Bottled

There’s a very pleasant citrusy fug in the apartment thanks to the gi-normous amount of Seville orange marmalade I have made. One of my clubmates kindly gave me a large quantity of Seville oranges which I felt honour bound to use. In addition, my beloved adores good quality English marmalade something one can’t easily find here. Seville oranges on their own are a little too bitter, so I added some oranges from the tree at the cycling club, which are small, sweet and very juicy.

Marmalade takes a lot longer to prepare than jam. First you have to extract the juice. There’s not much usually in Seville oranges. Then take out all the pips and innards, leaving just the peel, which I blitz rather than shred. My beloved, who jetted off to Germany this morning, does not like large chunks of peel. The orange jewelled rubble then needs cooking in a large quantity of water for about 2hours. At the same time, I cook the pips and innards in water for a similar time to extract as much pectin as possible. The two (pectin and peel) are then combined with an equal weight of sugar and brought to a steady boil for about 5 minutes. I test that it’ll set, turn off the heat and allow it to settle for about ten minutes. I then skim off any scum and ladle into warm, sterilised jars.

I have probably made about 5kgs of marmalade and a further 2kgs of tomato and chilli jam which I regard as a cupboard staple. It’s delicious with cold cuts, quiches, cheese, fritters and grilled squid and I’ve just used the last jar of the large batch I made last summer. A lot gets handed out as either gifts or swopsies. Here, it’s perfectly acceptable to take home-made goodies to thank someone for a dinner invite, much more acceptable than a bottle of wine.

We don’t eat or use a lot of jam, so I tend to make small quantities for us when the fruit is in season.  I prefer to make what I can’t easily buy here such as the Sevillle marmalade (mine is generally laced with alcohol) lemon curd with the local Menton lemons or the afore-mentioned tomato and chilli jam made with sun-ripened tomatoes.

I’ve also been whipping up some chocolate goodies for tomorrow evening’s “soiree chocolate” being held after the cycling club’s monthly meeting. I’ve made chocolate covered salty pretzels, brownies, rocky road, gooey chocolate cookies, orange and chocolate cake (well I’ve got all that marmalade to use), chocolate macaroons and a white and dark chocolate fondue with fresh and dried fruits.

As you may have gathered, I haven’t cycled today. It’s a rest day although I have done my core exercises and some stretching. This is fortunately a recovery week ahead of Sunday’s 150km ride. I say “fortunately” because I’ve the financial year end and various tax related matters to complete, plus the first quarter’s expenses and Vat return. Not forgetting, a presentation which needs to be translated into French before Friday.

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