Making marmalade the fibro way goes like this:
So. First, take no drugs – you will be using the hob. Brain fog makes that risky enough without adding drugs to the situation.
Weigh out 3lbs of oranges and a grapefruit.
Put them into a cauldron or large preserving pan and pour in 5pts of water. Light the hob and check you really did light it and that you really did light the right ring.
Leave the oranges to simmer.
Forget all about them until your daughter or other person who happens to walk into the kitchen asks if you really want them to boil dry. Realise that you were making marmalade and return to kitchen. Add five more pints and remember to cover the pot with foil so it doesn’t boil dry. Simmer. Have all the children constantly remind you that you have the hob on.
Turn hob off and leave to cool.
The oranges and grapefruit should be nice and soft. Don’t peel them- that would hurt like…Anyway cut them into quaters and feed through a processor blade to slice thinly. You will find that this isn’t completely “professional” looking so take some of the really big bits of skin and slice with a knife. This is easy and not too painful.
Add all the stuff back into the water and pour in just less than 3lbs of pectin sugar.
Don’t take drugs. Put the hob on and let this boil. You really must not walk away, because you just KNOW you will forget and hot sugar is jolly dangerous. So stay there. Stir it a few times. After about 10 minutes possibly a little longer test the skin for wrinkles or do the cool saucer test where you put a teaspoon of the marmalade on a plate and see if it wrinkles and sticks when gently pushed. Boil longer if needed and test again. To manage pain at this point pace. Research shows that pacing does actually help.
When ready leave to cool. Take drugs.
Next day get jars for sterilisation. Light oven to sterilise jars for 8minutes at gas mark 8. Check oven some time later and wonder where the jars are. Realise you never actually put them in the oven. REMAIN CALM. Place jars in oven. Do other stuff around the place where you have written in large letters “JARS IN OVEN” and then remove them.
Spoon marmalade into jars that you have placed next to pan with plenty of kitchen roll around to take the mess you make thanks to the fact your hands don’t co-ordinate in normal marmalade making fashion.
Lid jars and go sit down with a cuppa.
Day before: prepare chicken with a bit of lemon juice and a brush of butter. Ask son to place it in the oven before he goes off to do his work. Set gas mark 7 and take drugs. Go off to do other things. Have a child say, “What’s for tea?” at a very providential moment and suddenly remember you left the chicken in the oven.
Take it out and find that thankfully it isn’t burned or even overcooked! Thank God for 7 year old boys.
Get daughter to help you prepare tea because Tramadol has left you so stoned and hardly touched the pain, that you can’t do it properly.
Place stripped chicken carcass in pot.
Next day. Add water to carcass and leave simmering on hob. This is difficult to get wrong as it smells of chicken soup so as you move around the house it reminds you it’s on. It also makes a high pitched sound which I am sure only fibro’s hear. Very annoying but very useful in brain fog.
Turn off the hob. Leave to cool.
Take drugs. You will be standing up for a while and will need it.
Use slotted spoon and remove all the carcass from the pot leaving behind the stock. Strip off the meat and throw out the bones. Using a sharp knife just chop a bit at the meat so that it’s smaller. Leave to one side.
Take either two small or one large red onion and peel and chop it. (Aren’t you glad you took those drugs now?)
In a pan heat some oil and a sprinkle of fennel seeds. Add the onion and a teaspoon of ready chopped garlic. (Pressing a garlic clove under a flat knife isn’t for us any longer is it my fellow fibros?) Add some water to sweat the onions and season. Add about four handfuls of red lentils and then more water. Simmer for a while and stir. Add it all into the stock pot. Simmer and stir until the lentils are softened.
Now, if you happen to be having a good day you can peel and chop a couple of big spuds and boil them and add them to thicken the soup. But if, you aren’t – you just can’t. It’s thinner soup but I don’t care.
Get hand held whizzer thing- what are they called? Can’t remember. Anyway, it blitzes the soup to s lovely smoothness. Add some milk or cream if you like. I added a bit of almond milk. Very nice.
Now add the chopped meat and stir. It’s done.
I put a loaf on this morning in the bread machine so there’s bread and soup.
Oh dear, just remembered it’s Friday and I’m supposed to be Catholic.
Ah well. Enjoy.