I was once compared to Dennis Rodman.
Yes, that's right, the tattooed flame haired Hall of Fame basketball player that was once married to Carmen Electra, known for his defensive and rebounding abilities (those last two points I must admit I got from Wikipedia). I remember doing a double take when they compared me to him. I was in Japan teaching English and there was an American teacher called Paul who made this really quite strange statement. I asked him to explain the comparison and no, I am not a tattooed flame haired Hall of Fame basketball player that was once married to Carmen Electra and known for my defensive and rebounding abilities. His reasoning was that I was controversial because I looked Chinese or even Japanese but I acted Australian and sounded Australian (whatever that meant). "You may as well dye your hair bright orange like him to confuse people even more" he said half jokingly and quite drunk.
Anyway, allow me to present you with something that's a little controversial but still bright orange: marmalade. I hear you already. I know, you don't like marmalade. It's bitter or it's this or it's that. I know. I like jam better too.
But this is really good. Like freakishly good. If I were to recommend you make something this week, it's this. It's really based on a marmalade I had years ago at a stall at Matakana Farmers Markets in New Zealand. I have a terrible memory for names but a good memory for food and I recall trying this jam or marmalade and thinking that it was utterly delicious and then filing it away in my head to make later. Much later as it turns out. Carrots are one of those things that we always seem to have in our crisper. They're plentiful, easy to buy and cheap and we go through a bag a week easily. Until one week where I went away and my carrots were neglected. They needed to be loved, they needed to be eaten and so they became this marmalade.
This is not bitter even though there is the zest and juice of a lemon and orange. The carrot makes up the bulk of this sunny, syrupy, glossy marmalade which you can spoon on yogurt, eat with cereal or spoon on toast. There isn't any pectin in this so there's no thickeners so it retains a lovely syrupy quality and reminds me of delicious Middle Eastern jams where fruit is suspended in syrup.
So tell me Dear Reader, who would you like to be compared to? And who wouldn't you like to be compared to? And are you team marmalade or team jam?
Carrot & Orange Marmalade
An Original Recipe by Not Quite Nigella
500g/17.66 ozs. grated carrot
400g/14.13ozs. sugar (I used organic unrefined cane sugar but regular sugar will be fine)
1 orange juice and zest
1 lemon, juice and zest
4 cardamom pods, crushed
500ml/17.66 fl. ozs. water
3 slices fresh ginger
Step 1 - Place the grated carrot, sugar, orange and lemon juice & zest and cardamom pods in a saucepan and leave overnight or for at least 6 hours. The juice from the carrots will release.
Step 2 - The next day add the water and ginger and bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for one hour. If there is too much liquid, simmer with the lid off until you get a nice syrup.