A Taste Of Marmalade!

Nicola here. I have a new timeslip novel coming out in a few weeks’ time, The Other Gwyn Girl. It tells the story of Rose Gwyn, the much less well-known sister of Nell Gwyn, actress, orange-seller and mistress to King Charles II. It’s also a fun co-incidence that this is the perfect time of year to make Seville orange marmalade, so this week I’ve been busy making some celebratory “Gwyn Girl” marmalade using my grandmother’s fabulous jam pan. I have to admit that I’s a bit of an irony but I am the only person in my family who doesn’t actually like marmalade! Everyone else is very keen and the Scots ancestors have a marvellous whisky version that is even more popular.

First, a bit of marmalade history, as I always like to research these things! The word marmalade comes from the Portuguese marmelada, which means “made of quince.” The first fruit preserves were made by the Greeks, who discovered that quinces cooked with honey would “set” when they were cool. Both the Greeks and the Romans made preserves out of quince with lemon, rose, apple, pear and plum. In 1524, King Henry VIII received a gift of a “box of marmalades” from a Mr Hull of Exeter. This was probably quince paste, as was the “marmalet” that was served at another Tudor wedding feast. It was said that “marmalado” as it became known, was a favourite with Anne Boleyn.

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Treasured Timeslips

Fire imageNicola here. As the UK goes into a second lockdown, I’ve been inspired by Christina’s recent post about the Keeper Shelf to turn back to my bookshelves and find solace in old favourites. It was only as I was sorting out all my timeslip books that I realised what a collection I had gathered over the years and in a spirit of nostalgia I thought I would share my favourites and ask for your recommendations. At this time of year, with the spooky goings-on of Halloween, the darker nights and chilly days, it feels a perfect time to read tales of the supernatural. Perhaps it’s the old idea of the veil between the two worlds of the living and the dead being at its thinnest around All Soul’s Day (which is today). Certainly it feels like a good time to slip between time periods, to travel back – or forwards – to a different or alternative world.

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