IN just seven months, Jackie Cochrane’s life has completely changed.
Unemployed for seven years after the birth of her son Jacob, now nine, she wanted a job she could enjoy but which also worked around the school run.
“My partner Ray said to me ‘Go work for youself’. But I thought ‘What can I do?’,” said Jackie.
“Baking was my therapy, so I wanted to do something that wouldn’t take away the ‘pleasure’ bit of it. I had made a chutney for someone at Christmas and they told me it was really good, so I thought I would try jam.
“It has just spiraled from there.”
Since August last year, Jackie (53) has been making jams, chutneys and other preserves as part of her new business – and life – venture, Cochrane’s Kitchen.
Selling her products at craft fairs and markets, she found it hard breaking into the more established monthly events, and so created her own – Kirkcaldy Makers Market. The third event is due to take place this weekend.
Because of the success of Cochrane’s Kitchen, she has just moved into the kitchen space at West Bridge Mill in her hometown of Kirkcaldy.
“My kitchen at home just wasn’t big enough,” she said. “People followed me around the markets and and wanted to know where they could buy the products. Previously I had nowhere, but now it’s like, ‘In you come!’”
Jackie hopes to open the kitchen in the next couple of weeks, with lots of new products arriving regularly. “I’m constantly trying new flavours,” she said. “A lot of my jams and marmalades are ‘What if’s...’ I get the basics and I think ‘What if I put in this, what if I add that’. We have chutneys, savoury sauces, jellies – I’ll give anything a go!”
Jackie takes inspiration from old recipe books, and the arrival of her grandson Archie has inspired a new range – Pots for Tots – mini jams for little ones.
“Before, I just existed,” Jackie said. “Now, I’m living. I have targets, I have goals, I don’t need to worry about what I’m doing this weekend, because it’s all planned – we actually know that our next lie-in will be in April!”
And son Jacob has high hopes for the business – “I think that this homemade business could go down in jam and chutney history!”
• Cochrane’s Kitchen will be at Kirkcaldy Makers Market this Saturday at Adam Smith Theatre.