Bestselling author Veronica Henry talks about her day spent on the River Cottage Preserves course.
One of my favourite indulgences is hot buttered toast slathered in marmalade. I adore it in all its guises – a molasses-dark dollop of Frank Cooper; shimmering Golden Shred with its dainty slivers; the quivering neon of Rose’s lime. I had long hankered after making my own, but somehow the science of it terrified me.
When I saw the River Cottage ran a day-long course on preserving, I signed up straight away. Not only would I discover the mysteries of marmalade, but also how to preserve lemons, and make chutney, and clemencello ... what bliss!
The food writer Rachel de Thample was our guide for the day, in a state-of-the-art kitchen with a big picture window overlooking the rolling Devon countryside. Every appliance we could possibly need was right at our fingertips. Throughout the day Rachel demonstrated everything we were going to make, then we were let loose and allowed to experiment. Learning hands-on with an expert to hand is definitely the route to successful preserving: both timing and temperature are key, and to have Rachel at my elbow gave me the confidence I needed.
And what a joy it was! The delight of watching sunshine-yellow lemon curd thicken on the back of a wooden spoon; training your eye to spot your marmalade come to a rolling boil; rubbing handfuls of sea salt into quartered bergamots ... I came home with a sense of satisfaction and several jars of jewel-bright preserves and tracklements. I was afraid no more.
A Family Recipe, the new novel from Veronica Henry, is out now. To celebrate the release we’re giving you the chance to go on a culinary adventure at River Cottage HQ. Enter HERE