I had such a strange time on Sunday afternoon I felt I really had to tell you about it so here goes:
In the past, I have been know to cook up a reasonable meal, whip up an edible cake and make a very spreadable preserve or two. When I saw the box of Seville oranges in my local shop I just knew I had to buy them and turn them into pots of lovely marmalade That was almost three weeks ago so, come the end of last week, those Sevilles were not quite as ripe and juicy as when they came home. However, the idea of making marmalade would not leave my head so I forced myself to buy some more.
Next, I was looking in the fridge for a banana for breakfast and saw two over ripe, black skinned bananas and discovered the one I ate was also a bit over ripe - a vision of banana and walnut cake arrived so the ingredients I needed got added to the shopping list.
Late on Saturday afternoon I washed my Sevilles, scored the peel into quarters and produced lots and lots of those thin strips of peel for the marmalade. I squeezed the oranges and two lemons into the preserving pan, added the necessary volume of water and the pith and pips (in a muslin bag), covered the pan and left it in a cold place - the garage - until the next day.
Come Sunday afternoon and I had hatched my plan :
- Stage 1 : put the marmalade on to boil
- Stage 2 : weigh the sugar ready to add
- Stage 3 : weigh the ingredients for the cake straight into the mixing bowl
- Stage 4 : add sugar to boiling marmalade, reduce heat etc.
- Stage 5 : make cake and put in oven to cook while skimming marmalade
- Stage 6 : cake from oven, marmalade at setting point
- Stage 8 : marmalade in to prepared jars
- Stage 9 : cake cooled, ready to eat
- Stage 10: make the coffee!!!! Eat cake and drink coffee!!!
All was well until I had to weigh the sugar for the marmalade. My little bear brain got very confused about how much sugar was required and I ended up using every gram of sugar in the house. My marmalade contains caster sugar, granulated sugar and light brown sugar.
The result of this little brainstorm - no sugar left for the cake. Never mind, I could concentrate on the marmalade, which was probably just as well.
You may all know that, once marmalade reaches a rolling boil, a scum forms on top. This scum needs to be removed as it will make for cloudy marmalade if left. This required me to stand for what seemed an extremely long time, with my spoon going constantly around the edge of the pan, skimming, while orange smelling steam came up to my face.
The only time I steam my face is when I have a cold which has blocked my sinuses and that usually smells of Olbas Oil, so you can imagine how luxurious it was to have this gorgeous smelling steam wafting upwards while I was looking down at this bubbling liquid which was getting darker and thicker by the minute! Probably the longest steam facial I have experienced since the last time I made a preserve!
My marmalade reached setting point, I had to leave the pan and sort the pouring into jars :
And the cake ?
I bought the sugar on Monday morning - it, as well as the other cake ingredients, are still waiting to be assembled! Maybe this Sunday, if I'm not otherwise engaged with my new grandson who will be coming to meet us. More on him later!