Seville oranges in the shops mean marmalade, and a commotion in the kitchen – Unless! Get out the kotlich, turn a corner of the garden or your doorstep into an outdoor kitchen, and cook industrial quantities of glorious marmalade, and never mind if it boils over. Stepping nimbly between the kitchen (calculating quantities, chopping, heating jars, strong coffee) and the outdoor kitchen (in our case the doorstep) I keep an eye on progress, regulate the fire, stir and …well, marvel. We haven’t yet had the 2018 marmalade ritual, but a box of oranges is on its way and decks are being cleared. And ritual it is; various batches work out or fail to quite work out but its orange glow and bitter taste (and is that a hint of smoke I detect?) brings a year’s worth of breakfast delight. Why not get some friends together for a late solstice team effort. Our record was 3 Kotlich pots on the go at once; yes, a bit chaotic but very satisfying.
Some pics from past years reveal outdoor cooking in the snow; nothing simpler. The “fire pit” on legs makes fire management safe and simple. Marshal a good supply of small dry fuel wood. Tripod, fire pit and kotlic fit easily in a car or wheel barrow if you want to cook farther afield or maybe on the allotment. Tricky if not impossible to predict how marmalade will work out. We tend to boil the oranges until soft and then cut them up. Fed up with it not setting? Well, we are not purists, and a late summer kotlich cookup of wild apples from the field produces a shot of pectin stored in the freezer just for this moment. Oranges glowing and dancing in the kotlic, sweet scent of wood smoke, glowing embers, jar lids popping; a good start to the outdoor cooking year! Give it a try.