I was born in Rhodesia on a misty morning in the Umtali Mountains. My mother – who was drug induced after giving birth to me, asked the nurse to draw back the curtains and there it was. The morning mist rolling down the Vumba Mountains and so my name was chosen. All I can say thank God it was not foggy or thundering or hazy!
In any case, back to the farm. Our farm was called Hesselwood House and it was all you can image a beautiful rambling farm house to be. It was near the small town of Borrowdale, just outside Salisbury. I did not always live there – but for a good two years of my life I did and it remains the happiest childhood memory of my life.
Mama had her own vegetable garden which in comparison is the size of my current back yard! She grew her own potatoes, tomatoes, green beans, peas, onions, leeks, spinach oh the list goes on and on! There was also an orchard... which I mentioned in my previous post. Now this was a most magical place!
Heavily laden trees bursting with delicious gems of lemons, oranges, grapefruits and limes. Mama made her own jams and marmalades and was a real business woman! MEG’s finest preserves they were called and she sold them to all of Salisbury! The orchard also housed the farm chickens, ducks and way too many geese for my liking. I had to carry a stick with me on entering the orchard as those blasted vicious geese...well I am terrified of geese to this day! Horrid spitting monsters! None the less, the orchard was my magical far away garden and I loved it there.
It was my responsibility to pluck the fruit from the trees, ready for marmalade making. It was during those times as a 10 year old that I used to dream of myself as a devastatingly beautiful Spanish (or something of the like) farm slave just waiting for her dashing hero to come free her from the miserable plight of dirt, dust and rough hands. Hormones were on its way a tad early me thinks...
So the recipe I would like to leave with you today is one of Mama’s marmalade recipes...as the refreshing citrus smell fills your home I send with it the warmth and love of a Grandmother’s kitchen. YUM (I bet Paddington say that too!)
Ps: Charlize... if you are reading this – I will consent to you playing me in the movie of my life.
Seville orange marmalade
- Get a huge pot out.
- For every 6 Seville oranges use 3 sweet oranges and 3 lemons.
- Give them a good wash and slice the entire fruit. Remove seeds but keep.
- Add water – 3 cups of water for every cup of fruit and leave to soak for 24 hours.
- Tightly tie the seeds in a small piece of muslin cloth and add to fruit mix.
- Boil the fruit mixture until the rinds are soft, then add in your sugar (a cup of sugar for each fruit) and simmer until set.
- You check it’s set by putting a t-spoon of jam onto a saucer and allowing it to cool. If you tip the saucer sideways and the jams runs slowly, it is done.
- Bottle in jars which you have heated in the oven.