"The Queen
of Condiments"
Kirstie Allsopp
"The finest jams, chutneys and pickles I have ever eaten"
Clarissa Dickson Wright
"It's just me and a slotted spoon love"
Victoria Cranfield

Spring in the air and marmalade is in Fortnums.

There is such a pull away from the kitchen to the garden when the sun is out, and hasn't it been fabulous the last few days.  Freezing cold at night with a hard frost meeting the sun in the morning, so I skived.  Apologies to those who have outstanding orders but I needed to save the pond.

We have the remnants of a 17th Century fishing pond complete with towers of frogspawn and a resident moorhen, the stream which feeds it runs parallel to it.  Nowadays when it rains the stream becomes a torrent and rips away at the bank between the pond and the stream ......not helped by the fact the stream is about 5 ft lower than the pond, the damage has been horrendous!

Enter a cook who can do anything, sort of, has a go, it may not be pretty but it will work; maybe.  I have been dry stone walling, using stone dug from a bank on site, with a spade, transporting it in a complaining wheel barrow and standing in the stream (it is low at the moment........that is my excuse to skive) and re assembling and back filling.  Knackering and one of the most satisfying thing I have done in ages....only another 50 feet to go!

AND I have one of my marmalades in Fortnum and Mason, London, as part of their celebration of Artisan Marmalades!

There is a fabulous marmalade festival in Cumbria which I would recommend all marmalade makers consider entering their marmalade into.  All proceeds go to the hospice and this year they had over 800 entries.  www.marmaladefestival.co.uk will give you all the details.

The seville marmalade recipe detailed in a previous blog gained me a silver for the second year running as did my grapefruit and ginger marmalade........the one chosen by Fortnums as one of 7 marmalades to be featured in their store this month.  To have a further puff....the pink grapefruit and a new marmalade (in fact it was the first batch that went) lemon and rose petal also got recommended.  Not bad, though I say it myself!

As I am now guilty of distracting myself with this blog update, I must return to some sort of work .......one of the advantages of the sun is that the solar panels have given me a full tank of hot water .......so no excuses, I will have to do the washing up!

March 07, 2010 by Victoria Cranfield

Seville Marmalade Recipe

The seville oranges are now in the shops and we are bang in the middle of our marmalade making season.

Our local paper (The Western Morning News)  has today run a double page spread on our marmalade and included our recipe for what I consider to be our best (personal taste...I like it bitter) marmalade.  It only seemed fair to share it with other makers or potential makers and I give it to you here!

Though I will rue saying it, this is probably the easiest recipe you will find to ensure a good result...........if you have problems please contact me to discuss!

Timings: initial cooking approx 40-50 mins once brought to the boil

preparing the fruit 40mins

final cooking time 30mins from coming to a rolling boil

You will need enough jars and lids for 6kg/13lbs of marmalade.  This recipe can be halved (shorten final cooking time by 5 mins before testing ) but it is only making 26 half pound jars, so think of it as one for every fortnight of the year.

Seville Marmalade

This recipe won me a Great Taste Gold Award in 200

6 6lbs/2.7kg Seville oranges

3 large lemons

6 ½ pints/3.75 litres water

Granulated sugar (Have at least three packets to hand, the exact quantity will depend on the juice content of the fruit, see recipe)

Wash the fruit to remove all dust and dirt.  Seville orange skins are not treated but lemons often are. If you can’t get unwaxed lemons, scrub them in hot soapy water and rinse.

Cooking the fruit whole makes the skins easier to cut. Put the whole fruit in a saucepan, lemons on the bottom, cover with the water and bring to the boil.  Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover.

After about 20 – 30 minutes turn the fruit over so the lemons are at the top and the top fruit submerged. Simmer for a further 20mins. They are done when a knife pierces the orange skin with little resistance.

Take off the heat, keep lid on and allow to go cold, preferably overnight.

Keep all the cooking water. Cut the fruit in half and squeeze.  You can use an electric squeezer or scoop out the flesh with a spoon and fork. Add the pulp  and juice to the cooking water but discard all pips.

Slice each half-orange skin in half again, then cut width-ways into strips as thick or thin as you like.  Add the shredded skin to the reserved juice, cooking water and measure. For each pint of this mixture, you will need one 1lb/454g sugar.

Return the prepared fruit mix to the saucepan and add the sugar.  Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 30 minutes only.

Test for a set: with a metal spoon take a small sample of the liquid, dribble a little onto a saucer placing the spoon and the saucer in the fridge for a few mins. One or other of the samples should wrinkle when nudged with your finger .

Stir, then let the marmalade stand for 15 minutes before potting for even distribution of peel.  A skin may start to form which can be stirred in before potting.  If the wrinkle test didn’t work and no skin starts to form, re boil for no more than 5 mins.

Pour into sterilised jars and seal immediately.

Good luck and happy marmalade making

Pan Yan Pickle recipe

*PLEASE NOTE - this is a very old blog post - WE NO LONGER SELL PAN YAN PICKLE - Thank you :D *


Happy New Year, at present it's a very pretty one although I would like the snow to go fairly soon.

I was contacted by quite a few people last year when a jar of pan yan pickle was shown in the background during Kirsties Homemade Christmas.  I was initiated into the story of the lost recipe and the 'to date' failure of Premier Foods to reproduce the product once so familiar to so many.  I promised to investigate and eventually blog.

The jar behind me was made by Rose who sells in the local market.  She says her recipe is one passed down to her from her mother, its main constituents are: spiced vinegar, apples, sugar and saltanas.   I searched online and discovered there are variations on this recipe type using curry powder etc

The original recipe taken from ageneric  jar of Pan Yan Pickle shown 19.03.08  on mailonline. is as follows

Rutabagar (swede), sugar, apples, carrots, vinegar, thickener (modified starch) gerkins, acetic acid, peppers, onions, spices, colour (caramel), flavourings.

As I am told the pickle was a fine dice one, I suspect the swede/carrots etc were bought in pre-diced to provide the texture, there would be a background of apple (hence its preponderance in the other recipes ) within an spiced emulsion/sauce.  The recipe would be fairly easy to unpick if I had tasted it.

I like a challenge and if you can tell me your memories of its flavour as precisely as possible I would be happy to have a go at reconstituting it.  This comes with the caviat  that I don't buy in pre-prepared vegetables so the texture won't be accurate.

Once I have sufficient feedback to try and work out the 'spices' and 'flavourings' I will make a batch and put it on the website so it can be sampled.  If it manages to replicate the pickle then I will put the recipe in the book and/or offer it to Premier Foods as it is essentially a pickle for mass production.

If this is too much bother you may like to try Fortnum's pickle (I was given a jar at Christmas......you have to check out the opposition) Ingredients (not in full): sugar, vinegar, swede, parsnip, carrot, turnip, apple etc a similar texture (pre prep veg etc) to that described.

I'll be fascinated to see what the response is.........over to you, this is definitely something I can't do alone!

******************** *UPDATE* May 2013 ..... http://cranfieldsfoods.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/panyan-pickle-reconstructed/   Better late than never! ********************

January 05, 2010 by Victoria Cranfield

Why you should use naturally dried apricots.

I am so pleased so many of you have had a successful chutney making experience and enjoy what you have made.  Some however have been less fortunate, the primary reason seems to be the type of apricot used.

Please try to find naturally dried apricots, they may be less pretty but they taste much better and because they haven't been treated  they act as little sponges soaking up both the orange juice and any excess liquid from the pan.

If you have made the chutney with the wrong type of apricots and find the chutney too runny you can recover your chutney as follows.

Gently cook more apples  in a little orange juice until they are just soft but still in shape.  Drain (you don't want any extra liquid) add to pan, bring to boiling point and pot.

For those in Australia, any white granulated sugar will do, I use beet sugar simply because we grow it in the UK, there is no difference in taste.

Commonly asked Questions about cooking Boxing Day Chutney.

Q: I have to take warfarin daily, and have been advised to avoid cranberries.  Is there an alternative to cranberries that could be used in your recipes for people like myself?

A: You can just leave out the cranberries and drop the sugar by 227g/8oz  (this is an educated guess, before potting let a little cool and taste it, if not sweet enough for you return the sugar and bring back to the boil as the sugar will create a little more liquid) You won't get pockets of pink in the jar so it won't be as pretty but the strongest flavoured component is the apricot.  If you wanted the occasional tarter pop in the jar then I suspect gooseberries could be substituted but they are out of season and I haven't tried it!

Q: Do I use dried cranberries or fresh – if fresh can you suggest where to buy them? do major supermarkets carry such a product?

A: Fresh cranberries are in season now, you can buy them from most green grocers and supermarkets in the run up to Christmas.  A packet usually weighs 340g.

Q: I  have had problems with it being too thick - or at least it is in comparison to the Kirsty's which looks almost liquid. Mine is chunky and you can clearly identify the apricots and other fruit. I couldn't get the naturally dried apricots so had to get the 'orange' ones instead. Any advice?

A: The initial photo shot was of the cooking ingredients before the soaked dried fruit was added.  Once all ingredients were added and brought to the boil (stirring to avoid sticking) it thickened quite quickly.  If it is too thick for you return to the saucepan with more orange juice and bring back to the boil before re-potting.

Q: I have had some problems with this recipe. There seems to be far too much liquid and it took a long time for the mixture to anything like resemble chutney – as I would have expected.

A: The orange juice should be totally absorbed by the dried fruit before being added to the cooked mixture of onions, apples etc. The cider vinegar should be somewhat thickened by the breakdown of the apples and reduced by the cooking of the onions. when the sugar is added it will create some additional liquid which should quite rapidly thicken to the consistancy of a pouring custard while you constantly stir (otherwise liquid comes to the top as the solids drop and catch on the bottom). Stir as you fill the jars so that the liquid is well distributed (continuing the analogy custard packed with bananas). As you are using quite dry fruit it will continue to absorb liquid and thicken as it cools.

Boxing Day Chutney Recipe - updates!

I am totally blown away by the interest in this recipe , thank you! For those that are interested I am writing a book of all my recipes , if you would like to be notified when it is available, please register your interest on the home page of my website here: http://www.cranfieldsfoods.com/

I have been asked 

Can you tell me how to store and how long it will keep once opened?

and have replied as follows:

"You will need to sterilise your jars and lids first.

Easiest way is to wash the jars in hot soapy water, rinse and put in a cool oven until all the water has evaporated and the jars are dry/hot. Let them cool before filling! Alternatively use something like Milton Sterilisation tablets and follow the advice.

The lids (especially if reusing) must be clean, unscratched and sterilised either by boiling or milton sterilisation. Scrupulously clean jars and lids will minimise the chance of the chutney going mouldy over time.

Use clean kitchen towel to remove any trace of chutney from the rim before lidding.

When filled, let cool and give the jars a good wash in case any residue has stuck to the outside.

If re-using lids use the jam paper circles to put on the surface of the chutney before putting on the lid.

You can dip the wax papers in brandy before popping them on the top…….great smell when opening, helps the chutney keep and doesn’t hurt the flavour one little bit.

Once sealed should keep for a year, once opened 3-4 weeks if it lasts that long!"

If you have any other questions, please do not hesitate to ask!

Warmest Regards,


Kirsties Boxing Day Chutney Recipe

Boxing Day Chutney as seen on Kirsties Homemade Christmas

2lb/900g onions sliced

2lb cooking apples chopped

1 pkt/340g cranberries

2pints cider vinegar

2oz/50g fresh root ginger(before pealing) finely diced

1tbsp coarse sea salt

tsp mixed spice

zest of 2 oranges


2lb naturally dried apricots chopped

1 pkt dates (175g/60z)pitted and chopped

1lb raisins

Juice of 8 oranges/1 pint orange juice


2lb white sugar.


Place all the first ingredients in a saucepan gently bring to the boil.

The object is to let the onions go transparent, the cranberries start to pop and the apple break down.  You don't want to lose all texture so a 5min simmer once at boiling point should do.  Remember to stir.

In a seperate bowl mix the dried fruit and pour over the orange juice. Stir well. The mixture should absorb all the orange juice in approx 20mins

The dried fruit can be done before the ingredients for cooking to save time.

Add the marinated fruit to the saucepan with the  sugar.

Stir well and bring back to  boiling point, stirring all the time.  Don't leave the saucepan at this time or the contents will catch and taint the chutney.  The free liquid will start to thicken quite quickly and the chutney can then be bottled.  Lid immediately.

For the sizes of fruit/technique see Kirsties video .

Please add comments it you need further info and I will post with the response.

Cranfields' on Kirstie's Homemade Christmas!

Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas will be on Channel 4 from 8th-10th December at 8pm

Cranfields' Foods will feature on Kirstie's Homemade Christmas during episodes 2 & 3 airing on the 9th & 10th December 2009

Crafty Kirstie Allsopp is back for a spectacular 3-part special that will see her create the perfect homemade Christmas.

Earlier this year, Kirstie turned her dilapidated Devon cottage from a shell to a chic vision of country living.

Now, with the festive season just round the corner, Kirstie’s Homemade Christmas will see her use Meadowgate as a base to take viewers on a yuletide journey of decorating, wonderful gifts and perfect entertaining.

Kirstie will be embracing crafts from around the country and her own love of doing up and making do to create the perfect Homemade Christmas.  

Among the craftspeople taking part in this festival of craft is Victoria Cranfield of Cranfields Foods in North Devon who shows Kirstie how to make Cranfields’s Boxing Day Chutney and Cranberry and Mulled Wine Relish for Kirsties hamper and the Christmas table.

Victoria said: ‘It was fascinating to meet Kirstie and be involved in the filming both at Meadowgate and at home, the enthusiasm and warmth shown by her in previous series is genuine, which made the whole experience very enjoyable. Luckily Kirstie had bought some of my preserves at a Charity craft fair and enjoyed them, you never know where sales can lead!’

Packed with brilliant tips and information, the series will be a goldmine of great and creative ideas that the viewers can replicate at home.

Each day, Kirstie will take on a theme and offer viewers the perfect guide to transforming any home into a Christmas spectacle – from Christmas decorations and hand- and homemade presents, to perfect Christmas entertaining with plenty of food, drink and general merriment.

If you would like to buy either of the preserves featured they are available through our website or for a full list of stockists visit www.cranfieldsfoods.com or telephone Victoria on 01271 850842

Merry Christmas!