Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Tipsy Lady Marmalade

Seville oranges are in season (less than 2 euros per kilo in the market) and the weather is uninspiring and grey outside- so, a good time to get out the preserving pan again and brighten things up with some home made marmalade.

I am actually a novice marmalade maker- so this was a bit of an adventure.
I looked for an easy recipe- and here it is:

Easy Marmalade
Makes 2.5 kilos

7 Seville oranges (scrubbed)
2 sweet oranges (scrubbed)
1 lemon (scrubbed)
1.3 kilos sugar

1. Put the whole fruits and 1.7 litres of water into a large pan and simmer for an hour until soft.

Boiled and softened fruit
2. Allow to cool (preferably overnight), then take out the fruit and cut it in half. Squeeze out the juice and put it back into the pan and pick out the pips.
3. Put these into a square of muslin and tie with string.

Pips all bundled up
4. Put the peel and flesh into a food processor and pulse coarsely
5. Make the liquid in the pan back up to 1.4 litres
6. Dissolve the sugar slowly in the cooking liquid and add the bag of pips, tied to the side of the pan.
7. Stir in the chopped fruit and bring up to a rolling boil.
8. Boil for 25-30 minutes until the marmalade reaches setting point (105 degrees) or when a spoonful of it placed on a cold saucer wrinkles and 'sets'.

I was lucky enough to be given a jam thermometer at Christmas- which took a lot of the guesswork out of reaching setting point. However, I read that adding two tablespoons of whisky to the cooled marmalade will help with a stubborn set- and enhance the flavour somewhat too!

Ready to set and go!

Talking of whisky, I don't really drink the stuff (except on Burns Night of course)- but it can add a certain je ne sais quoi to various dishes. I use it to bring my Scottish Shortbread together and it adds a lovely smooth, toffee-like flavour to the biscuits:

Whisky Shortbread
Whisky Shortbread

The best shortbread is made with a ratio of 3:2:1 (eg. 300g flour, 200g butter, 100g sugar). I like to replace 1 tbsp of the flour with cornflour to lighten it a little.
Just put all the ingredients in a food processor and pulse until fine. Add two caps of whisky and pulse until it comes together in a soft dough.
Turn out into a greased baking tin, press evenly to fill the space and bake at 150 degrees for 15 minutes or so until lightly golden. (Keep an eye on it, as you don't want it to overcook).
Once out of the oven, prick with a fork all over and mark into slices.

Sprinkle with vanilla sugar et voila!

I am looking forward to tasting my marmalade with fresh French bread or croissants- but it will go well in either of these dishes too. (Better still, if you want to use up leftover shop bought stuff before luxuriating in your homemade preserve.)

Sticky Marmalade Cake:

Souffled Marmalade Pud:


Cookery Club was interesting this week too, from a fruity point of view. We made 'Pommes au Four au Porto' (Baked Apples in Port Wine). Thanks to Michelle for the recipe and demonstration.

Les Pommes Au Porto de Michelle

Ingredients: (for 4)

4 dessert apples
4 dessertspoons raisins blonds or sultanas
15g butter
4 tsp golden caster sugar
white port or dry sherry

1. The day before, soak the raisins in port
2. Wash and then hollow out the apples, but don't completely core- you don't want to go all the way through
Hollow out the apples

3. Put a knob of butter in each apple

Butter in!
4. Then a spoonful of raisins

Raisins in!
5. Pour over some more port and sprinkle on the sugar

Pour on the port generously!
6. Bake at 180 degrees for 45 minutes, basting occasionally with the syrup.

Pommes Au Porto
They look a little like I feel after all this boozy cooking!

Time for a little siesta now.

There are a few more cooking events coming up before I set sail for England again. I don't want to spoil the surprise but here is a little hint of what is to come: