marmalade_bronzeThis week is National Marmalade Week (1st-8th March) and so there is no better time to for me to start wittering on about this wonderful preserve. The statistics tell us that marmalade is waning in popularity and that people now prefer to spread honey or marmite on their toast, but I think that there is nothing quite like a good home-made marmalade.  To me marmalade is liquid sunshine in a jar and like Paddington Bear I am a great fan.  The World’s Original Marmalade Awards Festival was held over the weekend and saw them announce the winners and I was delighted, ecstatic and damn right chuffed to be awarded bronze for my Bergamot lemon, Grapefruit and quince marmalade. Since the news I have been pottering around with a big grin on my face and am now quite convinced that a celebratory batch of marmalade needs to be cooked to mark the occasion.

I was incredibly proud to know my marmalade was displayed in the Marmalade Awards Temple at Dalemain Mansion and I will be very pleased to display a winner’s roundel on my winning jars.  It has given my confidence a huge boost and I am really looking forward to coming up with a unique pie recipe that involves marmalade for the British Pie Awards this year.
marmalade_labelA brief dry spell, well okay almost a full dry day, meant that I was able to get in the garden and start to tackle the former weed patch, which is now beginning to transform into my vegetable patch. I had my two little helpers, Hattie and Libby with me and they had a great time unearthing earthworms and making mud pies. Hopefully by next week I will be ready to start planting and I can’t wait to get a greenhouse. As a child I remember the smell of tomatoes and cucumbers growing in my Grandmothers greenhouse and to me it is the most wonderful aroma that brings back memories of Sunday tea, when the best china came out, dainty salmon and salad sandwiches were laid out and a huge chocolate cake adorned the table. It’s funny what memories smells can evoke.

As I began to plot and plan what vegetables to grow and to delve into the pages of my self-suffiency books to weigh up the pros and cons of getting a nanny goat, I decided to entertain the children with painting, sticking and gluing, although five minutes into the start of the craft activities marmalade_templeI gave up on the research as I became enthralled in the art of sticking sequins onto the papier mache heart we made weeks ago.  I may not have made a decision on a goat, but I had great fun with glitter paint, sequins and powder paints and as I looked at my two very happy, paint covered, little girls I knew it was time well spent.

Well the kitchen is calling me to make a batch of cheese scones, so I will bid you a fond farewell from Wales until next week.

Da bo ti  (good bye)