I have been marmalading again. What?! you say. But it's April! And isn't marmalade such a pain. You have to buy special Seville oranges and they are in season for two seconds in January when you are still sleeping off your New Year hangover... and then there's all the squeezing and the fiddly slicing and the stirring and isn't it just easier to buy a jar from Tesco?
I follow Pam the Jam's recipe from the River Cottage Preserving book which is a kilo of citrus fruit with two kilos of granulated sugar and 2.5litres of water. I use what is is known as the whole fruit method because you just put the whole fruit and the water into a pan and simmer until the fruit is soft. That's the first cheat.
When it's cool, cut in half, flick out any seeds and drop the fruit into your food processor. That's the main cheat. I used to chop it finely with a knife but then I heard a lovely posh chap from Fortnum and Mason talking about award-winning marmalades on Simon Mayo's Radio Two show. One of the winning marmalades had been food processed and I decided that if it's good enough for posh marmalade experts from Fortnums, then it's good enough for me.
Process the peel until it's about as fine as you want (I like it really fine) then make sure you've got about 1.7l of water (reduce or top up as necessary) and add the peel back to it. (If you're me you then look fruitlessly in the cupboard for the sugar and the mixture sits on the stove for two days until you can get to the shops).
Mix in the sugar (eventually!) and 75ml of lemon juice if you haven't used lemons. Then bring it to a rolling boil until it reaches setting point (which is about 102 degrees C on my thermometer), leave it to cool for 10 to 12 minutes (Pam says - I usually leave it longer - this is so the peel doesn't sink), add 50ml of whisky (optional) and pop it into sterilised jars.