sliced oranges for marmalade

Diary of a Marmalade Maker

Realise it is already February and I haven’t made any marmalade. No sign of Seville oranges in local town, but foray to town twenty miles west proves more fruitful. Have noticed similar situation in past obtaining red cabbage and cold pressed rapeseed oil. Wonder if this is reflection of our neighbourhood.

Consult recipe book and forsake normal method of boiling and then cutting softened fruit in favour of cutting raw peel and then boiling as recipe promises this technique produces brighter, clearer marmalade.

Making marmalade

Catch thumbnail and skin with knife while slicing. Wish I’d used my normal recipe. Discover have bought insufficient Seville oranges and make up quantity with blood oranges. Much simmering of aforesaid peel results in glorious smell that pervades whole house. Realise recipe calls for demerara sugar of which only half a packet in pantry. Make up quanitity with granulated. Feel this can only add to the brighter, clearer marmalade.

Much boiling and checking of temperature. Marmalade refuses to rise above 102C. Saucer test confirms setting point not reached. Move pan to electric cooker. Answer phone and hear recorded message about boilers. Take some time pressing buttons to bar number. Marmalade now risen to 105C so should set well. Pour into jars. Note that marmalade looks distinctly dark and opaque. Leave to cool. Label and put on shelf next to last jar of 2016 marmalade. Which is a considerably brighter, clearer marmalade.

home made marmalade

Resolve to revert to normal recipe next year. Wonder why I am so easily seduced by new recipes that offer wondrous results when there was nothing wrong with original.

Discover an orange can keep both grandson and dog entertained for quite a long while.

Wait for both to fall asleep and eat orange.

Save


Unravelling

Last week …

unravelling woollen sweater
Unravelling

sweaters

A couple of years ago, I knitted two sweaters using the Warriston pattern by Kate Davies but because I ran short of wool  they both ended up with sleeves too short. I hate three quarter length sleeves (almost as much as I detest clothes without pockets) so I’m unravelling the sweaters and rewinding the wool so that I can knit one good sweater with proper sleeves.

Have you read how you should soak and then dry your yarn before rewinding it to get rid of the bouncy kinks? Heed that advice. I tried knitting kinky wool and it looked awful. Which meant yet more unravelling.

hand written recipe book
Unravelling

recipes

Mum gave me her mother’s recipe books and I’ve been trying to follow some of the recipes. Or aides-memoires as I prefer to call them as many of them are just a list of ingredients with scant instructions.

Some of the recipes are cut from the newspaper with the news on the reverse “a great force of heavy RAF bombers crossed the East Coast early last night heading for the continent” and “Blackout (London) 10.26 – 5.45”. From scribbled notes, I know that Gran “planted bulbs in bowls on 10th October 1938″ and that “rubbing paraffin wax on the heels of your stockings makes them last longer”.

Yesterday I followed a recipe for Adelaide cakes. Tell me, do you know how Adelaide cakes should look? There was no mention of tin size or shape. Fairy cake or muffin sized? Round? Oblong?

marmalade
Unravelled

My brain

The Seville oranges are in the shops so, as usual I set about making enough marmalade to last us for the year. The kitchen filled with a glorious smell as I juiced and chopped, stirred and boiled. Then, as I ladled the marmalade into the jars, I noticed pips floating around and realised that I’d tipped the juice into the pan without straining out the pips. Doh!

The marmalade tastes fine but every spoonful has to be inspected for pesky pips and believe me, Seville oranges have loads of pips.