Scraping a zester across the dimpled skin of an orange or hovering a split lemon very close to your nostrils and inhaling against the damp is the equivalent of culinary angel dust in winter. Not only can they literally boost mood by raising serotonin levels, but citrus fruits are the earthly embodiment of the Mediterranean sun; bright plump orbs filled with a promise of sustained sunshine in the tunnel of winter.
There is no better way of duping the senses than by dropping a few oranges, grapefruits and a lemon into a pan of simmering water for a few hours, chop up when soft, stir in twice the amount of sugar (off the heat according to my mother) and boil it up until setting point. The only real messy part is bottling it up and gifting it without sticky fingers.
Not only do you have the satisfaction of jars filled with the promise of summer to come, but smug access to a whole range of marmalade puddings and cakes that will taste all the better for using homemade. continue reading