Sunday, 26 January 2014

A tried and Tested Marmalade Recipe.

This is the recipe I've been using for decades- so old that it's still in imperial- like my kitchen scales.

2lb Seville oranges
2 lemons
4 pints water
4lb sugar

Wash the oranges and lemons. Put whole fruit and water into a jam/ preserving pan and cover with a lid or tin foil. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for about an hour and a half until the fruit is soft.

Remove fruit from pan and place in a bowl. Retain the water / juice in the pan. Using a sharp kitchen knife and a fork to hold the fruit, slice the peel into desired thickness. I tend to do this by quartering each fruit, then scraping out the flesh, pips and pith. Put the pips aside to use later. We like the peel very fine "shred"- which makes the cutting process long and tedious- but I make this a little easier by using the fork to hold several pieces of peel together, then slicing through all of these at the same time.

Do NOT discard the pith as this gives the characteristic bitterness. Once all the pips have been assembled, put them all back into the retained water in the pan and boil for ten minutes (this is important in helping the marmalade set as you are harvesting pectin from the pips) Remove the pips from the water, then return the cut fruit back into this water. Bring to the boil, then add the sugar, stirring over a gentle heat until the sugar is all dissolved- making sure you don't leave any sugar crystals on the sides of the pan.

 Then boil rapidly- stirring only if it looks like it might burn- for about 30 mins or until the setting point of approx 220 F is reached. When set a small amount on a cold saucer will wrinkle when allowed to cool and pushed with finger.  

Put into clean, jars that have been preheated in a warm oven. I usually stand these on a wooden board covered in clean paper to make catching spills easier and clearing up less of a sticky nightmare! Use a ladle to fill jars. Cover with waxed discs of paper and put lids onto jars while still hot for a good seal.

This makes about 10 jars- depending on the size obviously!

Marvellous Marmalade.

It's marmalade making day here at Crown Studio Towers.... I prefer a really powerful, zesty, bitter, solid marmalade...not that light, wishy washy jelly stuff that one is usually served at breakfast in hotels and B&Bs. So every year I make a batch of my own.

It's a job that brings back a lifetime's memories- my very first batch made as a school girl at my parents house in Ferryhill County Durham during the early 1970s- which wasn't anything like sweet enough for my Dad- who much preferred Roses' lime marmalade and made no secret of it!

Living as a student in Droylesden in Manchester our house was near the Robertson's jam factory and during January and February the grey, wet tired streets were filled with the glorious, invigorating smell of oranges and sugar being transmuted into marmalade.

When Graham and I worked up in Appin I was introduced to a new revolutionary way of marmalade making by Trudi Finch-who used a food processor to chop the fruit in a matter of moments. This created a chunky, opaque result. But Graham remains unconvinced by this and to this day I cut each piece of peel to the finest "shred" slowly and laboriously using a wickedly sharp knife.

Every year I use the same recipe and method, but nevertheless the results do vary- one year dark and rich- as a little bit of sugar burnt early in the process, another year clear and lightly set. But every year it's tangy with a citrus hit that's almost painful in its intensity.

One year I went to Seville during February and was charmed and surprised to see streets littered with Seville oranges dropped from the trees growing along the central reservations. I was quickly brought back to earth when I noticed the amount of dog muck also lying there!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

My Paper Sculpture Peacock

 If you didn't get to see my Crown Studio Gallery Peacock video- which was made for my Christmas window display - here's a second chance. I created the paper sculpture peacock from two coat hangers and 8 sheets of white cartridge paper.

Friday, 17 January 2014

A New Start

It's been over a year since I posted anything on my blog. 

But now I'm back!