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Thursday, 27 January 2011

In Addition to my Morning Swim

SLSC member Wendy Stephens and I have been talking for quite some time about the possibility of Wendy teaching me how to make marmalade ... You see, Wendy is not only a seasoned Lido swimmer but she is one of the most enthusiastic cold water swimmers the club has!

And, to top it Wendy makes THE BEST jams, marmalades, cup cakes, muffins and all sorts of delicious cakes ...! I know that a few of our members, Gail Cartmail in particular will back that bold statement!

So, today was the day! After my morning swim in icy cold and very windy conditions... (I still swam two lengths and loved (almost) every stroke of the 200 yards ...) I cycled straight over to "Wendy's Kitchen" in Streatham for a ten o'clock start.

I was very excited indeed - never before had I ever attempted to turn my hand to making marmalade ... and yet, I have always loved receiving samples of other people's marmalades, jams or other home made goodies for that matter.

So let the (photo) feast of this experience begin :

Wendy cooked one kilo of organic seville oranges and two organic lemons for 10min in a pressure cooker with 1 pint of water the night before - so when I arrived we got straight into slicing the very soft fruit in two, scraping all the flesh - pips and all - out and into a sieve - here Wendy is slicing the orange peel into strips. Spot the audio recorder :)

orange and lemon flesh in the sieve - ready for the next step

all the peel is now in the preserving pan - what a impressive piece of equipment by the way! Wendy's Grandmother already used that very pan for making all sorts of delicious preserves.

Next step, the most laborious of all ... getting all the flesh through the sieve and into the preserving pan ready to be mixed together with the peel - To ease that process Wendy mixed the water used in the pressure cooker and a further pint of water- all the good stuff is fed through while the rest stays in the sieve.

I liked that stage so much I had to take another shot!

peel and flesh (re)united in the preserving pan - now you gotta give it a good stir ! I was good at that! On with the gas too - let the cooking begin

and now for the sugar - I wanted to use demerara sugar -well one has to add one's own touch, right! Wendy likes using less sugar than most recipes say and I was all for it - so we only added 1.5 KG instead of 2 - Once all the sugar has dissolved, a sort of foam (Wendy calls it scum!) starts to form and the marmalade mixtures releases all the excess water.

this marmalade in the making is so happy it even produced a big smile!

the marmalade boiled away releasing all the excess steam
while the scum gradually disappeared - Wendy doesn't work on set times, she carefully watches the consistency and judges its readiness by observing the moment a skin like layer forms on the surface - a trick to judge that by is to watch how the marmalade runs of the back of a wooden spoon and by putting a small amount of marmalade onto a cold saucer. I couldn't resist and immediately nicked some hot marmalade off the saucer ... :) delicious!

Yep, ready!
next step is to decanter the marmalade into well washed and sterilised glass jars

mouth watering marmalde!

seven full jars and still enough left in the pan for another jar - once all jars were full Wendy added some wax paper, screwed the lids on ...

... Et voila! Wendy's January 2011 batch of home made marmalde

and now for an audio step by step lesson on how this marmalade was made.

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