Posted 1st March 2010
When it comes to the king of all things to spread on your morning toast, in my humble opinion, it has to be marmalade. Yes, here at www.tesco.com/food, we're having a marmalade moment. Mainly because Seville oranges – whose sharp flavour make them the most marmalade-friendly variety around - are just about to reach the end of their very short season.
Admittedly, if you're going to make your own, there's a certain amount of tooling up to be done – along with basic kitchen kit such as a big pan and a citrus juicer, you'll need muslin or gauze (in which to wrap the pips and pith while they're boiling with the fruit), a funnel or kitchen jug for pouring, sterilised jars and, if you like, waxed discs (for sealing them) as well as sticky labels (on which to write the date it was made). But don't let that put you off. Seeing a row of all-your-own-work jars of gorgeously sharp-sweet marmalade lined up in your kitchen cupboard will deliver a guaranteed glow of satisfaction that makes the effort more than worthwhile.
Not convinced? I don't blame you; marmalade-making has had something of an image problem in the past – it wasn't the sort of pastime you filed under 'fashionable' or 'cool'. But that's all changed. Now, even real men make marmalade. You want proof? I give you Andy Hill. OK, I'll come clean – Andy's a Tesco man. By day he works in the marketing department. But by night, he's a top-ranking marmalade maker, fresh from a recent triumph at the annual World's Original Marmalade Festival, where he took gold in the Man Made category. ‘I entered a classic Seville orange marmalade. It was only my second attempt at making any kind of marmalade, so I was gobsmacked to win.'
So what's his winning secret? ‘Many recipes seem to call for the peel to be minced, but I prefer it hand-sliced. Maybe that's what swung it,' he says. ‘It gives a better texture, and seems to give a better set, too.' But where does he stand on the great Thick v. Thin Peel debate? ‘For toast, thick cut, no question – and for the category I entered, marmalade made by men, it felt like the right way to go.' So thin cut's for wimps, then? ‘Not at all! For sandwiches, thin cut seems to work much better.'
If you'd like to master the basics of making a classic Seville marmalade, click through to our ‘how to' video. And once you've made your batch, don't just save it for your toast. Marmalade's surprisingly versatile – add a spoonful to gravy to serve with roast pork, use it to give a citrussy punch to steamed puddings, bread and butter pud, or instead of the more traditional apricot jam to glaze an apple tart. It even makes for a surprisingly delicious spin on a martini. Shake 1 tsp with 40ml gin, 20ml lemon juice and 20ml Cointreau with ice, then strain into a martini glass for what barmen would call a breakfast martini. Not that we're recommending you have this for breakfast, of course...