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It is the time of year when my kitchen smells of citrus fruit and my hands smart from the juicing, zesting and chopping of Seville orange peel, yes it’s marmalade making season. With a new baby I must confess that marmalade making has taken a little longer to complete this year, with peel chopped in-between feeding times, cries and general mummy duties.

 

All across Britain home cooks and chefs alike are cooking up batches of the bitter-sweet preserve that has come to be an essential part of the quintessential British breakfast, the preserve is marmalade. Whilst it’s future was once in jeopardy with marmalade sales dropping in favour of spreads such as Marmite, but artisan marmalade making is on the rise and as quality marmalades have been increasing so has its appearance on British breakfast tables.

IMG_0127[1]It’s not just because it is Seville orange season that there is a flurry of peel chopping taking place, but because the deadline for entries to The World’s Original Marmalade Awards is looming. The awards were founded to expand and champion the production of marmalade,  the Awards have certainly been a great success for over a decade and attract thousands of entries each year.

Last year I didn’t manage to submit any entries for the Great British Marmalade Awards as my other work commitments were just so great, so this year I thought I’d make up for the lost year and enter all sorts of unusual combinations as well as my standard and well loved recipes. I’ve spent days leaning over a bubbling preserving pan, creating everything from gin and lime marmalade, to honey brandy and Seville marmalade jelly and even an extra special one that uses oak-leaf liqueur. I’ll certainly be letting you know how my entries fair and for the first time ever I shall be attending the awards so hopefully I can get some inspiration for next years entries, although my real motive for attending is just to get a photograph with Paddington Bear!

So tomorrow I shall be labelling up my entries and finishing off my final batches of marmalade. You might like to try out this recipe for lime marmalade.

IMG_0172[1]INGREDIENTS

  • 14 limes
  • Juice of 2lemons
  • 5kg(3lbs) jam sugar
  • A clean 30cm (12in) square of muslin,
  • String
  • Four or five sterilised glass jars.

METHOD

  1. Scrub the limes to remove any wax. Halve the fruit and squeeze them (reserving the juice). Place the lime halves in a bowl, cover with water and leave covered in the fridge overnight. This is an important step as it makes the peel slicing easier.
  2. Drain and discard the water. Halve the pieces of lime, scrape out the flesh and membrane, then wrap this – together with any pips – in a bag made from a clean square of muslin. This is vital in achieving a good set. Tie up the pips etc., in the muslin.
  3. Slice the peel thinly and place in a large saucepan along with the muslin bag. Then add lime juice, lemon juice and 1.5l (48fl oz) of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and gently simmer the mixture, uncovered, for 1 hour. The peel should be tender – never add the sugar until the peel is soft.
  4. Remove the muslin bag from the pan and, using tongs, carefully squeeze any liquid back into the pan. Discard the bag. Stir in the sugar and bring to the boil, stirring continuously to dissolve the sugar. Boil rapidly for 10 minutes or until setting point is reached.
  5. Allow the marmalade to cool for 20 minutes, then stir and spoon into sterilised jars. This stage of cooling will ensure even peel distribution. Seal and label when cool.

This recipe is a great one to use on toast in a morning, but is delicious slathered over brioche.

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About Seren Charrington-Hollins

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