Friday, March 9, 2012

Gourmets 50 Most Influential Women in Food #38 Darina Allen and Delicious Kumquat Marmalade

Ballymaloe Cookery School...owned and run by Darina Allen

After a few weeks hiatus, due to vacation, I am back in time to blog about Darina Allen. I have been a fan of Ms. Allens for a long time. She is # 38 on Gourmets list of the 50 Most Influential Women in Food.
Darina Allen was born in Ireland in 1951. She is a chef, food writer, teacher, TV personality and the founder of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork Ireland. She is a graduate in Hotel Management, Dublin Institute of Technology and came to Ballymaloe to work in their restaurant. She married Tim Allen, the son of Myrtle Allen, owner of Ballymaloe House.
She and her husband started the Ballymaloe Cookery School in 1983 and run a 100 acre organic farm on their property.  A successful cookbook author, she received a nomination for best international cookbook in 2003 from the James Beard Foundation for her book "Darina Allen's Ballymaloe Cooking School Cookbook". She became a leader in the Irish Slow Food movement and was instrumental in starting the first farmers markets in Ireland. I have been a fan of the Ballymaloe House since I read an article about it while on a trip to Ireland about 10 years ago. I have several cookbooks written by Darina and Myrtle.
In 1995, on St. Patrick's Day, she cooked breakfast for President Clinton and 150 guests. Ballymaloe has had many famous guests including Jude Law and Queen Sonja of Norway to name a few.

While I was in Florida I picked up some beautiful Kumquats at a farmers market. They happen to be in season in February. I didn't know very much about the Kumquat except, that it looks like a tiny orange. I've seen them in grocery stores but, never bought any. So, the very nice Kumquat lady at the farmers market had me try one. You just pop one in your mouth or take a bite. Wow! The skin was sweet and the pulp quite sour. I decided to buy a few bags and try my luck at marmalade. It so happens that Darina has a recipe for Kumquat marmalade on her Cookery School web site. I used some boxed pectin in mine. I read several articles on Kumquat marmalade and wanted to be sure it would gel. The marmalade came out wonderful but, lacked the tartness I had expected. Next time I may experiment by adding Triple Sec or Grand Marnier to add a little bite. So glad I bought those Kumquats!

 Seaside Farmers Market...That's my husband doing what he does while I go poking around the farmers can't see his cup of coffee, but it's there

The Kumquat Lady
Beautiful Kumquats
Sliced up and ready to make marmalade
Boiling the mixture
I made nine jars of marmalade

Yummy especially on my French Friday recipe for biscuits

Kumquat Marmalade                                                                                                   by Ballymaloe Cookery School

Makes 3 pots approximately
In season: winter
My favourite marmalade, I first tasted this in Australia in the Regent court off Potts Point in Sydney, one of my favourite places to stay in the world and certainly the best breakfast.
1 kg kumquats
1¾ litres (56fl oz) water
1¾ kg (3 lb 1oz) sugar
Slice kumquats thinly crossways.  Collect the seeds, put in a small bowl with 250ml (8fl oz) of the water, allow to stand overnight.  Put the kumquats in a larger bowl with the remaining water, cover and allow to stand overnight.
Next day, strain the seeds, save the liquid (this now contains the precious pectin, which contributes to the setting of the jam); discard the seeds.
Put the kumquat mixture into a large saucepan with the reserved liquid from the seeds.  Bring to the boil, reduce the heat, simmer, covered for 30 minutes or until the kumquats are very tender.
Add the warm sugar and stir until fully dissolved.  Bring to the boil and cook rapidly with the lid off for about 15 minutes. Test for a set, put a teaspoon of the mixture on a cold saucer, it should barely wrinkle when pressed with a finger.
Remove the pan from the heat while testing.
Pour into hot sterilised jars. Cover and seal and store in a cool dry place.

These are the other bloggers that are playing along....make sure you stop by and check them out!
ValMore Than Burnt Toast
JoanneEats Well With Others 
TarynHave Kitchen Will Feed
 SusanThe Spice Garden
Heather- girlichef
 MirandaMangoes and Chutney
JeanetteJeanette's Healthy Living
KathyBakeaway with Me
SueThe View from Great Island
BarbaraMoveable Feasts
LindaThere and Back Again 
MireyaMy Healthy Eating Habits
VeronicaMy Catholic Kitchen
AnnieLovely Things
ClaudiaJourney of an Italian Cook
AlyceMore Time at the Table
Amrita- Beetle's Kitchen Escapades


  1. Hi Kathy-looks like I'm the first one to comment...did not realize until now that you joined foodbuzz! Buzzed you:DDD

    Love, all the photos, and the quamquat especially!
    Your quamquat marmalade is amazing:DDD
    Can't get over how you made marmalade on your Florida vacation're so inspiring, and yes, I do notice the coffe mug on the photo with your
    Thanks for sharing, have a wonderful weekend, my dear friend!

  2. I'm so impressed, Kathy! I've never made marmalade & this one looks terrific!

  3. Wow! I'm not crazy after all! OK, you did 2 posts on the same day...when I came here to comment, that was through foodbuzz, and the second time, I noticed you biscuits on my side-bar, and I thought..."what happened to the quamquat post?" then I thought you changed it, and here it is..."killing two birds with one stone"...LOL pretty clever, very ambitious my dear:DDD
    Now, I feel better it's not just my eyes that deceived me...and like I said, I was the first one to comment...and the "proof is in the pudding"...LOL

  4. I've never bought kumquats, but this marmalade looks wonderful, what a pretty color and it looks like you nailed the perfect thick texture.

  5. Love how pretty your marmalade came out. I've yet to make anything with kumquats
    But they always catch my eye when I see them.

  6. I've never really used kumquats - but you're right, they're just gorgeous! I want to each in and grab a few. And perhaps a jar or two of this jam. It looks stunning and I want to slather it on my own biscuits, rolls, toast, you name it!

  7. I love your kumquat marmalade. It looks soo delicious:) I wish the pictures would come to life so I could dip a spoon in the jar and enjoy a great big taste. Have a great weekend. Geri

  8. How pretty! I bet the marmalade tasted delicious.

  9. I've never had kumquat marmalade, but it sure sounds delicious! Your biscuits turned out very nice too. How wonderful that must have been eating them together.

  10. Your marmalade looks like potted jewels. It must be delicious and I'm sure wonderful with the onion biscuits that appear above. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

  11. I remember being in Greece and trying my first kumquat, although they did not know the name in English so it was a year or two before I knew.

  12. Such beautiful marmalade! I'm jealous of your farmers' market find.

  13. I don't know how I missed this post earlier, but I did not see it, Kathy. I love kumquats, but have never made a marmalade with them. What beautiful jars of marmalade you made! I have not heard of Darina Allen before, but I would like to learn more about her now that I read your post. I love your photos, especially the one of your husband waiting patiently for you. :)

  14. Such a unique marmalade - and such a beauty (love the kumquat lady). This is such Irish cooking - simple but fresh - biscuits and jam - great breads. Just lovely.