Friday, 14 December 2012

Proper Puddings

After months of frenzied activity and a very steep learning curve, I have published a book, Proper Puddings, written by Hugh Evans, a lawyer, father of three, flute-player and keen maker of fantastic puddings. After years of collecting his favourite recipes in a ring-binder, he thought it would be fun to publish them, so we found a designer and a proof-reader and all those proper and essential things, and turned his amusing prose and delicious recipes into this rather lovely, custard-yellow book.

While I am obviously biased, it is a great read and full of excellent variations on a theme - e.g. a basic recipe for crumble is followed by numerous tempting variations, such as plum & rhubarb or apple & ginger, plus different ideas for toppings. (In fact, if you want to make yourself hungry, just read the Index, which is pudding heaven.) It also features lovely illustrations by Dilly Boase, who abandoned her olive-picking in Italy to meet our insane deadline.

We were rather off-schedule by the end of the process, so it's too late to get it on to Amazon for Christmas, but we will pack and post at full speed to anyone who wants a copy. Order now, it's selling fast...

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Marmalade Emergency


Marmalade Emergency

It was one of those days. The carpenter needed architrave and beading for the new door; the office needed some copy for Valentine's Day; a small boy and two of his friends needed fetching from school and feeding; and the school Winter Fair desperately needed cakes, biscuits, nearly new and homemade crafts.

Hmm, homemade crafts...

Two hours later, I had these, cooling on my worktop (the labels and ribbons took a bit longer, but the marmalade was very quick).



So how do you get six jars of marmalade in a mere two hours? Ahem.



A while ago I mentioned that sales of MaMade seemed to be outstripping the sale of Seville oranges at my local Waitrose. So, seeing it was good enough for the neighbourhood, I thought I should try it. I bought a tin, but it has been sitting in my pantry ever since, waiting for a marmalade emergency just like this one. So I opened up the tin, tipped the orangey sludge into the preserving pan, added water and sugar and boiled it up. It reached setting point very promptly (in 15 minutes) and the peel was gratifyingly thin, much thinner than I ever manage. So I poured it into six jars, put the lids on and turned them upside-down to sterilise them, then headed out to collect six metres of nicely moulded architrave for the carpenter.

So far so good.

When I got back, I turned the jars back the right way up.

The marmalade didn't move. It clung determinedly to each lid, leaving a peculiar half-inch of empty space at the bottom of each jar. The damn stuff had set so hard, the air couldn't percolate back up to the top. I now had six jars of Weird Marmalade.

I looked at the label on the tin. It read 'Prepared Seville bitter oranges, sugar, citric acid, gelling agent (pectin)'. Grr. Seville oranges are stuffed with pectin, why add more? I waited hopefully for the orangey mass to surrender and slide down the jar, but it refused to co-operate. There was nothing for it but to empty them back out, add a bit more water, boil it all up again and put it back into the re-sterilised jars, this time inverting them for just a few minutes. You live and learn. But the marmalade tasted pretty good - not as strong and bitter as the real thing, but definitely edible with more of a bite than a lot of the commercial stuff.

So if you are a parent at a well-known north London primary, and you bought a jar that looked like this at the Winter Sale, my apologies for the less-than-authentic preparation, but I hope you like it nonetheless. Please do let me know.





Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Marmalade puddings

Marmalade puddings

Having a heart-in-mouth day as I sign off the printer's proofs on a recipe book that I am publishing for a pudding-obsessed friend. (It's called Proper Puddings and, yes, I will be telling you quite pointedly where to buy it as soon as I have a copy in my hand.) It has in fact been the reason for a prolonged silence on these pages, as it turned out to be extraordinarily time-consuming, in an interesting way. But it is done. The presses are turning, if that's what presses still do in the 21st century. And now we wait...

Of course before agreeing to take it on, I checked that contained a few marmalade recipes - one must have one's principles - and it did: it has a Steamed Marmalade Pudding and a divine-sounding Marmalade Bread & Butter Pudding, as well as marmalade as a variation in Eve's pudding and apple Charlotte, clearly an improvement on the original in both cases.

The real pleasure of marmalade as an ingredient is that it brings that essential sharpness to something otherwise intended to be as sweet as possible. I have always preferred citrusy puddings, as the last bite is always as good as the first, which you can't say about things like trifle, which tend to lose their allure halfway through the bowlful. The only exception to this arbitrary rule is perhaps chocolate mousse - though, even then, very dark chocolate is required, or it's just a melted Milky Way in a bowl, frankly. Having said that, even chocolate mousse might be improved by a dash of orange. Marmalade chocolate mousse? Hmm.

Excuse me, I am just off to the kitchen, I might be some time...

Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Spy Who Loved Marmalade

The Spy Who Loved Marmalade

As proof that marmalade often crops up in unlikely places, I have been reading Andrew Lycett's gripping and eye-opening biography of Ian Fleming, in which my favourite preserve puts in two surprise appearances.

First, in From Russia with Love, we learn that in James Bond's just-off-the-King's-Road flat, there are three glass jars, containing Tiptree strawberry jam, Fortnum's Norwegian heather honey and Cooper's Oxford Vintage Marmalade. It is the marmalade of choice for cold-blooded government assassins, apparently. Cooper's must have been thrilled.

Second, it tells how Fleming once returned to Goldeneye, his Jamaica retreat, to find that his housekeepers had been neglecting their duties. 'There was paint peeling off the eaves, chips and cracks all over the floor, and not one bottle of marmalade or preserves.'

At which point I realise that this is what is missing from my life: a second home somewhere with hot and cold running staff, who, if I am away for any length of time, will fill up my pantry with homemade marmalade.

Fleming had his faults, as the biography makes painfully clear, but any man requiring a stock of marmalade as a basic priority can't be all bad.


Monday, 23 July 2012

Marmalade Ice Cream

Marmalade Ice Cream


Thanks to end-of-term madness, I didn't have a chance to blog about last Wednesday, when only yards from my home at 8 o'clock at night I was offered free champagne and a cone of marmalade ice cream. Not bad for a school night.

I was just nipping out to Sainsbury's for a pint of milk and ran straight into the opening party for Ruby Violet, an artisan ice cream shop that the entire neighbourhood has been waiting to see open ever since the renovations began some weeks ago. We have all been peering hopefully into the dusty interior ever since, wondering when the ice cream was coming. But at last it was finished; there was fake grass on the pavement, neon signs over the counter and free ice creams being dispensed from a fabulous 1968 Austin van parked outside. I chose, of course, Classic Seville Orange Marmalade Ice Cream in a handmade cone and it was rather good. Especially with champagne. And more especially because it was free.

The next day after school there was a queue out of the door, with wide-eyed four-year-olds literally hopping up and down with excitement as they waited their turn, so I had to go back later to score a tub of the Salted Caramel flavour, which I fed the next day to three delighted children, much to G's horror. (At £3.50 for a small tub, I understand why, but we must train their budding palates to reject the concoctions of vegetable oil and artificial flavourings that too often passes for ice cream while we have the chance.) It went down very well.

So if you are strolling down Fortess Road in NW5 any time soon, do drop in and try the marmalade ice cream. And the Salted Caramel. You can't miss it; just look for the permanently parked ice cream van, which, as a bonus, acts as an ongoing taunt to the local traffic wardens who can't believe that it's allowed to park there all the time. But if they ever try to ticket it in full view of the customers, I predict a riot.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Experimental Marmalade

Experimental Marmalade

Quite a long time ago (where does the time go?) I had a plan to try a different way of making marmalade that would:
a) use up some frozen Sevilles
b) use less sugar, and
c) avoid over-boiling it into a caramel syrup.

I quite like my marmalade syrup, but it's not how it's supposed to be. So having gathered together some advice on sneaky ways to make it set more easily, I had another go.

The theory was that if I added more setting agents and took out anything that stopped it from setting, it would work beautifully. Setting agents included a grated cooking apple and an extra lemon; the anti-setters were too much water and, strangely, sugar. I have learned from various sources that sugar, in fact, can stop your marmalade from setting; which is kind of odd, as every recipe I look at uses an alarming amount of sugar, at least twice the weight of the oranges. So it was going to take a bit of nerve to abandon the traditional proportions. Especially as I was down to my last batch of Sevilles for the year.

Still, nothing ventured, so I took my frozen Sevilles, kindly delivered by Ocado back in February, out of the freezer and left them in the pan overnight to defrost. Next day I measured out 3.5 pints of water, added two lemons and boiled it all together.

Then something strange happened. When I lifted the lid to check the softness of the oranges, the water had virtually disappeared. Weird. Was it incompetence? Sabotage? Naughty fairies? No idea. Spooky.

I had planned to take Dan Lepard's advice and measure the cooking water so that I had the same volume of water as weight of oranges. I had started with 1.045kg oranges, so I measured what was left of the cooking water and added fresh water until it came to 1.045 litres. I then cut up the oranges in the usual way (see Recipes), added the peel and pulp and set the pan over a low heat.

Normally this would require 2kg sugar, so I cut it down to 1.5kg; I added this and a grated cooking apple to the mixture and boiled it till it set. Despite the water-measuring method, I clearly had far too little mixture. And, oh boy, did it set. It was absolutely packed with peel and only made five jars of quite solid marmalade, whereas it should have made eight or 10.

So, technically speaking, a complete failure - not least because it tasted exactly the same as before, just with a lot more peel. Sigh. Back to the drawing board.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Paddington Beer


Paddington Beer?

After my post about labels, a friend sent me this pic and said ‘Now there’s a label for you!’ Indeed. And there’s a concept. Not sure which fazed me the most: beer as a breakfast drink or the troubling sight of Paddington promoting alcohol.



On further investigation, it turned out that the key ingredients of the beer were toast and marmalade. 

Question: Who the hell would think of putting marmalade into beer? 
Answer: A New Zealander. Of course. Silly me.

So I emailed the Mussel Inn with a few questions, which basically added up to ‘What the…??’ and a very nice bloke called Andrew emailed back in some detail, as a result of which I learned quite a bit about the brewing process as well as about marmalade in New Zealand (it’s usually made with grapefruit). His reply went like this:

‘The beer was made specially for the 2012 MarchFest beer festival in Nelson where we had to make a previously never-made-before beer using secret ingredients and the punters had to try and guess them.

‘All of the Mussel Inn beers have an animal theme, so Paddington Bear fitted in well. I have had a hankering to produce a breakfast beer for a while now, and marmalade on toast – two ingredients that could easily be applied to beer – were the perfect combination from both directions.

'Grapefruit is a very common flavour found in certain hop varieties, such as Cascade, commonly used in American double IPAs. I thought, well if it's grapefruit you want, why not use grapefruit (which is most commonly used in marmalade in NZ)? In reality, we ended up using a blend of grapefruit marmalade and tangelo peel in the prototype beer, which was very pleasing, and then in the official brew we used eight litres of cheap, sweet orange marmalade and a couple of jars of the real deal – made from Seville oranges – cooked up by the grandma of one of our staff members.'

He went on to describe how they toasted five loaves of white sliced bread before adding them to the marmalade mixture, along with malted wort and hops. 'At the end, the slices of toast were reduced to a weird spongy rubbery texture, which I assume was pretty much pure gluten - the starch having been extracted.' 

He was pleased to report that the beer sold out on the day and the winner of the 'guess the ingredients' competition chose the Paddington Bear beer as his prize – the prize being 72 bottles of any of the beers featured.

I completely love Andrew’s devotion to his craft and his use of willing grandmothers to provide authentic ingredients. I’m also delighted that, even so far from marmalade’s spiritual home, a New Zealander knows about Paddington Bear and that proper marmalade is made with Sevilles.

I’m a little worried about his long-held hankering to create a breakfast beer, but I guess if anyone can do a solid day’s work after beer for breakfast, it’s a Kiwi. Andrew – we salute you.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Some Thoughts on Labels

Some Thoughts on Labels

In a post a while back I wrote about a friend who said that she couldn't buy a jar of marmalade she'd seen because she didn't like the label. While that might strike some as odd, to others it will make perfect sense. The label is telling you what to think about the contents, and she didn't trust its rather rustic, folksy signals. As a preserve, she feared it lacked imagination.

Which made me start looking more closely at labels.

The mistake a lot of manufacturers make is to feature a statement-of-the-obvious image on the label, which is usually oranges/lemons or some kind of botanical image, as if we might otherwise be suspicious of the contents. But what they should be doing is projecting an image, not depicting the ingredients. Is this marmalade for the very sweet-of-tooth, or for hard-to-please urban foodies hoping for a surprise ingredient (vodka, basil, Marmite)? Is it for aspiring housewives (preserving pans and wooden spoons) or retired colonels (words only, crisp typography, no damn fool pictures)? This is what the label is for.

The benchmark is, of course, Frank Cooper; classic, dignified, not too olde-worlde, surviving nicely in the 21st century.


But I also like this, which I saw in the achingly chic Melrose & Morgan:



This takes the prize so far for absolute minimalism, and is to be applauded. It means you can really see the marmalade in all its tawny orange glory, and it's not trying too hard. It's just very.... calm.

I shall trawl the grocery stores of north London to gather some more examples. Do please send in your nominations. I might even give out prizes.




Sunday, 10 June 2012

Coffee & Oranges Part 2

Coffee & Oranges Part 2

Regular readers will remember that way back in February I discovered the existence of a Sicilian Orange & Coffee Marmalade that sounded so intriguing I felt I had to try it. The only problem was that it was sold exclusively in the US. So after some fruitless enquiries (which required me to 'Like' the distributor on Facebook, who instead of sending me any useful stockist information now sends me weekly marketing messages that are not about marmalade, grr), I asked Kelly, my US marmalade buddy, to procure some and send it over.

So far, so simple.

In March, she duly sent over two jars of the stuff and in return I sent her a Fortnum's chocolate Easter bunny. A fair exchange, apart from the fact that the bunny actually arrived.

A few weeks after the marmalade was mailed from the US, it had not arrived, so I optimistically tried searching for it on the Royal Mail website. Ha, ha, ha. Do not try this. The supposed helpdesk contains only imaginary questions and unhelpful answers, not least of which was that they couldn't track any parcels sent from overseas. So we gave up on the Sicilian marmalade and went back to our lives.

A few weeks later, Kelly emailed to tell me that the marmalade had turned up on her doorstep, bearing a Royal Mail sticker and looking a little the worse for wear. The sticker said 'Not called for', though no one at my local post office knows what that means. So it had gone from Sicily to Massachusetts to London and back to Massachusetts without anyone getting so much as a lick.

In the interests of research, we decided to give it one last chance and it was mailed once more in a much smaller container from Boston to London, and *fanfare* it arrived two days ago. Realising that after all this trouble it was clearly not going to be worth it, Sod's Law being what it is, I tasted it with considerable trepidation.

Now, I do have a rule about not being rude about marmalade that I don't like, as someone else might like it very much. So all I will say is that this was Not To My Taste. After I had recovered from tasting it, I had a piece of toast and marmalade and drank a mouthful of coffee, which was very nice and just as nature intended. But sadly I can't recommend putting the two elements in a jar and calling them marmalade.

And I am still feeling very bad about the food miles.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Marmalade in Decline

The Decline of Marmalade - Again

Very pleased to see Victoria Coren taking time off from sparring with politicians on Question Time to blog about marmalade - even if it's about its apparent decline. (Note: her link goes to an old news story - the actual link is here. Which is forgivable, as it's a subject revisited with increasing gloom by the papers each year, usually in February when we're all awash with Sevilles.)

Apparently a mere 7% of British families now eat marmalade for breakfast, which the Daily Mail blames on 'US-style imports' such as peanut butter and chocolate spread. I'm fairly sure (as one of the comments points out) that the Italians invented Nutella, at least. Can't blame everything on the US. But 7% is rather alarming, especially as sales allegedly dropped by 6% last year alone. The solution, according to one manufacturer, is to make marmalade sweeter and shred-less 'so that children will like it'. (A little shiver runs down my spine when I hear that.) But then it won't be marmalade. It'll just be runny orange jelly. And the backbone of the British breakfast will be a little less ramrod-straight. And then what will become of us all?

This story does get trotted out each year, and is usually countered by rival stories about how we're all making our own instead, sales of Sevilles soar, etc., etc. But I fear that such domestic industry does not make up the shortfall. In the midst of all the proud-to-be-British stiff-upper-lipness of this Jubilee week, this is a depressing story.

And then I realise with horror that my own son exists almost entirely on peanut butter or honey (I blame Winnie the Pooh for that one) and has started rejecting my marmalade with a disdainful turn of his head. (And this is a boy that licks lemons for fun.) So that's how the fall of an empire begins... So starting tomorrow, I shall fight a rearguard action from my own breakfast table. Marmalade or nothing, young man. It's for your own good.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Marmalade-droppers

It’s a marmalade-dropper
If you ever wanted proof that marmalade is essentially a breakfast food, the phrase ‘marmalade dropper’ is that proof. Invented, one has to assume, by either P G Wodehouse or the Daily Telegraph (it sounds even better if said in a slightly bluff, retired-colonel sort of voice), it refers to news so startling that if read at breakfast it would make you drop your toast and marmalade in shock.

I first saw it in an interview in the Evening Standard, when Shirley Maclaine revealed without much preamble to interviewer Sebastian Shakespeare that she’d once slept with three people in one day. Boris Johnson is a great source of marmalade-droppers; I bet the Fergie toe-sucking incident caused an avalanche of marmalade in Buck House; and my personal best would be the revelation that John Major and Edwina Currie once had an affair, which brought howls of horror and derision in equal measure across Britain’s breakfast tables and put us off our toast altogether.

A quick rootle around on Google shows that it’s in popular and regular usage – so much so that there’s an entire website devoted to startling news that is actually called www.marmaladedroppers.tumblr.com. (Or was – last entry was last June, which makes me feel better about the cobwebs forming on my own blog.)

Apparently the Mail Online used it in a headline on 24 June 2003 – ‘The big marmalade-dropper was Margaret’s new hairdo’ - for an article by Quentin Letts in which he described Margaret Beckett’s new haircut as falling somewhere between early Lady Diana and Sir Bobby Charlton and sitting ‘just above the ears like a well-trained, moulting Pekingese’, a description that might have caused Ms Beckett to drop her own marmalade.

More recently Toby Young’s self-proclaimed marmalade-dropper revealed that various supporters of Gordon Brown were plotting against Tony Blair from the start, but that doesn’t make the grade in my book, being a) dull and b) hardly a revelation to anyone unless they were living in la-la land. It would have been more surprising to hear that they weren’t plotting against him. 

As always with Google, several new threads emerge from my original enquiry. One dictionary website offers to translate the phrase into German, Dutch, French etc., which is a kind but rather pointless offer as there is no such equivalent. Most people outside the UK don’t care when they eat their marmalade – if they even have any. However, the transalation fails to materialise, so I put it into babelfish and get:

  • confiture d'oranges-compte-gouttes (French)
  • marmellata d'arance-contagoccia (Italian)
  • Marmeladetropfenzähler (German)

Which I’m fairly certain are just literal translations that miss the spirit of the thing. But quite good fun nonetheless. (The US ‘translation’ is ‘coffee-spitter’, which is graphic if not very elegant, and ‘muffin-choker’, which is quite startling in itself. Best to move on, methinks.)

Wordspy thinks the earliest citation was in Gordon Burn’s book Fullalove (1995), as used by the narrator, burned-out hack Norman Miller. So was this where it was invented, I wonder? Feels a bit recent to me. Answers on a piece of toast, please.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Man-made Marmalade

Man-made Marmalade

Am still smarting from tasting some excellent marmalade made by Roly, G's cousin, who produces science programmes for Radio 4. While visiting at Easter, I explain my latest method to him with all the theories about pectin and sugar ratios, hoping his inner scientist will appreciate my attention to detail. He says he just throws it all in without weighing anything then adds water in random quantities and boils it till it sets. I laugh. I taste it. It’s much better than mine. Damn.

Meanwhile, I noticed in Monday's Metro newspaper an interview with Sandy Nairne, director of the National Portrait Gallery, who said that one of his ambitions was 'to improve his marmalade making'. A fine ambition for any Englishman, methinks. Once I've cracked my perfect recipe, I'll have to send him a copy. Or maybe I'll just send him Roly's.


Thursday, 5 April 2012

Marmalade Machinery


Marmalade Machinery

If anyone has been waiting with bated breath (ahem) for the promised marmalade-by-committee experiment, my apologies for the deathly hush of the last three weeks. But I got it into my head that it would be fun to get hold of an antique marmalade-cutter and try it out on the last of my Sevilles. But that required enough time to fiddle around on eBay, so the plan faltered while I caught up with quite a lot of overdue work (got to pay for the marmalade-cutter somehow).

However, thanks to a mere half-hour spent on eBay two days ago, I am now the proud owner of a Follows & Bates ‘Rapid’ marmalade-cutter, which I hope will clamp on to my rather shallow worktop edge.

As it’s now Easter weekend, there’ll be a further delay while it wends its way through the postal system. But I will upload a pic as soon as it arrives, possibly in action, if the blades don't need sharpening.

All this reminds me of a nice story I read about the Titanic in a book review a while ago. (Apologies to anyone who is sick of Titanic stories, there are rather too many about at the moment. You may look away now.) 

Among the many survivors of the shipwreck was 27-year-old Edwina Troutt, a second-class passenger. After surviving the terrible ordeal, she sued the White Star Line, not for a refund of her ticket or compensation for her distress, as one would these days, but for 8s 5d for the loss of her marmalade machine.

When I first read this, I couldn’t think what the machine might be or why on earth she would take it with her; was she setting up a jam factory? How big might a marmalade machine be, for heaven’s sake? But now I wonder if it was in fact a marmalade-cutter, which wouldn’t have been that big, as my postman will soon confirm. Although Edwina lived to be 100 and was a regular at Titanic conventions, she is sadly no longer with us, so I can't ask her. But if anyone knows more about this, do leave me a comment.

While we're discussing the Titanic, my marmalade-blogging friend in the US sent me a snippet about the Titanic’s stores reportedly including 1,120lbs of jams and marmalades. Amongst the information I noted that while the first-class menus listed ‘Oxford marmalade’, the second- and third-class menus said just ‘marmalade’. Such fine distinctions, even at sea…

Monday, 19 March 2012

The Last of the Sevilles



The Last of the Sevilles

As I embark on my last batch of Seville marmalade of the year, I realise that I’m testing the limits of science. My oranges were bought at the end of February, so have less pectin than the first fruit of the year because the pectin levels diminish throughout the season. To compound the problem, I had to freeze them to stop them going off, which I’m told reduces the pectin even further.

Even if I had started making marmalade in January, as I should have done, I still wouldn’t be using the most pectin-rich oranges of the year, as the Seville orange season now starts in December – it’s been creeping forward for some time. But as far as I’ve noticed, the shops generally don’t stock Sevilles in December, presumably because no one has time to make marmalade before Christmas. (Though if you can find the time, it makes a whole batch of useful gifts for those tricky recipients – work colleagues, distant relatives, schoolteachers etc. And you’re in the house anyway for hours on end, waiting for the various delivery companies to arrive bearing gifts during their specified window of 7am to midnight, so you may as well use the time wisely.)

As it’s clear that I’m making marmalade with geriatric Sevilles, I may have to do something about this pectin issue. One bit of advice (from Pam ‘The Jam’ Corbin, advising at last month’s Marmalade Awards) was that I could try adding an extra lemon and/or a grated cooking apple to my mixture, which will add acidity and pectin respectively, both of which help the marmalade to set. So not only will it set faster and therefore avoid my crime of over-boiling, but also it will offer a pectin boost to my wilting oranges.

I'm also told by the lovely Dan Lepard, who I stalk at a press event so that I can pick his brains about marmalade, that if I use too much sugar it can affect the set. I quiz him about sensible proportions to try (he once used 600g sugar to 1kg of oranges, but warned that it was an extreme experiment and very bitter) and head back to the kitchen to work out a formula.

So, armed with Dan’s advice, a cooking apple, an extra lemon and a jam thermometer and all I have learned so far from Jane Grigson, Delia and my mother, I will have another go. This is marmalade by committee – but a fine committee, so I expect great things.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Surreal Marmalade

Surreal Marmalade

One of the pleasures of writing about marmalade is that it often takes one in quite unexpected directions. For example, while idly trawling the internet recently for quotes about marmalade, I came across an intriguing snippet involving Chinese carpets, a theory of inanimate objects and a man named Clark-Trimble. 

The quote was by humorist Paul Jennings and it went like this:

‘When numbered pieces of toast and marmalade were dropped on various samples of carpet arranged in quality, from coir matting to the finest Kirman rugs, the marmalade-downwards-incidence (µ∂I) varied indirectly with the quality of the carpet (Qc) – the Principle of the Graduated Hostility of Things.’

I was intrigued. What on earth was the context? And what is the Principle of the Graduated Hostility of Things? I continued searching, assuming that it was just a piece of nonsense – but then I saw it quoted in a proper academic essay by Daniel Chandler, entitled 'Technological Determinism'.

Curiouser and curiouser. I read on.

In the essay, Chandler is discussing Technological Animism (stay with me, it gets funnier) as the basis for a philosophy called Resistentialism, summed up as ‘Les choses sont contre nous’ – Things Are Against Us. The essay then refers, quite seriously, to the Clark-Trimble experiments of 1935, in which (and here’s where the Chinese carpets come in) Clark-Trimble investigates his theory that the world’s inanimate objects are engaged in a war against its human occupants.

I’m now completely gripped, though rather feel as if I have wandered into a Douglas Adams novel.

The essay runs thus: 
‘During some research into the relation between periods of the day and human bad temper, Clark-Trimble, a leading Cambridge psychologist, came to the conclusion that low human dynamics in the early morning could not sufficiently explain the apparent Hostility of Things at the breakfast table – the way honey gets between the fingers, the unfoldability of newspapers, etc.

‘In the experiments which finally confirmed him in this view, and which he demonstrated before the Royal Society in London, Clark-Trimble arranged 400 pieces of carpet in ascending degrees of quality, from coarse matting to priceless Chinese silk. Pieces of toast and marmalade, graded, weighed and measured, were then dropped on each piece of carpet, and the marmalade-downwards incidence was statistically analyzed. The toast fell right-side-up every time on the cheap carpet, except when the cheap carpet was screened from the rest (in which case the toast didn't know that Clark-Trimble had other and better carpets), and it fell marmalade-downwards every time on the Chinese silk…

‘The success of these experiments naturally switched Clark-Trimble's attention to further research on resistentia, a fact which was directly responsible for the tragic and sudden end to his career when he trod on a garden rake at the Cambridge School of Agronomy.’

That final sentence rather gives the game away; and Chandler then admits; ‘Resistentialism was actually dreamt up by the humorist Paul Jennings in 1948, but it is one of those schools of thought which ought to exist, and which in our most technologically frustrating moments we devoutly believe to be true.’

The whole of Jennings’s essay is in Dwight Macdonald's book, Parodies; and for the whole of Chandler’s essay, which includes an explanation of why a photocopier knows what you’re thinking, click here. (I’m including the link to give it full credit, in the hope that no one will mind my pilfering this long extract for your amusement.)

The main benefit of discovering this delightful piece of work is that when I next see a piece of toast heading for the floor, marmalade-side down, I can say, wisely, ‘Ah ha! Clark-Trimble was right! Les choses sont contre nous!’ to general admiration.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

The Invention of Marmalade

The Invention of Marmalade

Discussing marmalade (again) with a friend, and he asks The Big Question, which is, of course, ‘Who invented marmalade?’

I thought I knew the answer, but after stumbling through something about Portugal and quinces and an alleged shipwreck of Sevilles in Scotland, I realised I still wasn’t sure. So I went back to my most reliable source – The Book of Marmalade by C. Anne Wilson – and tried again.

It’s a long story, but I can confidently report that the answer is: We don’t really know.

The thing about recipes is that it can be hard to pinpoint exactly who invented what. Plenty of people made things without writing them down, obviously, and even when recipes were written down, it was usually only in each cook’s personal ‘receipt book’, many of which haven't survived for us to see, thus confusing the historical record. And even then, the writer wouldn't necessarily say where the recipe came from. So when a Seville orange preserve pops up in an ancient printed or handwritten book, it can be hard to know the true origins of the recipe; was it invented, adapted or just plain copied? 

What’s clear is that marmalade has had a long evolution, from Greek and Roman medicinal quince sweetmeats to the Seville orange marmalade that we know today. When I’ve reduced those few thousand years to a couple of sentences, I will report back.

Marmalade in the News
In an earlier post, I mentioned the fact that men are quite keen marmalade-makers, possibly because it involves very large cooking pots. But this letter to the Daily Telegraph in August 2010 suggests that there may be other reasons.

‘SIR – My husband of 27 years has been making the marmalade ever since we married. Upon being asked when he started making marmalade, his reply was: “When I discovered that my wife didn’t.” '

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Marmalade Helpline


Marmalade Conversations
Have lunch with a marmalade-making friend; I take a jar of Batch Two as a gift and make him admire the hand-cut peel. He later emails me to tell me that he started an office discussion about marmalade after our lunch, and found that there is an insect called a marmalade hoverfly. But his colleague misheard and said ‘Marmalade Helpline? Is there such a thing?’

Which is a rather nice idea. Run by the WI, of course.

I planned to ignore such non-edible distractions on this site, but can’t resist looking up the hoverfly and it is, in fact, rather beautiful, with black markings that look like a selection of false moustaches. As you'll see if you click here.

And, once more, I am delighted that people talk about marmalade at work.

The Britishness of Marmalade
One thing that interests me about marmalade is how it has become a symbol of Britishness, an essential foodstuff without which the country’s morale would surely collapse. As we didn’t invent it and it’s not even made with a native crop, I’m not sure why this is. But it has become so; and this blog will frequently present evidence that this is the case.

For example, last year the Radio Times printed a diary written by actor Ben Miller, who had moved to Guadeloupe for six months to film the wonderful ‘Death in Paradise’ for BBC1. I particularly liked this entry:

‘15 August 2011: What I really miss are the most clichéd things about England. Things I don’t even generally care about when I’m in England. I have started fantasising about marmalade. They have orange jam here, which is really not the same. I have invited a friend out. I have pretended I want to see him, but really I just want him to bring some marmalade. I hope he doesn’t read this.’

Note to Ben Miller: if you ever go back and make Series 2, I promise to send you at least one jar of marmalade for moral support. In fact, could you write it into the script? Although then your character might cheer up a bit, which would never do.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Making Marmalade 2: Jane & Delia


Making Marmalade: Jane & Delia

‘I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.’
D H Lawrence

As this is National Marmalade Week, this is clearly a good time to crack the perfect marmalade recipe.

Since Batch One, I’ve had two more attempts: Jane Grigson’s recipe from English Food and a Delia Smith recipe with variations.

Jane Grigson’s recipe uses 3lbs oranges, 6lbs sugar (lord help us) and 6 pints of water, which looks rather a lot of water at first. But this batch is twice the size of my first one, so – courage. I boil the oranges for the required 1 1/2 hours then break off till the evening to finish it off. The cooked oranges sit in a bowl, quietly collapsing. Several recipes tell you to cut up the oranges first, but I can’t imagine why – the cooked oranges are as soft as butter and much easier to cut.

The finished marmalade is pretty good; lighter than Batch One and not as strong and a really beautiful, deep golden colour. But still quite intense and syrupy, so clearly I haven’t sorted the over-boiling thing.

Delia Smith’s recipe suggested cooking the mixture slowly for 2 1/2 hrs to get a dark, thick vintage-style marmalade. Which sounds tremendous, but I need a lighter style for proper comparison, so I cooked it for the usual 20 minutes, which was fine. I also took out two Sevilles and replaced them with sweet oranges, just to see what would happen.

Delia has an interesting method of removing all the pips and pith, putting them in a saucepan with some of the boiling liquid, cooking them for 10 minutes, straining it all through some muslin back into the cooking liquid, then discarding the muslin bag and letting the whole thing sit overnight.

This tasted tremendous when warm, with a distinct aftertaste of sweet oranges. That sadly faded when it cooled, but it’s still quite a good marmalade. But it’s not that different from Batches One and Two – and still syrupy (all of which, I add hastily, is clearly the fault of the cook, not the recipe).

I am aware that this is starting to sound a bit geeky, and will reassure you that my aim is to simplify the recipe, not complicate it with 79 fiddlesome technicalities and variations. I will find the perfect recipe sooner or later, so if that’s what you’re hoping for, just skip these bits and wait for a post entitled The Perfect Marmalade Recipe; it will come, I promise. Eventually. 

I had to pot Delia-with-Variations in a hurry while it was still very hot, which meant that all the peel floated to the tops of the jars; so I turned them upside-down and instructed G to invert them in about half an hour, hoping it would even out. This worked, though he did admit that quite a bit of shaking was involved. But the peel was evenly distributed, just as it should be. Crisis averted.

I know that you are supposed to pot it hot, to sterilise the lids and ensure that it doesn’t go mouldy, so I was a bit puzzled; but have since read that if your marmalade is the right consistency, the peel doesn’t float. So more work needed there. And I really need to get a jam funnel. Trying to pour hot, sticky marmalade into small-necked jars in a tearing hurry while dressed in smart work clothes is not to be recommended. 

Thursday, 1 March 2012

A King's Breakfast

Marmalade on Film
I waste quite a bit of time on the internet trying to establish exactly what Maggie Smith said about marmalade in Gosford Park.

There is a bit of business with one of the servants, who looks anxious and says ‘Does she have to have marmalade? Only Dorothy made too little of it last January and we’ve run out of the homemade. I don’t suppose she’d care for strawberry jam instead?’ Then cut to Maggie Smith playing the Countess of Trentham, saying sniffily to her breakfast tray: ‘Oh dear. Bought marmalade? Dear me, I call that very feeble.’

In those days, the well-heeled (i.e. those who had their own cooks) used ‘bought’ marmalade only when the homemade stocks ran out. For the likes of a countess, buying it ready-made was rather a non-U thing to do. Had the Countess been able to see a few years into the future, she’d have been horrified to see Edward VIII asking Fortnum’s to send marmalade and kippers to Paris for his wedding breakfast in 1936. A little taste of home for the recently exiled, perhaps.

Marmalade in Verse
And all of that reminds me of The King’s Breakfast by A A Milne, which, despite being anti-marmalade, is so nostalgic and pleasantly silly that I have to include it here. Click the link and enjoy.

Proof that everyone has something to say about marmalade no. 3
Brief chat with two friends in the café; I tell them I’m blogging about marmalade because it’s so easy to get people to talk about it. Is it really? they say, then talk about it for a good 20 minutes.

Tamsin starts things off by saying she saw a promising jar of marmalade in the local delicatessen, ‘but I couldn’t buy it, because I didn’t like the label. It was just awful.’ Marmalade-sellers beware – you are judged by your covers (and a lot of them are awful).

She adds that she used to put marmalade on her fish fingers at breakfast at boarding school. I am mostly horrified that they had fish fingers for breakfast. Then again, I did once read that the aforementioned Edward VIII ate his breakfast kippers with a dab of marmalade – it was in the papers, so it must be true – so she and her schoolmates might have been on to something.

Kirsten counters that with her favourite snack: Marmite and marmalade on toast. Together.  Marmite and honey I can recommend; but marmalade? (Of course, now that she’s put it into my head, I have to try it. But I may have to build up to it.)

Another 20 minutes of my life spent happily discussing marmalade.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Marmalade Contraband

Marmalade Contraband

G calls from London City Airport, from where he is flying to Switzerland. I had packed him off with a jar of marmalade to give to his overnight host, but he reports that it has just been confiscated by the customs officers. (I thought that rule applied only to liquids, and wonder if I should be offended by this apparent slur on the consistency of my marmalade.)

So, if you are reading this, airport officials, I do understand that you had to follow the rules, but please do eat the marmalade and don't just leave it in a bin with the penknives and nail scissors and other suspicious items. It was made with love and care and it's very good on soft white toast.

This reminds me of a story G once told me about this same Swiss host, who we shall call A. A few years ago, A was staying with G in England and was keen to acquire all the correct habits of an English gentleman. So when G came home one afternoon to find his Swiss lodger eating marmalade on toast, he was forced to point out that if he wanted to pass muster as an Englishman, he should never eat marmalade at any time except at breakfast.

Do we agree?

(I agree with it in principle, though confess I eat marmalade all day – but then I do have quite a lot to get through.)

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Infinite Variety of Marmalade


The Infinite Variety of Marmalade

Last year was the first time I made marmalade. I made one large batch and considered the job done. We ran out in March. So this year, clearly, I need to make a lot more.

My plan is to make a virtue of this problem and try out a number of different recipes until I find one that I can call my own.

Having already made one batch of my mother’s recipe, I thought I’d do a definitive, classic Seville orange recipe to establish a control group before venturing down any other paths. So I went looking for such a recipe – and discovered that there is no such thing.

Julian Barnes already knew this. In his book Pulse, while explaining the Marmalade Theory of Britishness*, one character observes of marmalade that ‘everyone does it differently and everyone thinks theirs is the right way’.

Having looked in vain for that one definitive recipe, I can now confirm that this is absolutely true. In fact, what I find is that most people faithfully follow their mother’s recipe and have no idea that there is another way.

For example, until I attended a marmalade-making demo recently at Fortnum’s, I had no idea that you didn’t need to use a muslin bag to put all your pips and pulp in. The cooks just chopped up all the fruit and peel, fished out the pips, and shoved everything back in the pan. Excellent marmalade and not a whiff of muslin anywhere. This was a revelation.

And after spending a day in Cumbria at the World Marmalade Awards this weekend, listening to people talk about how they make their marmalade, it’s clear that everyone has a slightly/completely different method to mine. It’s amazing that we all end up with the same thing.

Perplexed, I have just done a brief survey of a handful of my cookbooks. Between Agnes Jekyll, Constance Spry, Nigella Lawson, Prue Leith, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Delia Smith, all of whom can be trusted to do things properly, the methods vary enormously. Lids on or off, muslin or no muslin, pith in or out, warm sugar or cold, boil oranges first or peel them first… There seem to be no rules whatsoever.

This is going to be more interesting than I thought.

*The Marmalade Theory of Britishness
In Julian Barnes’s Pulse, Phil is trying to refute his friend’s theory that, thanks to the Euro and the EU etc., we’re all the same now – British, French, whatever. Phil disagrees and presents as his evidence a survey, which found that everyone makes marmalade slightly differently. Which for him means that while we think we’re all the same, underneath we’re in fact very different.

As a theory of Britishness, it’s a bit tenuous; but as an observation upon the making of marmalade, it’s spot on.

PS – A Definition of Marmalade
At the Fortnum’s demo, Jane Hasell-McCosh* gave out tasters of her marmalades, including a Kitchen Garden Marmalade, in which one of the ingredients is rhubarb. One of the audience asked if this was strictly marmalalade, as surely it had to be citrus. According to Jane, it depends what your local trading standards officer says. In Cumbria, it counts as marmalade, because it is primarily citrus; in another county it might not. And we won’t even get into what the EU thinks. I’m strangely delighted that Britain doesn’t appear to have a legal definition for one of its favourite foods. I will have to look into this.

*Founder of the World Marmalade Awards – I know I’ve mentioned them a lot recently, but they are the equivalent of the Marmalade Olympics, so they do tend to crop up a lot.





Sunday, 26 February 2012

The World Marmalade Awards


Competitive Marmalade

Heading home after a day at the World Marmalade Awards, smug in the knowledge that my first ever entry into the novice competition was awarded 16/20 by the lovely WI ladies.

I got 2/2 for appearance, 4/5 for colour, 4/6 for consistency, texture and quality and 6/7 for flavour and aroma. The overall verdict was ‘Good flavour, rather syrupy consistency.’ I have to agree – that syrupy thing is a problem. But if I ever wanted advice on how to make marmalade, this was the place to get it. Two of the WI judges, Eileen and Doreen, were on hand for quizzing, so I asked them how I could improve the texture. Eileen suggested that I might be over-boiling it, which alters the water-to-sugar proportions and makes it too sweet and syrupy.

Clearly I’ve been treating my marmalade a little roughly. So it’s back to the stove for another try.

My mission is to arrive at the perfect, foolproof marmalade recipe that is carefully fine-tuned, taking in bits of advice like Eileen's, without being too complicated. Marmalade is a very simple thing to make, really – and anyway it doesn’t have to be perfect to be good. As long as the peel is cooked properly so that it’s not chewy, it’s hard to make an inedible marmalade. Every marmalade is good in its own unique way.  But now I’ve got interested in the science and am determined to improve the texture. Next year I shall accept nothing less than 20/20 and a gold star on my scorecard.



Marmalade and what?
At the Marmalade Awards, the artisan marmalades (the ones made by small commercial companies) are put out for public tasting after they have been judged; the jars are lined up on tables in a long barn, with plastic spoons to hand and slices of toast for sale. It’s a kind of marmalade free-for-all.

The variety was astonishing; and no two marmalades tasted the same, even with exactly the same ingredients. There were some bizarre combinations, however, some of which worked and some of which really didn’t. For example:

Thumbs Up
  • Seville Orange with Liquorice – really surprisingly good, mostly because the liquorice was very underplayed.
  • Seville Orange with Chocolate – should work of course, as the flavour pairing is a classic, but one can’t quite imagine how the fats of the chocolate and the acidic, jellied oranges will merge. But they do. Oh, they do. 
  • Margarita Marmalade (sugar, water, lemon, lime & tequila). Fabulous because, again, very subtly flavoured with not too much tequila. Sharp and refreshing and an excellent concept.

Thumbs Down
As this is a relentlessly positive blog, I won’t have a Thumbs Down list, but after extensive tasting I have resolved never to put beetroot, carrot or basil in my marmalade. 

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Making Marmalade: Batch One


Making Marmalade: Batch One

First batch of marmalade on the stove. Rather late in the year, but just catching the tail end of the Sevilles. Lovely smell of boiling oranges first thing this morning, then the sharper, more syrupy smell of the marmalade itself around teatime.

This is my mother’s recipe, the classic combination of Seville oranges, the juice of a lemon, mostly white sugar with a bit of soft dark brown, and she puts all the mush and pips in a muslin bag. I think this is referred to as the jelly method. (My finished marmalade last year was more syrupy than jellied, but I quite like it that way.)

Last year my marmalade wouldn’t set; but I think I wasn’t boiling it hard enough, so this year for Batch One I cranked up the heat (I use the wok ring) and it was at setting point in 25 minutes. I nearly ruined it by nipping upstairs to check if anyone had tracked down some Sicilian Orange & Coffee Marmalade for me (see earlier post, still no luck), and came back down to find the pot had turned into a bubbling volcano of orange froth and was almost over the rim. Which would explain why, in my mother’s handwritten recipe, it says ‘WATCH IT!’ in large capital letters just after the ‘bring to a fast boil’ bit.

The result is a darkish, bitter, syrupy marmalade, which would probably horrify the WI, but is just what I’m used to – a very nostalgic taste. G, my other half, says that it’s ‘interesting’. Total yield: 10 jars (of varying sizes).

Homemade or MaMade?
Ordering Seville oranges on Ocado’s site and notice with amusement that Seville oranges are abundant and plentiful but MaMade is sold out. Clearly London’s cooks are short of time this year.

I haven’t used MaMade – a large can of prepared Seville oranges to which you just add sugar and water - but have been told by a couple of small, artisan marmalade-makers that it is very good and that they use it with impunity when their fresh Sevilles run out. I would use it if I could be assured that you still get the nice smell of boiling oranges. Perhaps an experiment is in order.

Man-made Marmalade
It is a truth not often acknowledged that an awful lot of men make marmalade. The World Marmalade Awards includes an entire category for Man-made Marmalade, and last year’s overall winner was a man, Lord Henley. Several of my male friends of a certain age make it, and take it very seriously. (My theory is that men enjoy any kind of cooking that involves large equipment, and marmalade does indeed need a pretty big pot.)

For example, here is AA Gill on the subject of marmalade, in a review of the Savoy Grill for The Times in May 2011:
‘You grow to love food writers in a way you don’t with novelists, because you share so much with them. They become real with the eating. Every January I make Elizabeth David’s marmalade, and there she is each morning for breakfast.’

More evidence of male marmaladers to follow shortly.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Coffee & Oranges


Coffee & Oranges

Reading The Flavour Thesaurus last night (dear Bloomsbury, please make a waterproof jacket, I read mine in the bath and it is covered in damp thumbprints) I came across the 'Coffee and Orange' entry, which included:
a) a reference to a Sicilian Orange & Coffee Marmalade made by San Matteo, which led on to
b) a stonking recipe that involves studding an orange with 44 coffee beans and drowning it in brandy. 
So obviously I have to try both. The recipe is not even remotely a marmalade, but it is an orange preserve, so it's definitely a legitimate diversion.

But first, I have to find this orange and coffee marmalade. It is made in Sicily on an organic farm ‘nestled between the enchanting Gulf of Taormina and Mount Etna’ and the farmer uses wheat syrup instead of sugar, which is interesting.

Finding the website is easy enough, but then I fall at the first hurdle, as they ship from a warehouse in the Bronx and don’t deliver to the UK, even though it's much nearer. No fair. So I send them an email, which doesn't get me very far, as they don't know if it is available here. So I may have to to get my friend in Boston to order it and send it on, which is quite a lot of work for a jar of marmalade. If anyone knows of a UK stockist, please do let me know.

Proof that everyone has something to say about marmalade, No. 2:
Lunch with Juliet (see 9 Feb entry). Over the course of a single meal, she told me the thing about orange being the colour for 2012, and two more things about marmalade:

1) She’d had a conversation with a colleague two days beforehand about whether it's true that only men like dark, thick-cut marmalade. (Not true, I'm sure. But am delighted that people discuss marmalade at work.)

2) That she’d once come home from work to find her then husband admiring several batches of marmalade that he’d spent the day making. He’d worked his way through several different varieties – thin-cut, medium-cut, thick-cut, marmalade with whisky, etc - which would have been fine, except that he was supposed to be working on a PhD and this was his way of avoiding it. So marmalade can now add 'diversion tactic' to its list of fine qualities.

This is why this blog is so easy. I say the word ‘marmalade’ and people provide me with reams of unsolicited material, all of it entertaining.

On that note, I’ll finish with two assertions, in the hope that someone will write in, disgusted, outraged or otherwise provoked.

1) As discussed above, only men like thick-cut, dark marmalade - the sort that needs gouging out of the jar with a strong spoon and has to be balanced in lumps on the toast. 
2) Marmalade is fundamentally more interesting than jam. Discuss.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

2012: The Year of (the) Orange

The Year of (the) Orange

In a conversation with my friend Juliet, who works in PR and is required to know such things, I learned that orange is the colour for 2012. (Tangerine Tango, to be precise. Pantone 17-1463 to be very precise.) Apparently a bold and spirited colour is required to lift us all out of the economic doldrums. This is either a bit of marketing nonsense or a very good omen as I begin a blog about marmalade. And it will be the first time (and certainly the last time) that I can claim to be on trend.

Marmalade is a curiosity. Impeccably British but invented by the Portuguese, it is adored by some, yet largely ignored by many quite sensible, food-loving nations who make orange jam and call it marmalade, when it isn’t the same thing at all. So my mission is to find out what makes it so appealing, and to celebrate it in all its quirky loveliness as the Year of Orange unfolds.

I chose marmalade as a subject because: 
a) I like to eat it, 
b) it is, surprisingly, not written about as much as you’d expect, and 
c) whenever I bring it up, everyone has something to say about it, in a way that they don’t about, say, strawberry jam. This intrigues me.

For example, while eating dinner with a friend last month, I mentioned that I was writing about marmalade and he immediately recalled a heated debate that he had had with his sister about whether marmalade should be eaten on hot toast or cold. From my notebook I read out a snippet of research, copied from a newspaper months earlier, which concluded that it was best on cold toast. (See full snippet below.) ‘Damn!’ he said, ‘That’s what Lou said!’

Two days later, Lou, who I hadn’t seen for several years, emailed me. ‘Ha!’ she said. ‘I knew I was right about the cold toast!’

My point is - would you ever have a reaction like that to a conversation about strawberry jam? 

I chose marmalade also because it’s hard to be too pretentious about it. Other foods, such as chocolate or tea or olive oil, attract a lot of foodie jargon, with descriptions of tobacco, toffee and tarmac on the palate, which is no use to me, as I don’t have a sophisticated palate at all. But marmalade at its simplest is just oranges, sugar and water. You can’t be that pretentious about it. You can only be enthusiastic.

So my mission for the Year of Orange is to have as many conversations about marmalade as possible and report back with my findings. I’ll also be making marmalade (and eating it and cooking with it) and reporting on that, too. With any luck, the results will be interesting to everyone and not just to me.

And now the snippet:
In March 2011, various newspapers reported an amusing piece of research by the Manchester Food Research Centre at Manchester Metropolitan University regarding the best way to eat marmalade. The study concluded that marmalade was best eaten on cold toast.

They explained (poetically if unscientifically), 'The initial resistant crunch of the cold toast provides the ultimate contrast to the velvety, yielding marmalade as the zingy orange flavours explode across the palate releasing endorphins in the brain.'

They went on to stipulate that the bread should be white, 0.9 cm thick and toasted for one minute at 220C. The toast should be left to cool for 10 minutes and then spread with 7.1g of lightly salted butter and 11.2g of fine-cut marmalade. The rate of thickness of bread to butter in marmalade is expressed as 9:1:2.

So now you know.