Seville oranges are in season right now so it is time to roll up your sleeves and make Marmalade! I learnt a couple of things last week, firstly that Seville oranges have a short season from the end of December to mid-February, and secondly that there is a high concentration of pectin (natural gelling agent) in the pith and seeds of citrus fruits. What this means is that to make marmalade you only need 3 ingredients and decent amount of time on your hands.
Now I confess before I embarked on making Marmalade last weekend I gave Mummy Mortimer a ring to see if she had any top tips. Her advice was to cut the oranges in half and to cook them first in a shallow pan with a little water to soften the rind. It was a great shout and meant that I could make the marmalade in two stages and the rind was incredibly easy to cut into slivers.
My tip is to put at least 4 side plates in the freezer for testing when the jam has reached setting point. When you think the jam is ready to test – spoon a small amount onto one of the plates and place back in the freezer for 1 minute and then push the marmalade gently with your fingers to see if the jam wrinkles. If it does then you will know that it is ready, if not keep boiling.
The beauty of making your own marmalade is that you can adjust the balance of sugar in the recipe to suit your own palate. I personally prefer a sharp marmalade so I work on the following ratio 750g sugar to 1 litre of liquid and then add more sugar as needed.
The process of making marmalade whilst lengthy is very easy and I recommend you giving it a go if you can get it your hands on some Seville oranges. At the end of the process you’ll have at least 3 jars which you and either keep and enjoy over the next few months or give to friends and family as gifts. Enjoy!
“A wise bear always keeps a marmalade sandwich in his hat in case of an emergency”
~ A Bear Called Paddington ~
My day always kicks off with a strong cup of coffee, it is my one vice that I simply can’t do without. I love the ritual of making it, packing the coffee grounds into my percolator and then waiting the five minutes for it to brew whilst the blissful aroma fills my kitchen. The only downside is that I have a tendency to gulp the coffee down in a matter of minutes before dashing out of the door to catch the train to work.
At the weekend when time is not of the essence a lazy brunch with lots of coffee is how I like to start my day before heading out to walk Oscar up on Wimbledon Common. The recipe below is a fantastic brunch option that is very simple to make and absolutely scrummy. If you are efficient it can be prepped and on your plate in under 10 minutes.
The key to this recipe is not over cooking your poached eggs so that the yolk is still runny when you cut into it and creates a beautifully rich sauce. In essence poaching an egg is very straight forward, however sometimes it takes a couple of tries to work out the timings. My tip for poaching an egg is to put a ¼ teaspoon of vinegar in the poaching water and make sure that the water is simmering whilst the egg is cooking not boiling.
This is a fantastic recipe full of vibrant colours that is a great way to start your weekend. Enjoy!
I have decided to share a recipe that helps to use up one ingredient that has a tendency to be leftover after Christmas – mincemeat. The recipe below is super easy and can be eaten either hot for pudding with a little cream, or is great served cold as a topping for porridge in the morning for breakfast.
The inspiration for this dish came after a visit to East Sussex to see some of my friends who swear by a bowl porridge for breakfast, topped with fresh apple, yogurt, seeds, nuts and honey before a days hunting, shooting or fishing. Not being one for porridge normally, I am well and truly converted and the recipe below is my take on their porridge toppings.
The simplicity of this recipe makes it an absolute gem, it takes a matter of minutes to prepare, the key really to this recipe is about how well you core the apple as you want to create a cavity that is large enough to pack all of the mincemeat in. As the apple cooks it becomes beautifully soft and infuses with the spices and flavours of the mincemeat.
This is definitely a recipe to try and is absolutely fantastic on these chilly winter days. Enjoy!
One of my great friends is visiting from Jordan at the moment and it is such a treat to be able to catch up with her over brunch! Whilst Jordan has delicious food, two things that are relatively hard to get out there are blue cheese and ham. So with that in mind that I thought it would be nice to whip up a quick brunch containing both of these things.
This recipe is really very quick and easy and can be easily adapted according to your own tastes. There is no need to pre-cook any of the ingredients, so it is really a case of putting the filling on the croissant dough and folding them up into a little parcel before putting them into the oven to bake.
Now, if you really want to go the whole hog you can make your own croissant pastry, but in my view life is too short so I tend to stick with pre-made dough. One word of advice in relation to making this recipe is make sure that you seal the edges of the pastry as best as you can by pinching the dough together as this will help prevent the cheese oozing out of the croissant whilst it cooks! Enjoy!
My Chelsea bun recipe requires you to make an enriched dough (meaning that it has milk, sugar, butter and/or oil in the recipe). The process is identical to making a standard dough, however the dough is wetter. I have a plastic dough scraper/cutter that I use to help me stop the dough from sticking to the work-surface – it is a handy little tool but not absolutely necessary.
Do not be put off by the number of steps there are in this recipe, making Chelsea buns is very straightforward and is very worthwhile. The buns are light and fluffy and have a lovely sharp zing from the marmalade. By soaking the sultanas in boiling water they become much juicier and they stay plump even after cooking.
Chelsea buns with a marmalade glaze
For the dough:
250g wholemeal flour (Type 80)
150g self-raising flour
50g butter (melted)
200ml milk (warmed)
25g fresh yeast
For the filling:
25g butter (melted)
75g sultanas (put in boiling water to plump up, then drain)
25g mixed peel
2-3tbsp brown sugar
For the glaze:
1 heaped tbsp marmalade
1 heaped tbsp caster sugar
For the icing:
2-3 heaped tbsp icing sugar
1-2 tsp water
Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a large bowl and mix together.
Place the yeast in a bowl, add the milk, butter and eggs and mix together well.
Add the wet mix into the dry mix and combine using your fingers. The dough will be fairly wet.
Place the dough on a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes.
Place the dough into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for about 2 – 2½ hours (until it has doubled in size).
Knock the air out of the dough, place on a floured surface and flatten into a square shape.
Brush the dough with the melted butter, scatter over the sugar, mixed peel and sultanas.
Roll the dough up into a long cylinder shape then, cut into 12 equal-sized pieces.
Place the pieces in a greased and floured tin, then leave to rise until they have doubled in size.
Once they have risen, bake in an oven at 180C fan for 15-16 minutes, turning the oven down to 160C fan after 8-9 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place the buns on a cooling rack.
Make the marmalade glaze by heating the marmalade, sugar and water together in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved and you have a syrupy liquid.
Brush the glaze over the buns, making sure the tops are well covered.
Finally make the icing by mixing the icing sugar together with a little water until you have a smooth but slightly runny icing.
Drizzle/brush the icing over the tops of the buns.
It is not every day that I wake up wanting pancakes but today I did. In truth I had been thinking about making these pancakes for a couple of days and today I finally gave in and decided to make them. I think they took less than 5 minutes to prepare and cook which is not bad for first thing in the morning.
I have been wanting to make a pancake that really summed up breakfast for me – something that was filling and which involved fruit so you don’t feel too guilty when you eat them. My answer came in the form of porridge and banana pancakes and I can assure you that they tasted delicious and they kept me full all morning.
Porridge Oats and Banana Pancakes
Ingredients: (makes 4 small pancakes)
¼ cup / 30g plain flour
¼ cup / 30g porridge oats
½ an individual pot / 60g natural yogurt (plus a little to serve with)
1 tbsp sugar
½ a banana sliced into thin pieces (plus a few slices to serve with)
1-2tsp runny honey
vegetable oil (for cooking with)
1. Heat a little oil in a frying pan whilst you prepare the pancake batter.
2. Whisk the egg and the yogurt together in a bowl.
3. Add the flour, porridge oats and sugar to the wet mix and whisk well.
4. Spoon a little of the batter into the frying pan and drop a few of the banana pieces into the batter mix. Cook each pancake for 1-2 minutes on each side. Depending on the size of your frying pan you may be able to cook more than one pancake at a time.
5. Serve the pancakes with some fresh banana, a spoonful of yogurt and a little honey drizzled over the top. Enjoy!