I had never made Seville orange marmalade before but was inspired by the gift of Pam Corbin’s Preserves Handbook for Christmas. I tried the sliced fruit method – ideal for me as I hate messing about with muslin, pips and scientifically accurate measuring. And apart from a sticky moment when an ancient sugar thermometer packed up and I had to boil it all up again, it worked like a dream. I am now the proud owner of a shelf stacked with jewel-coloured goodies to give away or dollop into my speciality bara brith or bread and butter pudding.
Apparently today is the feast of St Brigit, provider of plenty. It’s also Candlemas. What better day to spend stocking up the shelves with a bit of home-made produce and connecting with the earth mother in me?
February can be the bleakest of months , even with the odd snowdrop and crocus poking its head optimistically through the frozen wastes. It’s a good time to be cocooned in the kitchen steaming up the windows with a bit of boiling and baking. Yesterday’s job was to turn a last treat from our veg box (a couple of kilos of seville oranges) into a dozen or so pots of delicious marmalade.
Time now to draw up a plan for the allotment. It’ll provide some focus for the back breaking work of the next few weeks as we clear the couch grass, brambles and stones. Here in Wiltshire it’s just started snowing – so today’s work is strictly dreaming and planning.