Today is one of those clear, bright, cold January days, when it feels like the day has been scoured clean by the cold. It has been a perfectly wonderful day...a day off work, before the madness of my new hours starts, lunch with a friend, a new haircut, and a new bunch of daffodils!
Carl will be home in an hour or so, and I will be serving steamed smoked haddock, crushed steamed new potatoes, green beans and creamed spinach. I love it when I am at home first, and know that he will be coming home to a house full of warmth, light, and tasty dinner.
We had a scrumptious Sunday, too...a dear friend invited us to Sunday lunch in her sweet little cottage. She made a lemon and thyme roast chicken, and we took Creme Brulee for dessert. When I go to visit people, especially if we are eating with them, I really like to take what I hear in the States is called a 'hostess gift'. Usually flowers or some little token like that, but this time I took a jar of homemade marmalade.
Indeed, I was up bright and early that very morning to make it. Having read through several marmalade recipes (The River Cottage Preserves book is very useful!) I concocted a recipe of my own...it made three small jars, and our little flat was wonderful scented with orange all day long.
Mimi's Marvellous Blood Orange and Cointreau Marmalade
10+ Blood Oranges (enough to give 1 litre of juice)
500g caster sugar
First, zest 6 oranges and the 2 lemons. (This part smells wonderful!)
Next, juice all the oranges- you need a litre of juice. To get the most juice, I used my juicer (the kind that also juices veggies like carrots).
Juice the lemons, too.
Put the juice, zest and sugar into a large saucepan, and stir gently over a low heat to dissolve the sugar.
Scoop out all the pulp from the juicer, and put into a square of muslin. Squeeze it over the pan, and stir all the squeezings in.
Bring to the boil, then simmer for about an hour, or until setting point has been reached, stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick and burn.
When setting point has been reached, take off the heat, stir in the cointreau, then leave to cool for 10 minutes.
Pour into sterilised jam pots, cover and label.
Now buy some lovely soft bread (tiger bread is my favourite at the moment) that is all squishy, and enjoy your marmalade...