ONE of the highlights of January for me is the brief appearance
of Seville oranges in the shops. Marmalade is easy
to make, and keeps that sunshine taste going throughout the year.
Because there is usually some dark sugar left over from the
Christmas cake, it finds a use here, and gives an almost toffee
taste for the citrus to cut through.
1kg (2 lb 3 oz) Seville oranges
1.8kg sugar (3 lb 14 oz) - at least
1kg preserving sugar/500g dark
juice of two lemons
Place the oranges in a large saucepan or preserving pan, cover
with water until they float, bring this to the boil, and simmer
gently for about three hours. Top up with more water if needed.
Once soft, remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl and leave to
cool. Over a plate (to catch the drips), slice each one in half,
and scoop out the pips into a small saucepan with a mugful of the
cooking water, and boil for 5 minutes.
Place all the husks and flesh into a food processor, and slowly
pulse a few times so that you have chunks of peel, but not a fine
pulp. Pour this into the empty pan, and add both sugar and lemon
juice. Using a sieve, strain in the liquid from the pips, then
discard them. Bring to the boil gently, stirring all the time. Boil
rapidly for about 15 minutes, then test by putting a spoonful on to
a chilled saucer, and see if it wrinkles when pushed after a few
seconds. When it does, it is set.
Sterilise the jars in the dishwasher, or microwave (3 minutes on
full power with 1 tablespoon of water in each), or just very hot
water, then dry immediately with a clean tea towel. Ladle the
marmalade into the jars, cover with a wax disc, and screw the lid
on tight. Label them, store in a dark place, and enjoy on your
In case there is marmalade hanging around from last year, use it
up in this Chocolate orange steamed sponge. Of
course, the bought stuff works well, too. One variation is to use 1
tablespoon of ground ginger instead of the cocoa.
3 tablespoons marmalade
125g (4 oz) unsalted butter,
125g (4 oz) self-raising flour
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
125g (4 oz) caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
Butter a 1-litre (1½-pt) pudding basin (with a lip is best), and
spoon the marmalade into the bottom. Whizz all the remaining
ingredients together to a dropping consistency. Pour this mixture
into the basin.
Grease a rectangle of foil and fold a pleat into it. Place this
on top of the basin, butter side down, and fold over the edges,
securing with an elastic band. Place into a large saucepan with
lid, and pour in boiling water to two-thirds up the side.
Cover and steam for a good two hours. To serve, loosen the edges
of the sponge with a knife, and invert on to a plate - paired,
naturally, with custard.