Category Archives: Recipes

Making Marmalade

I had the intention of making marmalade this Seville season, but hadn’t got round to making time to do it – so when I came across a handy supermarket fixture selling both Seville oranges and preserving sugar I mindlessly added the ingredients to my basket. My holiday got nearer and nearer as the oranges sat there in the kitchen… I was running out of time before they would start to spoil. The day before my trip to Chamonix was supposed to be used for last-minute packing, exchanging pounds to euros and getting an early night ready for our 2am start… to my family’s despair, I thought it a good idea to add marmalade making to our schedule.


I had never made marmalade before so I ‘asked Delia’, to whom I turn to when I need to find a classic, traditional recipe – she didn’t disappoint and the marmalade recipe in her Complete Cookery Course was easy to follow and seemed to deliver great results too. Delia has kindly added this recipe to her website for all to follow if they would like. Below are a few pictures, tips and changes to the original recipe that I made…

I squeezed the oranges over a sieve to ensure no pips got through as I added the juice to the water. This made for an easy way to collect the pips and extra pith needed to add separately to the saucepan.

I had a few handy muslin bags designed for mulled wine spices in my cupboard so used one of these instead of a sheet of muslin and string.

I found the shredding of the oranges particularly tiresome and even ended up with a blister on my finger from all the chopping! I  kept looking over at my Magimix wondering if there was a shredding attachment but in my haste just kept chopping by hand. According to Delia the shreds are supposed to be ‘thinnish’. My shreds were rather misshapen – some thin, some thick, some chunks, some shreds and it worried me. Once boiled down you couldn’t really notice the different sizes though, so no need to worry about uniform shreds.

By now it was nearly dinner time, and the holiday packing still wasn’t complete. The fruit must be simmered for two hours or so, so I distracted the family while I waited for the shreds to soften… once done we could go out for dinner.

After the two hours of simmering it should be time to add the sugar. At this point I took a two-hour pub break and returned to the simmered fruit later, full of scampi and warm with wine. I added the sugar at this stage (around 300g of granulated sugar was replaced with icing sugar as I found myself short) and stirred. After 15 minutes of fast boiling it wasn’t crinkling on my chilled saucer so I continued to boil for a further 10 minutes, and then a further 5 to get to what seemed to be a ‘set’.

I carefully decanted into jars with a jug (annoyingly, the special silicone funnel I bought didn’t fit the jar openings).

Ta daaaaa… my lovely jars of marmalade, ready with minutes to spare before bed time.

I am writing this post after the holiday and must say that homemade marmalade on buttered toast, with tea, was the perfect welcome home after a very tiring, but fun, week away in the snow. If you haven’t made your own marmalade before, it is very rewarding and tastes so much better than the shop bought kind… just make sure you give yourself a good 4-5 hours or so to make it properly!

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Christmas Excitement…

Now that the shows are over (yes, I’ve been slack and still need to publish my highlights from MasterChef LIVE and BBC Good Food Show – sorry) I can’t help but be excited about Christmas! Its been such a busy couple of months at work that I have neglected my blog… but I will have so much to write about over the next few weeks that all I will need to find is the time to get it on here!

So, I have 45 minutes to write this, get dressed and get over to my friend (and colleague) Emily’s house to start our preparations for our Christmas Day in London! We are attempting to make Heston’s Meat Fruit as a starter, which I feel is rather ambitious but Emily thinks we can do it. I will take lots of pictures and report back! We then have one of Judy Goodman’s Geese for the main, with ALL the trimmings, followed by some kind of Pavlova. As you can probably tell, we still have some planning to do, and all the shopping – wish us luck!!

I bought the goose at the BBC Good Food Show and he has been patiently waiting in the freezer for us to devour today – while he roasts we will be drinking mulled wine and ice skating at Hampton Court Palace – I’m so excited!

 

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The Italian Butcher – Cooking at La Cucina Caldesi

Back in August I visited La Cucina Caldesi to try Giancarlo Caldesi’s Italian Butcher Cookery Course. I was promised meat, meat and more meat and it sounded great! I hadn’t ever been to a cookery lesson or course before, so I was really excited and unsure what to expect from the day.

I arrived early at their Marylebone cookery school, and was greeted with coffee and biscotti by the very friendly, and very Italian, cookery assistants. Giancarlo then appeared, unfortunately with a limp after falling from a ladder, with a cheeky smile on his face despite his obvious discomfort. He is one of the most enthusiastic, charming and funny men I have ever met and it was a pleasure to watch him teach and share his passion for food.

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Scotch Eggs for a Special Picnic – My Recipe

My best friend’s fiance is currently on tour in Afghanistan, and while back for a couple of weeks for much needed R&R, one of his requests was for a big picnic, with his family and close friends. The venue was The Long Walk in Windsor, and the theme was typical traditional picnic fayre. I found out there would be a ham, Melton Mowbray pork pie, salmon terrine and game pie so my contribution had to be the all time picnic favourite – Scotch Eggs! In this blog I will share my low effort, maximum taste recipe to make golden, crispy black pudding scotched quails eggs.

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BBC Good Food at Westfield – Backstage and After Hours

Over the weekend we took The BBC Good Food Show on tour to the luxurious Westfield London Shopping centre – bringing a selection of our favourite producers, the very best talent and a little taster of the magic we create with our shows. This post will take you back stage to see what goes on behind the scenes and give you a glimpse of the goings on in the green room!

First we will start with the stage – we were really proud and James Knight Pacheco was a brilliant host over the weekend!

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Pop up BBC Good Food Show at Westfield London!

Over the last couple of weeks the team have been busy getting things ready for our first ever pop up event at Westfield London. We have brought together some of the very best MasterChef and BBC Good Food Show talent for our Cookery Theatre and have gathered a selection of the most popular producers and retailers too. Continue reading

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Easter Treats

Easter is a great opportunity to eat, drink and be merry – I have been back in North Norfolk (West Runton to be precise) staying with my sister and have certainly made the most of it this year. So, while I sip on a cup of tea and nibble on the ear of my chocolate bunny, I will recount some of the highlights…

My sister had been warned by her local council that she needed to clear her allotment and start using it, which is fair enough due to there being such a high demand for allotments these days. She has been focusing on fitting her new kitchen, so the allotment has taken a back seat over the past year. So Good Friday was spent turning her allotment from this:

To this wonderful, tidy allotment ready for planting fruit and vegetables for the year ahead:

Its a lovely place to be, with the sun so warm and view out over the North Sea. Obviously there were a few hot cross buns here and there and scampi and chips as a treat for lunch over in our local pub garden. I love the feeling of being really hungry after exhausting work – the food always seems to taste better too.

On Saturday my boyfriend and brother and law went fly fishing for trout. The lake was nearby to a lovely farm shop (Groveland) so I picked up some lovely meat from their butchery for a BBQ and spent a small fortune on bits and pieces from the farm shop too. The catch of the day was a 2.5 lb rainbow trout, which we put on the BBQ stuffed with lemon and onions.

While waiting for the boys to return my sister and I had some wonderful Norfolk asparagus, bought fresh from the farm shop, which we dry fried, sprinkled with sea salt and dipped into melted butter.

I rewarded the boys with some aptly named ‘Sunshiny Beer’ from the Norfolk Square Brewery, which was refreshing after their long day in the sun. I don’t like beer so much, so didn’t try it, but my boyfriend thought it tasted very malty, sweet with a slight hint of honey.

On Easter Sunday we invited over my Grandparents for a roast which we had planned to eat outside in the sun. Unfortunately the cruel North Sea decided to cast its cold foggy shadow over West Runton so we were forced inside, but it was lovely all the same. We had a huge roast chicken that my sister had bought recently at the Aylsham farmers market, with fresh vegetables, roast potatoes, cranberry sauce and some seriously good gravy.

I was on dessert duty and had been inspired by Raymond Blanc and his kitchen secrets to make meringues, so I made a huge Pavlova, some lime and lemon curd with the leftover yolks, whipped up some cream and then topped it with fresh raspberries. I must say it did impress and really tasted delicious.

The research and preparations…

I adapted a lemon curd recipe from an american website, as it was the first I saw that used the yolks of the eggs only. I had a mixture of lemons and limes so replaced some of the lemon zest and juice with limes. It was easy to make and really tart and creamy.

I used Raymond Blanc’s recipe for the Pavlova, which I think worked really well.

I whipped up some double cream and filled the hollow I had created in the centre of the meringue, crisscrossed the lemon and lime curd across the top (this could look neater if done using a piping bag) and then placed a raspberry onto each of the crosses. I was really pleased with the finished the result, and think it makes an easy (especially if you buy the meringue and curd!) and impressive summery dessert.

This last bit didn’t last too long!

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