Monday, 30 January 2017

A Ritual

It really doesn't matter how many jars lurk in the cupboard from the previous year... Or possibly even years. And there are always some, as marmalade consumption is rather slow in our house given I'm the only one who eats it, unless it gets baked into a cake or a pudding. But when the Seville oranges appear in the shops briefly during January, I cannot resist buying them for a marmalade making session. It's an annual ritual, capturing that little bit of sunshine in a jar during the cold grey days of January.


A day of making marmalade is like bringing a little bit of hygge to the kitchen. I prefer the slow method of squeezing out the pips and juice from the bitter oranges and then thinly slicing the peel by hand. It is then left to soak overnight in the juice and water.


The following day it gets boiled until soft and then cooked up with sugar until it makes marmalade. I love the way the windows steam up, the kitchen becomes warm and cosy and the whole house smells of fragrant oranges.


This year I used half demerara sugar and it has produced a wonderful dark almost treacle like conserve. I also found the remnants of a bottle of Jack Daniels in the cupboard so that went in too... slightly more than I had actually anticipated was left in the bottle!


But it has made the most intensly flavoured dark marmalade.


Which of course, I had to try... on a slice of soda bread which went down nicely with an afternoon cuppa.


Since embarking on our healthy eating regime I've been making soda bread each week for our lunches and to go with our soups.


It really couldn't be easier. In a large bowl combine 450g of wholemeal plain flour, 75g mixed seeds (such as sunflower, linseed, and pumpkin), 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda and a quarter teaspoon of salt. Then in a large jug mix together a tablespoon of black treacle with a tub of buttermilk (cartons seem to vary between 280ml and 300ml but the exact quantity doesn't matter) and make this up to between 425 and 450ml with cold water. Mix this thoroughly into the dry ingedients to make a soft, slightly sticky dough. The amount of water you need does tend to depend on the flour. Leave to stand for 5 minutes while the oven heats up to 200 deg C (180 fan). Then shape the dough into a round loaf (or two smaller loaves as I tend to do) and place on a non stick baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes.


Making soda bread each week has also become something of a ritual this month and I like the idea of eating something that is not packed full of additives. As you might have gathered we are now approaching the end of a whole month of eating better, it's not been difficult, everything seems to taste so much better, we're enjoying our food and we feel so much better too. Alhough there has been cake this weekend... more about that next time!

21 comments:

  1. Mmm, that marmalade sounds absolutely delicious. If you have excess jars there are recipes out there for marmalade cake that take most of a jar full. The soda bread sounds great too, especially with butter and marmalade. CJ xx

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  2. oh your marmalade looks wonderful....I do love marmalade!! :)
    And you can't bet a slice of soda bread!!!

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  3. My husband makes the marmalade so I have had the happy time of smelling the process for last few days as my studio opens off the kitchen. Same jars but I make the buttermilk and seed bread but not regularly. A match made in heaven or in this case Northern Ireland. I love your posts

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    1. Thank you Irene. Enjoy your marmalade!

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  4. Homemade bread and marmalade - it must rival the most sophisticated food for flavour. I always have to try the marmalade as soon as it is cool enough to spread. Definitely a winter comfort food.

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  5. Ah, such a lovely marmalade stash. Like you, I enjoy making a batch every year (only one jar left over from last year) and, again like you, I'm the only one here who eats it (I'm sure Boo would try it if given the chance). Will be giving your tweaks a try next year.

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  6. Your marmalade sounds so delicious. I haven't made any this year- now I wish I had!

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    1. It's not too late. Our farm shop still has plenty of Seville oranges.

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  7. Gina, I am very fortunate to have a friend who makes marmalade and always presents me with a jar. I love her version which sometimes contains another citrus fruit in addition to the oranges. However...your 2017 version sounds truly sublime! Being able to serve it with your home baked soda bread only adds to the yum quotient. xo

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  8. A hive of industry in both our households Gina! Lovely post x

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  9. I don't like marmalade - peel? Yuck!
    But I loved the bread, and easy enough for a non-cooking dunce like me xx

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  10. It all looks delicious! It's ages since I made marmalade but love soda bread, so yummy with homemade soup.

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  11. The bread looks delicious. How long does it keep for? Or do you need to freeze it if you don't eat it all the first day?
    Kath

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    1. It keeps well for about 3-4 day's Kath. I often make it into two smaller loaves and freeze one of them.

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  12. It is a shame it is 10:30 pm, too late to nip out and buy some of those oranges. I am very tempted, the process as you describe it sounds just so relaxing. Love soda bread but I am the only on in the house. x

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  13. It is lovely to have these rituals isn't it, so comforting and soothing, and you are right, very hygge indeed!

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  14. I'm not a fan of marmalade although you made it sound warm and comforting and very homely. I think even I could make the bread but I'm not a fan of treacle either so perhaps not. Well done you for keeping all these things going, especially the healthy eating. Sounds like it is working which is wonderful.

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  15. That top photo looks like a painting. I think you should frame it!

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  16. Have made your soda bread today,a very successful outcome and it couldn't be easier to make!
    Thanks for the recipe! xx

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    1. Really pleased Jane. Enjoy it! xx

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