Monday, January 12, 2015

Plough Monday

...Not there's much evidence of the traditional Plough Monday traditions in these parts - and nor has there been in the past I suspect - although I would very much like to be proved wrong. The start of the agricultural year may be marked with frolics and mumming elsewhere but here we have the now traditional drumming of incessant and torrential rain on the roof and the squelch of wellies in mud.

What's a girl to do when faced with a drear grey day but turn to another January pursuit; the bringing of sunshine into the home in the form of marmalade. Sevilles are back in the shops again, fresh and fragrant, ripe for conversion but oh so bitter that a dab of juice makes one wince. (Think eating a wasp. )

Well, it seemed like a good idea but the reality was rather time consuming. Squeeze, remove pith and seeds. Shred. I glanced at the clock - that's 2 hours of my life I won't see again.  Add sugar and boil. Furiously.  Trial spoonfuls are placed on cool saucers to find if that elusive 'setting' point is reached. Suddenly and before I expect it my finger is pushing a wrinkle across a cooling spoonful. We're there. I've made it. I pot. Job done.

I'd bought 3 kilos which seemed a good idea at the time but actually is twice as much as the jam pan can handle at any one time. Tomorrow I will be stirring my cauldron again for batch no.2. Hopefully there will be another 9 jars, sufficient to see us through this year and maybe next.

Every surface has an annoying tacky coating despite my very best endeavours with a damp cloth. The sink is piled with sticky bits of kit but the air is sweet with oranges and sugar. Heavenly.

Now just add toast.


Annie said...

Hello stranger. Hmmmmmm I can smell that from here. :-)
Annie x

Pondside said...

Ah - golden deliciousness for every morning, as long as it lasts.
I've never tried to make marmalade, and admire you for doing so. I had some of Jane's and then she brought me some more when she visited - soooo good. No one else got a bite, I was so greedy.
Lovely to see a post from you over there on your hilltop!

Twiglet said...

Sounds great but I am the only one who eats marmalade here so never bother making it. I am good at blackberry jam though! x Jo

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Heavenly smell !
For want of a pan of bubbling marmalade , I'll just have to make some of my Christmas present tea .... Assam with chunks of dried orange peel in .( It smells better than it tastes , sadly , unlike your marmalade)

rachel said...

I had been planning an email suggesting that you write an annual blog post, seeing that you've been an idle slacker for almost a year, but you got there first! Great to have you back again- don't go leaving so soon this time, will you?

Z said...

A few years ago, I tried boiling the fruit whole and cutting it up once it was cooked. I'd always thought it would be a sticky mess, but it was a revelation. It took much less time to cook, I suppose the hot juice cooked the peel from the inside as well as the water outside, and it was little bother to cut up. Also, the initial cooking can be done in a saucepan and just the final boiling in the preserving pan, which further simplifies the operation.