My kitchen is a very sticky mess as I've had my first attempt at making marmalade!
I know Seville oranges are seasonal, and only usually around in January and February, but you still hardly ever see them in the shops. Well I saw some recently and bought them with the intention of making marmalade ... and then realised that I didn't know how to do this. Quite by chance, when I was in Borders Books last week I happened to pass one of the tables in the middle of the store that had 'Mrs Beaton's Jams, Pickles and Preserves' book for sale at £2.99. It, obviously being a book on how to make jams etc, has several recipes for marmalade, so I chose one that looked pretty simple, which goes as follows:
12 Seville oranges
Slice the fruit thinly, removing inner pith and pips. Weigh it, and to each 450g/1 lb add 3 pints of cold water. Leave, covered, in a bowl for 3 days, then turn the preparation into a preserving-pan and boil gently until quite tender. Let it cool, weigh again, and to each 450g/1 lb of fruit add 450g /1 lb of sugar. Bring to boiling-point, skim well, and cook gently until the syrup stiffens quickly when tested on a cold plate. Turn into pots, cover and store in a cool, dry place.
Marvellous ... but when you come to do it you realise that it's not actually terribly instructive. I mean, I sliced the fruit thinly, as described, but didn't at this time cut it into tiny marmalade-sized pieces, and then realised that it doesn't say to do this at any point, so I was left wondering when/if I should do this. In the end I did it during that first period of boiling it up. But again, there is no mention in the instructions of how long this should take, or, indeed, the second period of boiling. Rather a lot of guesswork was involved, but I have to say that I'm rather impressed with the result, especially given how much of it I blagged my way through. I wasn't at all sure that I'd let it boil enough on it's second round so didn't know if it was going to set or be a new easy-pour variety of marmalade, but it seems to have stuck itself together well and it even tastes like marmalade! I'm rather impressed and I have to say, quite proud of myself :o)
Despite this new culinery success I doubt that I can truly call myself a domestic goddess as the kitchen is ever so sticky The floor has that special go-slow feature; the work tops have gained a particular 'sheen' to them; and even the lower units have managed to get themselves dribbled down and one of the cupboards now seems particularly attached to the draw above it, despite repeated wiping down. I'm wondering if I am to have a marmalade-clad kitchen forever more.