food with sam mannering
Some make marmalade with oranges, others prefer the tang of grapefruit. Either way, Paddington’s favourite is a fundamental part of breakfast.
Paddington Bear and I share a love of two things: duffle coats and marmalade. Much like him, I couldn’t imagine breakfast without the latter.
The word “marmalade” is actually Portuguese, and historically referred to a sort of quince paste, or marmelada, a name that seemed to be used loosely for any kind of set fruit paste. Henry VIII received a box of “marmaladoo” from somebody supposedly keen on keeping their neck. Citrus fruit in England became increasingly available from about the 17th century, and so it gradually evolved into the marmalade we enjoy today.
I’m much more fond of the gutsy tang of grapefruit, but you can use large navel oranges if you prefer a sweeter end result. I’m lucky enough to have half a dozen ancient grapefruit trees in the park next to my café. At this time of year, the fruit speckles the stately old trees like bright yellow baubles, and it’s a race between me and the birds.
As well as spreading marmalade on your toast or good crumpet (as pictured), you could stir a couple of tablespoons into a simple cake batter or use it to flavour a cream cheese icing; even on top of a good vanilla icecream it’s pretty delicious. My friend Charlie makes the best marmalade I’ve ever had; the following recipe is about as close as I manage to get to it.
Prep time: 15 minutes Cook time: 30 minutes 5 grapefruit Water Brown sugar Wash the fruit if necessary, then quarter and chop or slice finely, depending on how coarse or fine you like your marmalade. I slice mine because I like to have long strands of fruit; I think it looks rather nice. Do not chop the fruit in a food processor – this will make the end result cloudy.
Measure out the chopped fruit by volume, and measure out an equal volume of water and of brown sugar. Combine the fruit and water in a large, heavybased saucepan and bring to a boil over a high heat. Slowly add the sugar while stirring, and continue to boil for 5-10 minutes, gently stirring occasionally. By this point, it should be at setting point.
To test for the setting point, place a teaspoon of marmalade on a cold plate. When it has cooled, drag a finger through the marmalade; it is ready if the channel made in it remains open and clear. If the channel closes in, it is not ready yet.
Sterilise your jars by washing them in hot soapy water, then heating in a 100C oven for 15 minutes. Wash lids in hot soapy water and dry them thoroughly with a paper towel. Or you can run the jars and lids through the dishwasher.
Pour the hot marmalade into the hot jars and close the jars while still hot – the cooling marmalade will create a vacuum and seal the jars.