Sunday, May 13, 2012

Onion and Orange Marmalade – it’s time to magic up a pot

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I have three amazing sisters who I would choose as friends if they weren’t already in my world. We have completely different lives, different styles, different ways of looking at the world. However we also have a lot in common. We have the same smile; the same wicked sense of humour that sometimes operates only on our wavelength; and thankfully most of the tears that are shed between us are tears of laughter.
We share a love of food, in particular a love of decent chocolate – my youngest sister even keeps chocolate in her first aid kit. We have been known to drive to the next county for proper fat chipper chips when a collective craving hits; and the jar of Sainsbury’s onion marmalade my mother keeps in her fridge mysteriously vanishes after a visit from the girls.
I’ve been experimenting however, and my taste buds think this onion and orange marmalade improves upon the Sainsbury’s version. It is a sweet and sour relish that loves cold meats, barbeques, cheese etc and is a doddle to make. As the picnic season draws near, it is time to magic up a pot.

For 1 small pot of onion and orange marmalade you will need...

4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
500g onions (prepared weight), peeled, cut in half from top to bottom and then thinly sliced into half moons
zest of an orange, (best removed using a vegetable peeler to slice off just the orange part, leaving the bitter white pith behind) finely shredded then cut into approximately 2cm lengths
160g granulated sugar
½ teaspoon fine table salt
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
100mls fresh orange juice
100mls white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
1 hot chilli (optional), left whole, but pierced through with a sharp knife

Simple ingredients...
1                  In a medium-sized heavy-based saucepan, heat the olive oil over a medium heat. Add the onions and the shredded orange zest and cook gently for about 10 minutes until the onions are translucent.
2                  Add the sugar, salt and cloves and continue cooking gently until the sugar has dissolved into the onion juices. When no sugar crystals remain, add the orange juice, white wine vinegar and chilli (if using). Turn up the heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are honey-coloured and no liquid remains. This will take about 15 minutes. (The mixture will burn the instant you step away from the hob so resign yourself to being there for the duration –treat it as therapy if necessary.)
3                  If you’ve added the chilli, remove it before carefully transfer the mixture into a sterilised jar. Seal when cooled and keep in the fridge for up to three weeks.  

Best eaten in the company of exceptional sisters (and/or brothers).
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