There's so much news at the moment that I'm finding it hard to concentrate on much beyond current affairs. I don't want to think about Brexit here, because it's everywhere else all day, every day - Leicester voted to remain and my customers are for the most part as unhappy about it as I am - and it's all a bit exhausting. I'm certainly not managing to concentrate on reading books.
It's my weekend off though, the weather has been glorious, today I saw what's thought to be Emmeline Pankhurst's personal cosh (her great grandson is our head of police) which was unexpected, and I've made marmalade.
The marmalade is the Leafy Lemon and Vanilla from Lillie O'Brien's 'Five Seasons of Jam'. It's a while since I opened this book, but I was after something inspiring to do with some Sorrento lemons (I knew I wanted marmalade) and it's just the place to look for that. It's also made me think I need to plan ahead a bit for other things as they come into season.
One thing I really like about this book is the relatively modest quantities of preserve you end up with, this batch made 5 jars, which is enough. The Seville recipe I have left me with 14 jars; daunting if you don't have much cupboard space.
Most of the batch is still cooling in its jars as I write this, but there were a couple of spoons left and so we made some Marmalade cocktails with it. The results were extremely encouraging. To make enough for two you want the juice of a large lemon, a couple of dessert spoons of marmalade, and enough gin for both of you and plenty of ice. Shake everything together, check you like it, adjust proportions if necessary, strain and drink.
Because both the lemon juice and marmalade are throwing their weight around in this the trick is to find the right balance for your palate rather than being precise about measurements. I like a small cocktail that I can drink in good time, whilst it's cold, without having to gulp it, plenty of lemon because I love the sour flavour, and lighter on the marmalade than some recipes I've seen. The type of marmalade you use will make a difference too. Fortunately experimenting to get it right is fun.
The lemon and Vanilla marmalade made for an almost sherbety edge to begin with, and then a subtle, but distinct, Vanilla hit on the back palate - a really nice combination that I think we'll enjoy again. Definitely worth the effort of making the marmalade for on its own, never mind the toast possibilities tomorrow morning.