Back with Seville orange marmalade

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I haven’t posted anything in nearly two months! Not very good at all but I’m back now with a veritable party of marmalade jars, all freshly made this morning. Unlike last year, my first making any sort of preserve, I got better organised in advance, freeing up jars and using a mandolin to cut the peel (and a finger) as last year’s was quite thick cut. This year’s is very fine cut. Very pleased with the result even though I had to free up a few more jars last minute because there’s quite a lot of it – perhaps not all that much better organised… Ended up with 11 and a half jars (total marmalade party) of various sizes out of 1.6kg Seville oranges at a total cost of £10. If that’s not a good enough reason to make marmalade at home, I don’t know what is.

While I haven’t done much baking over the past couple of months, I’ve continued making sourdough bread using a mix of white and rye starters. Didn’t think I’d really keep two starters going but I’ve gotten used to it and I like the end product. White starter gives the loaf a good rise while the rye gives texture. I’ve been experimenting with hydration and am now happy with around 60% – I think sourdough purists would raise an eyebrow (usual amount is around 65%) but with the amount of starters I add, any more water just makes a flatbread not a loaf. I still end up with a good amount of air, here’s this weekend’s loaf – one note to self though, must sharpen knives…

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Wholemeal apple and marmalade cake

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A quick fruit cake I made yesterday afternoon, recipe from Nigel Slater’s Tender II. Didn’t mess with the recipe this time around, although I can see the potential. This is just delicious, full of flavour, as well as apples and marmalade, it has a bit of cinnamon, raisins, orange zest and light muscovado sugar and it only contains wholemeal flour. It rose beautifully and it’s very moist. It was already getting dark outside by the time I cut it so photos are a bit grainy but this gives an idea of the inside

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Perfect with a cup of tea. I’d make it again although I’d cut the amount of sugar. Think it would also work with other fruit and jam combinations – plum (fresh and jam) with a hint of cloves or pear, fig jam and star anise. Might also try apple and cinnamon with gooseberry jam and lemon zest. It’s a good, basic autumnal cake recipe to play around with. 

Marmalade Chelsea buns

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I do love a good fluffy bun and these Marmalade Chelsea buns are rather wonderful and very fluffy. Pretty light too, have had two for breakfast and am now perfectly content with all around me. The recipe came from Dan Lepard’s column in The Guardian. Dan suggests using half a Vitamin C tablet for lightness and that’s clearly worked as the buns have quite a high strong white bread flour content. Not a long list of ingredients (flour, little bit of butter, milk, egg, marmalade, currants, yeast and salt – I omitted the sugar and they are fine) and very simple to make. Would definitely recommend. Pure satisfying comfort on a cold and miserable day like today.

I’ve been making quite a few marmalade treats recently because I had quite a bit of it before I decided to make more. There was the marmalade and dark chocolate ice cream which is fabulous and a stunning steamed marmalade sponge pudding, also a Dan Lepard recipe. I’d still like to do Delia’s classic marmalade bread and butter pudding and that’ll be it. Must leave at least some to have on toast!

Steamed marmalade sponge pudding

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This is just lovely and so perfect for a cold day like today. A Marmalade and syrup sponge pudding from Dan Lepard’s Short and Sweet. Light, moist, soothing and bitter-sweet, Beloved pronounced it outstanding. Very simple to make, the sponge mix has a tablespoon of golden syrup, a bit of double cream and marmalade, then more marmalade goes into the bottom of a pudding basin. Then it all gets steamed for an hour and a half. It really turned out to be a thing of wander. I’ve been wanting to make it for a while but kept getting sidetracked with new cakes from new books.

Have also made, but not photographed a sort of a rhubarb compote, which we had with orange, yoghurt and flaked almonds. Very good idea from Hugh FW who suggests having it with muesli or granola. Thought it was pretty good on its own.

Marmalade and chocolate ice cream

A lot of my childhood memories are about food, the sensation of eating new things or of particularly enjoying something, like the glorious moment of having Italian stracciatella ice cream for the first time. It’s a simple vanilla ice cream with shaved/chopped chocolate (not chocolate chip) and the sensation came back to me when I made this ice Marmalade and chocolate ice cream last week.

IMG_0509Total reversion back to childhood! At the same time, I haven’t used the ice cream maker in a really long time and I enjoyed making this immensely. Recipe came from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries II. I only did it because I really wanted to make marmalade but thought I should use up old stuff first. I didn’t expect to revert to childhood, wasn’t even sure that I’d like the taste of this. Well, it’s fantastic. Nigel’s recipe uses single cream for custard, which is then cooled before adding marmalade and churning. Chopped/ shaved dark chocolate goes in just before the ice cream sets so that you get even distribution. This is quite creamy, luxurious and soft and freezes well.

I’d long wanted to replace my old cheap ice cream maker under excuses that it’s a chore having to freeze the bowl first, that the motor sometimes can’t be stopped and so on (excuses can go on forever) but have now realised that none of this matters. It works and can produce such wonderful treats as the Marmalade and chocolate ice cream. Am now thinking that I could easily use up my large stock of white chocolate (which I don’t even particularly like but overstocked on for a recipe) and combine with dried sour cherries or cranberries for a similar result. Ice cream really is such a fabulous thing and there’ll certainly be lots more of it home made from now on.

Marmalade

Among many things that I absolutely ‘hated’ as a child, marmalade stood out alongside beetroot and caraway seeds at the absolute pinnacle of Most Hated Foods. I now think marmalade rather marvellous and as it is marmalade making time of the year, I made some last weekend with Italian blood oranges. IMG_0505When I say I made it last weekend, I actually started it on Sunday and finished on Monday night as did not read recipe (from River Cottage book on preserves) properly and did not realise you had to soak peel in juice and water overnight first. This is the first time I’ve ever done any fruit preserving so was a bit anxious about marmalade reaching setting point (seemed to take a bit long) but all was fine in the end, it set well and it is rather good. We tried it yesterday for the first time (breakfast photo below) and to say I was happy would be a bit of an understatement – I do get an incredible amount of joy when things I’ve made turn out OK. It’s just wonderful realising that all these things that you usually buy can be easily made with only a little bit of effort and not a lot of money at home. Total cost of this batch was just under £7 – for around 2.5kg. IMG_0503Must apologise for photos, they are not very good, there hasn’t been enough natural light for iphone camera.

Making the marmalade has been a very good experience, even if I did worry that it would never set. I’d love to now do all the recipes in River Cottage and then experiment with some of my own but don’t have enough space – kitchen is already one big real life Jenga/ Tetris scenario so we shall have to use this batch up before I do anything else. I had some old marmalade that someone gave us as well and made some very good ice cream with it, which I still need to post and this I will definitely do again. Then there is the old Delia Smith Marmalade bread and butter pudding that a friend mentioned – incidentally, the book this recipe is in, Delia’s Winter Collection, was the first cookbook I ever bought so I shall have to make it soon too. Not that I want to use up this marmalade batch too quickly but I do believe I’ve caught a bit of a ‘preserve making bug’, can’t help it, it’s a glorious thing!