Don’t believe for a single moment that Brexiteers own the rights to British patriotism and identity. I am a British patriot and I am one hundred per cent behind Britain remaining in the EU. If May talks about a red, white and blue Brexit we fight back with a traditional, British Remainalade.
I love my country for its long history of openness, tolerance and desire to trade with the world. I love my country’s cliff-walks, right-of-ways for ramblers, the sound of leather balls hitting a cricket bat on lazy summer afternoon, I am proud of Pimms with mint, cucumber and strawberries, I love British pies, camping in Cornwall, walking in Snowdonia and hiking in the Lake District. I love it that Manchester had a club scene in the 1990’s, that it is a country which produced Train Spotting 1 (and now 2) and that it is a land full of eccentric writers, musicians and muses. No other country I can think of has come up with anything comparable to The Sex Pistols or The Cure. I am immensely proud that from these shores come some of the world’s best female writers not least Jane Austin, George Eliot and Virginia Wolf. Who can not but be proud of Oscar Wild’s wit “Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious” or Churchill’s quips, “A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”
I refuse to believe that all of these things – all of which are precious to me – will forever be tainted in a fine layer of pollution and fumes from a bunch of vicious patriots and lying politicians who’ve left the truth behind in the dressing-room. I refuse to give Paul Dacre from The Daily Mail, Michael Gove or Nigel Farage the final say on what it means to be British. Which brings me on to marmalade. I can not think of anything more traditional and British than the bitter, sour, sweet jam made from Seville Oranges. (Yes, that’s in Spain Mr Farage. No oranges from Seville – no marmalade. We can’t grow them in Shropshire, Yorkshire or Gloucestershire).
My father is bereft when marmalade is missing from the breakfast table and his face lights up whenever someone turns up with a pot of the sticky, orange stuff.
James Bond, insisted in “From Russia with Love”, that breakfast be served with “two thick slices of whole wheat toast accompanied with Jersey butter, Tiptree “Little Scarlet” strawberry jam, Coopers Vintage Oxford marmalade, and Norwegian honey.” Bond was quite clearly a man of taste, culture, refinement and adventurous travel. Ian Fleming would be appalled at the thought that oranges from Spain would become too expensive to grace the table of the world’s most famous spy – and all because of Brexit!
… and please let us not forget dear Paddington Bear – a quintessentially British bear who actually comes from deepest, darkest Peru (yes, Mr Gove, Paddington is an immigrant) but who arrives with a suitcase full of marmalade. Luckily for children everywhere Mr and Mrs Brown were not suspicious, vicious supporters of Boris Johnson and welcomed the loveable bear into their home.
Marmalade is an acquired taste that seems to be popular only in Great Britain. The bitter, sweet, sour flavour of a well-made marmalade is an old, traditional and long-established jam that sums up what it means to be British. No other country I can think of (but please correct me if I’m wrong) boils oranges in their juices until soft, adds sugar, leaves it to set and then spreads it on bread as a special treat. Like mince pies, Christmas pudding and marmite, most non-Brits look vaguely alarmed at having to try marmalade. Unlike strawberry or raspberry jam, marmalade has a more timbered, robust flavour – but as with all acquired tastes once acquired it is hard to let go with the palate often searching for and desirous of the adult, complex flavours that only a good, old-fashioned marmalade can deliver.
So to show Farage, Gove, Johnson, May and Dacre that they can not and do not own the rights to what it means to be British I present to you – The Great British Remainalade recipe. Delicious. What are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves, purchase your sour oranges from Spain or Italy while you still can and get chopping. Make Remainalade – and show your support for Britain in a peaceful, thriving, prosperous Europe!
1 kg of oranges will deliver approx. 4 x 450 ml jars of Remainalade
1 kg sour oranges
1 lt. water
500 gr. sugar
A shot of whiskey, red martini, Campari or Cointreau
Wash the oranges under cold water and remove the green buttons at the end of the orange. Cut the orange in half along the equator and squeeze as much of the juice out as you can. 1 kg of oranges should deliver approx. 800 ml of juice. Put the squeezed juice together with the 1 lt. water in a deep, thick-bottomed pan.
Push the bottom of the cut and squeezed orange up so that the pith is facing upwards in a dome-like shape. Starting from the top and using a sharp knife begin to peel the squeezed flesh and pith away – it goes quicker than you might think. Keep this to one side.
Once finished you should be left with just the orange peel and some residual pith. Cut the peel into thin slices and add them to the juice.
All of the left over flesh and pith put into either a muslin bag (or if you don’t have one) put into a clean tea-towel, tie a string around it and add to the pan. Cover and leave over-night.
Bring the mixture to a full boil and then turn the heat down and leave to simmer for two hours or until 1/3 of the liquid has been reduced.
After two hours heat up the sugar in the oven and add one or two sachets of pectin to help thicken the juice. (Traditional recipes rely solely on the pith from the oranges in the muslin bag to provide enough pectin but I’ve always found it hard to reach the setting point relying on this method alone so you may want to add some powdered pectin to give the Remainalade a helping hand).
Add the sugar (and pectin if using) to the marmalade and bring once more to a rolling boil. Leave it to cook for a further five minutes and then remove from the heat.
Leave it to rest for five to ten minutes. This helps to settle the peel and prevent it from rising to the surface. When ready pour the marmalade into sterilised jars. If you want you can top the jars up with a shot of your favourite tipple – whiskey or Campari, red martini or rum – the choice is yours.
As for me I made:
The Grandpa Whiskey-Marmalade Special
The Angelika Red Martini-Marmalade Delight and
 If you can buy Seville Oranges great. They are one of the oldest varieties of oranges and as a result are very bitter, sour and full of pips. This means they are unappealing as a table orange but very desirable for cooking. The thick skin, pips and pith contain lots of pectin and the bitter, sour flavour is brilliantly off-set by the added sugar. Seville Oranges, however, can be hard to come by. A good alternative are blood red-oranges from Italy which tend to be more sour than sweet. The ones I made in this recipe were blood-oranges from Italy.