Oxford: a place “to taste”
Oxford is a small town of about 152,000 inhabitants situated in the Oxfordshire county, less than an hour by train from London.
- Saturday, 22 March 2014
It is known especially for the presence of one of the world's most prestigious universities, The Oxford University in which some very famous characters graduated here: Lewis Carroll (author of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland”), Margareth Thatcher and also Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean, graduated in electrical engineering with honors).
There are many tidbits that I can tell you about this town. one of these is that many scenes from the Harry Potter's saga were filmed here. Fans of the little magician in fact (like me), can't miss Oxford for this reason.
The thing that intrigued me the most about Oxford was its covered market, a real institution since many years with lots of goodies and shops (http://www.oxford-coveredmarket.co.uk)
One of the things that I couldn't imagine to find in this market were lots of jars of delicious homemade marmalade of oranges, my favourite one, prepared according to a recipe dating back no less than to 1874, when Mrs. Sarah Jane Cooper used her mom's old recipe to prepare it in large quantities, since she worked in a Hotel in the city, and the flow of people coming and going was huge.
A very kind lady who was selling this and many other treats at the market, explained to me that the very dark color of the jam is due to the fact that it contains both molasses and brown sugar.
I tried to make it for you at home but first I have to say that because molasses is an ingredient that is not always easy to find, you can replace it with acacia honey that will be still fine.
bitter oranges Seville quality 800 g
1.7 litres water
700 g sugar
400 g white sugar
1 spoon full of honey or molasses
Remove the peel from the oranges using a potato peeler, being careful not to cut off also the white part of the orange. Cut the peel into little strips and place them in a large pot with high edges.
Cut the oranges into large pieces, having the patience to remove all seeds from the pulp. You won't have to trhow away the seeds but place them in a piece of cheesecloth and sealed with a wire. They are going to thicken the jam while it's cooking, because they contain an enormous quantity of pectin. Place the cheesecloth with seeds in the pan along with the orange pieces, sugar and water.
Bring the mixture to a boil, on low heat, cover with a lid and cook for about 2 hours. Remove the pot from the heat and let it rest all night (about 8 hours). The next day, remove the pips bag from the pot and bring the mixture to a boil again. When it'll boils, lower the heat and cook for another hour. After this time, add the sugar and melt well, bringing to a boil the marmalade. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove the pot from the gas and with the help of a ladle, remove all the foam that the jam will form on its surface. Let it cool for about 5 minutes, stir well, then pour it into sterilised jars and seal. When the jars will be cold, keep them in a cool place and away from light.
This jam is not the only delicious things that Oxford has to offer. In fact, always from the covered market, some butchers supply dozens of City College with their absolutely tender and high quality meats: lamb, pork or beef are one of the the best you can find in Oxfordshire.
Another speciality that Oxford has to offer is the “Oxford Sauce”, a sauce made with melted red currant jelly, porto wine and flavoured with shallot, orange peel and mustard; usually served with cold meats or game.
Oxford offers a myriad of new and unique flavors. Organizing a trip here would be very nice, especially in winter, when these flavors can be tasted at their best.