Monday, August 29, 2011

Signs of Spring and the AGA

Spring is on the doorstep.....there are drifts of daffodils everywhere,
the viburnum,
the echiums
the honey-scented buddleja salviifolia, 
and the broad beans are all starting to flower,
 and the rocket is rocketing...
The Aga is finally installed, I had to wait a week for the tiles to be finished but here it is at last:
The kitchen is warm all day.  I am LOVING IT.  I can't wait to try a slow cooked leg of home grown lamb.  There hasn't been time as we have been away a lot in the last couple of weeks.  In the meantime there has been lots of experimentation, trial and error, some burnt toast and confusion with the timing mechanism, but we are getting there.

Yesterday I made marmalade.  
Don't know why that photo has a dark band at the bottom
I make it every year when the Seville oranges come into our local fruit shop and make enough to last a year, including some to give away.  As the making of marmalade is a bit of a labour of love I go for a fairly simple recipe, based on the one in Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion, which she in turn got from a "competent Western District cook".  So thank you western district lady, I wonder if you are nearby.


No measurements, all depends on how much fruit you have.
Seville oranges (I had seven)
plus 2 sweet oranges
Quarter the oranges and remove the central membrane.  Flick out about a tablespoon of pips.  Thinly slice the fruit.  Weigh the fruit and put into a large pan and for every 500g fruit add 1.8 litres of water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt.  Wrap the reserved pips in muslin or a square of Chux and add to the pot.
Simmer until the peel is quite soft.  Remove the pips and leave overnight in a large ceramic or stainless steel bowl.

Next day, measure the fruit and water and for every cup add 3/4 cup sugar.  (The original recipe has one cup of fruit and water to one cup of sugar but I find that too sweet).  Bring to the boil and cook for about 30 minutes at a rolling boil until it passes the wrinkle test.  It can take longer depending on the amount of pectin in the fruit.  For the wrinkle test, place a saucer in the freezer for a few minutes then put a teaspoon of marmalade on the saucer and return to the freezer for another few minutes.  Run your finger through the marmalade and if it wrinkles it is ready.  Put into hot sterilized jars.

This batch made 13 jars of varying sizes.

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