Marmalade deserves better than its customary imprisonment in the plastic and foil sachets found in most of the low-end catering establishments. For many of us, breakfast is a meal to eat on the run, so if we are going to make the time to indulge ourselves, we might as well enjoy the best we can.
Good basic marmalade should have a mysteriously tawny orange colour, have a solid appearance and release an aromatic orangey flavour on spooning. For optimum taste, it should be consumed on toast with unsalted fresh butter.
Traditionally, pith should be simmered separately from the fruit pulp to release the pectins necessary for setting. This is a hassle and fortunately one can now buy preserving sugars which contain some pectin for that purpose.
In the following recipe we suggest using pectinated sugar 2:1 with normal caster sugar. You can use a proportion of soft brown sugar for the "normal" sugar - it has a great flavour, but doesn't help the colour/appearance of the marmalade. The acidity of the additional fruit helps to create a wonderful sharpness so absent from most industrial efforts.
Four-fruit marmalade with whisky
2lb Seville oranges
1 large (or 2 small) grapefruit
Large dash (4 pub measures) of Bourbon whisky
Wash the fruit, then juice it into a large pot (stainless steel is best, aluminium is OK, but acids in fruit will "etch" pot metal). Remove pips. Limes should be peeled thinly (no pith) and only the skin should be reserved. Slice all squeezed fruit skins very thinly and put them in the pot with 6 pints of water. Bring to the boil then simmer for an hour. Add sugar, and simmer for 30-45 mins, stirring frequently.
Turn heat to high and bubble fiercely for one minute. Add the Bourbon, turn off heat and cool for 15 minutes. Pour into sterile jars, cover with greaseproof paper seals and cap. Cool for 24 hours, consume within nine months.
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