Saturday, 5 February 2011

Bienvenue à Londres, Frenchie!

I am knackered. I have been cleaning all day, apart from a short half hour break to the local greasy spoon where I cried onto my sausage about the wedding. They were happy tears I think and I don't know what it was about the greasy spoon that set me off, I was inexplicably overcome with excitement, frustration and fear (with a little bit of hangover mixed in) while discussing venues with The Wig. But apart from that I have been cleaning like I've never cleaned before, since on Monday we have two guests coming to stay. My older brother and his friend Frenchie (he's French), are coming over from Sydney where they live. My brother moved over there about 8 years ago and really is living the dream. As opposed to me, who most of the time feels like I'm living a Boursin induced nightmare.

The last time a French person stayed over was when I was a kid and for some reason my dad offered to take in a French Exchange Student. It was a disaster. He was rude, moody and kept a flick knife tucked down his socks. We never had a French Exchange student to stay again. I am obviously more hopeful about next weeks visitation and am starting to get quite excited. Think of all the touristy stuff we can do together and all the food places I can take them to! Their visit is very exciting of course, but it has meant that the flat needs to be spotless. My brother is the King of Clean.

As well as the endless surface wiping and crevice polishing, I did also find time to make Frenchie a small welcome gift. I have never met him before but any friend of my older brothers is a friend of mine. I also don't know if Frenchie has ever been to London before and want to give him a a good impression of us Brits. Since he is French, he must love cheese so I have made him a jar of Onion Marmalade to have with his cheese board when he goes to back to visit his family in Paris after he has left London. I made some of this for a few friends at Christmas and no one died so I guess it was ok. Also, it was very easy to make even if it did take nearly 3 hours to cook. The same time it took me to clean the kitchen. I'm not very quick at cleaning.

To make the Onion Marmalade:
Whist wearing a snorkel mask, finely chop about 2 kg of onions, cover and sweat in some olive oil for about 50 mins or until they are soft.
Add 150g of redcurrant jelly and 200g of demerara sugar.
Turn the heat up, stir regularly and cook uncovered until the mixture turns brown, after about  45 mins.
In the meantime, boil and oven dry your jars.
Once the onions have turned dark brown, remove from the heat for 5 mins to cool.
Next add 300ml of cider vinegar and 50ml of balsamic vinegar and return to the heat.
(If you add vinegar to a really hot pan it will evaporate and the fumes will probably strip the skin of your face).
Continue cooking until all the liquid has gone and the mixture has become thick and sticky.
Season with salt and pepper, spoon into the sterilised jars and eat within 12 months!


  1. Not only is it not poisonous, tis delicious too. Thanks!


  2. Well the onion marmalade is delicious (I had to put a finger in it and have a taste without the cheese because it looked fantastic). And yes I am an old, polite and appreciative version of that Exchange student, so thank you so much for having me Liz..... Hope to see plenty more on this blog.
    The Frenchie says "un grand merci"