Spring in the air and marmalade is in Fortnums.

There is such a pull away from the kitchen to the garden when the sun is out, and hasn’t it been fabulous the last few days.  Freezing cold at night with a hard frost meeting the sun in the morning, so I skived.  Apologies to those who have outstanding orders but I needed to save the pond.

We have the remnants of a 17th Century fishing pond complete with towers of frogspawn and a resident moorhen, the stream which feeds it runs parallel to it.  Nowadays when it rains the stream becomes a torrent and rips away at the bank between the pond and the stream ……not helped by the fact the stream is about 5 ft lower than the pond, the damage has been horrendous!

Enter a cook who can do anything, sort of, has a go, it may not be pretty but it will work; maybe.  I have been dry stone walling, using stone dug from a bank on site, with a spade, transporting it in a complaining wheel barrow and standing in the stream (it is low at the moment……..that is my excuse to skive) and re assembling and back filling.  Knackering and one of the most satisfying thing I have done in ages….only another 50 feet to go!

AND I have one of my marmalades in Fortnum and Mason, London, as part of their celebration of Artisan Marmalades!

There is a fabulous marmalade festival in Cumbria which I would recommend all marmalade makers consider entering their marmalade into.  All proceeds go to the hospice and this year they had over 800 entries.  http://www.marmaladefestival.co.uk will give you all the details.

The seville marmalade recipe detailed in a previous blog gained me a silver for the second year running as did my grapefruit and ginger marmalade……..the one chosen by Fortnums as one of 7 marmalades to be featured in their store this month.  To have a further puff….the pink grapefruit and a new marmalade (in fact it was the first batch that went) lemon and rose petal also got recommended.  Not bad, though I say it myself!

As I am now guilty of distracting myself with this blog update, I must return to some sort of work …….one of the advantages of the sun is that the solar panels have given me a full tank of hot water …….so no excuses, I will have to do the washing up!

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