“encaustic” tiles made for hearth

 

Fired but not yet glazed. Off white slip on grogged red earthenware, 10 cm square, all patterns having significance for the owners of the property. Awaiting honey coloured glaze.

 

fired encaustic

These are now fired with 2 transparent earthenware: 1 bitter honey (both Potterycrafts) and fired to 1030˚C. The new parquet floor is almost finished, and then we should be able to lay the tiles. They show less warping than some previous projects, possibly because of the use of grogged clay.

well well, time for marmalade again

So here is the 2017 recipe, a bit late, but you could view this as being early for next year.

Preparation and cooking took the best part of 2 days, as there is so much chopping, and I do tend to simmer rather than boil the preserve. This amount keeps 2 people happy for about 12 months.

4 kg seville oranges

4 kg sugar

4 lemons

4 inches of fresh ginger

seeds from 12 green cardamom pods

Water, quantity -as much as you need, most evaporates off anyway.

Clean jam jars, sterilised with boiling water, about 8-12, depending on size.

So, choose some good music, and begin.

As last time, I did 2 kg of oranges at a time, as my pan is not big enough to take 4 kg oranges+water+4kg sugar in one go.

Wash the fruit. Cut the oranges in half and juice. Ditto lemons. Put the juice to one side. Put the pith from the juicer into a bowl.

squeezed oranges

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arm yourself with a small sharp knife, cut all the orange peel halves into 4 quarters, then using the knife horizontally, cut off most of the pith. Save the pith in the “pith” bowl, and the thin skins in another bowl. Do the same to the lemon peel.

Knife horizontal

 

 

cut carefully

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Put the pith in your big jam pan, add water to cover, and simmer slowly to extract the pectin. Add more water if needed. After about  90 minutes, sieve this, or drain it through a jam bag, and save the fluid. You can stir more water into the pith debris, to wash out more pectin.

 

pith

“thinned” peel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While this is happening, cut up the peel into small pieces, according to your preference. We usually cut it fairly fine. Put the finely cut peel in a bowl. Do this to the lemons too.

ready for cooking

pectin

cut peel in pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we are ready for the final cook. Put the thinly sliced peel in your jam saucepan, add the ginger, peeled, and cut in fine matchsticks, and the cardamom seeds. Pour over the pectin fluid, and orange juice, and simmer gently. After about 30 minutes, add the sugar, and stir until dissolved. Then continue cooking at a gentle rumble, with fairly frequent stirring. Put a plate in the freezer for checking the gel.

There will come a time when a rim of gel starts to develop in the pan at the edge of your marmalade. This is the beginning of gelling, and from time to time you need to put a smear of your marmalade on the cold plate and check for adequate gelling by “pushing” the surface of the cooled sample with your finger to see if it wrinkles. I always find it difficult to decide the right moment to stop cooking, this is something that you must develop a feel for yourself. Use a sterilised (boiling water) polythene jug to pour the marmalade into the clean jars, I have stopped using a jam funnel.

I tend to seal the top of the marmalade with a layer of paraffin wax, a habit I picked up in France, which keeps the conserve free from mould or drying out.

The usual description by the family of marmalade made by this recipe  is “stonking”, and it does have a nice orangey bitterness.

 

It’s Dulwich Festival and Open House again!

May 13/14 and 20/21 are the days to look out for, the programme is already available, with more venues than ever before, we are on page 36, and our venue is number 61. As usual, there will be tea, coffee and biscuits on offer, and the garden will be lovely to sit in , in the (cross fingers) sunshine. We would be delighted to see you.

I have been playing with porcelain for the last few months, including paper porcelain, and

close up of stamps

 

 

using home made stamps to alter the surface. These respond nicely to celadon type glazes.

clay stamp 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

stamped porcelain, blue glazes

stamped porcelain

stamped porcelain

 

And as a result of a green heart project with the WI for Valentine’s day, there are some heart themed bowls, made of many individual hearts

hearts

celadon, green hearts

and you can never have too many dinosaurs

dinosaur bowls

dinosaurs

dinosaurs

We look forward to seeing you!!