Jam, Jelly and Jaffles

Family Food Fare and Favourites

Join me as I dig through my memories, and recipes, to rediscover my family’s food “back in the day” and how those food habits have changed over the decades to today’s diverse and multi-cultural cuisines. This is my theme for the 2021 A to Z challenge.


The J foods that come to mind from my childhood, are once again desserts: jelly and junket. Is junket even around anymore I wondered? I checked out the Woolworths online catalogue and junket tablets are indeed still available. Who knew?! (For US readers, our jelly is different from American jelly which seems to be a type of clear jam)

A layered trifle with fruit, jelly, custard and cream. From wikimedia commons.

Jelly of course reaches its style peak, layered in trifles or the parfaits that were popular in my youth. Parfaits were made in a tall glass with layers of fresh or tinned fruit, jelly, custard and cream, perhaps with a jaunty crisp biscuit in the top. I suppose they weren’t dissimilar to a sundae. For something that was once so popular, I can’t find an image that really shows how they looked.  I suspect that many households will have remnants of the family’s collection of parfait glasses. In the “now” era they’ve been reinvented more as a health option that dessert, using fresh fruit, yoghurt and chia seeds or similar. The key ingredient of jelly has disappeared.

I remember that mum used to make a jam slice with a coconut topping which was very nice and which is still commonly seen in cafes even today. I found her recipe tucked away under Raspberry Slice where the raspberry ingredient is jam.

Raspberry jam slice


Another food that’s transitioned from then to now is jaffles. We would have had them cooked over the gas flame at home but in the “now” scenario it’s something we cook while camping. Both of us remember having a discussion with some Americans at dinner in Kathmandu and trying to explain the concept. Yes, they’re similar to a toasted sandwich, or toastie, but they’re “same, same but different”. I was affronted to discover that one food page suggests it’s an African thing but further research claims it as an Aussie invention. Ours looks exactly like the one pictured in the story. When camping, jaffles are delicious filled with baked beans, tinned spaghetti or leftover mince and cooked over a campfire.

Biscuit slices remain popular over the decades and a one that holds an emotional and culinary place in our family’s heart is the Lemon Layer Slice by our friend Dawn. It is so tied to memories of her bringing it to gatherings that we call it “Dawn’s Famous Jelly Slice.

Dawn’s famous jelly slice

Did your family have parfaits when you were younger?

Do you still have any parfait glasses?

Have you cooked jaffles over an open fire?

Dawn’s famous jelly slice

15 thoughts on “Jam, Jelly and Jaffles

  1. I have cooked jaffles over a camp fire

    I like trifle and assemble it (can’t really say cook it) often, especially at Christmas. Last Christmas we had at my brother-in-laws and I took the ingredients to Albury but in the early morning start left the jelly at home in the fridge. There were plenty of raspberries and the consensus was the trifle tasted better without jelly.

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  2. The grandkids still love jelly but junket hasn’t graced our tables since the seventies. I used to love the junkets my nanna set for me. Trifle is still a family favourite but it sometimes differs from those Mum made, those made by our younger generation have some exotic ingredients. I’ve never seen sprinkles on a trifle!

    We rarely have jaffles but often have toasties like last night’s ham, cheese and tomato – Delish.

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  3. I remember jaffles when camping or boating. With a single jaffle iron the last person to get one had a long wait. I still make trifles as my daughter loves them. There is no way to make them healthy. I tried using gelatine crystals and fruit juice for the jelly and fresh fruit instead of canned but all that cream and custard is not good for the waistline. I was given parfait glasses as a wedding present but now only have the spoons.

    I had never eaten junket until I met my husband. His mother made it so I had a go. I was never a great fan however. Haven’t made it for years.

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    1. I think trifles have to be a once in a blue moon thing. I agree about the Jaffle queue …lol. Funny about your parfait glasses….I got the spoons and they mostly vanished. Now I have mum’s parfait glasses.


  4. Jelly & ice cream was a popular dish for children’ parties in the 1950s. I reserve jelly now for trifles. I had heard of junket but couldn’t tell you anything about it and never had it. Jaffles is a totally new word and food to me- though I rather fancy trying it.

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    1. Talking about parties. When we came back from PNG our children were still quite young but ate far more savoury foods like olives than the Brisbane kids. We had to adjust our party food 🙂 Ice cream is a favourite everywhere for everyone I think…kind of the opposite of kale. If you like toasties you’d like jaffles.


    1. I had to smile at jiggly foods 🙂 I think our jelly is more your Jell-o. Your jelly is, I think, more like smooth jam…but happy to be corrected. Funnily enough I think Mum mostly served jelly bedside the fruit, where your Mum and Carmel’s combined them.

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  5. Jellied fruit was a standard dessert in my childhood home, I expect it made the fruit extend further with 9 members of the family to be fed. Port wine jelly flavour (reddish in colour) was used for plums and cherries and either lemon or orange jelly for apricots and peaches. Junket was sprinkled with nutmeg to add flavour to that otherwise bland offering.


    1. Adding jelly to the fruit, or vice versa, would have made it go further…and maybe a way to convince you to eat the fruit too? I don’t recall the colour-fruit matching. And I don’t think our junket ever had nutmeg on it. It was bland wasn’t it?!


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