Spread the word about mar­malade

The fu­ture’s orange, gooey and sweet as Kate Whit­ing ex­plains with the re­lease of a new mar­malade cook­book

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - LIFE & LEISURE -

EV­ERY year, with­out fail, my mum whips up a batch of the most de­li­cious mar­malade. It ar­rives in Jan­uary – the only time of year when the bit­ter Seville or­anges are avail­able – and dis­ap­pears by about Fe­bru­ary, spread lib­er­ally on as much toast as my house­hold can con­sume.

Now I’m a mum, I feel it’s about time I popped my mar­malade cherry, and got my hands sticky in the kitchen too.

Be­sides my own mum, help of another kind is on hand in the form of Mar­malade: A Bit­ter­sweet Cook­book by Sarah Ran­dell, food di­rec­tor of Sains­bury’s Mag­a­zine, who’s writ­ten some lip-smack­ing recipes for mar­malade and what you can do with it – mar­maladeglazed ba­con sand­wiches any­one?

“Mar­malade is part of our Bri­tish culi­nary psy­che, it rep­re­sents us on break­fast ta­bles all over the world and is some­thing we are, jus­ti­fi­ably, very proud of,” she says.

And ac­cord­ing to Ran­dell, our love of mar­malade dates back to the 18th cen­tury, when it was first made com­mer­cially by the Keiller fam­ily in Scot­land.

“Mrs Keiller and her hus­band, who was a gro­cer, took stock of a batch of Seville or­anges from a Span­ish ship that had to dock un­ex­pect­edly on the coast of Dundee.

“Mrs Keiller set about mak­ing them into mar­malade and Mr Keiller sold it.

“Around the same time, home cooks were be­gin­ning to ex­per­i­ment with recipes for mar­malade-type pre­serves.

“But the name mar­malade stems from the Por­tuguese word ‘marme­lada’, which refers to quince paste.”

Padding­ton Bear boosted the pre­serve’s pro­file in the 1950s with his love for mar­malade sand­wiches – and now the film’s do­ing just that again, with sales of mar­malade up 88% at Waitrose.

“We al­ways had mar­malade on the break­fast ta­ble at home. We were more of a toast and mar­malade fam­ily than ba­con and eggs, so it has al­ways been part of my life,” says Ran­dell.

“A few years ago, I was asked to join the judges for The World’s Orig­i­nal Mar­malade Awards.

“I was fas­ci­nated by the range and va­ri­ety sent in from around the world; hun­dreds and hun­dreds of jars and ev­ery one was dif­fer­ent. I was hooked.”

Her idea of a per­fect mar­malade is ‘a bright clear jelly with ten­der peel sus­pended evenly in it – the peel should be ten­der but still have a slight bite’.

Her recipe for Clas­sic Seville Orange Mar­malade be­gins with the words, “Put the ra­dio on”, so that’s just what I do...

But sadly, after two days of prep, I over-boil my con­coc­tion at the fi­nal stage and end up with a fra­grant - but very runny - goo.

It’s dis­ap­point­ing after the ef­fort, but it tastes amaz­ing, so I pour it out into my jars and slap on la­bels read­ing ‘Kate’s Runny Mar­malade’.

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