Bittersweet

I've been meaning to have a go at making marmalade for about two years now (!) but somehow never got round to it. With the promise of a free Sunday stretching out ahead, I seized the moment, tracked down some Seville oranges and cleaned out a stash of old jam jars. 

I used Nigel Slater's very simple but classic

recipe

which was very easy to follow. The Seville oranges themselves are funny little things - wrinkled and slightly mishapen on the outside, with very little flesh and lots of pith on the inside. They're so sour, they make your lips hurt! 

I kept my slithers of rind quite chunky as I like a bit of bite to my marmalade. I also added a little bit of grated ginger as Nigel suggests for some spice and warmth. Good for winter mornings!

With my marmalade all bottled up, I turned my attention to their little outfits.

I cut circles out of some vintage linen offcuts I had. I stuck to white as I love the contrast between the jewel-orange and clean linen white. Small things like this make me happy!

I did a bit of doodling and designed some labels for them. I hadn't done any drawing since I was in school, so it was heartening to discover that I hadn't forgotten everything. It felt so good to do some drawing again. 

I had my resident art/ life critic on site to provide useful feedback and suggestions. 

I used tiny elastic bands to secure their little hats and then tied them with twine to cover the elastic. 

Bobby was very interested in what I was doing. He's always keen to be included when there's twine involved. 

After a very gloomy start to the day, the sun came out and the kitties and I spent a lovely hour dressing and labelling the glossy little bottles. 

They looked very pretty indeed lined up altogether. 

I will keep some of these for breakfasts over the next year and for cakes and puddings heavy with orange and spices for the winter months. I will also give some away to friends and family, little bittersweet offerings tasting of sunshine.