There is nothing like a bit of wielding a sharp implement when one is feeling a little stressed. Though it has to be said it is best to avoid bloodshed. This week has been a tad difficult owing to that heady mixture of parenting, lack of sleep and miscommunication. Today, I turned off my phone and took some time out to be creative. Creativity while venting my spleen is not always easy to pull off but thankfully the Seville orange season is upon us which can only mean one thing. Marmalade!
I have been keeping an eye open for Sevilles for a week now but my local Tesco has let me down. Thank goodness for Sainsbury’s. And in the nick of time too. Heaven knows where I may have taken my sharp implement had I not had a kilo of Sevilles to slice!
I have also been keen to tweak recipes here and there. With some Christmas book vouchers I recently bought a copy of The Flavour Thesaurus by Niki Segnit which I suspect is going to become a fantastic investment. I am already excited at the prospect of experimenting. Today I confined myself to adding a vanilla pod to my orange slices as they soak overnight in juice and water. I will remove it prior to potting but I am curious about whether one pod will be sufficient. I want there to be enough of a vanilla hit for its presence to be noted but not so much that it is over powering. Tomorrow, I may halve the mixture prior to boiling; add another half pod to one batch and then force the unsuspecting to perform a taste test and see which scores the most highly. Seems like a plan.
Meanwhile, the recipe I have used is below but it remains a work in progress. No pictures tonight but hopefully some will appear at the weekend when I aim to be posting another marmalade recipe. Watch this space!
Seville Orange and Vanilla Marmalade
1kg Seville oranges
1 vanilla pod
75ml lemon juice
2kg demerara sugar
Scrub oranges, cut in half, squeeze out juice and set to one side. Cut oranges into fine slices and place in a bowl with the orange juice. Split the vanilla pod, scrape out the seeds and add both pod and seeds to the orange slices. Cover with 2 1/2 litres of water (I used hot water from the kettle to help the vanilla to infuse – no idea if this is a good plan) and leave to soak overnight.
Transfer to preserving pan, boil then simmer covered until the peel is tender (approx 2 hours). Contents of pan will have reduced by about one-third. Stir in lemon juice and sugar, stirring until sugar dissolved. Boil rapidly until setting point achieved. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10mins to allow the peel to distribute evenly in jar. Pot and seal. Keeps for up to 2 years.