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.

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a little pot of sunshine

seville orange curd for breakfast

 

 

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

 

Seville Orange Curd

50g butter

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.