Marmalade sandwiches – with a twist

The most famous marmalade sandwiches are those of the renowned Paddington Bear whose Aunt Lucy introduced them to him in Darkest Peru before he came to London to live with the Browns. Paddington almost always had an emergency marmalade sandwich under his hat. This seems like a good idea to me, although I imagine it might make your hair (or fur) a bit sticky.

Here in London it is the height of marmalade making season. Which is great when you are in a second period of self isolation. Plenty of time for making marmalade with those bitter Seville oranges that have such a short season. There is really nothing like a pot of homemade marmalade. It is ALWAYS better than shop bought. And everyone’s marmalade is different, so swaps are a voyage of discovery. This year I have so far made some traditional chunky marmalade, and some which is finer cut with the addition of bergamot. Bergamot is a yellow-green citrus fruit with a distinctive flavour. It’s quite a strong flavour so I only used one per kilo of fruit. For my final batch I intend to make a dark whisky flavoured version.

A friend and fellow marmalade maker told me last week about the Marmalade Awards, a truly wonderful institution, and as eccentrically English as it is possible to be. There are categories for all sorts, including a special category for marmalade makers who also happen to be bellringers! Entries are open until the beginning of February, so there’s still time to send in your pot. The entry fee goes directly to a local hospice and they have raised over £250,000 so far which is wonderful.

Today I revisited a marmalade sandwich I invented when I was about 15. I can’t remember the circumstances of the invention but it has remained a culinary highlight of my life. You need a good bread – this is true of any sandwich of course – and today I had a white sourdough (not homemade I’m afraid). Spread one slice with chunky peanut butter. Spread the other with butter and marmalade, preferably chunky cut and homemade, but any really good marmalade will suffice – and do not skimp on either! Finally lay on slices of top quality well cooked bacon. It has to be proper dry cured bacon, smoked or unsmoked, whatever you prefer. Today I had smoked streaky from the most amazing butcher The Ginger Pig. Carefully put the slices together, eat and enjoy! It’s a Taste Sensation as we like to say here in Hanwell.

While googling marmalade sandwiches I found a rather intriguing recipe for a marmalade sandwich cocktail here. It needs a particular gin, and also Aperol. I don’t have either in the house at the moment, but I will certainly bookmark that page for when I’m allowed out of the house again. I love the fact it’s finished off with finely ground toast crumbs! Although my sandwich was accompanied today by a cup of coffee I rather fancy trying it with this cocktail one day.

Last year I wrote a blog post about marmalade which featured Nigella’s chocolate orange cake, containing marmalade. This has proved one of my most looked at posts. It is one of the best cake recipes I know, and so easy. I think it may have to be made again this weekend. Who knows? I may even use a pot of homemade this time!

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