ArchiveFebruary 2003

New season’s olive oil from Greece

Great excitement at the cookery school today, we’ve just got our first consignment of the new season’s olive oil from Greece.
Mani extra virgin olive oil is a rich unctuous green oil with sweet, spicy, grassy flavours.
Charles Byrne who imports Mani into Ireland came to explain the fascinating story behind the production of this extra virgin olive oil which has lured me since I first tasted it in Greece about ten years ago  

Mani oil is produced from organically grown Koroneiki olives on the Mani peninsula in the Western Peleponnese area. The olives are grown by peasant farmers in numerous small groves in a co-operative venture organised by Austrian Fritz Bläuel and his wife Burgi. This gentle Buddhist couple, aged-hippies like myself, started out on the hippy trail to India many moons ago. When they got as far as the Mani peninsula they paused in this remote area to meditate and commune with nature. When they met the local farmers, ate the food, helped to pick the olives, tasted the freshly pressed oil, they were “blown away” by the quality and flavour and were determined to bring their fine local oil to a wider audience. A long battle ensued with the Greek Government and the chemical companies, who initially put many obstacles in the way of growing organically.
The olive groves were sprayed from the air against the expressed wishes of the farmers but eventually the Greek government intervened when tour companies began registering complaints that tourists on the beaches all over Greece were complaining about the side effects from the spray drift.
From then on the co-op of olive growers became totally organic and now Mani is the third largest exporter of branded olive oil in Greece and are responsible for 90% of organic production of all Greek olive oil.
Despite their success they haven’t forgotten their ethos – every year the mill closes for a couple of weeks, is decorated with Tibetan prayer flags and is metamorphosed into a Meditation Hall.
Much of the oil is still pressed by crushing the olives with ancient millstones in the traditional way. Some farmers have however changed over to continuous centrifugal production, although my preference is for olive oil produced in the truly traditional way. Seems light years away from my childhood when olive oil was solely for ear aches or for easing ‘a crick in the neck’.
My first experiment with olive oil for mayonnaise proved totally disastrous, despite Elizabeth David’s promptings in French Provincial Cooking – the oil was rancid which resulted in a strong, bitter and altogether nasty mayonnaise.

Nowadays, I keep 3 or 4 different types of olive oil for different uses and know of no other product which can so greatly enhance the flavour of food with so little effort. So what should one look out for when choosing an olive oil?. As with wine it’s a matter of taste.
The essential elements of olive oil production have changed little over thousands of years, though the methods themselves and the equipment have been improved and streamlined and in some cases computerised. The olives are picked from September to March depending on the region. Hand picking is still the only way to ensure that the fruit is picked at its optimum ripeness and also to prevent bruising. However hand picking is expensive so other harvesting methods have been developed and research continues in an attempt to mechanise. The hand picker stands on a ladder with a net slung like a hammock below to catch the olives. Poles are sometimes used to
beat the branches. The olives are taken in baskets to a well where they are washed to remove all traces of impurities, they are then ground and the pulp is pressed. Oil which is made by pressing without any other treatment is called virgin oil. The modern method is to squeeze the pulp under hydraulic pressure and separate the oil with a centrifuge. The first cold pressed olive oil are virgin oils. They are graded according to acidity in standards laid down by the International Olive Oil Council.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes in two qualities -
Single Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil - This cold pressed oil with no more than 1% oleic acid, is the very best you can buy. Use for dipping, salad dressing, or drizzling over soups, pasta, salads or pan-grilled foods.
Branded extra virgin olive oil, the cheaper mass-produced brands need to be treated with more caution – use in everyday cooking.
Virgin Olive Oil - Obtained in the same way as extra virgin but with an acidity of 1.5% - 3% max oleic acid.
Olive Oil or Pure Olive Oil is the lowest grade of olive oil. It consists of a blend of refined olive oil to which virgin olive oil is added to improve the flavour. Use for mayonnaise and salad dressing if you do not enjoy a strong olivey flavour. It is also good for deep frying and cooking at high temperature. It’s smoke and flash point is the same as other vegetable oils but its Vitamin C content allows it to resist breakdown for a longer period.
Olive oil comes in a variety of styles – choose a sweet and gentle oil for fish and mild salads, a more pungent peppery one to dress more gutsy salads, pasta and roast or char-grilled meats.
Olive oil connoisseurs consider the oils of Tuscany in Italy and Provence in France, to be amongst the finest, but I’ve had superb oils from Spain, Greece and even South Africa, where the Morgenser oil from Giulio Bertrand is causing a considerable stir. One does not normally associate South Africa with olive oil but there is an increasing acreage under olive trees, as there is in California, Western Australia, New Zealand, Peru and Argentina. The choice can be bewildering, particularly as olive oil, like wine, has an enormous diversity of flavours. The taste, colour and aroma are dependent on the country of origin, the soil on which the olives are grown, the variety of olive, the method of harvesting and of course the way the olives are pressed. All these factors affect personal taste.
For centuries the nutritional, cosmetic and medicinal benefits of olive oil have been recognised by the people of the Mediterranean. Recent research indicates that a Mediterranean style diet which includes olive oil is very healthy. People in the Mediterranean live longer, are generally healthier and have a lower rate of coronary diseases than in the United States, Great Britain or Ireland.
Extra Virgin Olive oil is monounsaturated and so the consumption of olive oil can actually reduce LDL (Low density Lipoproteins) in the system while preserving the essential HDL (High Density Lipoproteins). Polyunsaturates on the other hand reduce both LDL and HDL. Olive oil has 115 calories per tablespoon exactly the same as other oils
For more information on olive oil and practical advice on what brands to buy, its hard to beat Judy Ridgway’s brilliantly researched book. ‘Best olive oil buys round the world’ published by Gardiner Press – her website address is The website for Mani is
All specialist food shops and delis and most supermarkets now stock at least one, and often several extra virgin olive oils. Taste, experiment and enjoy, it may just be the most important oil change of your life!

Homemade Mayonnaise and variations

Mayonnaise is what we call a 'mother sauce' in culinary jargon. In fact it is the 'mother' of all the cold emulsion sauces, so once you can make a Mayonnaise you can make any of the daughter sauces by just adding some extra ingredients.
I know it is very tempting to reach for the jar of 'well known brand' but most people don't seem to be aware that Mayonnaise can be made even with a hand whisk, in under five minutes, and if you use a food processor the technique is still the same but it is made in just a couple of minutes. The great secret is to have all your ingredients at room temperature and to drip the oil very slowly into the egg yolks at the beginning. The quality of your Mayonnaise will depend totally on the quality of your egg yolks, oil and vinegar and it's perfectly possible to make a bland Mayonnaise if you use poor quality ingredients.

2 egg yolks, preferably free range
¼ teaspoon salt
Pinch of English mustard or ¼ teaspoon French mustard
1 dessertspoon White wine vinegar
8 fl ozs (250ml/1 cup) oil (sunflower, arachide or olive oil or a mixture) - We use 6 fl ozs (175ml) arachide oil and 2 fl ozs (50ml) olive oil, alternatively use 7/1

Serve with cold cooked meats, fowl, fish, eggs and vegetables.

Put the egg yolks into a bowl with the mustard, salt and the white wine vinegar (keep the whites to make meringues). Put the oil into a measure. Take a whisk in one hand and the oil in the other and drip the oil onto the egg yolks, drop by drop whisking at the same time. Within a minute you will notice that the mixture is beginning to thicken. When this happens you can add the oil a little faster, but don't get too cheeky or it will suddenly curdle because the egg yolks can only absorb the oil at a certain pace. Taste and add a little more seasoning and vinegar if necessary.
If the Mayonnaise curdles it will suddenly become quite thin, and if left sitting the oil will start to float to the top of the sauce. If this happens you can quite easily rectify the situation by putting another egg yolk or 1-2 tablespoons of boiling water into a clean bowl, then whisk in the curdled Mayonnaise, a half teaspoon at a time until it emulsifies again.

Garlic Mayonnaise

ingredients as above
1-4 clove of garlic, depending on size
2 teaspoons chopped parsley

Crush the garlic and add to the egg yolks just as you start to make the Mayonnaise. Finally add the chopped parsley and taste for seasoning.
Note: Here is a tip for crushing garlic. Put the whole clove of garlic on a board, preferably one that is reserved for garlic and onions. Tap the clove with a flat blade of a chopping knife, to break the skin. Remove the skin and discard. Then sprinkle a few grains of salt onto the clove. Again using the flat blade of the knife, keep pressing the tip of the knife down onto the garlic to form a paste. The salt provides friction and ensures the clove won't shoot off the board!

Basil Mayonnaise
Pour boiling water over ¾ oz (20g) of basil leaves, count to 3 drain immediately and refresh in cold water. Chop and add to the egg yolks and continue to make the Mayonnaise in the usual way.
Tomato and Basil Mayonnaise
Add 1-2 tablespoons (1-2 American tablespoons + 1-2 teaspoons) of aromatic tomato pureé to the Basil Mayonnaise.

Chilli Basil Mayonnaise
Add a good pinch of chilli powder to the egg yolks when making Garlic Mayonnaise, omit the parsley and add the basil instead. Great with salads and sandwiches.

Spicy Mayonnaise
Add 1-2 teaspoons Ballymaloe tomato relish to the basic mayonnaise. Add ½-1 teaspoon chilli sauce to taste.

Wasabi Mayonnaise
Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of Wasabi paste to the eggs instead of mustard.

Roast Red Pepper Mayonnaise
Add 1-2 roast red peppers, seeded and peeled (do not wash)
Purée the red pepper flesh, add purée and juices to the Mayonnaise. Taste and correct seasoning. 

Wholegrain Mustard Mayonnaise
Add 1-2 tablespoons wholegrain mustard to the basic mayonnaise.

Lemon Mayonnaise
Use lemon juice instead of vinegar in the basic mayonnaise.

Fennell Mayonnaise
Rick Stein introduced us to this delicious sauce. Add 3 teaspoons Pernod and 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fennel bulb to the basic mayonnaise recipe.

Avoca Cafe Cookbook

  1. Scallops, pea puree and mint vinaigrette
  2. 1 dessertspoon finely chopped shallots 1 dessertspoon butter 2 tablespoons white wine 200g frozen peas, or better still petit pois 2 tablespoons double cream 2 lemons 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar 4 tablespoons of olive oil, plus a little more for coating the scallops bunch of mint, finely chopped 8 large scallops juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon quarters to serve Gently soften the shallots in the butter for 5 minutes, add the wine and boil it away without allowing the shallots to colour. Add the peas and cream, and cook for barely 1 minute. Puree or push through a mouli-legume. Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Combine the white wine vinegar, olive oil and mint, and season with salt and pepper. Preheat a frying pan or griddle pan until really hot. Gently toss the scallops in a little olive oil and then season with salt. Place on the hot surface of the pan and leave them alone. Cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for 2 minutes on the other side. Gently reheat the pea puree and spoon on to 4 warmed plates. Place the scallops on top and spoon over some of the mint vinaigrette. Serve with a lemon quarter. Note: We don’t cook the scallop coral with the scallop as it over-cooks and goes hard by the time the scallop is done. Removing it is not difficult (you can cook it separately) and at the same time you need to remove the slightly gristly bit which is where the scallop is attached to its shell. Roast Parsnip Soup with Apple Crisps
  3. Gubbeen bacon, spinach and potato frittata
  4. Chicken, garlic, red wine and bay
  5. Mars Bar biscuits
In the introduction to the Avoca Café Cookbook Part 2, Simon Pratt expresses his fervent hope that this new book will become a dog-eared favourite in kitchens everywhere like its predecessor, the Avoca Café Cookbook. The original volume sold over 60,000 copies, it is still going strong – not
surprising, it’s a stylish, beautifully produced book, full of yummy ‘do able’ recipes, for the sort of delicious, honest, not overly-complicated food that Avoca have become famous for.Since the original cookbook was published two years ago the empire hasgro wn, there’s a café and Foodhall at the Suffolk Street shop, so now Leylie Hayes and her ace team run five restaurants. The secret as ever, is in the shopping. ‘More than ever we have a reinforced sense of the critical
importance of fresh good ingredients. Quality in, quality out. We have always strived to source the least processed, best raw materials. Perhaps above all, however, we insist on freshness. Organic is great, but if it has travelled half way around the world there is no point in that. So an emphasis on quality and local sourcing became a cornerstone of this second book’, according to Simon Pratt, Director with responsibility for food in the Avoca Group.
I’ve just managed to get a copy of the new book and I can tell its going to be a dog-eared favourite. Once again Leylie Hayes and Hugo Arnold  collaborated, so its double value.
For me, Hugo Arnold’s evocative and mouth-watering prose and Georgia Glynn Smith’s photos are worth the price of the book alone. But there’s also a gorgeous collection of recipes that makes you want to dash out to the nearest shop, farmer’s market or deli, to fill up your basket with spanking fresh ingredients so you can reproduce the food that Georgia has so evocatively photographed from Emer Rainsford, Fleur Campbell and Leylie
Hayes – Emer and Leylie are both past pupils of Ballymaloe Cookery School sowe are justifiably proud of them! We got delicious fresh scallops from O’Connells fish stall in the English Market last week and tried the Scallop with Pea Puree recipe – mouthwatering! Scallops are in season just now so do try this delicate shellfish for a real treat.
There’s also advice on menu planning, delimongering and suppliers.
Avoca Café Cookbook published by Avoca Handweavers, Kilmacanogue, Co
Wicklow. Price E24.99

Scallops, pea puree and mint vinaigrette

1 dessertspoon finely chopped shallots
1 dessertspoon butter
2 tablespoons white wine
200g frozen peas, or better still petit pois
2 tablespoons double cream
2 lemons
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
4 tablespoons of olive oil, plus a little more for coating the scallops
bunch of mint, finely chopped
8 large scallops
juice of 1 lemon, plus lemon quarters to serve

Gently soften the shallots in the butter for 5 minutes, add the wine and boil it away without allowing the shallots to colour. Add the peas and cream, and cook for barely 1 minute. Puree or push through a mouli-legume.
Season with salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Combine the white wine vinegar, olive oil and mint, and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat a frying pan or griddle pan until really hot. Gently toss the
scallops in a little olive oil and then season with salt. Place on the hot surface of the pan and leave them alone. Cook for 2 minutes, turn and cook for 2 minutes on the other side.
Gently reheat the pea puree and spoon on to 4 warmed plates. Place the scallops on top and spoon over some of the mint vinaigrette. Serve with a lemon quarter.
Note: We don’t cook the scallop coral with the scallop as it over-cooks and goes hard by the time the scallop is done.
Removing it is not difficult (you can cook it separately) and at the same time you need to remove the slightly gristly bit which is where the scallop is attached to its shell.

Roast Parsnip Soup with Apple Crisps

Perhaps the sweetest of all the root vegetables, parsnips are an integral part of winter eating, their nutty robust flavour making them as good with roast meats as they are on their own.
3 parsnips, diced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 potato, finely diced
50g butter
600 ml light chicken stock
4 teaspoons crème fraiche
4 teaspoons chestnut puree
1 tablespoon snipped chives

For the apple crisps
1 Granny Smith or similar

Make the apple crisps well ahead, preheat the oven to 140C/gas mark 1, core the apples and thinly slice. Lay the slices on a baking tray and place in the oven for 2 hours, or until dried and crisp.
Preheat the oven to200C/gas mark 6. Toss the diced parsnips in the olive oil, season well and roast in the oven for 20 minutes or until well coloured.
Gently sauté the onion and potato in the butter over a low heat for 10 inutes, stirring occasionally. Add the roasted parsnips and the stock and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all the vegetables are soft. Allow to cool slightly, liquidise, then reheat and check the seasoning.
Garnish each bowl with a teaspoon of crème fraiche, a teaspoon of chestnut puree and the apple crisps, along with a few snipped chives.

Gubbeen bacon, spinach and potato frittata

This frittata serves 6-8. You will need to use a good frying pan 28cm diameter – non-stick and weighty.
250g smoked Gubbeen streaky bacon, cut into lardons
2 potatoes, cubed
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 handfuls of baby spinach
15 large eggs, lightly beaten and well seasoned

Saute the lardoons in a dry frying pan over a moderate heat until crispy.
Heat the oil, add the potato and shallow fry for 10 minutes, or until cooked. Add the eggs, bacon and spinach and stir gently until the bottom starts to set. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes and finish off in the oven, or under a moderate grill.


Chicken, garlic, red wine and bay

For such a short list of ingredients, this dish is decidedly full-flavoured.

The crucial item is the chicken – if it is good, then this dish is
sensational. The wine, too, is important, it should be something weighty like good Rioja.

Serves 6

2 free-range chickens, jointed into 8 and scored
8-10 tablespoons olive oil
12 bay leaves
3 whole heads of garlic, broken into cloves, skins left on
¾ bottle of red wine, such as Rioja

Heat the olive oil in a heavy-bottomed shallow pan, place the chicken in it, skin side down, and season well. Cook on a high heat for 10-15 minutes, turning once until golden brown on both sides. Add the bay leaves, garlic cloves and red wine, and cook for a further 20-25 minutes, uncovered, turning occasionally until the wine has reduced by a third. Serve with crusty bread to soak up the juices.


Pecan and maple streusel cheesecake

Serves 6-8
225g shortbread biscuits
35g unsalted butter (less if the shortbread biscuits are homemade), plus
more for greasing
625g cream cheese
225g light golden brown sugar
3 eggs
125ml whipping cream
1 teaspoon natural vanilla extract or 1 vanilla pod (scraped)

For the streusel topping
25g butter
50g pecans, roughly chopped
75g shortbread biscuits, crumbled, but still with texture
25g light golden brown sugar

For the maple sauce
35g butter
50g caster sugar
75ml maple syrup
125ml cream

Preheat the oven to 140ºC/275ºF/gas mark 1. Butter a 23cm springform cake tin and line it with baking paper.
Crush the shortbread (the quickest way is between 2 sheets of greaseproof paper using a rolling pin). Melt the butter, mix the shortbread with it and sprinkle it over the base of the prepared tin. Beat the cream cheese and sugar together, then gradually beat in the eggs.
Stir in the cream and vanilla extract. Pour over the biscuit base and bake for 50 minutes to one hour. It should still have a slight wobble when cookedand it may have cracked, don’t worry, the streusel topping covers a lot.
To make the streusel topping: in a non- stick frying pan, melt the butter over a low heat. Add the pecans and cook gently for 1-2 minutes. Add the crumbled shortbread and sugar, and cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently. Leave to cool slightly and then pour over the cake. Allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the maple sauce: put all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil. Cook until the mixture has become a light caramel colour, about 5 minutes. Serve with the cheesecake.


Mars Bar biscuits

Makes about 16
200g butter
6 x 65g Mars Bars
200g Rice Crispies
250g milk chocolate

Cut the butter and Mars Bars into small chunks and place in a saucepan. Place over a low heat and stir until melted, taking care not to let it burn.
Combine the Mars Bar mixture with the Rice Crispies in a bowl and mix well. Put into a lined 30x 20x5cm tin and press down with the palm of your hand until firm.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Pour over the contents of the tin, spread evenly with a palette knife and leave to set. When firm, turn out on to a board and cut into squares.

Small food producers for rural development

Recently, Éamon Ó Cuív, T.D. Minister for Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs met with representatives of organisations, agencies and Government Departments who work with small food producers.  Minister Ó Ćuiv called the meeting within the context of his remit as Minister with responsibility for rural development, to discuss the difficulties faced by rurally based artisan and traditional food producers with up to 50 employees. 

The Minister believes, quite rightly, that there is a huge potential in this industry for rural areas, but he recognises the need to identify the barriers to development in this sector.

“It has long been recognised that many of the traditional ways of making a living in rural Ireland are no longer sustainable.  Economic structures have changed dramatically in recent years, but many of our rural communities are finding it very difficult to adapt quickly enough to meet the changing demands of our modern society.  It’s time for those of us who live in rural areas to put on our thinking caps and come up with viable, imaginative solutions to these issues.  However, no more than the man or woman on the street, no Government has the power to provide magic solutions to these problems.

The Irish nation has produced some of the most innovative, talented and hard-working business people in the world.  I believe that the spirit of entrepreneurship that drove them is the very essence of what rural Ireland is about.   There was a time when every rural community was self-sustaining.  Farmers,  thatchers, tailors, cobblers, blacksmiths, even the travelling dance master, the tapestry of skills and workers was rich and vibrant.   Every one of those people were entrepreneurs.  I believe that encouraging small food production is just one of the ways in which we can nurture the self-starting sense of entrepreneurial spirit in a rural context.”

Michael Gleeson, a rural resource worker with Éirí Corca Baiscinn in West Clare presented a study of the local food economy in the county to the assembled group.
The study identified some of the problems facing small food producers, such as:

·     the perception that many of the regulations governing the industry are designed for production at a large     scale industrial level,
the difficulty of accessing finance,
the difficulties relating to distribution and branding and
the need to encourage farmers to accept small food production as a viable method of diversifying and sustaining traditional farms.

If small food producers in Co. Clare cornered 5% of the county’s food market it would inject approximately E10 million directly into the rural economy of the county, he said.
Mr Gleeson also said that a survey he had conducted of tourists in Co. Clare showed that they were prepared to pay up to a 20% premium for local produce, but that because of poor marketing and branding, the purchaser in many cases found it very difficult to identify whether a product was locally produced or not.  In order to help overcome this problem, he appealed to retailers to designate particular shelves or areas in their shops for locally produced food. Based on the results of a survey carried out in 2002 by the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Bord Bia and the Department of Agriculture and Food, Ciara O’Reilly (FSAI) identified:

achieving satisfactory profit margin distribution costs,  as the two main obstacles facing small producers. Joint third were
building a brand, building a production facility and the cost of compliance with food safety regulations, while 75% reported  insurance costs as very high or high.

This survey also revealed that by far the highest concentration of small food producers were based in Co. Cork, but that there appeared to be a startling dearth of producers based in Connaught.

Patrick Wall, CEO of the Food Safety Authority of Ireland acknowledged the difficulties which small food producers face in complying with food safety regulations.   Food safety regulations have become more and more stringent in recent years, he said, particularly in the wake of BSE and other major food scares.  Although small food producers didn’t cause these problems, the resulting regulations are threatening their commercial viability, he continued.   What is needed now is risk-based regulation, he said.   We can’t compromise on food safety, but E.U. regulations shouldn’t be akin to using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. While we don’t want to give a carte blanche on food safety issues, as long as consumers’ health is adequately protected, regulations proportional to risk are what is needed, he concluded.

One of the most significant developments in this regard in the recent past is the announcement of the Hygiene Manual for Domestic-Scale Food Production.  This document which has been a few years in incubation,  was drawn up during a series of meetings. Manus O’Brolchain of National Standards Authority and Ray Ellard, now of the Food Safety Authority, spearheaded the initiative with the help of a Working Group which included representatives of Euro-Toques (Myrtle Allen), Farmhouse Cheesemakers, (Mary Burns of Ardrahan Farmhouse Cheese)  Federation of Irish Beekeepers Association,(Michael Woulfe from Midleton)  IRD Duhallow Rural Development Organisation (Timothy Lucey), Independent Small Food Producer Peter Ward of Country Choice, Nenagh, Home Baker, Jill Bell and myself.  The Country Markets organisation also had an input throughout the development process.

A workable document was painstakingly compiled.  The Environmental Health Officers validated the guidelines recently and the standard was launched on 9th December 2002 .For avoidance of doubt the crucial message is that people can start a business in their own domestic kitchen using these guidelines.

Each section is divided into sections –

What can go wrong
How it can be prevented
The latter are not obligatory, but are suggestions to strive for as soon as possible.
  Hygiene for Domestic-Scale Food Production  (I.S. 344.2002)
Published by NSAI 2002 -
Available from ILI, Northumberland House, 42/44 Northumberland Road, Dublin 4
Tel. 01-857 6730 Price 25 Euro plus postage of 4.62.
  On a practical note – this is the time for making Seville orange marmalade – the Seville oranges are in the shops just now, so get some and make some delicious fresh-tasting marmalade.   Here are a few marmalade ideas –

Old Fashioned Seville Orange Marmalade

Seville and Malaga oranges come into the shops after Christmas and are around for 4-5 weeks.
 Makes approx. 7 lbs (3.2kg)
2 lbs (900g) Seville Oranges
4 pints (2.3L) water
1 lemon
4 lbs (1.8kg) granulated sugar
Wash the fruit, cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Remove the membrane with a spoon, put with the pips, tie them in a piece of muslin and soak
 for 2 hour in cold water. Slice the peel finely or coarsely, depending on how you like your marmalade. Put the peel, orange and lemon juice, bag of pips and water into a non-reactive bowl or saucepan overnight.
Next day, bring everything to the boil and simmer gently for about 2 hours until the peel is really soft and the liquid is reduced by half. Squeeze all the liquid from the bag of pips and remove it.
Add the warmed sugar and stir until all the sugar has been dissolved. Increase the heat and bring to a full rolling boil rapidly until setting point is reached 5-10 minutes approx. Test for a set, either with a sugar thermometer (it should register 220F), or with a saucer. Put a little marmalade on a cold saucer and cool for a few minutes. If it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, it's done.
Allow marmalade to sit in the saucepan for 15 minutes before bottling to prevent the peel from floating.   Pot into hot sterilized jars. Cover immediately and store in a cool dry dark place.
N.B. The peel must be absolutely soft before the sugar is added, otherwise when the sugar is added it will become very hard and no amount of boiling will soften it.

Marmalade Popovers

Makes 14 approx.
7½ fl ozs (213ml) milk
1 teasp. grated orange rind
oil or lard for baking tins
½ teasp. salt
2 eggs
1 tablespoon melted butter or oil
8 teasp. home made Orange marmalade
Icing sugar
Sieve the flour into a bowl.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk and the lightly beaten eggs.  Mix to a smooth batter. Stir in grated orange rind and whisk really hard with an egg whisk until the surface is covered with air bubbles.  If possible leave to stand in a cold place for about an hour, then stir in the melted butter and beat again.  Grease deep patty tins really well. Put them in the oven until they are hot.  Pour in the batter, filling each tins half to two thirds full,  put straight into a hot oven, 220C/425F/regulo 7, for about 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 180C/350F/regulo 4, and bake for about 25 minutes longer, until the popovers are well risen, crisp and golden brown. Put a small spoon of marmalade into each one.  Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve immediately.
Rory O'Connell's Marmalade Tart

Serves 8

pinch salt
5ozs (140g) butter
2 teasps. castor sugar
1 egg yol
4ozs (110g) butter
4ozs (110g) castor sugar
2ozs (55g) ground almonds
1 large egg, beaten
4 tablesp. marmalade

Set the oven to 200C (400F/regulo 6)

Sieve the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and rub in butter until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the sugar, beat the egg yolk with 2 teaspoons of cold water.  Use to bind the pastry, adding a little more water if necessary to form a soft but not sticky dough.  Knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.    Roll out on a lightly floured surface and use to line an 8 inch (20.5cm) loose bottomed, fluted flan ring.   Prick the base lightly with a fork, cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper.  Fill with baking beans and bake blind for 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and discard the paper and beans.
Meanwhile prepare the filling.  Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, then beat in the ground almonds and egg.  Warm and then sieve the marmalade.  Reserve the liquid, stir rind into mixture and beat well until thoroughly mixed.
Turn the prepared filling into the pastry case.  Smooth over the top.   Reduce the oven temperature to 180C (350F/regulo 4) and bake the flan for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Glaze with reserved marmalade.   This tart is delicious hot or cold. 

Serve with softly whipped cream.


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