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Apple and ginger chutney


  • 2kg processed apples
  • 2 lemons
  • 750ml pickling vinegar min 6% strength
  • 1 kg Demerara sugar
  • 0.4 kg onions
  • 0.4 kg mixed fruit
  • 0.1 kg processed ginger root
  • salt
  • 3 crushed and chopped garlic cloves
  • 1 teasponn each of sambal [hot chillis], cinnamon, nutmeg
  • pickling spice in a bag, to boil in the mix and remove and discard at the end.

I decided to make chutney as a solution to the need to use up some of the crop of apples from the Catslide tree without interfering too much with the essential DIY needed to get us moved into and operational in the house.

Trouble was that the apples were a motley collection of windfalls, coddling moth infested and good ones. The yield of useable apple to number of apples processed was very variable so I had to get out my [imperial] kitchen scales as I had no idea how much apple I had.

So, first get your non-reactive pan [eg an enamelled one] and counter balance it on the scales. Add about 1.5kg of extra weight to the scale [3.3lb].

Peel the manky apples, cut off the good bits of the others and put them in the pan. Squeeze a couple of lemons over the lot to reduce their tendency to go brown while you are thinking about them and carry on adding apple bits until they overbalance the extra weight you have added. That should give you approximately 1.5kg of apples. [Or a good 3lb!!]

Now add the rest of the ingredients, including the peel of the lemons chopped up very small. Boil gently until the mixture thickens, about 2 hours. Stirring every time you pass the pot.

I used a root ginger paste that came in a jar and found this very good [1/3 jar, 100g]. The only vinegar I could get of the required strength was wine vinegar and what ever it might say in the recipe, I used two bottles. I think this was probably better, but more expensive, than pickling vinegar.

Taste the mix before bottling and adjust the salt and ginger levels as necessary. It will taste much more spicy at this stage than the final product so don't worry too much if it is a bit overpowering.

Sterilise the bottles before bottling and if you are planning on keeping it a long time, try and protect the lids from the acid by covering the surface of the mix with melted wax or a waxed paper disk. [This is well beyond my capabilities]

Use my
labeller option to make labels for the jars, or anything else.



Our friend Alison came round yesterday bearing a basket full of quince. Our plan being to make 'pickled' quince, my tiny mind still being full of the surprise experience I had of eating them in a salad at Yottam Ottolenghi's restaurant in Islington.

There seems to be quite a bit of conflicting advice on the internet as to how long to boil or bake the quince, a range of times from 30 minutes to two hours being quoted. Obviously, quince is a variable feast. We cooked ours until they were ready, ie al dente and that took about 35 minutes.


Make up the sugar syrup. I did this in the same way I used to do for the bees. That is, pour the sugar into a large pan and then add water until it comes up to the original volume of the sugar. As I was using preserving sugar, with big crystals, this took me a little bit by surprise as the volume decreased much more than I was expecting so I may have added more water than was needed. The plan is to have sufficient syrup to cover the quince, but watch out because they float so this is difficult to judge too.

Cut the lemon in half, squeeze the juice into the syrup and throw in the two haves. Add the pepper corns and the wine.

As Alison was with me, we washed the quince before peeling them and cutting them into slices. We then carved out the pips and core and added the 'cling peach slices' to the boiling syrup. Boil with stirring and incantation until the slices have softened but remain firm. [Ours took about 35 minutes]

We transfered the slices to sterilised jars, Alison's being much more neatly arranged than mine, while the syrup was boiled hard on the stove to reduce its volume [By about a third].

We topped up each jar with the syrup and boiled them, in a water bath with their lids on loosely for 20 munutes or so.

We fished each jar from the water bath, tightened its lid and left it to cool. Soon to be rewarded by the satisfying twang of the lids as atmospheric pressure bent their surfaces and sealed their contents.


A very satisfying twang as they seal

Use my labeller option to make labels for the jars, or anything else.

Lemon Curd


  • 6 lemons, this gives my juicer cup full of juice [approx 350ml]
  • Yolk of 3 eggs
  • juicer cup full of cane sugar
  • lemon jest
  • 125g butter

Thoroughly beat the egg yolks and mix in the sugar and then the lemon juice. Put in a pan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring the while.

Boil the mixture until a small quantity put on a cold plate wrinkles
when pushed with a finger.

If the eggs are not whipped enough or are very fresh, you may find that some of the white sets independently of the rest and you get white bits in the curd.

The solution, sieve into sterilised jars.

Use my labeller option to make labels for the jars, or anything else.

Orange Curd

While stirring the lemon curd, I got to thinking about why I had only ever seen lemon curd, what could be wrong with orange curd, or grapefruit curd?

So I decided I would give orange curd a try, by just substituting oranges for the lemons in the above recipe, I have to confess that I did include one lemon in the mix as I was slightly worried that there might not be enough pectin with just oranges. Actally, setting was no problem so you can make it with just oranges. To-day I have made a 4 fruit curd using grapefruit, orange, lemon and lime, the same citrus mix I used to make marmalade to-day as well.

I'm pleased with the results. The orange does not have the 'bite' of the lemon but tastes of oranges [surprisingly] and the grapefruit mix has a very nice nip to it.

As all are destined as Christmas presents, I've also got a new Christmas game which is to taste each other's jar and then negotiate swaps to attain the jar having your prefered taste. As this could easily lead to blows it should make for an exciting Christmas all round!

Use my
labeller option to make labels for the jars, or anything else.


  Seville oranges

From Live Journal: Feb. 2nd, 2005

12:24 pm - Marmalade

Warning, this recipe is not WI approved!!!

After years of making marmalade, I think I have finally found the METHOD. I'm sick of muslin bags and boiling pips and boiling and scraping pith SO here goes:

First find your Seville oranges, AND read the recipe that comes with them, then throw it in the bin. They mostly come in 1Kg bags now so that's the quantity I'm working on. At the same time buy two lemons and two 1Kg bags of preserving sugar. [Its worth getting preserving sugar as it doesn't generate lots of scum, make sure that it does NOT contain pectin, this stuff SETS!!!! The lemons especially are full of pectin]. You will also need wine and I suggest a bottle of a naughty Spanish wine though a box would be better as this takes regard for the environment, being bio-degradable cardboard rather than expensive glass. This will produce the necessary empathy with the oranges, so essential to the proper production of this product.

Next, throw the oranges and lemons into a big pan with 1.5 litres of water and boil the lot up for about an hour. Now let it cool, or burn your fingers.

Open the wine, pour out a small glass and take a sip.

Fish out all the boiled fruit and one by one, cut in half and extract the juice and contents. [This is so pathetically easy with the boiled fruit] Put the juice back into the pan, use a spoon to scrape the spiders and pips out of the orange halves into another container and then line up the bits of orange skin and cut as many at a time that you can manage into thin strips, and return those to the pan.

Jars of marmalade

I like a lot of peel in my marmalade, so if we have also been eating satsumas at the time I save their peel, cut into strips, and add to the brew at this stage. If you boil it in with the oranges it becomes too soft but works well when added at this stage.

Use another half litre of water to wash the pips and spider pith, to extract remaining pectin, and run through a sieve into the pan. Throw the rest away. By now the wine should be disappearing nicely, if not you may have difficulty in getting the marmalade to set.

Now heat up the pan again and add the sugar.

Boil it with stirring until its ready. You could use a jam thermometer [104 C], or do the wrinkle test by checking now and again by pouring a little off a spoon onto a cold plate and seeing if you have a set.

I have just treated myself to a new digital thermometer [bought from Thermometers Direct]. My old analogue one used to steam up and be unreadable at just the moment when its readings were most needed and although this could be an indication that the set point had been reached this does not strike me as a very reliable indicator!!

I mentioned to tw that I was considering this purchase and he told me about their digital thermometer which is one of the 'stick' kind with the display close to the sensor. He said that once the pot got hot enough, the temperature was such that it blanked the LCD screen so no better than the analogue one in this regard. So I decided that a remote sensor was needed. Very pleased with this item, the only snag being the lack of a clip to stop it falling into the pot. I've solved this temporarily with a fork but will make something better for next time.

192431.jpg  Digital thermometer and 'clip'.

In using it, I realised how important it is to stir the pot at this stage. Early on, it will register 104 C but a stir rapidly reduces this well below. The seting point is reached when the temperature holds at 104C when the pot is stirred.

This is a good time to fish out any pips you missed and cut up the really large pieces of peel if even you think that they might be too big.

As I am basically idle, once it has reached this state, I leave it uncovered overnight and then bottle it the next day cold into clean containers. I expect that it will be eaten quickly so do not aim for a standard of sterility that will enable it last for years...this is not the point!!

Use my labeller option to make labels for the jars, or anything else.



Halve the citrus fruit and boil in the water for about and hour. Leave to cool.

Gently squeeze the contents of each half fruit back into the pan and then scrape out the tough, pithy bits that remain into a sieve.


Cut the peel into strips.


Work the pithy bits with the back of a wooden spoon in the sieve to extract any fleshy bits that remain.

Rinse with a little water and then discard.

Add the sugar and stir well so that it dissolves and put the pan on high heat.

Bring to a good rolling boil, the surface will be covered in white bubbles and if your stove is better than mine, you may need to be careful that it doesn't boil over.


Convection will stir the pot for you at this stage.

After a while the active bubbling subsides and the surface becomes more sullen as water is evaporated and the sugar and pectin react to creat the conditions that will lead to the marmalade setting.

The pan will need stirring at this stage, to distribute the heat and to prevent burning.
As the stirring spoon moves through the mixture, it will be followed by bubbles of steam. At first these are considerable but as the setting point is reached they become reduced. [I think these are like the jet streams that follow planes at high altitude, the spoon reduces the pressure behind it so steam forms. It is also likely that water in cooler parts of the mix suddenly become heated by the agitation.]
A jam thermometer should be reading 104 C at this point, but that alone does not mean that it will set,

The aim is to boil the mixture until the setting poit is just reached. The best way to do this is by frequent testing by arranging for a small sample to cool and seeing what it does.
One method is to use the wrinkle test, another is what I call the raindrop method. Try them both until you are satisfied that you have a set.

Once this point has been reached, I remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool, uncovered, usually overnight, and then bottle into sterilised [dishwashed] jars.
If you are planning to keep this for several years, not a good plan, it should be bottled and sealed immediately.

Use my labeller option to make labels for the jars, or anything else.

Raindrop test

To test if jams or marmalades have reached the point at which they will set. Put a small quantity on a cold plate, wait one minute, then tilt the plate towards the vertical. If it runs like a raindrop down a window pane it is not readt. If it moves sluggishly and looks lumpy, it should be ready for bottling.

Not ready

Ready to bottle

Marmalade recipe
Lemon curd recipe

Wrinkle test

To test if jams or marmalades have reached the point at which they will set. Put a small quantity on a cold plate, wait one minute, then push it with your finger once it has cooled. If you see wrinkles appearing on the surface, it should be ready for bottling.


The wrinkle test

By the way, its the jam that is supposed to be wrinkled, not the hands.

Marmalade recipe
Lemon curd recipe