The marmalade making season is now full on. I don’t need a whole cupboard full of Seville orange marmalade, just around 8-10 jars will keep me going throughout the year and a few jars for my Mum. I have a couple of other marmalade recipes I like to make as well, so there is never a shortage in my house. Last year I made my lemon, fig & lavender maramalade and pink grapefruit, rhubarb and cardamon , especially to enter in the Marmalade festival at Dalemain Mansion, Nr Penrith. The lemon, fig & lavender marmalade didn’t score too well at the festival, even though it has been a big hit elsewhere, has been chosen to be included in a canning book out later in the year in Canada, and provided the inspiration for a few other canners who tweaked the instructions to suit themselves but came back with a resounding thumbs up. It is quite a robust marmalade and perhaps just wasn’t citrussy enough for the Dalemain judges. I did receive a little scorecard back after the event but unfortunately it has become lost in the mists of time on my desk, so I can tell you no more than that.
The pink grapefruit, rhubarb & cardamon marmalade did quite well in the ‘romantic’ category and has now become a running joke in my family as the scorecard said ‘nice try’. But it is the taking part that is important and Dalemain has become such a well publicised event for all sorts of worthy reasons that I would encourage anyone to participate and if possible go there and see what an extraordinary sight it is; tables laden with more jars of glowing amber preserves than you can possibly imagine in a grand English stately home setting. The event is now so well established that jars are sent in from all over the world, with entries from Japan, Australia and the US. Last year the tally was over 650 entries from amateur makers with a third of those entries being from men.
In last years Clergy class, despite divine intervention, Mr Ingham was let down by his ‘peel slightly undercooked’.
The categories have changed this year, so alongside category 1, ‘thin cut Seville orange marmalade’, category 6 has a ‘peers & political’ theme, and category 7 a ‘military’ vibe. I imagine the titles are open to interpretation, but last years ‘B & B’ category (not included this year) was for boarding house proprietors and ‘clergy’ (included again this year) is presumably for right reverends men (and women) of the cloth or their housekeepers. Anyway, I’m fancying category 11, ‘inventive’ and perhaps some trad thin cut Seville this year. You can find my recipe for this classic here.
The Marmalade Festival at Dalemain Mansion, Nr Penrith, Cumbria takes place Saturday 12th & Sunday 13th February 2011 10am-4pm See their website here for more information and to download the form to accompany your entry, which needs to reach them by 6th February. The event is held in aid of the Hospice at Home, Carlisle and North Lakeland.
You can also find details on the website of special events taking place with Pam ‘the jam’ Corbin demonstrating how make the perfect marmalade and Dan Lepard, baker extraordinaire, showing how to make the perfect loaf to serve with it.
Dan Lepard, as country farmer amongst the aconites at Dalemain, 2010.