Marmalade is on the agenda and at the second attempt I am lucky to bag Seville oranges from greengrocer Pretty Traditional in East Dulwich. This is Emma`s marmalade recipe from my book - Pure Style Recipes for Everyday: 1.5 kg Seville oranges, granulated sugar, water Cover the oranges with water in a large, heavy based saucepan and simmer until soft, about 1-2 hours, depending on the toughness of the peel. Retaining the liquid, remove the oranges from the pan and cut into halves, scooping out the pips with a teaspoon. Return the pips to the pan and boil rapidly for 10 minutes. This extracts pectin to help the marmalade set. Strain the liquid into another bowl and discard the pips. Using scissors or a knife cut the peel into pieces - bigger ones if you like it chunky and vice versa for a finer texture. I like my slices to be about 1cm wide and 3cm long. That`s because I like a good proportion of chewy peel. Measure the strained liquid, adding 500g peel, 750g sugar to 450 ml liquid. If I`ve lost more liquid than normal, either because I`ve boiled everything too for too long or the oranges are not quite as juicy , then I will top up with some water. Put the liquid, peel, and sugar into the saucepan and bring to the boil slowly , then boil rapidly until setting point is reached (when you get a wrinkly look on the surface of the mixture). Leave the hot marmalade to stand for 15 minutes. Sterilise approximately 8x250g jars (and lids if you want to use them) by washing them in hot soapy water and then drip- drying them on a rack in an overn preheated to 140C. Put the marmalade in jars, either cover with waxed discs and cellophane lids tied with string, or like me, simply screw on the lids.
ACTION: The low golden sunlight pours in through the windows and falls across the worktop burnishing the pile of oranges that seem to bask in its rays. The pan of simmering fruit soon imparts a rich aromatic smell which pervades the Sunday afternoon kitchen.
Cut into halves I scoop out the pips of the softened oranges. The chopping board is soon flooded with pith and juice which I tip back into the pan. Once the pips have done their pectin releasing act I strain the mixture through a sieve, removing the pips and pushing any orange mush that comes out with the pips too.
I chop the peel into quite chunky slices, because that`s the way I like my marmalade to be, and add it to the pan with sugar and boil the whole lot up for about 25 minutes or so. A key thing is to keep stirring with a wooden spoon so that nothing sticks on the bottom. Once the whole bubbling mass starts to go into the slow rolling boil motion like a kind of molten orange lava - then you`re on the way to the all important setting point. I test for the set by spooning a little of the marmalade onto to a frozen plate- if it wrinkles it`s ready
I hunt for more jars, washing out any that can be relieved of the dregs of some encrusted jam or pickle which I know no one in the household is going to venture into (Hmmm not very food saving, but I do swill out a nearly finished jar of tomato paste with water and add it all to the pasta sauce.)
The bitter sweet orange taste of marmalade makes it just as appealing with hard cheese and oatcakes for pudding as it is spread thickly with breakfast butter and toast . PS The verdict from the 23yr old for this year`s batch: `It`s good mum " PPS Very belated thanks for all the wonderful responses I had to the Pure Style Competition. It was hard to choose from all the entries - but there were two very succinct examples that summed up Pure Style brilliantly. The winners have their books and I would love to write a post including the wining entries, together with some of the other inspiring responses- I hope I have all your permissions to do so!