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A post for reference next year, also for JB who said my last year's batch was very good.

Based on the whole-orange method as seen here, here and here.

In advance: Collect jars. Buy powdered pectin, just in case.

Saturday: Go up to Skipton, look in all the outdoor shops for an inflatable pillow but fail to find one, buy a ginger cake in Wild's and some organic oats, some blueberry tea, and two kilos of organic golden granulated sugar in the health food shop. Have lunch at the Woolly Sheep. Look round the market, decide against getting any cowslips at the plant stall this year, get some beautiful local forced rhubarb (from the Rhubarb Triangle, in fact) and a kilo of Seville oranges, and a lemon.

Saturday evening: wash the oranges, cut them in half, put them in a small pan, just cover with water, seal the top of the pan with foil under the lid, bring to the boil and poach for 2-3 hours. Enjoy scent of oranges permeating house. Turn off, leave in pan overnight. Run the dishwasher.

Sunday morning: Empty the dishwasher. Get oranges out of cooking pan, scoop the innards and most of the pith back into the poaching water. Cut the peel into bits of the size you want, put them into your biggest pan (preserving pan if you have one). Put some of the sugar over them so that not too much of the oils evaporates while they wait to be cooked.
Halve the lemon (and a sweet orange that's hanging around in the fridge, optional). Cut off and discard the peel from half the lemon and the whole sweet orange. (Put the spare half lemon back in the fridge.) Put any pips into the poaching water with the Seville innards. Cut up the flesh small and put it in the preserving pan with the peel. (This step because I decided last year I wanted some little bits in the marmalade to give it some body, rather than just having peel floating in jelly. You could just put the juice in, or roughly chop the flesh and put it in with the Seville innards.)
Put the foil back over the poaching liquid, bring it back to the boil and simmer it while you make and eat breakfast (1/2 to 1 hour.) Enjoy scent of oranges permeating house. Turn off and leave to cool.
Put jars and lids in dishwasher with a selection of metal ladles (and the breakfast dishes) and run on hottest setting. Do not open door when it finishes. Put a couple of plates in the fridge.

Sunday afternoon or evening: Boil kettle. Open dishwasher, fish all the lids out of the depths, pour boiling water over them and set them on top rack to dry. Pour boiling water over jam funnel as well, if you have one, and put it in the top rack too. Close the dishwasher again.
Pour poaching liquid through sieve into preserving pan. Squish any goop that will squish through the sieve. (Never mind doing it through muslin and squeezing it out; I did that last year and it was really yucky, and the marmalade still didn't set until I added pectin.) Add more sugar, so there's about a kilo and a half in there. Stir to mix, heat up slowly to dissolve sugar, taste (carefully!) to see if it needs the last 500g sugar; bring to the boil for a few minutes. (Or longer if you want a darker, more caramelised marmalade.) Enjoy scent of oranges permeating house.
Test for set with a cold plate. Swear, sprinkle one pack pectin over top, stir in, boil for a few more minutes, test for set again. (Repeat if necessary). When it's finally at setting point, put it into the jars with the clean ladle and jam funnel (stirring well), and put the lids on. Turn each jar upside down when it's full; turn them a couple of times while they cool, which should get the peel to settle evenly through the jars.

Blissfully lick all the implements. If you have a small amount left over that isn't worth putting into a jar, bitter orange and rhubarb compote is amazing. Otherwise just let it cool slightly and slather it over some ginger cake, or swirl through yogurt.

Yield: Depends on how much water you use to cover the oranges and how long you boil it down for. I tend to get six pound jars and about another half-jar's worth.
Total time actually doing things: Depends on how long it takes to set, and if you chop the lemon or just juice it. Say an hour spread over two days.

(Note for next year: remember that seville orange juice is supposed to be wonderful squeezed over fish like lemon, and get an extra orange.)
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Just put nutmeg in my porridge as well as sultanas and cinnamon. So very nice.

Slightly worried I'm essentialy reverse-engineering christmas pudding for breakfast. As long as I stop short of putting candied peel in it's probably safe.

Oh, and my sweet peas are still flowering away like mad. Alyssum and snapdragons, too. Odd.
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French toast (aka poor knights of windsor, eggy bread) where you put a slice of cheese on top after you turn it so the cheese all melts as the second side cooks is delicious, by the way.
(And only put jam on it if you like cheese and jam, obviously. I decided two slices, one with cheese and one with jam, was the way to go, but I would not like to stand in the way of anyone's culinary idiosyncracies.)
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Ha ha. I have in the fridge: cold sausages, cheese, an avocado, a lime, tomatoes, yellow pepper, lettuce and corn tortillas. I'm going to have such a nice supper and y'all can't stop me!
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The weekend, it has been fun. B, JB and I have been on a steam train, bought fridge-cramming amounts of stuff at the farmer's market, gone round an RHS garden (they had a bird observation point with feeders, it was cool), and snarked our way around a Designer Stuff For The Home shop. Also, we have eaten purple-sprouting broccoli, mutton chops, some rather good curry, excellent cakes (in an excellent cafe- Earl Grey tea with lavender was yummy), new season pink rhubarb, and award-winning truffles.

I went to see Mark Watson on Sunday night, who was jolly good. Quite a few anecdotes about being on trains- the equivalent of the American comedian's jokes about flying! The set for Othello was up and he messsed about a bit, dashing up and down to a balcony. Also, he got a bit disconcerted at finding there were a group of kids in, which was amusing. ("You're 14? It's a bit late not to talk about fingering, isn't it?")
He's starting to remind me a bit of Jeremy Hardy- physically, that is, not in his act.
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I'm reading through my beloved Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery (New York, 1967) (shut up)- it's an excellent reference work, and also has recipes that are tasty, followable, and mostly not all that watered down for lovers of bland. It also has odd little timebound things, like the very wierd prose poems that introduce recipes from each state in the American food section, and this, er, gem.
"BEATEN BISCUITS
This crackerlike Southern bread harks back to pre-Civil war plantation days when kitchen help was assured, for labor, not a leavener, softens the gluten of the flour in these biscuits."
PLS BUY OUR BOOK HOUSEWIVES OF THE SOUTH WE WILL NOT MAKE YOU UNCOMFORTABLE, y/n?

Also, went to see Danny Bhoy last week, laughed a lot, observational stuff, not too slick, amusing gecko impersonation.
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I don't understand this (this is genuine puzzlement, not sarcasm); Yorkshire folk are supposed to be canny, but there's oodles of blackberries up the top of my hill and nobody's picking them but me. I mean, elderflowers, you have to already know that you can use them, but... berries! The supermarkets sell 'em, and very expensively too!
(All right, the nettles, thistles, and potential for breaking your ankle and getting stuck in a scary nest of brambles and your feeble calls for help going unheard until you perish and are eaten by dogs may have something to do with some of the patches not getting picked, but there are also bushes right beside the path. Why is nobody taking advantage?)

*thinks smugly of blackberries in freezer*

Misc

Jul. 3rd, 2008 01:46 pm
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Did y'all know that We Are Klang's radio show, series 3 of Charm Offensive, and Milton Jones's Hello are out on CD? I didn't. I do now.

Went to a newly opened Indian restaurant with the Curry Club from work yesterday. Had an odd but delicious dessert, called "fruit salad in custard-flavoured milk". Which it was. Cold; custard about the consistency of single cream- thicker than milk, certainly- and flavoured with cardamom; fruit salad with apples, grapes, peaches, and a couple of other things. Yum. Apparently it was also nice with a bit of their carrot halva mixed in to it.

Nice plumber has mended my bathroom taps, taken away the old header tank (the space where it was is suddenly very useful), and put in an outside tap. Riches! No more carrying water down the stairs from the kitchen. Also, there's an easy-to-reach isolator and spigot indoors so I can drain the pipe to the tap in winter so it won't freeze. [*]
(I don't plan on using lots of water on the garden- I'm agin containers, because they need watering- but newly planted things do need it, and it was a right faff this year.)

Finally got round to freecycling the too-large compost bin, so that'll give me a bit more space to turn round in the garden.

[*]Further jobs: Lag pipes in cellar. Plaster and paint space-where-tank-used-to-be. Get waterbutt, fix to downpipe.
Of course none of the other jobs that needed doing before have gone away...
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Ooh, this is brain-bending; snippets of storylines, scripts and behind-the-scenes glimpses of an exciting new show set in Chicago and starring David Tennant as Captain Jack Harkness; Torchwood. (With a spinoff for a mysterious and dangerous character known only as the Doctor.)

Also, mutton chops are not only seriously delicious (I may have to sneer at lamb now), but also useful- I'm sure I could have made a good two or three rush-dips from the fat that ran off. Very high melting point even after cooking, very white, a shame to chuck it away really (but I did.)
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Anyway yes, I don't actually go around moping about not being in London all the time, [1] it was just thinking about nostalgia that sparked it off. And I do, in fact, like it up here as well. Right now I am stressed about something else entirely, viz, builders. And that my Boosh Series 3 DVD was dispatched on Saturday and has still not arrived. I mean, people have icons of the special features already and I haven't even watched them yet! Noooo!

..but there's stoo for supper. Yum yum.
(Stoo recipe: Chuck some meat, onion, root veg and celery in a pot with the remains of last week's soup, and some lentils if you've got some five-year-old lentils that need using up, and probably some yeast extract and tomato puree or wine or something, and a few herbs, and slosh some water in, and cook it quite gently for quite a long time. Gets nicer the more often you leave it in the fridge for a few days and reheat it, up to a point where it'd go off probably but I've never got that far.)

[1] Sometimes I mope about not being in Edinburgh, for example.

Halp! Glut!

Sep. 3rd, 2007 01:11 pm
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I could survive a fortnight's siege at the moment. It's like doing a logic puzzle; if the rare breed sausages, purple goat stew [1], pea soup and smoked eel all need eating up quickly, the chorizo, eggs, pumpkin and smoked trout aren't getting any younger either, the damsons want turning into a crumble and the Victorias are getting squishy, and more blackberries are coming on every day, and the freezer is only a single shelf, what will end up being wasted? (Luckily the local bacon will last for a good long time.)
All in all, it's a good thing I decided against having any of the rowan berries we walked across a Giant Sucking Bog Of Death [2] for, they would probably lead to the pot of jelly that would break the camel's back.

[1]Made with red wine and beetroot. I expect it was just an ordinary-coloured goat.

[2]Oh, all right, a Small Sucking Bog Of Losing Shoes. It was a lovely walk! Perfectly dry most of the way. There was a caterpillar, and a feather, and several scornful sheep, and wonderful views, and a fresh breeze, and just this one teeny-weeny morass. Well, only one I actually got stuck in.

House!

Dec. 4th, 2006 01:14 pm
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Esteemed sibling and parent were Heroes Of The People Of The Moving Van.

Food )

I've got so many books. The pile of boxes of books was the same size as the pile of boxes of absolutely everything else I own (mostly because I don't own much furniture, but still).
I've been buying books for oh, 15 years? And still have many that I owned before that. And get rid of them only with great reluctance. It is not a surprise, therefore, that I would have large quantities. But somehow seeing them all in a heap like that, and realising that a large part of how I will furnish the house has to be based on how much wall space is left after bookshelves are up, is a wee bit scary. My retentions policy may need rewriting. (The notion of stopping buying books, OTOH, is clearly a non-starter. Not cluttering up one's life with Stuff is an excellent idea, but books are not the Stuff. Books are the life.)

DVD player! DVDs! *croons* I have missed you so, little boxes of distraction.

...Ah. The reason I can find spoons but not knives or forks is because I don't have any k&f, isn't it? I only have spoons because I disliked the spoons that came with the shared set of cutlery at the last house. (American size table spoons [not tablespoons] are much nicer). Chopsticks food tonight, then.

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