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Spreads for all occasions: from Christmas chutney to pear and coffee jam – recipes | Food



Pear and ground coffee jam (pictured above)

Prep 20 min
Cook 30 min
Makes 6-7 x 250ml jars

2kg ripe but firm pears, peeled
50ml lemon juice
950g sugar
1 tsp coffee beans, roughly ground

Put several small saucers in the freezer. Wash the jars and lids, then sterilise in the oven at 100C (80C fan)/212F/gas very low for at least 20 minutes.

Core the peeled pears, blitz half of them to a pulp in a food processor, and cut the other half into ½cm cubes.

Put the pulp in a large, wide-rimmed, heavy-based pan with the lemon juice, bring to a boil, then stir in the sugar to dissolve. Bring back to a boil on a high heat, add the pear cubes and cook, stirring only intermittently (so the mixture doesn’t stick or burn), for 15-20 minutes.

Once it starts spitting aggressively, do a wrinkle test by removing the pan from the heat, taking a cold saucer from the freezer, applying a quarter-teaspoon of the thickened jam on to it and cooling in the fridge for a minute. Check for a soft set by pushing the jam with your finger – there shouldn’t be a strong wrinkle on the surface. If it’s not at the desired thickness, continue to boil and test until it is ready.

Remove from the heat, skim off any foam from the surface with a spatula and stir through the ground coffee. Ladle into the hot, dry sterilised jars, leaving a 2mm gap from the top. Clean the rim with a damp cloth and seal while stil hot.

Clean the jars of sticky residue, cool, label and date. Store unopened in a dark place for up to eight months; once opened, refrigerate and eat within five weeks.

Chocolate and chestnut spread

Kylee Newton’s chocolate and chestnut spread.

Kylee Newton’s chocolate and chestnut spread.

Prep 15 min
Cook 15 min
Makes 2-3 x 250ml jars

250g chestnut puree, or 250g blended cooked chestnuts
200g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
250ml double cream
30g golden caster sugar

Wash the jars and lids, then sterilise in the oven at 100C (80C fan)/212F/gas very low for at least 20 minutes.

If using whole cooked chestnuts, blend into a paste with 100ml boiling water.

Roughly break up the chocolate into a small heatproof bowl and melt it slowly over a saucepan of boiling water.

In another saucepan, heat the chestnut puree, cream and sugar on a medium-low heat, until it comes to a gentle simmer. Add the chocolate and stir until completely combined.

Ladle into the hot sterilised jars, leaving a 2mm gap from the top, and seal immediately with the lids. Clean the jars of any sticky residue and, once cool, label and date.

Refrigerate (due to the cream content) for up to a month. Wrap it up and tell your recipient to find their present in the fridge this year, rather than under the tree.

Christmas apple and date chutney

Kylee Newton’s Christmas apple and date chutney.

Kylee Newton’s Christmas apple and date chutney.

Prep 30 min
Cook 1 hr
Makes 5-6 x 250ml jars

1.5kg apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm cubes
400g red onions, peeled and diced
200g dates, roughly chopped
450g dark brown sugar
650ml red-wine vinegar

For the spice bag

30g fresh ginger, sliced

2 tsp peppercorns
1 tsp cloves
4 star anise
1 cinnamon stick, halved
8-10 green cardamom pods, gently pounded
2 tsp salt

Wash the jars and lids, then sterilise in the oven at 100C (80C fan)/212F/gas very low for at least 20 minutes.

Put the first five ingredients into a large, heavy-based, wide-rimmed pan and bring to a boil on a medium-high heat

Make a bag for the spices by cutting a large square of muslin, then tie in the spices securely. Add this to the bubbling pan. Stir intermittently to start with, then more regularly as the consistency thickens and it bubbles more.

After 25 minutes, stir in the salt. After 30-35 minutes, the mix should have reduced considerably, and turned thick and sticky. Run a wooden spoon across the bottom: it’s ready when it leaves a clear trail for about five seconds.

Remove the spice bag, then ladle the chutney into the hot, dry sterilised jars, using a teaspoon and pressing down to eliminate any trapped air, and leaving a 2mm gap from the top. Clean the rim with a damp cloth and seal while still hot.

Clean the jars of any sticky residue and, once cool, label and date. Store to mature for three weeks. The unopened chutney will keep in a dark space for up to 12 months; once opened, refrigerate and eat within three months.

Quince and rosemary jelly

Kylee Newton’s quince and rosemary jelly.

Kylee Newton’s quince and rosemary jelly.

Prep 20 min
Cook 1 hr 30 min
Strain 4-8 hr
Makes 4-5 x 250ml jars

2½kg quince (to make about 1½ litres juice)
800g-1.2kg sugar (depending on how much juice you get from the quinces)
70ml lemon juice
2 large rosemary sprigs

Wash the quinces, then cut into cubes, including the peel and cores. Put into a large pan and add enough cold water to cover completely (you’ll need about three litres). Bring to a boil and cook rapidly for 60 minutes.

Lightly mash the mixture, leave it cool it slightly, then strain through a large hanging muslin or jelly bag set over a bowl for four to eight hours. Do not be tempted to squeeze the bag, because this can cloud your jelly.

Put several small saucers into the freezer to chill. Wash the jars and lids, then sterilise in the oven at 100C (80C fan)/212F/gas very low for at least 20 minutes.

Measure the quince juice into a large heavy-based, wide-rimmed pan, add the lemon juice and bring to a boil. For every litre of liquid, add 800g sugar and stir to dissolve. Strip off the rosemary leaves and add to the pan. Bring to a rapid boil and cook on a high heat for 25-30 minutes. It should almost threaten to boil over and will turn pink and syrupy.

Do the wrinkle test by removing from the heat and taking a saucer from the freezer: put a small drop of jelly on the plate and cool in the fridge for a minute. Check for a hard set by pushing the jam with your finger, giving you a clear wrinkle on the surface; if there is no wrinkle, continue to boil and test every two minutes until it’s ready.

Take off the heat, leave to sit for two minutes (until the bubbles have settled), skim off any foam and ladle into the hot sterilised jars, leaving a 2mm gap from the rim.

Clean the rim with a damp cloth and seal immediately. Clean the jars of any sticky residue and, when cool, label and date. Store unopened in a dark place for up to 12 months; once opened, refrigerate and eat within five weeks.

Kylee Newton is author of The Modern Preserver (Square Peg, £25).

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Coronavirus: When is it the best time to replace your masks?




That being said, even with proper care and storage, masks do have an expiry date to it.

While it’s impossible to affix a timeline as to when can one safely dispose of a mask, a lot of it depends on the type of mask you have- the fabric, the number of washes it has been exposed to. It also depends on the number of times you use and take off your mask.

For example, if you are someone who travels a lot more frequently and faces more exposure to the virus, the replacement timeline for the mask will also differ, and you will need to replace them more frequently than others.

Another good measure on replacing your masks is to think about getting a new mask at the change of a season. Ensuring mask hygiene and care is also important considering the seasonal changes and polluted weather we are experiencing right now. A bad, spoiled mask, which has poor quality will make it harder for you to steer clear of germs and pollutants and offer little protection. If you are wondering what’s the best mask to buy that could protect you against both pollution and COVID, here is a guide.

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Psychologist-recommended ways to interact with an anxious partner




It is quite a challenge to be romantically involved with someone who deals with constant anxiety. In a relationship, where communication, understanding and love are the foundations, an anxious partner can get lost amidst the sorrows and stress that they deal with, on a regular basis. Sometimes, it gets so overwhelming that anxiety creeps into the relationship like a third person, who only feeds on sadness, stress and sorrow.

However, when you fall for someone, it’s not within your power to chose whether that person is alright or is dealing with a mental health condition. Furthermore, when you love someone, you love them with all their flaws and imperfections, and don’t really pick out only the bits you approve and love. Loving someone with anxiety means you have to deal with their doubts, trust issues, communication problems and more. These were only a few of them that surfaces often. There are many other underlying issues that can be quite unpredictable.

However, amidst all this, your anxious partner only needs someone to love them and take care of their feelings and anxiety. It is like going pole-deep for a person, only to find yourself clouded with little emotions of want and need that they are unable to express. They also want to be loved. Most importantly, they would want you to treat them like a normal person with a normal state of mind, rather than specifying their mental condition always.

If you’re scared that you won’t be up to it, then it’s not your fault either. It can be quite demanding and can also destroy you in the process. But, if you are determined to be with your partner and help them rise above it, then acquiring strength and faith to stand by them is what you need.

In moments like these, consulting a therapist or psychologist is considered.

Psychologists have, since years, researched ways for efficient communication in situations like these. They have carefully analysed such individuals’ behaviours and actions to come to conclusions about their ideologies and what exactly they think. If you need a professional opinion, considering the advice of such mental health professionals is recommended.

According to them, if you are romantically involved with an anxious person, you need to know the risks and troubles you will face. It takes great courage and strength to have the patience of understanding anxious partners. Communication becomes another huge issue while trying to interact with such people. One has to carefully thread along the lines, in order to avoid any difficult or worrisome situations. One in all, you should have supreme patience.

Here we have listed a few ways that psychologists highly recommend trying out, if you’re wondering how to interact with an anxious partner.

Tell them it’s alright to be afraid

The foremost thing they are afraid of is fear of their own self. Understand that it’s very hard to stop thinking about fear or even trying to lose out on it. If you get insensitive about this, your partner may feel that they aren’t even worthy of being scared or allowed to do so. Instead, ask them what is bothering them, slowly. Try to neutralise any situation if it goes out of hand.

Show them how to keep up with you

If you’re running late, send them a text so that they’re relieved that you’re not dead or involved in an accident. Let them know and keep them updated about the common things in your life. Anxious people easily sense when something is wrong and instantly get scared. They look for assurance, care and expect others to understand them.

Make them feel safe

Such people will always look for a person who can be their safe haven. Their insecurities, doubts and worries are too heavy a burden to be kept inside themselves. Hence, try to be as understanding as you can be and make them feel safe and secure. There is nothing more lovable than making them feel safe with your company.

Set expectations

Telling people what you expect from them is a very intimate way of letting them know that they care about you. We set expectations from people we want to have around, in our lives. So, your anxious partner will feel satisfied, loved and cared for you you say that you expect them to work and go through the entire battle. With, of course, your help.

Take your time

Time is the essence of life. This popular saying is very true, especially in such cases. Take your time into understanding their world. Communicate with them and also, understand that they need their time warming up to you. Slowly make them feel assured that you’re here to hold their hand and be there for them in case, something happens.

Your partner will fall more deeply in love with you when you will give them assurance, safety and security of emotions. Psychologists mainly want you to take one step at a time, and not too many.

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Amitav Ghosh’s new book to release in 2021




Here’s some good news for fans of author Amitav Ghosh! The Write India season 3 author is all set to release a new book. Buzz is that Ghosh’s upcoming book is a “verse adaptation of an episode from the Forest Lady (Bon Bibi) legend of the Sundarban”.

The international bestselling author took to social media to share about his new book with his fans and followers. Posting a picture of the upcoming book’s cover, Ghosh wrote:

Published by HarperCollins India, ‘Jungle Nama’ by Amitav Ghosh will be released in February 2021.

Meanwhile as Ghosh’s fans wait for ‘Jungle Nama’ to be out in 2021, the Jnanpith awardee has also finished the manuscript of another upcoming book! Sharing the news, publisher Meru Gokhale, from The Penguin Press Group, tweeted on November 25, 2020 that she is currently reading Ghosh’s manuscript. “I am reading the manuscript of @GhoshAmitav ‘s new book, and it is nothing short of mind-altering. I am struck by the feeling that THE NUTMEG’S CURSE is possibly the most brilliant book he has written. Can’t wait to share it with the world – more details soon!,” she revealed.

Further details of ‘The Nutmeg’s Curse’ is awaited.

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