Thursday, January 15, 2009

Have a stir ... Make a wish ...

Well, I said I would tell you about the marmalade, so here goes. The first thing I needed to do was go looking for some storage jars. I have only emptied a few here and last week I took them all to the recycling bin! In one supermarket I managed to track down some rather nice 'kilner-style' jars. They were a bit big for marmalade and fairly expensive, but they can be reused so I didn't mind buying them. I also met a lady from my church in town who said she could bring me a few jam jars on Sunday because she collects them and makes jam for church sales, so maybe next week I will make another lot of marmalade and give her some for her next sale. I don't have my recipe book here but fortunately I found a recipe on the internet that sounded much like mine, so I knew I had the proportions right. I normally cook the skins in the pressure cooker in about twenty minutes, but mine is in storage, so this time I did them on the highest setting on my slow cooker for a couple of hours. I had to do them in two lots, but that was the biggest container I could find. I then combined both lots of liquid and the sugar in the remoska pan (I couldn't cook in there but it was O.K. for storage), while I cut up the peel. It was getting late by then so I let it stand over night, and this morning I divided it into three pans; the largest and middle sized ones of my new heavy based pans, and a horrible red enamel one that came with the flat. I decided to go mad and boil all three at the same time, so I had to stand over them and keep stirring, in case they started to burn on the bottom. Fortunately it set really well after about thirty minutes of boiling, and I now have a lovely row of pots of gorgeous tangy marmalade. It's a good thing the oranges are ripe in the winter. I can't imagine doing all that at the height of a Spanish summer.
Jo, I am sure you are reading this, so I wonder if it has stirred any memories? For those who don't know what I am referring to, shortly after Jim and Jo started dating we asked them to babysit for us, and it happened to be on a day when I was doing my annual marmalade make. I had timed it badly so the marmalade wasn't set when we had to go out, and I left them in charge of it, with strict instructions to test it for setting and remove it off the heat. Well, we returned to find something that resembled dark orange toffee! But I forgave them and it didn't go to waste. Over the next couple of years I used it in my Irish fruit loaf and marmalade gingerbread, two of our favourite bakes that often made the boys the envy of their friends when they turned up in their lunch boxes. (They probably bartered it for chocolate bars, but fortunately they didn't tell me about it if they did!). I didn't let Jo forget in a hurry, but since then she has been a great fan of my marmalade which she likes to eat with cheese! It's a long way to come for a jar this year Jo. Maybe I'll manage to smuggle one home for you to make up for 'spilling the beans' on here.

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