We’re considering installing a pond. Well not really, but if we ever wanted one, here is a no obligation, free of charge mock-up provided by the sky. Every time huge buckets of rain fall we thank our builder for his up-selling which was something like “you’re going to need a drain at the back of the house or it will flood”. We have had, and are still having rain and lots of it. The grey skies and lack of sunshine is becoming just a little tedious. According to the Portuguese meteorological website we’ve had about two hundred and fifty million, billion times the average rain fall in January. My Portuguese numbers aren’t so good so it might not have been quite as much as that.
On a dark and rainy day (which one!) I remembered our little orange tree and my promise to myself to make marmalade. The oranges we have are bitter but with enough sweetness to eat. A bit like a cross between a sweet orange and a grapefruit. As “true” English marmalade is made from the bitter (but high pectin) Seville orange, our bitter/sweet variety might make a lovely marmalade. Boiling and inhaling all that stored sunshine is bound to lift our spirits! We’ll make our own sunshine damn it. Marmalade made in the home of marmalada with local oranges rather than Spanish seems a nice little twist to this tale of preserved fruit. For those who didn’t know, Portuguese marmalada (or quince paste) came well before marmalade. Portuguese marmalada has been known in the UK since mediaeval times but Seville orange marmalade is a later development, now with its own tradition. Like many things in the western world though, the Greeks did it first! Is that just because universities love ancient Greece and that’s as far as we look? I bet the Chinese were making some kind of marmalade paper or a marmalade powered rocket while we were still grunting and pointing at toast wondering what would taste nice on it.