I love winter. But after a while it can get a bit monochromatic. Which is perhaps why I found myself drawn, as if by magnetic force, to a tray of tangelos in my local supermarket. I'd never made marmalade before (or indeed anything with tangelos), but as luck would have it, my mother - a master marmalade maker - was down staying with me, so I took advantage of an in house consultation. And in reward she received a still warm jar to take back with her on the plane to Brisbane. My reward was a breakfast the next morning that was bright and sunny, sugary and sharp, a blaze of orange to obliterate the grey. This recipe uses spices for extra warmth. They're subtle, but still, a nice calm counterpoint to the juicy sour/sweet of the citrus. Smeared on toast, with a cup of black coffee, it's the tastiest cure for seasonal affective disorder, not to mention oh so pretty in that sleepy winter morning light.
Spiced tangelo marmalade
Adapted from a recipe by taste.com.au
I halved this quantity and got four medium-size jars' worth (excellent as gifts!), plus a bit extra.
8 (about 1.3kg) tangelos, washed
2.5L (10 cups) cold water
2kg white sugar
1 x 7cm cinnamon stick
1 whole star anise
2 whole cloves
4 thin strips lemon rind
Use a sharp knife to remove ends from tangelos. Cut in half lengthways, then thinly slice crossways, reserving the seeds. Wrap seeds in muslin and tie with white unwaxed kitchen string to create a pouch. Place tangelo, muslin pouch and water in a large heavy-based saucepan. Cover and set aside in a cool place for 6 hours or overnight to infuse.
Bring saucepan to the boil over medium-high heat. Boil, stirring, for 10 minutes or until rind is tender.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Add the sugar, cinnamon, star anise, cloves and lemon rind and cook, stirring, for 10 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to medium and gently boil, stirring occasionally and using a metal spoon to remove scum that rises to the surface, for 1 hour or until mixture thickens and is at setting point. (To test if mixture is at setting point, place a saucer in the freezer for 5 minutes to chill. Spoon a little marmalade onto saucer. Return to freezer for 2 minutes or until marmalade is cold. Touch to see if it is set and gel-like. If not, continue cooking, testing every 5 minutes.)
Remove from heat. Discard muslin pouch. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool. Stir marmalade to distribute fruit. Ladle into sterilised jars (for how to sterilise jars, click here), seal and turn upside down for 2 minutes. Turn upright and set aside until cooled. Label, date and store.