Showing posts with label marmalade. Show all posts
Showing posts with label marmalade. Show all posts

Monday, 20 May 2013

Stand by your jam - 22nd May 2013 is the jammie deadline

Say goodbye to jam as we know it...its about to happen.
You might have missed the latest about the change in jam regulations in England, that are about to be decided upon in the coming days and weeks.

DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs ) have launched what can only be described as a non publicised ‘public’ consultation about suggested changes to the ratios of sugar to fruit in the making of jam.

These are known and the Jam and similar products (England)Regulations 2013. This consultation is not restricted just to jams as it also affects marmalade and curds (similar products). 

The Regulations will incorporate four main changes:
·       Option 1: Reduce the permitted sugar level for jams from 60% to 50%
·       Option 2: Reduce the permitted sugar level for jams from 60% to 55% with an ingredient specific exemption for Bramley apples to a level of 50%

Additional deregulatory measures under both options:
·       Remove the UK national limit for ‘reduced sugar jam’
·       Removing national provisions for curds and mincemeat

It is worth noting at this point that the government favours the 50% option.

You might think that lessening the ratio of sugar to fruit in jams, marmalades and curds is a good thing…but let me assure you its not! The impact of such a proposal will change jam as we know it, no longer will you have the lovely sweet jewel-like fruit laden goodness you spread so lavishly on your cake sponges and breads, but instead you will have something more akin to a sweet spread. Don’t get me wrong I like a spoonful of jelly-like spread on my bagel when I’m in the USA but this is not the USA and I love and want to keep my British jams. They are part of our heritage in this country and I want to keep that heritage and British jam tradition alive.

Marmalade is affected by these new proposals and mincemeat too, its not just jam.
You can read more about this issue on Vivien Lloyd's blog here. And also at Rosie’s blog here. These two are proper jam and preserves experts and know their stuff so I’m taking my lead from them and I am supporting the 60% sugar in my jam and making my views known to DEFRA.

The consultation closes on a few days on 22nd May 2013. This means you still have time to make your opinion heard and noted.

Please take a few minutes to support our heritage and preserve traditional English jam etc.

You can do this by e-mailing DEFRA at this address

All you have to do is say something like this…


I know you want to change the sugar content of jam in this country to decrease the permitted sugar levels, but actually I quite like English jam it as it is.

I want to keep English jam at a permitted sugar level of 60%.  I do not agree with either proposal to reduce the permitted sugar levels to either 50% or 55%.

Thank you for taking my views into account.

(Your name goes here)

Changes will affect curds too if they come into force.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Making marmalade to competition standard - tips & labels

Making marmalade takes skill, time, judgement and patience, you will need to practice if you want your marmalade to be good enough to enter a competition with. Some of the people entering these competitions have been making marmalade for years and are very skilled, you will be up against a tough and an experienced bunch. Be warned once you start practicing it can become very addictive, very this house its been woman versus marmalade for weeks and woman was going to win! (and I am not a competitive person, trust me)

So here are my top tips from what I have learned so far...along with some photos taken from the day I spent with like minded preserving fiends Vivien Lloyd, Karen Burns Booth and Charlotte Pike in February this year. Making preserves with like minded people is a great way to spend a day and you learn so much too. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Chocolate, marmalade and ginger cake - recipe

Its national marmalade week and here is a recipe to suit the occasion, not that we need an excuse to use up marmalade in this house!

This cake is packed with a chocolate punch as it contains cocoa powder and chopped dark chocolate too. Its a rich chocolate almond batter base with added marmalade, orange zest and chopped cristalized ginger. Its a great way of using up homemade marmalade in a cake, but the marmalade doesn't 'have' to be homemade.

In this recipe I have used marmalade from a jar of Mackays orange marmalade with champagne. Even though I love homemade preserves best of all, I could quite happily eat this marmalade, its a lovely colour and packed with fruit and flavour. These preserves are still made using traditional copper pan methods in Dundee, Scotland and Mackays are the only company to still do this.

Here is how you make this cake...

Sunday, 3 March 2013

The Worlds Marmalade Awards 2013 - the results are in!

I had a lovely day out at the Worlds Marmalade Awards at Dalemain in Penrith, Cumbria this weekend. The awards last over two days and this is the eight year of the awards; entries to the various categories come from all over the world and this year there were over 1,900 entries in total. The most ever!

Dalemain Mansion and gardens are near Ullswater, Penrith in Cumbria. This historic house and gardens contains a wealth of Tudor and Medieval rooms and buildings. There is a tea room and a small shop; the main mansion house has a courtyard and during the weekend of the awards stallholders have a small marketplace selling a fabulous selection of quality goods. Here you will find everything from jam jars to pottery to preserves to peruvian rigs. There is also a lot of marmalade on sale from various producers, including the Dalemain Mansion brand.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Marmalade cake - Jamie Oliver recipe

This marmalade cake recipe is a great way to use up marmalade if you have made lots of it like I 'might' have or if you have marmalade that 'might' not have set too well either. OR you might just love the taste of citrus, oranges and marmalade flavours in cakes.

Either way this cake is lovely with a cuppa and just as nice with custard or cream or ice cream as a pudding. I liked it best the day it was baked when it was still warm.

The original recipe is from Jamie Oliver, I amended it slightly to suit our tastes, and the fact I only had 2 oranges and a vat of orange flower water to use up, you need 3 oranges to make the original recipe.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Pink grapefruit and lemon marmalade - recipe

You can make marmalade in different ways but the two most common are using the whole fruit method (where you boil the fruits whole in water and then slice the cooked fruits, minus pips, and add sugar), like this; or where you extract the juice, shred the skin and put the leftovers (pips and fruit innards) in a muslin cloth and boil with the fruit.

The whole fruit version gives a denser appearance and the method for the recipe below gives more clarity to the finished marmalade. Both can be just as good on flavour however, you are more likely to get an easier set with the whole fruit method (in my view).

The main difference for me is probably the denser texture and set in the whole fruit method.

Whichever method you use your friends and family will be delighted with a lovely shiny jar of your gorgeous homemade marmalade.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Making marmalade to competition standard - batch one results

My husband has spent most of the day chuckling as I regale him with my marmalade knowledge...

This morning for breakfast I tried a blind test by giving him a taste of 'batch one' Seville orange marmalade from yesterday and some pink grapefruit marmalade from last year (not really a good batch at all, but edible)...he choose the pink grapefruit as his preferred marmalade!!! He thought the Seville was too tangy  But, from a man who would happily eat burgers and pizzas the rest of his life is this a he the best person to be my taster? No!

Yesterdays batch had its flaws...I know what they are but the trick (to my success) is to learn how to correct them...this will be may aim for batch two, which is steeping as I type.

Batch one: Had a nice colour and the peel was a good size and nicely distributed BUT...air bubbles were everywhere! It had lots of them and this was because I stirred it while it was not to stir.
This batch also took a long time to reach setting point...could be two reasons for this...quality of the fruit...or...too much liquid. The ratio of fruit to liquid to sugar is very important and I need to be more stringent in measuring...I didn't measure at all for batch one other than to follow a recipe.

As far as marmalade is concerned following a recipe has to go alongside knowing how to preserve if you want it to be able to enter competitions.
I think batch one was slightly under set, but now I'm not sure what a good set texture wise someone who suffers with 'set anxiety'  and tends to boil the life out of things I'm trying to address my anxiety and I am at risk of undersetting my marmalade now.

Batch two will be made tomorrow I'll let you know how it arms are aching with peel slicing.

But lets end on (below) is the lady who won the marmalade awards at Dalemain last year...(please don't think I might win this as I won't its impossible to with over 1,700 entries; I worked that out ages ago) she won 2 categories and therefore double gold, she's a novice, a home cook not a professional. Two questions (and DON'T Google her, thats just cheating!).

Q1 How old is she?      
Q2 How long as she been making marmalade?
Photo reproduced from Dalemain marmalade awards website

Don't forget to link up to my last post if you are also making marmalade.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Making marmalade to competition standard

Like a lot of people at the moment I'm making marmalade at home, Seville oranges (the ones that are traditionally used for making bitter orange marmalade) are in season now and this season is very short (late December to early February).

Last year I made my first marmalade with Seville oranges I can't remember which recipe I used but it wasn't that successful really, the marmalade was too dark, the peel was almost indigestible and even with my limited knowledge I know that was because I boiled it for too long. After that attempt I thought I should stick with the tried and trusted pink grapefruit, it never fails me...but I now know that using preserving sugar isn't the best option for preserves and you can't just eat pink grapefruit marmalade forever can you?

So this year I'm trying to improve a lot, and improve so much that I want to enter a pot (or two) in to the Dalemain National Marmalade Awards in Penrith (Cumbria) held in early March 2013. I must be mad! After all my marmalade may be edible BUT its not up to competition standard. Oh no! But one thing I learned last year when I spent a day making traditional preserves with Vivien Lloyd at her home, was that good preserving is all about knowledge, practice, the right recipe, practice and FEEDBACK. So I think if I enter then I'll get some pretty decent feedback, as the judges at Dalemain are WI judges, and you can't mess with the WI.
So I'm setting myself a challenge to improve my marmalade and then to enter it into these awards, in what categories yet I'm not sure as there are an awful lot of them...and last year over 1,700 jars were submitted into this competition. Trying to be placed anywhere in that lot will be very tough. No pressure here!  These are the homemade categories, I have discounted those I can't enter and explained why...

Monday, 16 April 2012

'Food you can't say no to' - book review - recipe

Tamasin Day Lewis is a prolific food writer and cook. I can remember watching her on TV, some years ago now (long before food channels and the like...yes readers, I pre-date food channels!) cooking on some New World (it was anything but new world!) rickety old gas stove and thinking, 'how ever does she make such fabulous food on an old cooker like that'? Tamasin went on to have the most marvellous new kitchen, and a new stove (and Aga too I think?) to go with it but I always remember her cooking on that old gas stove. I was mesmerised by her ability to create such feasts from it; anyway, fast forward a few years on and Tamasin has a new recipe book out currently called 'Food you can't say no to'.

Read on for my review and a lovely recipe from the book at the end of this post...

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Home made and well preserved with Steenbergs Organics

Well-preserved adj.
1. kept in good condition. 2. continuing to appear youthful.

Jam n. 1. a preserve containing fruit, which has been boiled with sugar until the mixture sets. 
Chutney n. a pickle of Indian origin, made from fruit, vinegar, spices, sugar, etc.: mango chutney.
Pickle n. 1. (often pl.) vegetables, such as onions, etc:, preserved in vinegar, brine etc. 2. any food preserved in this way. 3. a liquid or marinade, such as spiced vinegar, for preserving vegetables, meat, fish, etc. 4. to preserve in a pickling liquid.
Piccalilli n. a pickle of mixed vegetables in a mustard sauce.
Marmalade n. a clear sweetened jelly in which pieces of fruit and fruit rind are suspended.
Curd n. a custard like mixture made from fruit juice, sugar, butter and egg yolks and used as a filling or spread (Definitions quoted from Well Preserved)
I'm a lover of anything 'home made & well preserved' and I am always looking out for new recipes to try. After saving lots of jars in readiness, I really need some new inspiration from fellow food storers, creative cooks and lovers of all things home made, so here is a 'home made and well preserved' jamboree (get it?).

I could go on about how well preserved I am but I won't, most of it is pure fantasy on my part! However, autumn is fast approaching (or is it here already, it feels like it is in the north west!) and at this time of year I always want to lay down home made jars full to the brim of some kind of goodness for the winter...see previous marmalade post below...My logic says we could get snowed in, or the road/railway could collapse and supplies wouldn't get through, or the local Co Op Waitrose could run out of food? (I jest BUT we have 2 such stores in our 'village' and both ran out of all supplies last year in the snow crisis). It could happen again, and if we ran out of homemade marmalade/jam/pickles/chutney/piccalilli/relish/curd/preserved lemons/fruits...well it doesn't bear thinking about...right?

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Pink Grapefruit Marmalade - recipe

I really do love the taste and flavours of homemade jams/preserves/pickles/marmalade's, I'm one of those people where, if see a village hall sale and if there's home made jam in there I have to buy it, on some occasions I have bought the whole batch (no kidding I really have!). I have thought about joining the WI just because of my preserve addiction/habit (as I'm convinced all WI members are closet jam/preserve making fiends). Sorry WI, I do know there is much more to it than just that!

In the autumn, I don't know why but it seems like the right time of year to lay down stores for the winter ahead and that's when I like to make jars of preserves. Think I'm a secret food hoarder, mind you its not a secret to some!

Well its not really autumn yet, though its felt like it in recent days here in the north west, but I bought some gorgeous plump pink grapefruits from my local market at the weekend and rather than eat them all for breakfast I decided to make some marmalade with some of them.

I've been making this marmalade recipe for years and years, why? Because its so easy to make and I do like easy...and it tastes so nice and because its home made (and I love home made as much as I love easy) you can play with the recipe a bit...add grated fresh or stem ginger...add a teaspoon of whisky to the jar before you add the finished marmalade...put some edible glitter in if you like, add whatever extra kick or extra loveliness you fancy. Make it chunky, make it fine...make it your way.

This year I'm trying to improve my Seville orange marmalade, so much so that I want to enter the national marmalade awards with it if I can get it up to standard; you can follow my exploits here.