Sunday, 26 January 2014

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!

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