So ahead of my first ever foray into selling my wares at the Underground Farmers' Market on 28 March, this weekend I have mostly been making marmalade. I really enjoyed making my own jams and chutneys with a glut of plums last year, but marmalade was much more labour intensive, particularly as my food processor couldn't manage to shred the orange shells, so several kilos were done by hand, improving my knife skills vastly along the way. I also now have stronger hands than I've ever had, having squeezed and pummelled a muslin bag full of orange pith and pips to within an inch of its life to get all of the natural pectin out and into the marmalade…arm wrestle, anyone?
I wanted to try my hand at making my own marmalade, as I was amazed how many ingredients are used in mass-produced versions, whilst my own has used just three ingredients – Seville oranges, water and sugar (plus some of my husband's 10 year old Talisker single malt for the whisky version). I've just used ordinary granulated sugar rather than jam sugar with added pectin, and no other gelling agents or odd preservatives that you find in the supermarket. I've always thought adding preservatives to a preserve was a rather odd idea – surely the clue is in the name? Anyway, the first jars of Kitchen Confidential marmalade should last for about a year unopened, and a month or so in the fridge once you do crack into it. I'm hoping it won't be around for that long though – the results taste pretty good if I do say so myself, and I think it's quite a grown-up marmalade that's not too sweet and has just the right amount of shred (some fine and some slightly thicker depending on at what stage I was in the shredding process).
Halfway through the process...
I do hope some of you can come along to the market and give it a try. As we get closer to the date I'll be practising some of my other creations that I'm hoping to take along with me, hopefully including some marmalade bread and butter pudding for people to take away. I've also noticed that 'This is me (part one)' could do with the addition of part two soon, so I'll be trying to update this a bit more regularly from now on. I'm trying to work out the balance between not boring people with the minutiae of my efforts, whilst not taking so long between posts that people forget who I am. Let me know if you want more or less, or, like Baby Bear's porridge, you think it's just right.