Saturday, 7 February 2009

Whisky Marmalade

As every British foody knows, January is the fleeting season when you can get lovely bitter Seville oranges for making marmalade. You can make marmalade from lots of citrus fruits, all with their own charm (Rose's Lime Marmalade was a favourite treat in my childhood; cumquats make a very fine marmalade) but for me the pinnacle of all marmalades is Seville orange. It is tangy and very intensely orange-flavoured and just wonderful whether you eat it on toast or as part of a sauce for game.

Within the basic outline of fruit, sugar and water, there is almost infinite variation. Thick or thin cut peel, dark and bitter or light and fresh, Dundee-style or Oxford-style, with whisky, with brandy, with spices. And then there are the variations on technique - boiling whole oranges, juicing the oranges and then slicing the peel, soaking the peel, making it in the microwave, running the juice through a jellybag. And so on and so forth.

It gets even more complicated in the heady world of marmalade competitions. Rumour has it that entrants in the marmalade competition at the Sydney Royal Easter Show use a metal ruler and a scalpel to slice their peel into exactly even shreds and then use a fine needle to position the peel in the jar so that no two shreds touch.

I don't think it really needs to be said that I went to no such effort.

I like a fine-shred, not too dark marmalade (I find thick shreds fall off my toast). I followed this recipe although I didn't add any spices to it. I only did a half quantity, and even then I found it hard going! I had blisters from slicing the peel and the papercuts from my normal working week did not thank me for the application of lemon and orange juice. But the result of my toil was worthwhile - lovely fresh flavour, beautiful colour, and an excellent set.


11 comments:

The Cat's Mother said...

Personally, I follow your grandfather's recipe which seems to be as low effort as marmelade comes.

Joie de vivre said...

Who even knew there were such things as marmalade competitions? Are they sort of like chili cookoffs? There is something to be said for being that exacting, but there is also something to be said for making an excellent marmalade that you don't feel guilty opening the jar for!

Esi said...

In the last couple of years I have come around to marmalade, but adding whisky to it is completely brilliant!

Sam said...

I've been scouring the shops for Seville oranges and found none so far! I like mine chunky, Whisky's good too!

Foodycat said...

Mother - his recipe always tastes good, but I don't know his method, I've never watched him.

Joie - the competitions are serious business, but you usually get to submit for judging before the contest, they don't expect you to do it on the spot!

Esi - the whisky is a subtle flavour, but it works really well.

Sam - if all else fails, you can always buy a can of Mamade...

Selba said...

My mom loves to make her own oranges marmalade. I'm not so sure what else she put except the sugar and water... probably a little bit of salt.

Laura @ Hungry and Frozen said...

Rulers? Scalpels? Way to take the fun out of marmalade! I don't think we can get Seville oranges here in NZ (or if we can, it will be for an exorbitant price) which is a shame because Nigella keeps going on about them.

I remember having Rose's lime cordial when I was younger - I felt very sophisticated having it in a tall glass with soda water LOL. Your marmalade looks gorgeous :)

Foodycat said...

Selba - I've not seen salt in a marmalade recipe before.

Laura - maybe try grapefruit instead? It makes lovely marmalade.

Dee said...

I'm not a marmalade fan, but my husband loves the stuff. Ever so often I make a huge batch - orange, grapefruit or lemon - and then he's really nice to me until the stuff runs out. Sigh.

Foodycat said...

Dee - I admire your patience on making a big batch!

12th Man Training Table said...

Like they say in these parts, whiskey's for drinking and water's for fighting over. But I'll accept "whiskey's for drinking or cooking."

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