Wild Fruit

I am delighted to have won Gold at the World Marmalade Awards in Cumbria for my Thin Cut Seville Orange Marmalade. This is the benchmark that people often judge Artisan Marmalade producers on so this Gold means a lot to me. I have spent quite some time over the past year refining this marmalade tweaking the cooking process and importantly reducing the sugar content from 68% to 65%. This above all else has made the biggest difference to the flavour and sharpness. I also won two Bronze awards for my Four Seasons Marmalade and the Bitter and Twisted Jelly Marmalade. The Four Seasons is made using Grapefruit, Orange, Lemon and Lime and can be produced through all 4 seasons of the year from fresh fruit. It is rich, unctuous and citrusy without bitterness. The Bitter and Twisted Jelly Marmalade however is quite different. It is the essence of the Seville Orange distilled into a wonderfully sharp, bitter jelly. The jelly is clear but has some fine twists of gossamer peel suspended for the names sake. This is the beast of my Marmalade menagerie and elicits quite a vociferous following. It holds a special place in my heart and breakfast's.

When I was asked for a new accompaniment for game I wanted to use mulberries as they have been a associated with game for many years. The intense, fruity, fresh taste of mulberries compliments the rich flavours of game perfectly. The addition of some apple adds to the flavour and increases the creamy body of the fruit butter complimenting the sharp mulberry. I chose to make a Mulberry Butter as I felt it would be richer in texture and flavour than a jelly. I only have fruit from the one Mulberry tree at the moment, so I want to get the most from it. Therefore fruit butter is perfect as you use everything but the stalks and pips.

Fruit Butters have largely fallen out of favour due to the time and work needed to produce them. Traditionally used when more structure is needed than a jelly can provide, they were always the preserve of choice between the layers of a sponge cake as you can spread them up to 1/3 inch thick. The process used in making fruit butters also results in a more intense flavour derived no doubt from the presence of the body of the fruit not just the juice.

The Mulberry Butter can be added to the meat juices and or served at the table.

Mulberry Butter is also wonderfull on toast and crumpets at all times of day and night.

I have made a new marmalade for 2010. My new Thick Cut Seville Orange Marmalade is made using Demerara sugar and is already a winner.

I am thrilled to have been awarded this Bronze for a new product. For sometime I have been asked to make a thick cut marmalade and decided to give it a go this year. I decided to use Demerara sugar to give it a darker colour and a richer taste. After a couple of test batches I managed to make my first full batch in time to send off to the Dalemain awards with no more expectation than receiving the benefit of the judges comments. These are often very usefull in the production of a new product.

I was therefor amazed to get a call to inform me that I had a Bronze Award for the Marmalade which is a wonderfull start for the year.

The Awards are hels at Dalemain House near Penrith in Cumbria. It is a thoroughly British affair but boasts a world wide attendance. There are entries from as far afield as The British Virgin Isles to Japan, Canada to Australia. For more information please visit there web site at www.marmaladeawards.com .

William with his Gold Award winning products for 2010

2010 was my most succsesfull year winning my 5 Gold Awards. I had hoped, when I entered 5 products, to get  1 or 2 Golds. I was astonished to find that I had won for each and every entry.

My awards are:

1 Star Gold for Pleasantly Hot Pickled Onions.

1 Star Gold for Seville Orange Marmalade.

1 Star Gold for Bitter and Twisted Seville Orange Jelly Marmalade.

2 Star Gold for Fresh Fig Chutney.

3 Star Gold for Elderflower Cordial.

I am particularly thrilled to have won my 3 Star Gold for Elderflower Cordial. I have a particular passion for wild fruit and all the elderflower I use is gathered from hedgerows and byways in and around my local countryside. The elderflower were wonderfull this year and I heard about the award just in time to make extra stock. The judges said that it had a complex, clean, fresh taste bold flavour.Not too sweet.

Getting a Two Star Gold for the Fresh Fig Chutney was very satisfying. I have worked very hard over the past 2 years perfecting this recipe and I am thrilled that it has been so well received by the award judges. They said that it has an attractive aroma,very fruity, good spice ballance and a homemade feel.

Having a One Star Gold for the Pleasantly Hot Pickled Onions is terrific. These are propper all round pickles that sound as good as they taste. I mix all the spices myself to get the flavour and soak the onions in brine to make sure the texture is satisfyingly crisp and crunchy. These are onions with attitude, the flavour coming from fresh and dried chillies, ginger and a mix of different spices. The judges said that they had a nice crisp texture, good spicy flavours and liked the heat from the chilli and ginger.

At last I have an award for my favourite. I have a One Star Gold for the Seville Orange Marmalade. This is a traditional, medium cut bitter marmalade for those who love flavour. I use the whole orange (except the pips) in this marmalade to produce a well rounded product with complex bitter orange flavours. No breakfast should be without it. The judges said that it was a nice well cooked marmalade.

One Star Gold for Bitter and Twisted Seville Orange Jelly Marmalade is wonderful. I have made this recipe from scratch for a group of my regulars by request. They complained that they loved the flavour of Seville Oranges but could not abide "bits". It has taken a couple of years but I think I have just about made it. This is a propper bitter marmalade that has turned out to be very versatile. I confess that it does have very fine gossamer thin twists of peel but they are there purely for visual pleasure. I have been so pleased to hear that some of the uses it has been put to are salad dressings and glazing ham's. The judges said that it had good shreds of peel and great bitterness. 

One Star Gold Bitter and Twisted Seville Orange Jelly Marmalade