Well, we’re back home from this year’s World Marmalade Awards at Dalemain in Penrith. If you didn’t go, that’s a shame – perhaps you should start making plans for next year now. If you did go I hope we had a chat as I was busily demonstrating my whole fruit method of making marmalade. I talked to hundreds of people and was quite hoarse by the end of the show – at least Trev had a peaceful drive home!
I also took part in the Q&A session on both days with the fabulous Dan Lepard – supreme bread maker, Jane Maggs Gold award winner several times over, Pam ‘The Jam’ Corbin and Jonathan Miller from Fortnum & Masons. Everyone else on the panel is involved in the judging of the event and I always end up feeling inadequate because of their very scientific approach.
My offering is much more on a practical level based on my experience, and a voice for the novice, the amateur, those with little preserving confidence and the person who approaches me with ‘I know this is a silly question . . . ‘ No question is silly, if you need to ask it, and I never tire of answering them if I can. I love people to learn, to understand, and to feel empowered enough to have a go.
Preserving isn’t, literally, an exclusive past-time open to only a few – everyone could – and should – experience the joy of preserving something they have grown or foraged, whether that foraging takes place in the urban setting of a market or supermarket. The ingredients are inexpensive, the equipment is minimal and the methods are simple. So my mission is to get everyone having a go – what’s the worst that can happen? Oh – and since you ask and I wouldn’t have mentioned it – I won Bronze for my Savoury Lime & Ginger Marmalade with Cracked Black Pepper. Next year I hope it is you.
How little we know of what is ahead of us – and what a blessing that is! I hope that you all had a much better Christmas break than we did – Trev and I were on our way to Scotland for a few days break over the holiday when we had a call to say his Father had been taken to hospital. We made our way back and spent the next few days in and out of Bury St Edmunds hospital where sadly Jim passed away on 27th. There had to be an inquest as he died of an industrial-related illness – even though he had been retired for thirty years – and the funeral was delayed by ‘ the seasonal backlog’ – a charming expression!
We returned home – eventually – only to both succumb to the Winter sickness bug which went round the whole family one by one. All back to normal now thankfully but where did January go? At least the snow largely passed us by!
I am now catching up with getting some marmalade made, we have started the first classes of the year which have been hugely enjoyable. I get the woodburner stoked up and the smell of the cooking marmalade spreads through The Old Smithy – there is nothing quite like it to lift the spirits. I am also trying to devise a new recipe to enter into The Marmalade Awards at Dalmain at the beginning of March – I will be there demonstrating and hope to meet some of you there as well. Son Rob has taken my latest recipe home tonight to try it out for flavour so I will see what he thinks tomorrow.
I am also devising a new programme of Masterclasses – especially for those of you who have been to one or more classes at The Old Smithy and are now looking to study one subject in more depth. I will be sending out some literature on this shortly, and details will be on the website.
Have you seen our recipe site for mobile? Just enter m.rosiemakesjam.com for a whole host of recipes covering most preserving subjects. As soon as Trev gets time he will build a Search option so that you can snap up some bargains whilst out and about as you will have the relevant recipes – with ingredients – at your fingertips. Let me know what you think. I’ll be adding more and more recipes over the coming weeks.
Well, February tomorrow – and more Marmalade. Need to give the work kitchen a fresh coat of paint and visit the Spring Fair at the NEC next week, fit in a trip to London for a business meeting, another class, and some WI duties – happy days.