It’s marmalade season and once again boxes of organic citrus fruits are stacked in my kitchen just waiting to be immersed into my preserving pan. My kitchen is filled with a sweet citrus zing and I feel rather pleased with my efforts so far. Although there is a bit of frustration welling up inside me at the moment, I want to spend all day making marmalade and indeed writing about it, but alas I have been frantically busy and so my Maslin pan will be standing cold today, but the desire to make marmalade tomorrow means that I am determined to plough through all my work at speed today.
Well with all of this talk of marmalade the least I can do is share a nice recipe for one of my favourite marmalades. This recipe produces a great looking and tasting preserve and you’ll just have to test the recipe out to find out how delicious it is.
Seren’s Lovely Lime Marmalade
Cut the limes in half and squeeze all the juice from them, then cover the skins with cold water and leave them in a cool place overnight. Do the same with the lemons. This will help them to soften, making cutting easier. Store the lemon and lime juice in the fridge. Remove the lemon and lime skins from the water and using a spoon scrape out as much of the pulp, pith and pips as possible, placing it all on a piece of muslin. When doing this task I often abandon the spoon and resort to fingers! Tie the muslin up into a little bag shape, securing it with string.
Now with a sharp knife, finely shred the skins. Try to get the peel chopped as evenly as possible.
Measure the reserved citrus juice and make it up to two litres with water.
Place the shredded lime and lemon skins into a large preserving pan with the water and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down so that the mixture simmers for about an hour, after an hour the peel will be soft and translucent. During this process check the pan from time to time, to ensure that it is not boiling too rapidly, you need a gentle simmer if you want to avoid tough peel in the finished marmalade.
Once the peel is soft and translucent, remove the muslin bag from the pan and set it aside to cool.
Add the sugar to the citrus mixture. Squeeze the cooled bag of pith and pips into the preserving pan and then bring the mixture to the boil again and leave it on a gentle boil for 40- 45 minutes and then test for a set.
Once you have achieved your set, you can put it into sterilised jars and seal. It never lasts long in my house and is a favourite with my girls.
Well until next week, farewell from a snowy West Wales
Food has always been of great importance to Seren and despite her being renowned for her historical recipe recreations, her culinary skills were not honed, in the kitchens of top restaurants, but in the home kitchen from the age of being able to hold a wooden spoon.
When Seren was born her mother was taken ill and so she spent her early years being cared for by her grandmother, Minnie. This was to prove instrumental in the development of Seren’s love of cooking, for her grandmother was an accomplished cook, who’s kitchen was always awash with terrine’s, home-made pastry and traditional puddings. Minnie’s love of good food and her zest for life meant Seren’s childhood was filled with days of hedgerow picking, baking, traditional preserving and cooking recipes from the depths of a family copy of, Mrs. Beeton. She learned from an early age how to make Victorian puddings alongside elaborate noble pies and perhaps this explains her love of pastry making and the reason she won an accolade from The Great British Pie Awards this year.
Today Seren has great skill in bringing historical food to life and making it accessible and understandable to the modern cook and diner. Her enthusiasm and love of historical food and British cooking is evident in her presentations and she loves to revive forgotten recipes. She recently took part in ITV1’s Country House Sunday and has given live cookery demonstrations across the country at food festivals, historical houses and castles.
Trained as a herbalist and nutritionist, she has a deep understanding of improving health through food. Her interest in historic remedies and herbal folklore eventually extended to researching British food history, and reignited her early passion for cooking. Fifteen years on and Seren has amassed extensive knowledge and is now renowned for her historical food recreations and interpretations.
Seren’s interest in food history does not just extend to old recipes and cooking techniques, but to ingredients and manufacturers. From the age of fourteen Seren has collected food and drink packaging from early Victorian to the 1960’s. Her collection is now extensive and provides a wonderful snapshot in time that accompanies her vast knowledge of the development of British food and drink companies throughout history. She also has a huge collection of antique kitchenalia and moulds which she uses to replicate historical recipes and portray past eras.
Her training in herbalism and nutrition has not been wasted for despite her merits as a food historian and period cook she also delights in creating British Classic dishes for those with food allergies and intolerances (such as gluten and dairy intolerant). Her botanical knowledge has made her a keen wild food educator and forager that lends unusual as well as historical twists to all her cooking. There are also many points at which food and medicine intertwine throughout history and Seren is able to portray these developments and has also undertaken a lot of research into the British spice trade.
To Seren historical food is not a job, but a way of life.
Visit Seren's blog: Serenity Kitchen