For those of you not quite up to marmalade speed Jane Hasell-McCosh, the founder of The World’s Original Marmalade Festival flew around the world in 2014 to spread the orange word and to raise further awareness for Hospice at home, or as it is called in Australia Palliative Care. During the month of October she travelled around Victoria and South Australia to give talks on how the marmalade festival was founded at Dalemain in Cumbria. This couldn’t have been done alone and it is with great thanks that she would like to mention Russell Luckock for his energy and organisation and for making this marmalade adventure happen. Without him Jane would not have been able to make this extraordinary journey ‘Down Under.’
Russell is also responsible for creating the ‘Marmalashes’ with teams from Buninyong and Great Britain who represent England and Australia. This started in 2010, the year that England won The Ashes (cricket that is) and Russell was determined that Australia should beat England at somthing of it’s own game; a thing considered to be very English – marmalade of course!! He contacted Jane and sent accross 12 pots. England quickly assembled a team but unfortunatly to no avail and for the first three years Australia joyfully triumphed and retained the Marmalashes. This incidentally is kept in Australia. It is for us to take the voyage to see it, as with the cricket which is kept in London and it is for the Australians to make the journey to view it. 2014 marked a triumphant win for the British and we were delighted to keep the title in 2015 for the 10th anniversary Marmalade Festival.
The ‘Marmal-off’: Lemons and oranges have been hand picked from the garden (God bless a warm climate!), a professional kitchen has been acquired and the local Press have been invited to attend. Russell has stayed up until midnight peeling oranges and Jane had to find a pressure cooker in order to follow her recipe correctly.
As each saucepan bubbles away the Union Jack bunting flutters in the steam rising from the pans. Each competitor has an entirely different way of cooking marmalade. Jane boils her citrus fruit up in a pressure cooker before chopping it up into quite large chunks whereas Russell laboriously chops his up by hand, getting a much smoother texture. It has to be remarked that both mixtures are a completely different colour and aroma. As the press arrive the tension begins to rise. Win News egg on the fact that Britain is trying to discover Australia’s secret ingredient which Russell carefully conceals under a tea towel.
He adds marmalade making is like driving a race car at this stage. Keep your foot on the clutch or your hand stirring the wooden spoon… The local newspaper The Miner arrive next just when the marmalade is going into the pots and Alan Marini the photographer turns out to be a keen marmalade eater as well and therefore joins the panel of judges. These include two professional chefs John Hayes and Ryan Pearce who work at the Federation University in Ballarat and Pete Marshell who works for Palliative Care.
The marmalade is cooled in the fridge and sets ready to taste. No. 1 and No.2 so there is absolutely no bias. Silver teaspoons appear and the tasting takes place. Aroma, colour and texture are all taken into account as well of course as the taste. Ryan Pearce declares that ‘it is getting more serious by the minute!’ The judges disappear to consult with each other and are gone for nearly ten minutes. Jane remarks, rather nervously that ‘of course it is totally subjective.’ Finally returned, it seems they need a fifth person to decide as it is neck and neck. Aileen Attwell a chef in the local cooking school steps up and with an apparently much more scientific approach decides Number 2 is the winner…
The Courier arrives last to do a final interview and photograph the two competitors with their flags annnnnnd Jane Hasell-McCosh and Great Britain as the outright winner! Hurrah!
The Marmalashes is a competition that was started by Russell Luckock in 2010 after Australia lost The Ashes (cricket). Twelve pots (in case one is broken) of marmalade are sent over to the UK to compete against Britain’s eleven pots. They are judged (fairly!) by a panel of Australian and English judges. Australia has won three times and it is with great excitement that this year England has won for the first time. Therefore Jane Hasell-McCosh has travelled 10,529 miles and is absolutely delighted to be presented with the Marmalashes.
However, regardless if England win the Marmalashes it is always kept safely behind lock and key in the Buninyong Court House. This is the first time in the four years it has been running that England has won this prestigious award. Jane commented that ‘it is wonderful to be in Australia and to finally see the Marmalashes. My father was a keen cricket player and he would have certainly understood the importance of this award.’
This week marks the launch of the Marmalashes cometition which tookk place at the Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka in Ballarat. Lady Potter and the famous ex footballer and TV presenter Sam Newman were there to launch the beginning of the competition. Last year there were 120 pots judged, and the lucky 12 winners were sent to the UK to compete against the England XI. The cut off point for the 2015 entries is 31st January 2015. It will be interesting to see what happens for the 10th anniversary at this years Maralade Festival!
Marmalade and Boomerang challenges seem to be the hot topics of conversations and Pat, Lynn, Jenny, Sheila and June, who are members of the Buninyong marmalade committee even made up a wonderful song about the two competitors- England and Australia. This definitely brought a lot of laughter to the audience! A big thank-you to them!
On monday evening Jane was delighted to do her first talk for Ballarat Hospice Care. This took place in the heart of Ballarat at The Mechanics hall, which is a beautiful and historical building dating from the mid 1800’s. We were lucky enough to get a tour around their library and even take a peek in the cellars. We would like to thank in particular Pete Marshall, Geoff Russell and Carita Potts for making us feel extremely welcome.
After a particularly busy first week, the marmalade adventurers took off into the Australian Outback. They are scheduled to be at Martindale Hall today which was expected to be a highlight because of its unusual origins. This post comes from Dalemain as we have had radio silence from them since the previous entry.
Below is the story of why Martindale Hall, near Adelaide, was built.