Friday, 22 September 2017

When Life Gives You Marrows...

...make Lemon Curd
Yes, I know that is an unexpected response. But we were given a large marrow last week and I wanted to use it up promptly. I'd picked up Beryl Wood's "Let's Preserve It" in the Library when I went to get my replacement ticket. It is a treasure of a book - nearly 600 recipes for jams, jellies, pickles, chutneys, curds and 'cheeses'.
And to my surprise, there was a recipe to make Marrow Lemon Curd I imagine this may have started out as thrift cookery in the years of WW2 and Food Rationing.
I peeled, seeded and roughly cut up 400g of marrow, into 2cm chunks. Then I simmered it slowly for 15 minutes till it was soft [the recipe said "Without water" - but I put 1tbsp of cold water in my pan first which helped prevent sticking] Then I liquidised this, along with 100g melted butter, and the grated rind and juice of 2 lemons. This then went into a double boiler with 400g sugar, and I cooked this slowly till everything was melted and well blended. Then I slowly stirred in 3 well beaten eggs, and cooked for a further 15 minutes, till the mixture was thickened. This was then poured into prepared jars - and topped with wax discs and cellophane, before I screwed on the lids. Once cool, the jars went into the fridge. These should be kept there, and consumed within one month.
The three little jars have gone to friends [including the marrow-donor] with careful instructions about storage and use.
I have already enjoyed lemon curd on toast, and used some, plus buttercream, to fill a Genoese sponge. The taste is smooth and very lemony. 

I used some of the remaining marrow to make Saturday's Supper - using Nigel Slater's recipe from a recent weekend Guardian. Her says "The key to a crisp exterior and a juicy inside is to cut the marrow no thicker than 2cm, otherwise the heat will take too long to penetrate and the outside will overcook. The sauce adds substance, making this a light supper dish." I halved the quantities- and as I had one large home-made beefburger left in the freezer, I rolled that into 6 meatballs, which I cooked in a separate pan, and 'stuffed' my marrow rings. I didn't have any fennel seeds - but did have coriander and mustard in the spice rack. It is not particularly hot, but it is flavoursome. 
Serves 4
  • onions 2, medium 
  • olive oil 5 tbsp
  • celery 2 sticks
  • garlic cloves 3
  • plum tomatoes 500g
  • fennel seeds 2 tsp
  • brown mustard seeds 2 tsp
  • coriander seeds 2 tsp
  • parsley (a handful)
  • marrow 600g
  • plain flour 6 tbsp

  1. Peel and roughly chop the onions. Warm 2 tbsp of the oil in a deep pan, then add the onions and cook until soft and pale gold, stirring regularly. Slice the celery and add to the onions, then flatten the garlic cloves with a heavy knife and add them.
  2. Chop the tomatoes and stir them in to the onions. Add the fennel, mustard and coriander seeds and a generous seasoning of salt and black pepper. Let the tomatoes cook down to a soft, stew-like consistency. This should take a good 20 minutes. Remove half of the mixture and process it in a blender to a rough, soupy texture, then return to the pan. Chop the parsley and stir into the sauce.
  3. Slice the marrow in half and remove the seeds and fibres. PEEL IT [NS doesn't say this, and perhaps he should have done] Cut into 1cm thick pieces. Tip the flour on to a plate and season with salt and black pepper. Warm the remaining oil in a shallow pan. Dip the slices of marrow into the flour then fry for 5-6 minutes on each side, until the outside is lightly golden. Drain for a couple of seconds on kitchen paper and serve with the sauce. 
The marrow tasted pretty good,once we had cut off the peel!
One of my relatives would not eat marrow, claiming 'he did not like the feel of it in his mouth'. I imagine it can end up bland and watery sometimes- but these two recipes really make good use of this massive autumnal vegetable.
I wonder how many marrows will be in evidence at our Harvest Festival on Sunday?


  1. I suspect that if you peeled it before cooking the marrow slices might disintegrate? My mum used to make stuffed marrow (usually stuffing was mince, onions and breadcrumbs) and always cooked it with the rind on, to be discarded when eating.

  2. We've been gifted some "blettes" - which may be Swiss chard. It's already getting a bit limp, so I need to use it up. We're having it in a pork sausage/tomato/pasta type dish today, and I'll freeze the rest. I've still got half a marrow languishing in the fridge too - about a week & a half old. I may well throw some of that into the dish too - but cutting off the rind. It's far too tough! Your lemon curd sounds delish!

  3. Very clever, Ang! I pulled mine out of the garden. Done for this year and many years to come. I got tired of them.

  4. What an amazing, economical use for the whole marrow!! When reading the lovely Miss Read books, she spoke often of marrows, large ones that neighbors would leave in her kitchen. I tried so hard to figure out what vegetable she was talking about, because we don't call them marrows in the U.S. I think they are a squash? Or perhaps a variety of zucchini? That curd sounds yummy.

  5. MK, a marrow is a very large zucchini. [we call zucchini 'courgettes'] They can be anything up to 30inches long, and 12inches in diameter. Mine was 18 x 6


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