blood orange and vanilla marmalade

Hi Every-one,

the sun finally came out in Sydney yesterday after almost 2 weeks of daily rain. The rain has played havoc with my routine and each weekend I find my living room doubling up as a laundry. The joys of having to get a uniform washed, dried and ironed in 2 days when you don't own a tumble dryer. However when the rain is tumbling down what better way to spend your time than cooking? 

Blood oranges have reappeared in the fruit shop so I've decided to make September blood orange month. So far I have 4 blood orange recipes in the pipeline starting with this one for blood orange and vanilla bean marmalade. While I've cooked jams and chutneys over the years I've never made marmalade before. There's a good reason for this - I don't like or even eat marmalade so what came over me? Well one of the recipes I'm planning to make needs marmalade and rather than buying a bottle, I decided to make some.

I found a recipe online at SBS which sounded quite nice so I prepared the oranges and soaked them overnight in the fridge. While hunting around I found another recipe on SBS, which suggested pre-cooking the rinds before adding the sugar or they'd be too tough to eat. That sounded sensible so I combined the 2 recipes. When I checked my digital thermometer I found the batteries were flat so I relied on the old frozen saucer method to check the setting point and it worked a charm.

Even though I halved the quantities, the recipe made a generous quantity of marmalade so I'm either going to have to learn to like it or give it away to friends. I tried the learning to like it approach first and started with my breakfast - blood orange and vanilla marmalade on sourdough toast. 

I'd love to claim I made this sourdough bread but Audrey, my sourdough starter, has been languishing in the deep freeze since I went overseas in May. I must defrost her and bring her back to life. I don't know if it's the blood oranges or the salt in the recipe but this marmalade wasn't in the slightest bit bitter or too sweet - the reasons why I don't care for marmalade. It's absolutely delicious!

Here's the recipe for you, adapted from here.

Blood Orange and Vanilla Marmalade - makes 750 mls
5 medium blood oranges
1 vanilla bean, sliced lengthways
¾ tsp salt, plus 1 pinch extra
Water, to cover
Caster sugar
1 tbl lemon juice

You’ll need to start this recipe the day before.

Wash the blood oranges then using a sharp knife, slice the oranges in half lengthwise removing any seeds, then cut across the fruit into thin slices. Place the sliced oranges into a bowl. Add the salt and vanilla bean, with the seeds scraped into the orange. Cover the oranges with water then leave the bowl covered in the fridge to sit overnight.

The following day weigh the contents of the bowl and then, in a separate bowl, weigh out half the amount of sugar. Place the oranges and liquid into the widest heavy-based pot you have. Bring the mix to the boil then lower to medium and cook the oranges for about 15 - 30 minutes or until the orange skins have softened. Meanwhile, place 2 saucers into the freezer. You'll need these for later. Add the sugar to the pan and stir until completely dissolved. Cook for a further hour or until the marmalade reaches its setting point.
To test the marmalade's setting point, place a teaspoon of the marmalade onto one of the cold saucers and allow it to cool. The marmalade should “jell” on the plate and not run when the saucer is tipped. If the marmalade fails to jell, cook for another few minutes before checking again.

Once the marmalade has reached setting point, take it off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and an extra pinch of salt. Allow the marmalade to completely cool before spooning into hot sterilized jars. If you like, you can loosely tighten the lids on the jars before simmering them in hot water for about 10 minutes to form a vacuum. Allow the jars to completely cool before fully tightening the lids. Store the jars in a cool dark place, then refrigerate once opened.

I hope you all enjoyed your weekends. I have a delicious blood orange cake recipe to share with you next week so until then,

Bye for now


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