Monday, 27 January 2014

Marmalade. Again.




Wow. Marmalade. It's a lot of work. This time last year - almost to the day, in fact - I made marmalade. It was a disaster. I couldn't get Seville oranges so used Navel, which made a syrupy-sweet preserve; it didn't set, and I cut the peel too thickly so it was basically chunks of orange skin floating in a sweet orange liquid. We've almost used up the six jars I made by eating a lot of marmalade bread and butter pudding and as a topping for orange almond cake, so it wasn't wasted, but still. I felt I needed to try again.

This year I was prepared. Seville oranges were finally located in Marks and Spencer's at £4 for 2 kilos or 4.4 lbs. I used this excellent Delia recipe and I followed it religiously, even hand cutting all the peel. So much peel! It took me an hour. Next time I'm putting it in the food processor. Even with my sharpest knife, an hour of finely slicing orange peel left me with back ache, a numb index finger and a sore wrist. And Seville oranges taste really sharp! Lemony sharp. I didn't realise that and that explains why they make such delicious marmalade, as they give that citrusy bitterness which offsets the huge amount of sugar you need. Anyway, it set nicely without me needing to add any additional pectin which pleased me, and I had some this morning for breakfast and it was very good. Next time I might use a darker brown sugar to give a darker colour and depth of flavour (I used white granulated) but otherwise it's all good. I made proper marmalade! I am happy. The recipe yielded seven jars, which including sugar, works out at around 50p a jar, which is excellent value as a really good jar of shop-bought marmalade might cost £2. It did take all day, but luckily I think it's a good way to spend a wet Sunday.

With the last jar of last year's batch, I made Nigel Slater's Frosted Marmalade Cake. It's the first time I'd tried this recipe and it's going to be a keeper, definitely one to make again. 



Ok, it's not going to win any presentation awards, but trust me, it's wonderful. The sharp icing is more like a glaze, and cracks when you bite into it like a glazed doughnut would.


The weather has been so cold and wet, with sleety showers and high winds, and we've not been out much. It was a weekend of pottering indoors. We gave the Hama beads a rest and played with modelling clay instead. I used to spend hours with this when I was little, making accessories for my Sindy house and food for my Sindy dolls to eat.

Bella made snowmen.


And I made a necklace, inspired by Christina Lowry's beautiful work. It looks nice with a plain black t-shirt, or a Breton striped top. Luckily I've got about ten of those.


And of course there was tea and crochet. I've almost finished this project - I hope to be able to show you it soon. I am in love with the colours and it's been a joy to work up.


Wishing you all a wonderful week.

53 comments:

  1. Your marmalade is beautiful! I'm surprised mine made with navel oranges turned out as well as it did. I hear bad things about it from other people. I love to play with clay too. We have many kinds of clay around here and I think most of it technically belongs to the adult members of the household.

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  2. Marmalade yumminess Gillian, beautiful photography paying homage to a glorious preserve. Your cake looks perfect for a tea, cake and crochet occasion ;o) your crochet with that Debbie Bliss yarn is looking almost edible together with your bead making. I hope you get some bright sunshine your way this week and that you continue t relish all that marmalade xxx P

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  3. Sounds like a wonderful way to spend a grey and wet weekend pottering about the house and staying warm in the kitchen with good things to eat.

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  4. You have made me want to make marmalade... And we are going to Seville next month. So,I will make some as a taster to make me even more excited. But I cut my peel in the processor x

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  5. Yummy looking marmalade, and you are right that is a good price, I noticed when I last bought some how expensive it had got and I was shocked. Your crochet is looking good, I look forward to seeing the finished item. Your hamma bead coasters are getting a good workout I see!! Hope that you have a good week. xx

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  6. I'm not a fan of marmalade, but yours looks very yummy! The clay snowmen are cute, and I love the colors in your crochet project. Have a great day :-)

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  7. I've never made marmalade but love a scrummy marmalade on toast and your cake looks fabulous. Yours looks absolutely perfect and worth the numb fingers.

    The colours on your crochet are so elegant and restful. Look forward to seeing them made up

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  8. I discovered only a year ago that I really love marmalade! We never had it growing up, I suppose my mom doesn't like it. Since I'm in the states, I don't have Seville oranges here. What is the difference between them and navel? Would a mix of clementines and navel work? The cake looks wonderful. Your post on hama beads sent me to the store for some more - we have the perler beads. Perfect timing! Most of us are under the weather, and the kids are making things like crazy. I only hope they leave me a few - I had seen some Cath Kidston patterned squares that are pretty, and I already wanted to copy some of yours! My 13 year old son is planning on making a Boba Fett for dad, haha!

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    1. As far as I can tell the main difference between seville and navel oranges is that sevilles are smaller and much sharper, making them better for preserving than eating fresh. Sevilles are only available here in January and you have to hunt around for them! x

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  9. Between the marmalade and the cake, my mouth is watering! They both look so delicious. Orange marmalade is my favorite! Our weather has been really cold and windy. We are spending lots of time indoors. I think I am ready for spring now!

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  10. I just love marmalade, and your homemade jars look wonderful. My mother and grandmother used to make it when I was little, taking it in turns to use the big preserving pan. I'm glad to hear the cake is so good, as I've got the recipe printed off somewhere. You guys are so very creative in your house, the snowmen are superb. They have a slightly edible quality to them as well! I absolutely love the necklace. Christina Lowry is a new name to me, and I love her work, it's very striking. One to watch! I'm looking forward to seeing your crochet project in full, I love the colours too. Lots of a more neutral colour is setting off the other colours beautifully.

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  11. That cake looks amazing. Can i come to tea! Jacqui xx

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  12. Love the photo of the light shining through the jars. We were watching an interior design challenge show last week and one of the contestants put a light behind marmalade jars on a shelf to make a design 'feature'! I have a jar in the cupboard which must have been there over a year - it was part of a gift set and we're not marmalade fans. Ours will probably be making it into cake too or as a glaze on chicken/meat. x

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  13. Magnificent marmaade. I use the food processor to cut the peel. You do get a few pieces which escape shredding but they're easy to deal with and certainly preferable to cutting it all by hand. I've seen that cake made on quite a few blogs. I tried it with lime marmalade and it took at least twice as long to bake than the 40 mins stated in the recipe -even then it was still gooey. Also I think Nigel added colouring to his glaze.

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  14. The marmalade looks delicious :-) I love rainy days simply for the joy of finding something fun/creative to do in the house instead

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  15. It is good to get a ghost recipe right. It won't come back to haunt you then! Looks pretty fab, I want to see that crochet project finished it looks lovely. I have far too many WIP's on the go. Jo x

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  16. I love that your marmalade worked out, unlike Jane at Yarnstorm's bitterly sour Seville oranges killed her marmalade! I love marmalade and have always preferred it over other jams.
    My granny used to make marmalade from a "starter", which was in a big tin, no idea what was in it?!!

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  17. Making marmalade doesn't look easy but your hard work paid off--those jars of marmalade look inviting and delicious,. The marmalade cake looks great too. Overall a lovely, creative and productive weekend for tou and your family!
    Have a nice week!
    Marion x

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  18. I have made marmalade once and I really enjoyed the process, but I got so over excited about it all I gave all but one jar away!! As much as I like to share around home made or home grown bounty, I think it's now expected by most people I know. In fact someone asked me this week why I hadn't baked her a cake in a while!! Si I may keep any marmalde making exploits to myself...

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  19. Your marmalade looks delicious! I've never made marmalade but I have made jams and it is always so depressing seeing all the hard work boil down to such a teeny quantity...stewed apricots on the other hand are very satisfying as that stuff almost expands with all the water! I am in love with your little squares, the colours are scrumptious :-) Mel xxx

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  20. I just smell those oranges, all that vitamin C! Paddington bear would be so happy!! The clay work is lovely and I must remember to make some coasters! Heather x

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  21. I loathe marmalade I'm afraid, my mother used to make it every year and even the smell of her making it was unpleasant! Your pictures of your jars are gorgeous I can imagine putting a light behind it and making it into a feature would be all that would happen to it in this house!

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  22. I'm quite partial to a well known locally made marmalade, "orange and tangerine" but have never made it myself. Your marmalade looks delicious!

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  23. Congratulations on the marmalade, it really is an amazing feat! And no doubt it tastes all the better with the added elbow grease... ;-) Your photos are beautiful, and I am swooning over those gorgeous crochet colours! Chrissie x

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  24. You've been very productive- I'm impressed with the marmalade- it sounds great- as does the cake :)

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  25. I bet your house smelled amazing. I love the look of the cake, Yummy! Your beads and snowmen look like a lot of fun, hug sot you,
    Meredith

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  26. I've never made marmalade but your looks so delicious I'm tempted to have a go. With the light shining through it looks like jars full of jewels, gorgeous!

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  27. Your marmalade making process photos are beautiful, such a lovely colour. I have only made marmalade once, at school surprisingly and it was lovely. Maybe this year I will get over my fear of jam and preserve making. The cake looks yummy, could just eat a piece!

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  28. Beautiful pictures of the marmalade making process! I especially like the one with the juicer and the seeds. Marmalade must be a British thing - I don't hear of anyone doing it over here in the US. Just jams and jellies in summertime. The cake sounds wonderful! I'm impressed you made such a grown-up looking necklace from something your children were playing with! :)

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  29. I love the colours you used for your beads and Bella's snowmen are very cute too! xx

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  30. You can't beat marmalade! Great photos too. I made some a couple of weeks ago but have seville oranges in the freezer for another batch

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  31. Your marmalade looks delicious Gillian ... the weather was atrocious here too over the weekend so we were mainly indoors too ... roll on spring ... Bee xx

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  32. ooooooh i'd love to have a go at marmalade. The last thing I made was chilli Jam and Christmas chutney, which was lovely, but the whole house smelt of vinegar! Not quite so lovely! I'm betting marmalade smells much nicer in the making!

    Have a super rest of a week

    Vanessa x

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  33. Marmalade - we're all at it! I too ended up with a small injury (blistered thumb due to cutting all that peel), despite using a big old pair of scissors. And I used white granulated sugar instead of golden...
    It is indeed a big undertaking but you feel so pleased with yourself afterwards, don't you?
    Thanks for the bread and butter pudding idea too.
    As for your crochet, I HAVE to learn to do it. Those little granny squares look so pretty.
    Sarah x

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  34. Wonderful! I feel inspired to make some lemon marmalade, need some inspiration in this gloomy weather! Hope you are all well.
    Ivan

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  35. Home made marmalade, I haven't had that for a while, sounds wonderful. I love the photo of the marmalade jars against the window. Will definitely give the frosted marmalade cake a try. Have a good week.
    Jane xx

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  36. Fantastic bright colourful post on this dark wet day, I love oranges, unfortunately though I dislike marmalade :-( great necklace is it made with fimo?

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  37. A very tasty way to pass a wet Sunday.
    I like the necklace you made and Bella's snowmen are slightly dumpy, just as they should be.
    Lisa x

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  38. I made marmalade on Sunday, my daughter informs me it tastes OK but is a bit runny, I had trouble with the rapid boil, my hob played silly beggers. I am going to see if I can get any more oranges and have another go.

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  39. I've never made marmalade myself but your looks great. Lovely looking granny squares! hope you have a lovely week x

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  40. I'm always so in awe of your talents. I really love your blog- I don't say it enough Gillian. Love the beads! Jx

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  41. Beautiful photos and projects, Gillian! I just got to play with polymer clay last week and posted some photos. I want to try making some beads someday, too. Thanks for posting :)

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  42. Your photos are so fantastic, you are like a British posy gets cosy! It would be great to get a post on photo advice! Ashamed to say I have never made marmalade and it looks so good. Xx

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  43. I didn't knew Seville oranges gave this so particular taste to the marmalade... Slicing all those orange peels! Your cake looks and sounds very yummy. I also love Internet, but for cooking, I often (not always) reach to my books, just for the reason that I have too many of them!

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  44. Hmm, marmalade. Sounds like a great idea! Yours looks scrumptious!

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  45. Hi Gillian, your photos are brilliant. Almost makes me want to get into the kitchen and make marmalade, almost ... !!

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  46. it seems to take a while to get it right doesn't it? the first time I made it, the marmalade was far too bitter (I think I added too much pith in the bag)… the second time was a better taste but still a bit runny. third time lucky perhaps?! love Bella's snowmen, very cute! x

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  47. I have never made marmalade before, despite it being my favourite spread on toast. The cake also looks and sounds like something I'd love to. I love cakes with a slightly tart taste. Delicious!

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  48. you have my mouth watering….yum!!!

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  49. I recently learned to make grapefruit jelly. Our orange tree didn't have many oranges, so I didn't try orange marmalade. The grapefruit jelly is perfect as a replacement. I didn't take a photo though. I will try taking one infront of the window like you did.

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  50. Thanks for the link! Your beads look great! They look pretty perfect, but the trick I learnt so as there are no fingerprints is to wear plastic gloves. To mix colours together, flatten two colours out and lay them on top of each other, cut them in half and lay one on top of the other and so on, then start squishing and rolling them. Quickest and easiest way to mix colours.

    Your marmalade looks yum. I made a huge batch once, then I was the only one in the house who would eat it! My batch of mulberry jam went a lot faster... :)

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