In what seems to be something of a recurring theme at the moment I've had a bit of a kitchen disaster today - one that I hope will be redeemable, I'll find out later. I wasn't going to make marmalade this year, I still have quite a bit of last years hanging around. Normally I share it, take it with me when I'm going to visit people as a gift, or just give it to other marmalade fans I like - but 2020 wasn't good for that, and 2021 doesn't look like it's going to be much better.
On the other hand I've made marmalade every January for something like 14 years now, and it's a hard habit to drop. In the end when I saw Seville oranges for sale I bought some, just not as many as usual, and decided to go for it anyway. The other tradition I have with marmalade is a complete falling away of enthusiasm for the job as soon as I get oranges - and so it was this year. I love making jelly, like making jam, get impatient with the time it takes for marmalade and chutney (but love the results).
This is partly why I favour the whole fruit method. It doesn't take much effort to measure out the water, throw the oranges in it and start simmering them - and then you're committed. The oranges went on to soften last night, which meant today I got the sticky, slimy job of cutting them up and removing the pips (this is the tedious bit, it always takes much longer than I expect it to).
I've always used a Jane Grigson recipe for my base, and sometimes chucked in extras (mostly booze, this year it was Cointreau for an extra orange hit), it calls for 1.5 kilos of oranges, 3 kilos of sugar, and makes 13 - 14 mixed sized jars according to my notes. I only bought a kilo of oranges and adjusted accordingly, it's made me 7 jars which is probably more realistic for a single person household. I don't know how much marmalade of uncertain vintage I'll find when I have a really good clear out of my cupboards, but it's past time I found out.
I hadn't bargained on a power cut coinciding with almost reaching setting point (or the water going off too, but that was less crucial), or considered just how differently the marmalade would behave in a smaller quantity. Which is a long winded way of saying I over cooked it. If the bits I dribbled over the work top are anything to go by this year's marmalade has a remarkably firm set; when the power came on I boiled it up again which turned out to be a bit more boiling than the smaller quantity needed.
There's a book I should be reading at the moment too, but my concentration has deserted me, so instead I'm re reading 'The Devil's Cub' for the Georgette Heyer readalong and knitting my second sock - both of which occupations are actually working out when almost everything else I touch seems to turn to nonsense right now, so perhaps I should stick with those and cheese on toast for the rest of the week.