RSS Feed

Posts Tagged ‘jam’

  1. Marmalade

    March 15, 2015 by sarah

    The start of Spring means marmalade making time. The required bitter-sweet Seville oranges are only in the shops for a short time around about now so I always buy a bag when I see them before they disappear again. They bring bitter-sweet thoughts of places that are currently sunnier and warmer than this grey cold British start to Spring. But the sparkling bright orange jelly and tangy orange peel warm any breakfast.


























    It is a pain hand cutting the peel but there is no way round that; using a food processor just leaves mush, even a mandolin failed. The acid in the oranges also makes the skin of your hands go all pruney! But there is no way round it, so stick on some music and get down to work. Orange or other citrus marmalade seems to be a uniquely British product. I do not recall seeing it in any of the countries I’ve been to around the world. But a certain bear from deepest darkest Peru was rather fond of the stuff!



    Recipe from ‘The National Trust Good Old-Fashioned Jams, Preserves and Chutneys’ by Sara Paston-Williams

    Makes approximately 6 jars.

    1kg Seville oranges
    1 lemon
    2.4 litres of water
    2kg granulated sugar

    Wash the oranges well as the rough skins are prone to be dirty. Cut them in half (plus the lemon) and juice them, reserving the pips. Scrape out the pith (white bits and membranes inside the oranges) and also reserve with the pips. Then shred all the rind fairly finely.

    Place the shredded rind, juice and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Boil for about 2 hours until the rind is very soft and disintegrates when squeezed.

    Heat the sugar in the oven and when the rind is soft enough, add to the pan. Then use the oven to sterilise half a dozen jam jars and lids.

    Tie up the pips and pith into a muslin bag and add to the pan. Gradually stir to dissolve the added sugar. Once the sugar has been added, increase the temperature and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Boil briskly, stirring frequently so it doesn’t catch on the bottom, for about 20 minutes before starting to test for the set. Once setting point is reached, take the pan off the heat, remove the muslin bag (squeeze well to get the goodness out), skim off any froth and allow the pan to sit for a good 15 minutes. Stir well before potting and stir while potting to evenly distribute the peel.


  2. Medlars – cheese and jelly

    December 14, 2014 by sarah

    When we were on holiday in Suffolk at the end of October, we came across a medlar tree in the car park of a National Trust property. I had a vague recollection of reading about medlars and being intrigued about this very old fruit, so after asking we filled a carrier bag full. They didn’t seem promising at that stage. I bit into one and it was hard and astringent (really unripe) but after some internet research, I found that they are only edible after ‘bletting’ which really is just another word for allowing to go rotten. So when we got them home, I laid them out in a flat box and put them in the shed. And forgot about them. Until this week. When I entered the shed I could smell a ripe fruity smell, which I followed to find the box of now bletted medlars! They had changed colour from a yellow green to deep brown. Eating them fresh is probably an acquired taste because at first I wasn’t sure if they were any good but after a few days of trying them, they grew on me. The fresh is a disgusting brown colour and a grainy but completely mushy texture, but the flavour is unique; like stewed apple with a hint of rhubarb. So here are a few posts on what I made with my medlars!












    Medlars are related to roses and therefore apples. They contain about 5 large pips and a have a fairly tough skin. They were a fruit popular in medieval times and known as ‘cats (or dogs) arse’ because of their curious shaped bottoms! I have to say from a veterinary/anatomical point of view, they are not very anatomically correct. An unusual sweetmeat was made from spiced medlar cheese called chardequince, though it was made from that Cinderella of the British orchard, the medlar rather than the more popular quince. The historic food website has all manor of old food facts and trivia and you can see these chardequince. Also this kind of cheese is not a dairy cheese; it is an old-fashioned preserve made with fruit puree and sugar that is slowly simmer for a long time to reach a stiff consistency that is sliceable. Fruit cheeses are traditionally served with cheeses or meats but can also be eaten as a sweet (kind of like fruit pastilles) at the end of a meal or with nuts and port. They should last for a long time, a year at least, but I am keeping them in the spare fridge just to be safe as I don’t have an old fashioned larder (on the wish list though).














    I have included both recipes here on the same page because they both start out the same. Take the bletted medlars and squish them in your hands into a large pan; if they are well bletted then this is easy. Add enough water to come half way up the fruit and simmer on a medium heat for 15-20 minutes until well and truly mushy. Use a potato masher to get the flesh out of the fruit.

    Medlar Jelly


    Put the cooked fruit and liquid into a jelly bag and suspend at least overnight to allow the juices to drip out. Give a little squeeze to release some more juice (I think I did it too much because the finished jelly was cloudy). Measure this juice into a pan and add the juice of a lemon and 450g granulated sugar for every pint of medlar juice. Warm slowly until the sugar is dissolved and then boil furiously until setting point is reached (it took about 10 minutes for mine). Take off the heat and allow to stand for a few minutes, skim off the scum and pot into sterilised jars while still boiling hot.

    Medlar Cheese

    Take the stewed medlars and push the flesh though a sieve, discarding the skins and seeds. This takes ages; put some music or course work on in the back ground!
    Weight the puree into a heavy bottomed pan and add three quarters this weight of granulated sugar (e.g. 1kg puree will need 750g sugar) and the juice of a lemon.
    Heat gently, stirring frequently and constantly towards the time when the cheese is thickening. It is ready when you draw a spoon through the mixture and it stays parted for a few seconds – like the Red Sea! Prepare some moulds (muffin/cupcake pans, mini loaf tins, large loaf tins) by greasing the insides with some oil with no flavour (I used regular sunflower oil) using some kitchen paper. VERY carefully tip/spoon/pour some of the mixture into the moulds and level. Be very careful; it is like molten lava! Leave to cool overnight before turning out and wrapping in greaseproof paper. 
    UPDATE 21/9/15 – I tried making damson cheese with this recipe but waiting long enough for the Red Sea meant the mixture was over cooked – it tasted like burnt sugar and was so hard, it would not come out of the moulds and was not cuttable! I think less cooking next time. It is also very time consuming; took over and hour and a half to get this thick.

  3. Marmalade Loaf Cake and Crystallised Flowers

    April 6, 2014 by sarah

    OK folks, a brief posting for a cake I made last weekend as I am totally pooped! I would of thought I would have more energy now Spring has finally arrived, but as usual there is too much to do and too little time! I made some marmalade last Saturday so to make space for the fresh stuff, I went through the cupboards to find any of last years marmalade. There was only one jar left so a third went into this cake. I just need to find a recipe for the rest – any suggestions?

    This cake is lovely and zing and oh so spring like, especially with the crystallised flowers (ahh, pretty). I saw a recipe in a magazine using them recently and jotted it down as something to do. I was thinking of how to decorate this cake and these flowers were surprisingly easy. Take one egg white and add a dash of cold water and whisk to break up the white. Use a small clean paint brush to brush the egg white all over the flowers and then hold over a second bowl and sprinkle over caster sugar. Leave on a baking rack to dry for 24 hours. Make sure you use edible flowers (see this website for a good list of flowers). I used primroses, daisies and violets. I then used the left over egg and sugar in the recipe so nothing was wasted. I am happy when nothing is wasted!

    marmalade cake (1 of 3)

    Marmalade Loaf Cake


    • 225g self-raising flour
    • 1 pinch salt
    • 115g margarine
    • 85g caster sugar
    • 1 teaspoon orange rind, finely grated
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 2 good tablespoons thick cut orange marmalade
    • 2 tablespoons milk


    1. Preheat the oven to 170 C / fan 150 C. Grease a 1lb loaf tin (or a 6 inch/15cm round cake tin).
    2. Cream the margarine and sugar in a large bowl.
    3. Add all the other ingredients and use hand mixer to mix well but don’t over do it; it should look like thick batter.
    4. Don’t worry about the occasional wee lump, remember there’s orange rind in the mix! Pour the mixture into the prepared tin.
    5. Bake in the center of the preheated oven until golden brown, about 1 hour. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then tip out onto a wire rack.
    6. While the cake is still warm, spread a thin layer of warmed marmalade over the top. Allow to cool, then slice and enjoy.
    7. Alternatively, when cool ice with glace icing and decorate with crystallised spring flowers.

    marmalade cake (3 of 3) marmalade cake (2 of 3)