26 January 2017

We get through jars of marmalade every year, Ben eats it religiously on his toast every morning. I thought it would to fun to have a go at making it for the first time this year. There is such a pleasure in making things from scratch and the lovely thought of having the cellar fully stocked for the coming year.

I embarked on making two different batches. One a dark marmalade which i made over three days and the other a more traditional. The Dark Marmalade develops the most beautiful caramel colour and flavour, which thick cut peel and the combination of the caramel with the bitter citrus of the seville oranges is mouth watering.

I love a hot piece of toasted bread smothered in butter and good spoonful of marmalade on top with pot of tea. Mornings don’t get much better than that.

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  1. William le Clerc says:

    Dear Charlie,

    I follow both you and Ben on instagram and, after reading your lovely post tonight while stuck on a frustratingly slow train out of London, felt that it was necessary to send a simple ‘thank you’.

    It is so easy to get caught up in our daily cares and frustrations (slow running trains, worries about the world and all the rest) that we forget the beauty which surrounds us and the simply joy small things can bring. Your post are however a constant but gentle reminder of how a little bit of beauty and appreciation of the simple things (marmalade and toast being on top of the list currently!) can go a long way in lifting our spirits.

    Therefore please keep posting and accept, even though I am a complete stranger, my simple but sincere thank you!



  2. scott says:

    Dear Charlie, love Ben’s blog and yours shows great promise! Love the majolica leaf plates, and the spode. Please keep posting as we need some comfort in these sometimes difficult times, cheers from Tasmania.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Thank-you so much for your comment. Im not a scratch on Ben’s great blog but its a good start. Best and many thanks Charlie

  3. columnist says:

    I too enjoy marmalade very much, and especially if it has a tinge of bitterness; without your culinary skills in the jam-making department, I eat Hero’s Bitter Orange Marmalade. Without tasting yours, I imagine it might taste a little bit similar. The long strands of peel also “appeal” greatly!

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Hero,s Bitter Orange Marmalade sounds delicious. The best marled should be more bitter than it is sweet. The right balance. I hope you have had a lovely weekend. Many thanks, Charlie

  4. Robyn says:

    Thank you Charlie for your lovely post. Here in Australia it is so hot and with the abundabce of strawberries I made jam yesterday and am about to make tomato chutney. Such simple homely tasks bring great pleasure. Keep posting please, for all our pleasure. Thank you

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Dear Robyn, Thank-you for your comment. I agree with you entirely about homely tasks, nothing can beat homemade jams and chutneys. Enjoy making your tomato Chutney. Best wishes and many thanks Charlie x

  5. Sarah says:

    Hi Charlie

    What double joy to read and see your blog as well as Ben’s this morning – I love the photo of your kitchen table and your lovely copper pot, orange le cruseut etc, and your china collection, absolutely lovely can’t resist good pots and nice china, old and some new. Was just down in Penzance in this weekend and bought some nice old Cornish stoneware. Ive never tried making my own marmalade so might give it a go, I have a plum tree in my garden so getting through plum jam at the moment. Looking forward to enjoying your blog this year now Ive discovered it and look forward to seeing your glorious garden, and pumpkin progress. Now I’d better return to my job and get some work done!!

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Dear Sarah. I’m pleased you have enjoyed my blog, it might take me sometime to get into it, and won’t be a patch on Ben’s but it will be fun to see the different views of our weeks and trips and the Garden. Thank-you for your kind words. You can never have enough china. We now need some more space to start storing it. Plum Jam sounds delicious. I hope you have great week. Many many thanks , Best charlie x

  6. Anna says:

    Dear Charlie, the marmalade discussion, in this house at least, is a long and well worn one! we love marmalade and the making of, which leads to more discussion, and the debate goes on and on…..yours looks delicious!
    so thrilled you too are keeping a blog, I love Ben’s words, and will now have 2 to look forward to!
    Your garden too is a constant source of photographic thrills, and this summer we’ll finally, once again, have our own veg patch sorted, having moved 3 years ago. I’m keeping a close eye on the detail of yours, if you don’t mind….Leicestershire’s backdrop is not quite what Dorset has to offer.
    thank you both for giving so many of us such lovely images to look at, and good reading to go with them, each in perfect measure.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Dear Anna. I am with you on the marmalade discussion… everyone always has there favourite and something to say. Thank-you for writing and reading the blogs. It makes me so happy we are able to bring lots of inspiration and thrill from Dorset. Hope you are looking forward to the spring and all the abundance of your garden. Best and many thanks Charlie x

  7. Shelagh says:

    Ooh Charlie, you have awakened the marmalade memories! I have an old National Trust recipe entitled Lady Churchill’s Marmalade made from sweet oranges, so tomorrow I’m shopping for more oranges. Lovely blog, I’m hooked.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      The marmalade recipe you have sounds fabulous. Its such a rewarding feeling once the arcade is made. Thank-you for writing. Enjoy making your Marmalade. C x

  8. Pierre B. says:

    Soon or later you must publish a gardening or a cooking book – or both? Thank you, Charlie! Looking forward for more posts.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Yes there might be a few ideas for a book or two. Thank-you so much. Hope you have had a lovely day. C

  9. dana says:

    charley, so glad you’re posting now. I am in the U.S. and am headed to central florida to spend a month. It will be orange and strawberry season there and I already have my tiny jars in the car in preparation for making marmalade and jam. I’m excited about yours and hope mine will be as pretty. cheers

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Florida sounds like heaven for a month. I love you have your jars in the car ready. Such a fab image to have in my head. Im sure your will be delicious and how lucky to be heading for strawberries. Have fun and thank-you for your comment. Charlie x

  10. PP says:

    Well excitement knows no bounds now! Ben AND Charlie have a blog each – and even better I feel like I’m in on the ground floor with yours. (As much as love re-reading Ben’s of his hints of a new someone special in his life and his gradual introduction of this ‘Charlie’ to us readers, nothing got done for days at this end when I discovered his and had to catch up on three years worth of back entries!)
    My wonderful grandmother always used to make an annual supply of marmalade only at this time of year – maybe back in the day you could only get the ‘right’ kind of oranges when they were actually in season. You have inspired me to get out my jam pan!
    And I can almost smell those beautiful narcissi all the way over in this frigid corner of NW Connecticut.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Please please make Marmalade, you will get hooked. The first time it seems to take forever but really once you get going it doesn’t take any time. The smell that fills the house is amazing.
      Thank-you so much for all your words, i will try and keep writing as its lovely to her so many positive and thoughtful words.
      i hope your having a great week
      Many many thanks and wishes Charlie

  11. Hilary says:

    Dear Charlie, I’m so glad the marmalade was a success and what charming pics of its journey to the breakfast table. I so enjoyed your pictures from New Zealand, especially those lupins, I have never seen anything like it. Your Dahlia post is my favourite, each flower so attractive. Were they all home grown? Brilliant blog Charlie.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Dear Hilary. Thank you, the jars are disappearing quickly, I’m just making the next round before the seville oranges disappear from he shelves. The lupins are beyond and the smell is amazing.
      The dahlias are all plants we had in the garden from last year. Adding a few more varieties this year which is exciting. Thanks so much for reading , i hope you enjoyed. Best charlie x

  12. julia says:

    you and Mr Ben P with your posts and cuttings are quite the best thing on the internet.

  13. May says:

    Well, Charlie – what a lovely Monday surprise! A blog from you, AND juicy photos of your marmalade. We’re about to embark on ours, which I now freeze half-made for a few days (fortuitously first done by mistake, easy to do here in Canada), which gives it a deeper flavour without the risk of over-cooking.
    So sorry about your little cat, too. We’ll raise a toast to Percy this evening.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Hello. Thank-you so much. IM very intrigued as to freezing your marmalade, i might have to try this with the next batch. Sounds delicious! Thank you for your lovely words, its means a lot. I hope your having a great week. Charlie x

  14. Diane Whyte says:

    Thank you for your blog, I make marmalade each year with seville oranges and it is delicious, is the dark one just boiled longer or is it a different recipe ?
    I have relatively recently become an avid fan of Ben`s blogs having lived in Dorchester as a child, Dorset is my absolute favourite county and I make a pilgrimage each time I return to the UK so you can imagine how I wallow in the photographs which transport me back.
    Right now we are roasting in 34degree heat in Hawkes Bay New Zealand, not enjoyable.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Home made marmalade is the best… Its such a lovely time of the year when the seville oranges arrive.
      The darker one is a different recipe and is made over two days very slowly. It is delicious, a beautiful caramel colour.
      I agree that dorset is by far the best county, it has everything and is so enchanting and magical.
      Oh how lovely to be in the NZ heat but that does sounds so hot. Although growing up in NZ i have never been to the Hawkes bay, maybe a trip when we come over at the end of the year.
      Many thanks for your words.
      Charlie x

  15. Marilyn Snell says:

    Charlie, I really enjoyed reading your blog and I look forward to more blog posts. I am inspired to try making marmalade for the first time! Your garden is so lovely and I admire your creativity in designing your flower arrangements as well.

    There is nothing like homemade “anything”!!

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Thank-you for your comment and all your lovely words. Please do make marmalade, its addictive, i have just started making round two.

      I agree completely with you.

      Thanks so much


  16. Sarah says:

    PS: As its now blood-orange season, could be delicious for marmalade, I might even give it a try this weekend – anyone tried, any good I wonder? Thanks again Charlie, given me inspiration!

  17. Kit says:

    Your blog is just lovely and I so look forward to every post as it is a beautiful, calm reprieve from the nasty swirl of dissension at the moment in world affairs.

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Kit, thank-you for your words. Im so pleased you enjoyed. Hope your having a good week. Best and Thanks Charlie x

  18. Mike says:

    Sarah,blood orange marmalade is absolutely divine! The perfect balance of sweet tart with a hint of raspberry. It goes well with so many things.
    Charlie,delighted to see you stick your oar into the blogging waters! I read Ben’s religiously & I also follow you & Mavis in your Instagram adventures. Martha Stewart may be the domestic goddess,perhaps you will be her male counterpart? Ever so nicer,though.

  19. Deborah Wagner says:

    Oh, Charlieeee! My father and his wife made their annual batch of marmalade last week. They don’t make it from scratch (Mamade) but I can’t blame them for that, as they are in their late 80s. Yours looks divine, and I am so pleased you started this blog, which I have just discovered this cold, dreary Massachusetts morning. I left Hertfordshire as a child, and after a seven year stint in Canada followed by decades in the US, the things you blog about are the things that resonate the most deeply with me. I come from a long line of very serious gardeners. One of them was married to the head gardener at Hatfield House, I believe. Anyway, family conversation was more likely to be centered on the length of the current crop of broad beans and “The damsons are in!” than football scores. So this feeds my soul just as Ben’s posts do—but yours and his are different, each touching a different place. Apples and, well, oranges…

    • Charlie McCormick says:

      Dear Deborah.
      A very slow reply. The sound of your Father and his wife making their batch of marmalade is perfection. What a lovely image i have.
      And even more so your family line of serious gardeners, heaven! Your family conversations sound like mine.
      Thank-you so much for writing. Hope your having a lovely week.
      Charlie x

  20. Charlotte says:

    As Molly Keane said, “Well-being returns when I see sun-light glittering through a new batch of marmalade on the kitchen table.”

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