Welcome to London West End WI

Monday, 31 August 2009

September - Beer Tasting

Two of our members are tried & tested beer tasters and will be leading a beer tasting session for us on 15th September. Lindsey & Heather will be guiding us through sampling the beer...(they also hosted last year's wine tasting... a very sociable session between the sips, sniffs & twirling of wine glasses) Please bring nibbles to share.

Members are welcome to bring guests and please let us know if you plan to do this. There will be a small charge for visitors & guests tbc but max'm £3pp
We welcome new members or visitors wanting to find out more about our Women's Institute before taking the plunge and signing up.

Do please email us on londonwestendwi@googlemail.com at least 48 hours before the meeting or phone Carrie 07789954972 if you would like to come along to a Tuesday meeting.

WI campaigns & Resolutions

The August speaker was the Marianne Sladowsky Head of Public Affairs at the National Federation of WIs. Marianne spoke about the NFWIs current campaigns which include Stop Violence against Women & SOS for Bees. She also encouraged us to put forward resolutions as a WI or for individual members to put forward resolutions that they would like to be considered. Her advise on a resolution was keep it simple and be aware of other similar resolutions that have already gone through. We floated ideas on resolutions for in connection with prostitution/criminal record checks ( at the moment women with a prostitution conviction are treated like sex offenders and are excluded from many jobs preventing them from making a fresh start and resolutions on the negative impact of the medias obsession with body image & dieting. So get your thinking caps on... would you like to put forward a resolution to the NFWI. Members are invited to get together to craft the wording. The closing date is the Friday 18th Sept so you would need to have it in the post by 14th to be sure of entry. Get in touch with Carrie if you want to know how to do this... members only!

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Recipes from our Jam Expert Claude

Hello everyone!
After June's very successful jam-making session, we've had quite a few requests for some of the recipes, which our jam-master Claude has graciously provided us with. So! Without further ado...

Microwave Lemon Curd Recipe

This is close to the curd recipe I follow but I put less egg in as I am not an egg lover.

4 lemons, rind and juice
4 eggs
110g/4oz butter
450g/1lb sugar

  1. Grate rind of lemons and squeeze out juice.
  2. Put sugar, rind and juice, butter and beaten eggs into a large microeaveable bowl.
  3. Microwave for about 10 minutesStir with a wooden spoon until thick and curd coats the back of the spoon.If very runny microwave again for another 5 minutes
  4. Stop and stirIf very runny microwave again for another 5 minutes
  5. When it coats the back of the spoon and is not excessively runny we are done!


Label jar with date and jam variety.Store somewhere dark and really cool (fridge ideally). Should be good for about 2-6 months depending on storage conditions. Once opened keep in fridge, should be good for about 4+ weeks.


I like it less "eggy" so use 2-3 eggs instead and 2-3 large lemons. If lemons are small use at least 4 of them. If its not setting keep lemon shells and pop them in bowl while microwaving. They contain pectin which will help it set. Remember to take them out before trying to pot curd. If your eggs curdle/go start to scramble then strain them through a sieve. If you don't have a microwave you can follow recipe but go through the whole process using a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water.

Strawberry Jam


1 KG Jam sugar with added pectin by Silver spoon (its in a red and white packet and costs about £1.30)

800+g of soft fruit (fresh or frozen fruit)

small knob of butter

This recipe takes about 20-30mins all in and can be made with raspberries or summer fruits. Also works equally well with frozen fruit.

Get about 800g of soft fruit if fresh wash the fruit and remove stalks where necessary.

NB If using frozen fruit do not wash


  1. Put in a bowl that can go in the micowave.
  2. Mash it a bit with a masher/forkCook on high for about 7 mins in microwave
  3. Add sugar and a small knob of butter, stir it a little so sugar and fruit begin to mingle.
  4. Cook on high again for about 8 minutes
  5. Stop it and stir.
  6. Cook on high again for another 8 minutes
  7. Check to see if it looks like its boiling vigourously. If its not give it an additional 2-4 minutes.
  8. When its absolutely piping take out of microwave and set aside for a short time.

Sterilising jam jars:

Please be careful as this will be really really hot.

  1. Take your clean jam jars. Pop some water in maybe halfway up the glass.
  2. Microwave for about 1-2 minutes until its hot.
  3. Empty out water and then dispense jam into jars.Please be careful when doing this, I use a ladle and a funnel.
  4. Seal whilst still hot (if you can get the jam jar wax discs use these under the lids)
  5. StorageLabel jar with date and jam variety.
  6. Store somewhere dark and cool.

Should be good for about 2-6 months depending on storage conditions. Once opened keep in fridge, should be good for about 4+ weeks.

Top Tips

Have a little extra sugar to hand that you can add to the mixture if its not setting (any type will do). Do this just incase the fruit is very watery otherwise you will spend ages trying to boil off the excess liquid. This sets very well normally.If you want larger chunks of strawberry in your jam then mash the fruit less.

Monday, 3 August 2009

WI campaign Stop Violence against Women

The National Federation of Women's Institutes are supporting a campaign to stop violence against women and locally our contribution has been to support a local charity Women@thewell . Last February we had an inspirational talk from Lynda Dearlove who came to talk about the charity's work supporting vulnerable women caught in cycles of abuse & social exclusion. Since then members of our WI have raised money, baked cakes, provided mentoring, helped at the drop in centre, collected clothes & shoes to support these women.

Based close to King's Cross Station, this charity is aims to equip these vulnerable women with the skills, resources and support they need to rejoin society. If you would like to help or support the work of this organisation and help these women change their lives for the better then here are some suggestions

  • Make a donation
  • Donate time
  • Donate specialised skills or services
  • Donate goods such as food, clothing, equiment
  • Tell other people about this organisation

Please contact Women@thewell 020 7520 1710 or email info@watw.org.uk

London West End WI @ The Brunswick Centre

Saturday 1st August found us at the Brunswick Centre who very kindly offered us a stall to offer cakes and meet local people with a view to signing them up. We take the view that man or woman ... you may know a woman who would be interested in joining us.

As usual WI bakers had stayed up late & got up early to get cakes prepared. We had an outstanding stall, raised some funds and met lots of local women. Our helpers include Sue, Sharon, Jane, Claude, Kate & Carrie. As usual Claude's jams were very popular... chilli jam and lemon curd flew off the shelf! Thank you to all our helpers who gave up a precious day off to help out.

We even had a visit from the local Food Safety man who offered helpful advice on seeing Carrie's Strawberry clotted cream scones (sell them or eat them within 4 hours) we did help this along by eating a few and (reluctantly) sold the rest.

We had a small display about our Womens Institute and the WI campaigns including SOS for Bees and Stop Violence against Women ( see www.womensinstitute.org.uk)