Thursday 13 January 2011

Marmalade that D.H Lawrence would be proud of

'I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.' D. H. Lawrence

I can’t think of a more quintessentially British breakfast than marmalade on wholemeal toast, preferably Frank Cooper’s Oxford Original Marmalade.
It’s not just because the packaging is original. Or that the
factory where it was produced in 1906 is now a cool art-centre-cum-restaurant-cum-bar with a lovely laidback feel, called The Jam Factory that makes it my marmalade of choice,(although it does help). The marmalade is amazing. The original recipe (and they do vintage too) is made with Seville oranges, it’s deep in colour and a little bit bitter with coarsely cut peel and a lovely caramel-y flavour…mmm……

So it’s weird that marmalade originated in Portugal and not England. My history teacher at school told us that it had been invented by Chefs at the Scottish court for Mary Queen of Scots to cheer her up. According to Wikipedia – that’s a fallacy. Wouldn’t you just know, the one thing that I remember from my history lessons is inaccurate!!

But I’ve actually made some marmalade for the first time ever and it tastes delicious. I wouldn't have thought of making it if I didn't find these beautiful blood oranges in my vegetable box this week plus a recipe card for '15 Min Marmalade.' I've had a hectic week and thought I deserved a leisurely breakfast and so made a batch and it genuinely did only take 15 minutes to do so!
I've doubled the amount the recipe said would make enough for 4 to 6 pieces of toast. I suppose it just depends how greedy you are! But you're not going to make it every day so I think you will need the one orange and four tablespoons of clear honey.....and that's all to make enough for four pieces of toast.
Cut the orange in half and juice and place in a saucepan...Isn't the colour amazing?..... Cut the orange halves, into thirds and then remove the flesh and pith from them. I thought this was going to be a really difficult job and might have been easier to zest the oranges before they were juiced, but it wasn't. I used a desert spoon, and holding the pith with my left hand, scraped it off with the spoon in my right hand. It came away easily. In fact I found it suprisingly theraputic.
It doesn't matter if the skin breaks up because the next stage is to cut it into fine strips. I like mine coarsly cut so this is what it looked like. You will need about two tablespoons of zest.
Combine the juice and zest in a saucepan. Heat on the hob until it bubbles up over a moderate heat and then stir in the honey with a wooden spoon. Allow to boil again and reduce the heat and simmer for seven minutes. Stirring all the time.
The marmalade will be runny so will need to be left to set for thirty minutes to an hour. Just enough time to wash the dishes, make some toast and a pot of tea or brew a nice jug of coffee...maybe even time to check your emails...
I really enjoyed the whole process of making this marmalade. I was a little bit stressed up this morning thinking about everything I had to do today but gave myself the time to do it. It's not the kind of thing I'd usually make mid week but great for weekends and a batch will keep in the fridge for two to three months.....
...I don't think I'll be buying any more Frank Coopers.....oh...and I agree with Lawrence....but not about scrubbing the floor...

This post is linked to The Kitchen Maid's bloghop Sweet sweet Friday that you can see here.

Do you have an end of the week sweet treat? Add it here to spread the sweetness of Fridays...


  1. Looks scumptious - back soon just serving lunch to the kids and a friend who has come to play!

  2. Sounds like a lovely day...have fun.....

  3. Gosh - YUM! I absolutely adore marmalade, which is interesting because in all other types of jams I can't stand fruit chunks or 'lumpy' bits ... but when it comes to marmalade I like it thick and chunky.

    That recipe is wonderful, I really need to try it out - 15 minutes is almost unbelievable!! I can't get over the beautiful colour of those oranges ... you've already got me looking forward to breakfast and that's still hours and hours away! ;)

  4. This is such a lovely post - gorgeous photos. I had read on another blog about the demise of marmalade as a breakfast spread in England and thought it very sad! I wish we could get blood oranges here, alas, they just don't seem to grow (or be grown). There is a lovely Nigella recipe for a chocolate cake involving a jar of marmalade, but I don't think I'd use such a precious jar of homemade stuff unless I had lots of it (and it would be a good way to support the commercial marmalade industry, such as it is!)

  5. Thanks Tracey,

    It really is that easy to make and this was my first attempt at Marmalade. You must try need to wait for breakfast......

  6. Thanks for your kind comments Lucy,

    I had no idea about the demise of the industry...I love marmalade but often forget about it until winter. I now have a great excuse to buy some Frank Cooper Original to help the industry - I'll definitely bear that in mind.

    I wish we could grow blood oranges here too, but that would really be a miracle with our climate. Mine came from an organic producer Giangiacomo Borghese in Sicily...near Mt Etna, it's a shame they have to travel so far, but at least there are no air miles as they are shipped over to go in the fruit and veg boxes....

    The Nigella recipe sounds amazing..I imagine it will be really moist.. it's one I'll definitely research.

  7. I tried that Nigella cake but I haven't made it again so I obviously didn't love it. It's called 'Store-Cupboard Chocolate-Orange Cake' and it's in How To Be A Domestic Goddess. Don't let my efforts put you off I really can't remember the cake at all but I may have been put off by the amount of sugar in the recipe which includes chocolate, sugar and a whole jar of marmalade!

    I did make Nigella's Hands-free Raspberry Jam the other day, however, and it was wonderful. Nigella notes that she got the recipe from her friend Hettie's mother but I think it is actually Elizabeth David's recipe from 'Summer Recipes'. All you do is heat up equal quantities of raspberries and caster sugar in separate baking plates for 20 minutes in the oven then add them together and voila - jam!

  8. Hi Caz,
    Thanks for the tip about the Marmalade cake like you I don't have an overly sweet tooth and so would probably find the recipe a little sounds great though. As does the hands-free jam....and it sounds so easy.