Monday, April 15, 2013

M = Mahjongg and Marmalade

a-to-z-letters-m
Quite a long time ago, Matt’s dad gave him a set of Mahjongg tiles and sticks whicmahjongg tilesh he had won when he was out east. (He was in the Merchant Marine). Neither he nor us had the remotest idea how to play the game so we bought books to find out (before the internet). Matt and I learned to play and enjoy the game and converted some of our friends, both in the UK and Canada, into keen players as well. The Chinese, according to a comment I read, had been playing Mahjongg one way for a thousand years, the west got hold of it and played it a thousand ways in one year. In fact there are all kinds of hands you can achieve which wasn’t so for the original Chinese game. This picture gives you an idea of all the different tiles available. It includes dragons, winds and flowers and there are many combinations for a winning hand. In the Tilesoriginal Chinese game it was mainly collecting three of a kind (pung) or four of a kind (kong). The games one plays on the internet, matching pairs, is nothing like the real game. The first thing you have to do is shuffle the tiles, upside down, (twittering of sparrows, it does actually sound a bit like that) then build them into a 4 sided wall of China, that’s before you do anything else. Its complicated to learn, but once you have done so, it can be great fun. The three tiles above are the red and green dragons and I am guessing the white dragon. Our white dragons are totally white. There are 4 of every tile in the set.

marmalade 2An English friend of mine recently submitted some marmalades to the World’s Original Marmalade Awards held in Cumbria, which is in the Lake District of northern England. One of the patrons of the marmalade 4Awards was Paddington Bear, of course, who eats more marmalade? I am delighted to say my friend won two Silvers and a Gold and has kindly permitted me to use her Gold medal winning recipe here. I had to use a couple of pix as I think this marmalade looks so delicious. I could just eat that piece of toast.


Seville Orange and Amaretto Marmalade
Recipe by: Karen Jankel

Ingredients:
Seville Oranges (I make 1 kg at a time)
Cane sugar (approximately twice the weight of the oranges)
Lemons (one for each kg of fruit)
Amaretto

Special equipment:
A preserving pan or really large saucepan
A fine meshed sieve
A jam funnel
A good supply of clean jam jars with lids (canning jars)

Wash the oranges then cut them in half and place them in your preserving pan or saucepan. Pour in water so that the oranges are completely covered and then bring to the boil. Simmer the fruit for two hours, topping up the water as necessary so that the oranges remained covered in water and the peel is cooked. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

While your oranges are cooking, turn on your oven to a low temperature (about 120°C) and then place all of your clean jam jars into the oven to sterilize them. You can also warm your sugar in the oven at the same time. Also place two or three saucers into the freezer. Leave the jars in the oven as they need to be hot when you fill them.

Once the two hours are up, remove your oranges from the stove and allow to cool.

This is the time consuming bit! One at a time, remove the orange halves using a slotted spoon scrape out the pulp and place in the sieve over a large bowl. Press through the sieve, discarding any pips as you go. Try to keep as much of the pulp as you can. Using a sharp knife, slice the peel into thin strips (or thicker pieces if you like your marmalade really chunky). Place all of the cooking liquid, peel and pulp into the bowl and then, using a measuring jug, return this to the preserving pan making a note of how much you have in total.

Now, add your warmed sugar, using the same volume of sugar as your fruit mixture. This is why the quantity given at the beginning is only approximate as it can vary quite a lot. The important thing is to make sure you have a good supply of sugar before you start. Stir in the sugar, adding the juice of one lemon for every kg of oranges you started with (again, this is approximate). Stir thoroughly and place the pan back on the heat and bring to a rolling boil. While this is happening, measure out your Amaretto. You will need one eighth of the volume of your fruit. So, for example, if you ended up with one litre of fruit you will need 125mls of Amaretto.

Now you have to keep a careful watch over your marmalade until it reaches setting point. If it’s overcooked it will taste like treacle and if it’s undercooked it will be too runny. It can take anything from 15 to 25 minutes to be ready so you need to start testing it from about 14 minutes onwards. Do this by dropping a small spoonful onto one of the saucers you placed in the freezer. If the top wrinkles when you try pushing it across the saucer with your finger then it is ready. Keep cooking your marmalade and testing it until it’s ready and then remove the pan from the heat straight away. After one minute, stir the Amaretto into the hot marmalade. Wait about another two minutes and then start to fill your hot jars, using a ladle and a jam funnel. You should make sure the jars are filled almost to the top and then screw on the lids. As the marmalade cools, the lids will seal themselves.

Have a great day
Jo

28 comments:

  1. This is the first time I've seen Mahjong Tiles and had enough information to fill a bit of the mind mystery - the game is mentioned in stories (both books and movies) AND - there is a Mahjongg group recently formed here in St. Louis - ladies talk about it with smiles - but, I haven't had the opportunity to check it out - (That's a lot of words to say "THANK YOU.")

    AND - WOAH!!! You KNOW someone PERSONALLY who makes Marmalade? One of my favorite food groups. It's so beautiful - and tasty.

    Happy A to Z!
    -g-

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    1. Thanks Maggid, my friend not only makes it but invents recipes for it. I just remembered I forgot to send her this link.

      I haven't played Mahjongg lately I'm afraid. You should try joining the group, it is a fun game.

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  2. Mahjong! I used to play it with a group of friends about 30 years ago. I don't think I would even know where to begin if I tried to play it now!

    And, marmalade is always a great spread on toast in the morning!

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    1. I'm a bit the same C.M. the rules, especially the scoring part, are a tad tricky to get hold of at first.

      I love toast and marmalade.

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  3. I have so many friends who play Mah Jongg, but have never tried to learn it. As for the marmalade, I think I may have to try this at least once. Thanks to you and your friend for the recipe.

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    1. Its a fun game once you get the hang of it.

      Me too Denise, it sounds good.

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  4. I've always wanted to try Mahjongg.

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  5. Many people in our country love to play mahjong, but I must admit it never interested me. Now, orange marmalade, I absolutely love!

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    1. Not sure where you live, but the western version of the game includes lots of different combinations.

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  6. My grandmother taught me to play Mah Jongg when I was 10 (I am 80 now). I taught it to my children and we played it for years. I gave them all a modern set from Hong Kong but do have two of the older ones that come in a box with brass handles and walls. I loved the names of some of the hands (Moon from the bottom of the sea was one). I also have a paper set I found in an antique store. Never heard about the tiles sounding like sparrows--lovely. The one on the computer is like Concentration but enjoyable. Thanks for your post.

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    1. Cannot imagine a paper set? Interesting. Like the sound of your older ones. We were in our 30's when we learned to play.

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  7. Mahjong. Wish I knew how to play that game. It looks like fun. Jo, i'm not doing the AZ this year but I am still blogging and visiting bloggy friends :)

    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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    1. It is a fun game once you get the hang of it.

      That'll still keep you busy, lots of people to visit.

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  8. I love mahjongg! The tiles are so pretty and it requires the use of your eyes and brain..the perfect game.

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    1. I agree, the tiles are pretty and of course you are right the use of eyes and brain are required.

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  9. I played Mahjongg when I was younger but I don't remember much of the game now.

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    1. That's the trouble, it's easy to forget.

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  10. What an interesting and thought provoking post.
    My hubby is a real marmalade lover, so he will enjoy that recipe when I make it.
    Thanks for posting.

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  11. Hi, Jo - computer issues have me far behind in my A to Z reading.

    That marmalade looks wonderful, but I don't know if I'd have the patience. Awesome on your friend's medals, and she's so generous for sharing.

    On Day J, who knew something called junket would sound that good. Great posts and recipes, thanks!

    Barbara
    Mountains and Middles
    The Daille-y News

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    1. Yeah, funny two of us chose junket. I still haven't had a chance to find rennet.

      I love marmalade, but I too find it a bit too much to make.

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  12. Love marmalade, but I've never thought of making it myself and now I definitely won't after seeing that complicated recipe! But congrats to your friend for her winning entries.

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    1. It does look a bit complicated doesn't it. My friend is a very good cook though.

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  13. Hi Jo .. Mahjongg brings back many hysterical memories of a school friend and I, who was staying with their family, her sisters used to play Mahjongg .. and were always in crazy noisy hysterics as we were of the age of balls not circles .. thankfully their Brigadier father and mother tolerated our antics!

    Well done to Karen having won her awards ... I love marmalade but don't have it often ... cheers Hilary

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    1. Yes we used to refer to them as balls too. Not so much girlish giggles of course.

      I don't have marmalade often because I like the heavy dark Oxford marmalade which I never see over here.

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