bitter tangerine marmalade

“I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It’s amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor.”
D.H. Lawrence

Kumquat MarmaladeIt’s a happy feeling just looking at a jar of homemade Kumquat Marmalade, characteristically bitter-sweet and delicious. Life continues to race, the days forever busy. A feeling of strange uncertainty takes over at times, like I’ve forgotten something, maybe missed a deadline.  It’s not the ‘end of the year‘ panicky feeling, or the ‘before exam restlessness‘. Then again, maybe like marmalade, life is bitter-sweet too!

Kumquat Marmalade I like to enjoy what I do, relax and vegetate sometimes, yet the modern day rat race of sorts is woven into every second that ticks by. Can’t figure out what happened to those laid back times of yesteryear.

KumquatsThen in this feeling of being on a roller coaster comes a small break … jam making. Thankfully it’s a process that you so totally get immersed in, that the unsettled feeling is forgotten. The marmalade kept me on my toes, more so because junior decided to get involved.

KumquatsRight from plucking the fruit off the tree, to shooting fruit in baskets, to grabbing some away from the dog, stirring, bottling … he was there all the way! {Little Coco had her eyes peeled through-out}CocoI have been fascinated by the fruit since I was young. No one ever ate them, too tart of course, but they were so pretty! And the colours? Inspirational! Then a few years ago, a lady in the neighbourhood let us into her guarded little secret of making bitter marmalade with these. You will not imagine how many kilos of sugar disappeared into jars of jam once we were ‘fruitily enlightened‘!Kumquat Marmalade Every one we knew and their cousins were gifted bitter marmalade with glee. The hard work of snipping peels and stirring the jam until translucent well worth the look of amazement on the happy recipients faces. For the past 3 years this is all I do come winter, and everyone in the neighbourhood knows where to send their fruit.

KumquatsCall it the strangeness of nature, but the much in demand lime tree just doesn’t seem to bear fruit like the kumquat tree. Kumquats finds little use among common growers and are not commercially sold in India. Yet, almost every household in North India proudly sports a kumquat tree, also called ornamental orange. The fruit fall and rot once ripe as even birds don’t feed on them, they are so tart!!

The round kumquat also called Marumi kumquat or Morgani kumquat, is an evergreen tree, producing edible golden-yellow fruit. Kumquat literally means ‘golden orange’. The fruit can be eaten cooked but is mainly used to make marmalades and jellies. It is grown as an ornamental plant and can be used in bonsai. The plant symbolizes good luck in China and other Asian countries.

Kumquat Marmalade “So much sugar? More? No Mama, No”! I forgot all my jam making skills, and I have made this jam umpteen times. “Is it done mama, is it done. Shall I stir? What if the bag of seeds opens? I think you haven’t tied it properly?” I could have tied up the thirteen year old, I was so nervous.

Kumquat MarmaladeThen I announced it was ‘plate test time’. “What’s that? Ooh can I do it? I think it’s setting. Ya. No. Noooooooooooo … cook some more Mama. OK, let me stir. Shall we cook more?” . I finally regained control of my bitter kumquat marmalade finally telling him I thought it was done {though I think I cooked it a little longer than I should have!}

Kumquat Marmalade It’s strange how when kids are part of a process, they love the food even more. It’s been marmalade and toast for the past few days no matter what. Double fried eggs, cereal … and then the call, “Mama, if it’s not too much trouble, can I have toast with marmalade please?” Did I tell you he was charming? Gosh, all the way!

A word of thanks –  Thank you Ziet Online for featuring me in Sunday Dinners.

[print_this]Recipe: Kumquat Marmalade
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Summary: Bitter kumquat marmalade is one of the best ways to use up this tart fruit. Makes a for a great gift, and is also a wonderful addition to cake batters, frosting, pies etc. Makes about 6 jars.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes

  • 1kg kumquats 
  • 1kg sugar 
  • 250ml water


  1. Sterilize 4-5 jam jars. Place a metal spoon in each jar {this ensures that the glass jar will not crack when the hot jam is poured in}.
  2. Place the sieving bowl over a bigger bowl, and squeeze the seeds to deseed the fruit. We need to collect the seeds as they contain the pectin to set the jam. Make a bouquet garnet of the seeds.
  3. Snip the peels with scissors into strips.
  4. Place the strips, with the pouch of seeds, in a heavy bottom pan on full heat. Boil for a few minutes till the peel is tender, stirring constantly.
  5. Add the water and continue to cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Now add sugar, stirring constantly.
  6. Continue to cook over high heat for a further 10-15 minutes until the mixture thickens & the strips becomes translucent.
  7. Do a plate test by dropping some marmalade on a cold metal plate to check if the jam is setting properly. After 30 seconds, it should congeal and look jellylike.
  8. Put off the flame, discard the muslin pouch with the seeds and allow the jam to cool for 10-15 minutes. Stir to distribute the strips.
  9. Now pour the marmalade into the jars, and seal after 10-15 minutes.
  10. {I refrigerate my jars}
  11. Thermomix method:
  12. Place the peels in the TM bowl and slice at speed 10 for 2-3 seconds. Add the reserved juice to the TM bowl, with 250g water, and run on Reverse at 100 for 10 minutes, speed slow.
  13. Add 800g sugar and the bouquet garni {which holds the seeds}, and run at reverse at speed 2 for 2 minutes. Add a further 450g sugar {small kumquats tend to be very bitter}, and continue to cook at reverse speed 2 for a further 8 minutes.
  14. Now turn power to 100C, place the lid at an angle, and cook until the gelling action kicks in and the jam begins to set. {Do a stainless steel plate test. Drop some marmalade on a cold plate to see if it sets in under a minute}. Mine took about 7-8 minutes.
  15. Put off the TM, discard the muslin pouch with the seeds & allow to stand in TM jar for about 15-20 minutes, and then pour into prepared jars. I refrigerate my marmalade.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

“I wanted to make a cookbook full of food that you’d absolutely love, because I love all of you.”
Ree Drummond

Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsOf course I got tempted again! What’s not to love about Sweet Orange Rolls? The day I saw these delicious rolls from Rees new cookbook, I was in a trance. 24 hours later, my kitchen was enticingly orangey, deeply strawberryish … and like the best bakery in town. These Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry and Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls were winners.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls I knew they would be! I am a huge fan of The Pioneer Womans cinnamon roll dough, a dough I have endlessly experimented with outstanding results each time. If the Apple Cranberry Almond Olive Oil Pull-Apart Loaf & Popovers weren’t a screaming success enough, these Savoury Chili Cheese & Garlic Olive Oil Pull-Apart Bread reconfirmed it!Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls So when I saw the dashing and talented {in Rees words of course, but seriously, it’s true} Brians post on  A Thought For Food, I knew my homemade bitter tangerine marmalade had found a new destination. This has turned out to be the yummiest one yet. It was a bread dessert waiting to be baked, and while I worked on the dough I made changes, just a few changes.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsNothing radical as the basic recipe is a winner. I had some buttermilk on hand, so in it went instead of milk. Then, when I opened the fridge to take out the jar of marmalade, I couldn’t resist thinking the oranges might enjoy some colourful company …Roasted Balsamic StrawberriesSo the marmalade got slathered over with some roasted balsamic strawberries I had made the day before. These are delightful to have in the fridge. For times when you buy too many strawberries in temptation and then panic that they will spoil, this is a good recipe. It keeps them safe for at least a few days longer.Roasted Balsamic Strawberries I make small portions at a time and put them into fruit bakes, sandwich and top a cake with cream, or drizzle a few spoonfuls over a parfait or ice cream. You can see them in these – Quark Mousse Cake, Quarkauflauf, Eggless Caramel Cream Cakes. Just yesterday I topped a cheesecake with the left overs. So many ways and so much fun; taste, colour and variety all packed into one jar! Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsBecause they are oven roasted, they are nice and thick, they don’t ‘leak‘ extra liquid into the dough to make it soggy. To keep the ‘not so terrible any more’ teen happy I threw in some dark chocolate too. Orange, strawberry and chocolate together worked some magic in there to serve up some darned delicious dessert rolls! We loved them … LOTS! {I made 2 individual pop over rolls too with left over dough}.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsHow do I describe something bursting with the freshness of orange, seduced by the heady combination of deep roasted strawberries and dark chocolate … ooeeey, gooeey, wonderful. They were fabulous warm, and very very good at room temperature. And with obligatory lashings of unsweetened low fat cream, even more DELICIOUS!Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk RollsThis is my new favourite dessert – light, eggless, fruity, chocolaty. I love it! Dark chocolate only makes good things even gooder better. It’s adapted minimally from the Rees new cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Food From My Frontier. If the recipe is anything to go by, the book has to be a winner.Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls I made a half quantity and am glad I did. Half was hard to keep away from, how could we have  justified digging into 48 rolls? Next 24 to be made soon, and more bitter marmalade making coming up just for these! Yes, they were that good! Thank you Brian for the inspiration to bake this ‘miracle‘! Loved your ‘thought for food!

[print_this]Recipe: Sweet Orange, Roasted Strawberry & Chocolate Buttermilk Rolls
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Summary: Sweet dessert rolls bursting with the freshness of orange flavour, seduced by deep roasted strawberries and then given the kick of dark chocolate … all ooeeey, gooeey, wonderful. Adapted minimally from The Pioneer Woman Cooks – Food From My Frontier

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes {plus resting time}

  • Buttermilk Dough
  • 240ml {1 cup} buttermilk
  • 70gm {1/4 cup} granulated sugar
  • 60ml {1/4 cup} vegetable oil
  • 1 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
  • 270gm {2 1/4 cups} all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Filling
  • 50gm {1/4 cup} unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 tbsp orange marmalade
  • 1 serving roasted balsamic strawberries {recipe follows}
  • 100gm dark chocolate chips {good quality}
  • 1/2 cup {1 stick} butter, melted
  • Icing
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange
  • 60gm {1/2 cup} powdered sugar
  • 50gm {1/4 cup} unsalted butter, melted
  • 2-3 tbsp milk, room temperature
  • Dash of salt
  • Roasted Balsamic Strawberries
  • 225gm strawberries
  • 30gm  {2tbsp} brown sugar
  • 15ml {1tbsp} balsamic vinegar


  1. In a large saucepan over low heat, heat the milk, granulated sugar, and oil until warm but not hot. Add the yeast and 2 cups of flour, then mix and transfer to a bowl. Cover and let it rise for at least an hour.
  2. Stir in the remaining 1/2 cup flour, the baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. {Thermomix: warm milk, sugar,oil, yeast and flour in TM bowl. Mix at Speed 6 for 5 seconds. Knead at intermittent speed for 2 minutes. Leave dough in TH for an hour until it doubles. Cover TM if weather is cold. Add baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix on reverse speed 2 for 10 seconds.}
  4. Roll the dough into a long rectangle, about 15 inches wide by 10 inches deep. You’ll want it to be as thin as you can get so that you can add plenty of goo.
    Drizzle the melted butter all over the surface of the dough. Use your fingers to smear it all around so that it coats evenly.
  5. Spread the orange marmalade all over the buttered dough, distributing it as evenly as you can, followed by the roasted balsamic strawberries.  Sprinkle as much good quality dark chocolate all over the two …
  6. Using both hands in a back-and-forth motion, gradually roll the dough toward you into one long log. {I took a little long getting here, so the dough began to rise. It’s a slightly shaggy dough, so might be a good idea to roll it on parchment, especially if you fill it ‘up’ like I did!}
  7. Pinch the seam to seal it. Slice the log-o’-dough into 1/2 inch pieces.
  8. Preheat the oven to 190C. Place the rolls in a buttered baking dish and allow them to rise for 20 minutes while the oven preheats. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes until nice and golden.
  9. While the rolls are baking, make the icing.  Add the zest and juice of 1 orange to a bowl. Add the powdered sugar and salt, some milk.
  10. Then some melted butter and whisk it together until it’s nice and smooth and lovely.
  11. Pull the rolls out of the oven when they’re golden brown and drizzle on the icing right off the bat. The piping hot rolls will suck that gorgeous icing right down into their crevices and the whole thing pretty much becomes a miracle.
  12. Serve them warm.
  13. Roasted Balsamic Strawberries
  14. Toss the quartered strawberries well with the brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Bake at 180C for about 45 minutes until nice and bubbly, stirring once or twice. Cool completely, transfer to a clean glass jar and refrigerate.


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India

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