Saturday morning guests enjoyed a burst of summer as Chris Brown led them through a delectable tasting of small batch marmalades. Chris prepared a variety of marmalades from The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook by Rachel Saunders. The founder of the San Francisco Bay Area-based jam company (www.bluechairfruit.com), Rachel Saunders has created one of the most beautiful tomes on jam-making we’ve ever had in the shop. This book has both style and substance. The recipes are superbly written with enough detail and instruction to get even jam novices through all the steps to create a pantry full of fruit preserves and marmalades. These are not your 30-minutes freezer jam recipes, they require attention to detail and some are true labours of love. Chris gave us lots of great tips and secrets taking us through all the steps to making marmalades (even giving us our own jar to take home for afternoon tea).
While more of a jam fan (I’m never without a bucket of sorts in close proximity during the height of blackberry season, and I am guilty of hording more berries in my freezer than I could ever possibly turn into jam), I’ve never warmed up to the idea of marmalade on toast (not enough British blood in me perhaps). However, I found a recipe that might give me just the excuse I need to cook up a batch of Rachel Saunder’s marmalade. In his recipe for Chunky Fig, Apricot and Prune Cake (River Cottage Everyday by Hugh Fearnley –Whittingstall) Hugh calls for marmalade to flavour and moisten the fruit. The result is a lighter version of your average fruitcake. This is how I can enjoy my marmalade at teat-time, great in the lunchbox too.