Marmalade & Soda Bread
With wet and cold weather forecast for most of last week a bit of kitchen therapy was needed. I love soda bread and find it more digestible than yeast-based bread so I try to keep a pot of buttermilk available in my fridge ready to make a loaf.
375g strong wholemeal flour
75g plain flour
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 level dessertspoon salt
284ml carton buttermilk mixed with 75ml water
Pre-heat oven to 200 C
Mix all dry ingredients together then make a well and add the liquid. Gradually bring together with your hands thoroughly mixing all the ingredients into a ball. You may need to add a little more flour or if it feels dry add a little more water. Shape the dough into a smooth round and place on a baking sheet then with a sharp knife cut the top a third of the way into the mix and do the same the other way to form a cross. Cook for 40 minutes (I covered the top with foil for the last 10 minutes to prevent it burning). Place on a rack and allow it to cool properly before tucking in.
This recipe came from my late mother-in-law and uses 1 kilo of oranges to 2 kilo of preserving sugar (warmed in a low oven) plus a lemon and 2.5 L of water.
Place a plate in the freezer to test for setting. In a preserving pan simmer the whole oranges and lemon in the water for 1 1/2 hours then lift out saving the water. When cool enough to handle cut the fruit in half and scoop out all the flesh and pips. Put these back in the pan of water and boil for 15 mins to extract the pectin. Strain into a large bowl and discard these bits putting the liquid back into the preserving pan and add the warm sugar stirring until it has completely dissolved. Slice the peel either finely (or chunky if you wish) and add to the pan. Boil rapidly for 15 minutes then test for setting on the ice-cold plate. It took 30 minutes for mine to set and it has been pointed out that it slips off the knife so it’s still a bit runny -I say use a spoon then. This quantity made five kilner jars and has a very good flavour.
My other project was painting a scruffy Victorian mahogany table in Annie Sloan chalk paint French Linen. It has a gorgeous pedestal base plus two drawers sitting in the pretty curvy table top.
On a very brief trip to the allotment to pick parsley and the first purple sprouting broccoli I discovered the cloche that was protecting a row of red cabbage had lifted off one end. Opportunist slugs had tucked into the outer leaves so I brought the main stem home to enjoy the stunning colours in a vase.