Friday, 14 December 2012

Red Onion Marmalade

I am finally getting a few things prepared for Christmas, it has been a bit of a roller coaster week. Finally we exchanged on our much loved family house of 15 years in gorgeous Minchinhampton, Gloucestershire, where our girls grew up and went to school. We have already moved to Somerset, in October, but it has felt very transitory as we can only be in this house for 4 months. At least now we are certain ours is sold and we can buy somewhere to call home again. I put some jars in the oven with an inch of water in each for half an hour.
However home is where your family are, and everyone arrives "home" next Friday for 2 weeks, so we are a complete roost again. We go from 3 to 6 adults in this house, it is quite small but it is home, for now. I can finally get my head around cooking and preparing for Christmas, well after the small matter of packing up the rest of our belongings this weekend to go into storage on Monday, and cleaning our "old" house. I detest the selling system here in England, nobody has any comeback on a sale as it is not binding until about a week before the move happens, so you can't plan. Thankfully, as we just need our things to go into storage sometime next week, and not a coordinated move on a particular day, I could nab the one free slot with the removal company not charging a king's ransom! We were thinking we were going to have to do all of it ourselves at one point, a steep drive and a piano...hummmmmm!
We had been assured the exchange was happening every day for the last 2 weeks, no chain was involved, and every couple of days there was another excuse, but on Wednesday I was assured for the nth time it was happening today so I set about making red onion marmalade as distraction therapy. It is a good job it takes a while....on a freezing frosty day it is a good way of warming the house up by having a comforting pot bubbling on the stove. Lots of red Christmassy colours; gingham jars, red onions, red wine, balsamic vinegar and chillis.
It was a mish mash of several recipes including Sarah Raven's in her garden cook book and a Good Food magazine one online. I peeled and finely choppped a good kilo or so of red onions, almost filling my largest Le Creuset casserole. A very good glug of sunflower and olive oils went in first.
I then sweated the onions for about 40 minutes, stirring regularly. I added about 150g brown sugar, choppped garlic, a shake of chilli flakes, seasoning, some whole cloves and thyme and sweated a bit more, what a lovely phrase! Then about 6 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar went in and half a bottle of the cheapest red wine you can find. In my case I always make sure I bring lots back from France as cooking with wine that cost €1 a bottle is not as extravagant. Then you bubble and bubble and stir and it is not too much trouble at all for another 30-40 minutes or so until very soft and thikened. Jars out of the oven and empty the water and then in goes ladlefuls of your red onion marmalade. Well it would if the ladle was smaller than the jar, it goes everywhere. The solicitor rang at this point to say that we were exchanging in five minutes if that was OK with us, ohh heck! I put the tops on tightly straight away, I don't bother with wax discs (shock horror 'elf and safety) and try and wipe the sticky gloop up off the jars as well as I can. When cold I put on my labels, I found some clip art last year and just print them off on Avery labels, replace the clip art for whatever it is you are making. That should be enough for all the lovely cold gammon and turkey for the next few weeks! Pity, our new house wont have a pantry either, I've always fancied having a pantry or a cellar. in reality it won't last that long anyway.
..and crochet has also been my distraction therapy. I finished my Vintage Granny last night, more about that soon.


  1. Hello Fiona

    Your post sounds a nightmare, but thankfully your house is sold and you can look forward to a new home in the New Year. New Year - New Beginnings, and most importantly you have your Family with you.
    The Onion Marmelade sounds and smells devine LoL, and congrats on your finished blanket. Looking forward to seeing the result.

  2. Hope the sale goes through smoothly now and you can have a relaxed Christmas, ready to start house hunting in the new year!
    Angie x

  3. Sending you calming thoughts Fiona! Hope that it's all smooth sailing from here on out, as far as the house is concerned. Good distraction techniques demonstrated there with the making of the marmalade, and finishing off your fantastic blanket. Can't wait for your ta-dah post x

  4. Love your blog.I am a Gloucester girl living in cornwall,my aunt lives in North Somerset too.


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