golden sweetness

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Amongst the grey bleakness of January, there are a few little rays of sunshine. For me, the brightest of these arrives when seville oranges come into season. This is the time to make marmalade. Over the past few years it has become something of a January ritual. There is a very therapeutic feeling to shredding the orange peel and inhaling the citrus fug which wafts around the house as the marmalade cooks.

My first batch of marmalade was rather thick cut with a toffee-like consistency, but since then I have invested in a jam thermometer and have gradually honed my skills until I can get it just how I want it; fine cut (but not too finely) and bittersweet with a pleasingly voluptuous wobble. I use the Riverford recipe, my only adjustment being that I make it over two evenings- the first peeling and slicing and cooking it all up, the second adding the sugar, boiling it and putting into jars.

Whilst we wait for spring to arrive, the golden sweetness of homemade marmalade is one of the best things I know to cheer up the very gloomiest of mornings. Will you be spreading any on your toast this year?

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