Monday, January 12, 2009

Marmalade Weekend

This weekend has been all about long runs and marmalade. When I come back from a long run in cold weather I will invariably have a large slab of home-baked bread with either honey or marmalade and a cup of hot tea - it is a tasty and efficient way of replenishing the body with some fast-acting carbohydrate/glucose. Our supplies of my mother's tasty marmalade ran out weeks ago and I have had to make to with Frank Coopers - not bad but not a patch on the home made stuff. With my mother away on the other side of the globe I have had to make my own ...much to my daughter's horror as she still believes that only Grandmothers make things like jam and marmalade.

The ground was white and the trees  covered with hoarfrost (totally gorgeous), so the kids football and rugby was cancelled on both Saturday and Sunday...bad for them but great for me ... no taxiing around to do ... just wonderful! I did two runs - 4 miles on Sat and 11 miles on Sunday, with my youngest on his bike to keep me company. In fact, my 13-year-old came did 6 of the 11 miles with me on Sunday and I have to say that he is FAST...a very good pace-maker. I suppose by next year he will be outpacing me, so I had better make the most of it now.

My Sunday run was slightly marred by every runner's nightmare ... a hangover. I have been so good since I started my training schedule, 
but I just could not resist having seconds (or was it thirds?) of my friend Kate's Margherita ice cream on Saturday night - just whip up some cream, add a mixture of icing sugar dissolved into tequila, cointreau and lime juice - totally awesome - it really is my kind of pud I have to say....light, refreshing and alcoholic! The photo does not do it justice unfortunately. So I did not sleep because of the alcohol and them felt pretty lousy the next day. Oh well.

I was amazed at the extra time I had in my weekend without the normal standing on the rugy/football sideline and I finally got round to using the Seville oranges I bought in Sainsburys last week. It was one of those lovely family occasions - everyone sitting around the table, my 9 year old taking the photos and helping me, hubby reading the paper, 15 year-old daughter revising her Chemistry and adding clever (if unhelpful) comments. Here's the recipe I used in the end for those who might be inclined - it is a sort of marriage of two recipes - the "family" recipe and one from my good old faithful "Good Housekeeping" recipe book which my Mum gave me when I left home 25 years ago! It really is dead easy and it makes the house smell divine...

You need the following ingredients:
Seville oranges 
2 Lemons

Weigh the oranges and lemons. Remember the weight and write it down!

Put them in a big preserving pan and pour over enough water to just cover them

Bring to the boil and then cover and simmer until the fruit is soft.
Meanwhile carefully wash your jars in really hot, soapy 
water and then standthem on a roasting pan in the oven
to dry - this should sterilise them.

Leave the fruit to cool and then remove them from the water. Leave the water in the pan

Remove the pips from each orange/lemon and then chop it into  chunks - big ones if you like chunky marmalade and fine ones if you prefer a more delicate variety (which I do, but others in my family would disagree). Get someone to help you as this takes a while and it can be
 quite sociable. Use a chopping board with a gulley in it or a plate, as you need to keep the juices and the pulp. Discard the pips.

Put it all back into the preserving pan with the water and then add the sugar. You need about 1.5-2  times the weight of the fruit but it depends how sweet you want it. I used 1.5 kilos of fruit and 2.25 kilos of sugar 
because we all like our marmalade to be quite bitter. The Good Housekeeping recipe says 3lbs oranges to 6lbs sugar. My brother in Oz uses the same weight sugar to fruit but he has to use sweet oranges as Seville oranges are not available in Canberra.

Boil it all up and keep boiling until you reach setting point - 105 degrees if you have a sugar thermometer, or just put a saucer into the freezer for a mimute or two, then take it out and put a blob of marmalade on it, then leave it for a few minutes - it should wrinkle if you gently push it with your finger (if it doesn't, you need to keep boiling a little longer)

Ladle the mixture into your prepared jars (just take them straight out of the oven on the roasting pan) and tightly screw on the lids. Hey presto, you've made marmalade...

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