It seems like an age since I bought a bag of bitter seville oranges and filled the kichen with the exciting tangy aroma of these citrus treats. What a way to warm your body and soul in January when the promise of sunshine and Spanish holidays arrives in the little mesh bag in our shops.
Since then we have had snow storms and bitter winds. But my jar of home made marmalade has indeed brought a smile to my face in the mornings, lathered on top of brown soda bread and butter. My ultimate comfort food. Some thing about the bitterness of the soda bread combining with the texture of the orange rind.
As a child I helped every year with the marmalade production. The Universal Marmalade Cutter was put to good use every year. I assumed everyone had one.
But my friends were bemused when I produced it. It is actually on etsy as a cute antique.
Using my mother’s recipe, which was sketchy at best, the first batch didn’t set. I implored her to make it set. She sadly passed away last September and I hoped she might still be able to help me in my predicament. But no, I am on my own with her cookbook from now on.
As I cook, her phrases come to me and so much of my methods are learned from her. I get huge comfort from this connection. One of the wonderful things about cooking is this tremendous tradition that links us back generations.
The top of the page is marked ‘Good. I always make this’. There are recipes in the book written by us as children. It is strange to recognise your sister’s childish writing or your brother’s bold capitals.
A thousand moments are captured within its pages.