweet, so I go 1kg fruit for 700 gr sugar.

BOIL – Let the fruit soften on a medium heat, add a little water and then the sugar. Let simmer and when soft, bring to the boil for 1 min per 100 gr. Keep an eye on it, don’t walk away and stir if needed.

JARS – Always sterilize your jars and lids either in bowling water, in a hot oven or run them through the dishwasher ( that’s what I do). Fill the jars to about 0,5cm at top and don’t spill on the rim. Screw the lid on tight and invert them, let them sit upside down for 5 minutes, this will pull it vacuum. Store in a dark, cool and dry place and enjoy up to 3 months. Once opened, place it the fridge, good up to 1 month.

EAT – I pimped theses seed crackers with cream cheese, homemade rhubarb jam and gorgeous edible flowers from my veg bag from Humus X Hortense restaurant and their farmer. This is THE perfect breakfast.

My dad was one of the 1st chefs to use edible flowers in his Michelin star dishes and in particular loved violets, his favourite colour was purple as well. He grow a lot of his own flowers and on Saturday I would go pick them before service. In my own garden I every year grow edible flowers, lots of herbs and love taking care of my little veg box. All learned from and in honour of my dad.

He loved his Doberman dog called Marcus, they were inseparable, always playing and wrestling. And what he wore more than his chefs jacket was his track suits and slippers, often mistaken for the handyman rather than a 2 Michelin star chef.

 


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