Marmalade making

February 1, 2011

Time is running out if you want to make your own marmalade this year. I’ve been really enjoying the sharp/sweet thing offered by the home-made stuff for the last couple of weeks, so do have a think about it. Recipes aren’t hard to find but I took inspiration from a feature in Great Food Leicestershire and Rutland and used a version contained on the website  of the Oakham’s Jam Jar Shop (the site is a bit of a car crash but stick with it.)

Basically this involved boilng up the Sevilles and a lime before juicing them, straining through muslin,  slicing the peel and making the preserve. 

You should still just about be able to find Seville oranges in greengrocers  or supermarkets. I found a kilo of fruit made enough for a few few small gifts  and plenty to keep me going for the rest of the year.  Obviously breakfast is the key usage but it’s a pretty versatile substance – try using it instead of  red sauce/brown sauce in a sausage sandwich,  as a glaze for a piece of gammon, as a flavour enhancer to a casserole of chicken and sweet peppers, or as the filling to add a sharp note to a layer of cream in a sponge cake.    

Not sure if Leicester Market is selling Sevilles, but congratulations to it anyway for last week being voted Britain’s favourite by the National Association of British Market Authorities. I’ve no idea how much these gongs genuinely represent the sentiment of the masses, but good news whatever.  With developments like the new Market Corner section opening in March it’s good to see the effort being made to keep it relevent and contemporary.

Not the only fruit

January 15, 2011

Right, where were we?…

Now I know Leicestershire is not exactly famed for the quality of its citrus fruit, but as there’s not much local fresh product to celebrate right now, and as oranges are absolutely on form, that’s what I’ve been out searching for this week.  

Seville oranges can be found for a few precious weeks until mid February, so expect more marmalade-related posts soon. But today the focus is on blood oranges. Not only is this variety exceptionally tangy but I think they are just about the prettiest thing you can put on a plate.      

Look how beautiful these are. I’ll be making a sorbet later on but it seems a shame to only pulp these beauties, so I adapted a Nigel Slater idea and made a vaguely Middle Eastern salad. I know it’s January and there’s a cold wind outside but man cannot  live by comfort food alone and this relatively light and refreshing lunch was just lovely.  

Start by smearing a chicken breast in harissa paste (I always use the part-boned breast – seems to keep it juicy and flavoursome). For the salad just mixed fresh leaves, some cous cous, pine nuts tossed in a little soy sauce and toasted in a pan, and these slices of orange. As lon as you’ve got a sharp knife, it’s pretty simple to cut slices off the top and bottom of the orange so it stands flat and then cut down  between the flesh and the pith/peel before slicing crosswise.  It’s a little messy but do try and rescue what you can of any juice and use it a dressing in which to toss it all.  I just used red wine vinegar, olive oil and grain mustard.

Grill and slice the chicken breast and you’re done.

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