Tag Archives: marmalade


Bitter orange and pistachio cake

As much fun as cupcakes and layer cakes are, it’s nice to bake a slightly more grown up cake once in a while. This one is wonderfully fragrant and perfect for a summer afternoon tea, especially if you’re not a frosting obsessed sugar-fiend. (I’m not, honestly.)

Bitter orange and pistachio cake

It’s sweet, but not tooth-achingly so and has lots of sunny citrus flavour. The nuts and semolina give the cake a generous crumb texture and moistness which means that you can make it ahead of time and not worry about it becoming too dry.
A lot of the recipes I looked at when I was researching this particular bake seemed to require a lot of faffing about making candied fruit and peel. This is something I was dis-inclined to do when I knew I had a perfectly good jar of homemade marmalade sitting in the cupboard. It works really well in place of both the fruit and the sugar in the other recipes I’d seen. There’s no need to mess around with making soaking syrups or fancy decoration for it either, a dusting of icing sugar and a scattering of beautifully green chopped pistachios and you’re good to go.

Bitter orange and pistachio cake

serves 12

75g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g fine semolina
35g ground almonds
35g ground pistachios
pinch of salt
2 eggs
2 tbsp olive oil
150g good quality chunky marmalade
100ml buttermilk

Bitter orange and pistachio cake

Pre-heat the oven to 180°c.
Sift together the baking powder and flour and then whisk in the semolina, both types of ground nuts and the salt.
Separate the eggs and whisk the whites in a large clean bowl until they form stiff peaks. Pop these to one side.
In another bowl, beat together the egg yolks, oil, buttermilk and marmalade until they are well combined.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, in two batches, mixing well between each addition. Finally fold in the egg whites, using a large metal spoon, in two or three goes.
Pour the batter into a greased and lined cake tin and bake for 30 minutes, until it is golden brown and a skewer comes out cleanly if you give the cake a bit of a poke. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust the top with icing sugar and sprinkle with roughly chopped pistachios before serving.

Bitter orange and pistachio cake


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I’m a big fan of chili jams and jellies, more so than hot sauces (with the exception of chipotle, to which I am wholly addicted). I really like the touch of sweetness followed by the gentle warmth of the spice.
This one is great for summer, it’s so tart and tangy! It’s a really good condiment to use with fish, seafood and chicken and works well with Mexican food. There’ll be some more suggestions for what to pair it with in the next few weeks too…

makes 1 standard jar (about 450g)

6 limes
900ml water
2 tbsp cider vinegar
300g sugar
1 jalapeño pepper

Put a small saucer in the freezer.
Cut all the skin and pith away from the limes and remove the segments from their membranes. I appreciate that this is a bit of a faff but the first time I did this I made it the way that I sometimes make marmalade, by simply quartering and boiling the fruit. This made the end result too bitter for my tastes, I think this method gives better results.
Put the segments and any juice that may have escaped into a large saucepan. Halve the chili lengthways and finely slice it, seeds, membrane and all. Add this and the sugar to the pan and give it a stir. Mix in the vinegar and water and set the pan, uncovered over a moderate heat.
Bring the mixture to boiling point and then allow it to bubble away for 45 minutes to 1 hour. You can, very carefully, give it a stir every so often. By this time the volume should have reduced by about half and the colour should have turned slightly more golden.

Test that it has reached setting point by dropping a teaspoon full onto the chilled saucer. Leave it for a minute and then push your finger through it. If it wrinkles then it’s reached setting point. If not then let it bubble for a few minutes more before testing again.
Pour the mixture into a warm, sterilised jar and seal.

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You didn’t think that I was going to let National Rum Day pass me by did you?

This is a tasty, refreshing drink perfect for hot days when you fancy a change from a Cuba Libre.

I’ve used my homemade Ruby Grapefruit and Lemon Marmalade but a standard Golden Shred is just as good for this. I also made this one with Kraken because I’ve finished off all of the Home-spiced Rum that I previously made. Make sure you use a really gingery ginger beer – something with a bit of a kick to it. If you like your drinks really boozy then by all means add in a little splash of Cointreau, I won’t judge you for it.




50ml Kraken or home-spiced rum

1 heaped tsp of orange or grapefruit marmalade

ginger beer


Mix the marmalade with the rum and a couple of ice cubes by stirring or shaking, whichever you prefer.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve into your chosen glass, you don’t want to end up chewing on little shreds of citrus peel.

Top with as much or as little ginger beer a you like and garnish with orange slices or a sprig of rosemary for a bit of colour.


Don’t forget to check on here for my recipes for Home-spiced Rum and Ruby Grapefruit and Lemon Marmalade.


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A few weeks back we embarked on a (semi-)healthy eating regime in an attempt to combat the effects of consuming all the things that I’ve been posting. To be fair we did stick to it for over a month but then one morning the prospect of grapefruit for breakfast again seemed too much. This has resulted in a pair of ruby grapefruit sitting forlornly abandoned in the fruit bowl for over a week.

I’ve opted to give them a reprieve by turning them into marmalade but with a bit of a twist by incorporating some fresh thyme. The lemon was largely there to make-up the quantity of fruit but the flavour works really well.


Whilst I’ve made marmalade before I have never bothered to make it completely from scratch – a can of Marmade has always been involved and I’ve just tarted it up at the end some whiskey or some such. Looking at a few recipes, they all seemed to involve boiling the whole fruits for several hours and then squeezing it all through a muslin bag. I will freely admit to having absolutely no attention span and a very low boredom threshold so there was no way that I was going to be able to use that method.

I like quite a thick marmalade packed with slithers of citrusy peel so I made it more like an orange jam. I used a vegetable peeler to remove the zest of the fruits and trimmed away any of the pith that was left behind. Leaving the white pith would make it very bitter. I also peeled away all of the membrane from the segments of the fruits because they would only end up chewy and generally unpleasant.

Don’t feel obliged to use the thyme if you try this – I realise that it’s not for everyone but I do think that the little flecks of green look so pretty suspended like petals in the thick amber goo.


makes about 600ml

1kg of whole fruit (I used 2 ruby grapefruits and 1 lemon)
600g jam sugar (the type with pectin added to it)
300ml water
a big handful of thyme
small knob of butter


Put a saucer in the freezer.

Give the fruit and the herbs a really good wash.
Remove the thyme leaves from the stalks and set aside.
Carefully cut or peel away the rind from the fruits, trimming off any pith that comes away with it. Cut this into little slithers, as thick or thin as you like.
Next remove all the white pith from the fruit, peeling or cutting, whichever way you find easiest. Once you have nice clean fruit you can set about liberating the segments from their membranes. I do this over a bowl so that I don’t waste any juice. Again you can either use your fingers or a knife. Don’t worry if the flesh breaks up a bit, it’ll all turn to mush in the end.

Put the sugar, fruit and rind into a large, heavy based saucepan. Add the water and stir. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat a little and let the mixture gently bubble away for around an hour.

Check to see if the marmalade has reached it’s setting point by carefully putting a blob of it on the saucer that you chilled in the freezer earlier. Push your finger through it and if it wrinkles then it’s ready. If not then keep it boiling and test it every five minutes or so.
Once the setting point has been reached remove it from the heat and stir through the thyme and a knob of butter to disperse the foam. If you do end up going beyond the setting point (easily done without a jam thermometer) then the marmalade can go a bit treacley – you might be able to recover this a bit by adding a splash of water once it has cooled a little.
Carefully ladle into warm, sterilised jars. Seal, label and store in a dark place.

Don’t feel like you have to restrict this preserve to toast, here are a few suggestions;

Mix a dollop into carrot cake batter for extra tang.
Use it to make marmalade cake or muffins.
Marmalade bread & butter pudding.
Melt a spoonful with some water and a diced red chili to make a sticky glaze for prawns or salmon.
Melt some with a splash of Cointreau and pour over plain loaf cakes.


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