Mrs Aitch is making marmalade- as I write this. She makes it every year, and there's this terrific wait for the Seville oranges to arrive in England. Some years they arrive early, other years they arrive late. But January's the month for Seville oranges. If you're interested in her original recipe, here's the link. It works every time and makes an extremely professional tasting marmalade- I gather the secret is all about the quality of the pectin in the oranges and getting to the right temperature to release it. It sounds scientific.
This time I thought I'd have a shot at making Seville Orange Gin. It's a lovely old-fashioned drink, and apparently, a favourite of HRH The Prince of Wales. I've never made it before, so I've trawled the web and come across several recipes. They're all very similar- and pretty simple.
I can't hand-on-heart tell you if this recipe is any good, as I'm literally just about to make it. What I have learnt with Sloe Gin and Gooseberry Gin, is that it's often a good idea to go easy on the sugar, and if anything, deliberately add less sugar than the recipe demands. If your gin is too bitter in taste, it's an easy matter to add more sugar to taste. But if your gin is too sweet- there's nothing you can do about it, apart from chucking the whole thing down the sink.
5 Seville oranges
a litre bottle of gin
4 oz caster sugar
Peel the Seville oranges, carefully removing the zest from the pith – the pith is bitter and you need to get rid of it. Cut the orange peel into strips.
In a large sterilized demijohn combine the gin, sugar, orange peel and two cloves. Seal and keep in a dark cupboard for three months. Turn (or shake) the container every few days to make sure that the sugar dissolves.
After three months you strain the orange gin and, using a funnel, pour off the strained alcohol into sterilized bottles and seal. Ideally, you need to leave the orange gin for a year or two to mature and mellow over time.