Digging vegetables from the garden this month involves scraping a good quantity of heavy soil from them. The leeks have their roots and tops cut off and the outer leaves peeled off at the compost heap on the way back to the kitchen, the carrots are dunked into a trough of water (provided it’s not iced over) and the Jerusalem artichokes are soaked for a while in the hope of dislodging a little of the dirt that finds its way into every little crevice. Even the vegetables I buy seem a little lacklustre; much as I love root vegetables and cabbages it does seem as though that’s all we’ve eaten for ages. Warm days with young green salad leaves, the first tiny broad beans and baby carrots fresh from the garden seems an age away.
That, at least, is my justification for buying Seville oranges when I vowed that I wouldn’t make marmalade this year because I still have a 2013 jar on the shelf and have barely touched the 2014 batch. I’m not sure if it’s their vibrant colour or their slightly knobbly textured skin or just the fact that they seem to call “Hey, forget all those easy peeler citrus fruits that sit on the shelves all year – we’re only here for a few weeks. We may be gone tomorrow. Best buy a few now while you can.”
I bought the oranges, but I haven’t made marmalade. I used a few of them in place of lemons; they’re as sharp as lemons so make a good citrus self-saucing pudding or orange cake and I considered using them to make a Seville Orange Posset but I’m not sure that I like the idea of oranges with cream so I’ve put some oranges in the freezer should I decide to try it one day. The last orange I used to make a Seville Orange Curd. Perfect for breakfast but not marmalade. Seville Orange Curd needs to be eaten fairly quickly so there’s no guilt about the jars lined up on the pantry shelf and as it’s Farmhouse Breakfast Week it’s the ideal time to try something different for breakfast.
Seville Orange Curd
75g caster sugar
1 Seville orange – finely grated zest and juice
1 egg, beaten well
Put the butter and sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Finely grate the rind of the orange and add to the saucepan with the strained juice and the beaten egg. Mix them well and cook on a low heat for five to ten minutes until the curd has thickened to about the consistency of custard. Don’t turn up the heat or you’ll have orange flavoured scrambled egg. If the curd is a bit lumpy then sieve it.
Pour into a small sterilised jar and cover. Keep in the fridge and eat within a couple of weeks.
A little pot of sunshine for the breakfast table.