Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Orange Marmalade

 A few weeks ago we got given a box of Organic Oranges from a friend.  I was very happy with them and made lots of fresh orange juice for the girls.  I thought about making chocolate orange sticks with the peel but then I had a better idea to  make Orange Marmalade.  I have made it before with a friend but it turned out slightly too sour and didn’t really stiffen. So the aim this time was to make it a bit sweeter and to try and get it to set.  
It takes time and patience to make marmalade because the orange peel needs to cook for a while to soften and it also takes a lot of time to cut the peel into small strips. But it is well worth the work.

I used about 6 big oranges, I didn't weigh them but when making marmalade its good to use equal parts sugar to fruit. 

1 kilo of good quality oranges
1 kilo sugar 
1 lemon 
1 tsp of Agar agar (or any other thickener) 

First juice the oranges and save the liquid for later then scoop out the pulp, this can be cooked with the oranges for flavour.  

 Place the pulp in a muslin cloth and tie it into a bag with some cotton string.  Put the halved peels into a big pan with the pulp bag, and add 1 litre of water.  Bring it to the boil and let it simmer for 1 hour until the peels are soft but not too mushy. 
  Save the liquid by straining the oranges and lemon through a colander into a bowl and squeeze all the remaining water out by hand. With a spoon scoop out as much of the white pulp as possible and slice the peel into thin strips. 

   Once all the oranges are cut, add them to a big pan together with the juice and the liquid the peel was cooked in.  Then add the sugar and heat gently.  When the sugar has dissolved turn up the heat and boil for about 10-15 minutes.  It is important to do a set test; take the pan off the heat and place a spoonful of marmalade on a cold plate and wait to see if it sets, but if it hasn't, return it to the heat and test again until it does.  Let the marmalade sit in the pan for 5 -10 minutes before filling the jars. 

 It definitely turned out better than last time, it was sweet enough yet still had a that tangy citrus taste.  We have nearly eaten a whole pot and it tastes very good on toast.  
I also use this marmalade to make a very nice chocolate orange cake.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Big and small

 In the last few months I have had a lot of commissions to make slippers, big and small.  Here are some photo's of the smallest and the biggest ones I have made.  The smallest were for little babies and the biggest pair was for a man (size 43). They were the third pair of man slippers I have made and I always forget how hard they are to make.  It is much more difficult to get the right shape and colour combinations, because they are so big I need to use 3 balls of wool.    I was asked to make them blue and green,  this is how they turned out.  

Baby girl slippers

Little boys slippers