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.

Sunday Star-Times - Sunday Magazine - - NEWS - Pho­to­graph Styling/ Sam Man­ner­ing

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.

GRAPE­FRUIT MAR­MALADE

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.

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