Last weekend we went to a pre-screening of Paddington 2 (all opinions expressed are my own). I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect going in. I knew it was going to be a movie my kids were going to enjoy, but what I didn’t expect was that I would walk away from it a little teary, a with a big grin from a great movie that made me laugh through most of it. I can honestly tell you that I think everyone in your family will love this show. Even if you were unfamiliar with the first Paddington Movie, you will love this. Take your family and go see it when it opens tomorrow in theaters everywhere.
Following the worldwide hit “Paddington,” one of the most successful family films of all time, this much-anticipated sequel finds Paddington (Ben Whishaw) happily settled with the Brown family in London, where he has become a popular member of the local community, spreading joy and marmalade wherever he goes. While searching for the perfect present for his beloved Aunt Lucy’s hundredth birthday, Paddington sees a unique pop-up book in Mr. Gruber’s antique shop, and embarks upon a series of odd jobs to buy it. But when the book is stolen, it’s up to Paddington and the Browns to unmask the thief.
Reuniting many of the original film’s cast while welcoming those in new roles, “Paddington 2” stars Golden Globe nominee Hugh Bonneville (“Downton Abbey”), Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (“Blue Jasmine”), three-time Golden Globe nominee Brendan Gleeson (“The Guard,” “Into the Storm,” “In Bruges”), Oscar nominee Julie Walters (“Billy Elliot,” “Educating Rita”), Oscar winner Jim Broadbent (“Iris”), and Oscar winner Peter Capaldi (short, “Franz Kafka’s It’s a Wonderful Life”), with Golden Globe and BAFTA Award winner Hugh Grant (“Four Weddings and a Funeral”), and BAFTA winner Ben Whishaw (“The Hollow Crown”) as the voice of Paddington. The starring ensemble also includes Madeleine Harris, Samuel Joslin, and Oscar nominee Imelda Staunton (“Vera Drake”) as the voice of Aunt Lucy.
I am also excited to be sharing the recipe for Paddington (and Aunt Lucy’s) Marmalade! Tip: Please be aware that this recipe has been handed down to Paddington from his Aunt Lucy. Quantities and techniques may vary from the jungles of Peru so please adapt to your taste and own kitchen utensils.
- 12 ripe from the tree Seville oranges (Mrs Bird says this is normally about 1kilogram)
- Preserving sugar (Mrs Bird says this is better than jam sugar for marmalade and should be twice the weight of the oranges. Mrs Bird and I balance the scales and then do it again to get the right weight.)
- 1 lemon per 12 (1kg) oranges
- One large bucket of water (approx. 2.5 litres)
Things to make it with:
- A heavy bottomed maslin pan – this helps spread the heat for an even boil. Mrs Birds’ has a volume measure on the side, and a lip and handle so it makes pouring easier.
- Muslin bags
- Lots of clean recycled jam jars (Mrs Bird gets cross with me when I offer to clean them with my tongue – she recommends you sterilize them in the oven.)
Steps to make the perfect Paddington marmalade:
Wash the oranges and lemon
Cut them in half and squeeze out all the juice (if your paws aren’t big enough then use an electric squeezer like Mrs Bird does.)
Add the juice to the water and collect all the spare pith and pips in your muslin bag
It’s all hands and paws at the ready for this bit!
Take the orange halves and scrap out any remaining pulp, pith and pips and add them to the muslin bag and tie tightly. (Mr Brown particularly likes this bit.)
TIP: you’re trying to get a clean skin / peel so the more pulp you get out the easier and cleaner the finished marmalade chunks will be.
Suspend the muslin bag over the pan with some rope, or Mrs Bird suggests a hook.
Slice the peel to the Paddington standard (thick chunks).
Add the peel to the juice / water
Put the pan onto the heat and simmer, without a lid, for two hours to soften the peel.
TIP: Whilst waiting for the peel to cook it’s a good time to put two or three plates in the freezer to use later. Aunt Lucy used to use a small flat rock in the shade to test the marmalade but Mrs Bird says freezers are quicker to get the plates (or rocks!) cool.
Take the pith and pip muslin bag off and set aside to cool. Once it’s cool squeeze any remaining juice from the muslin bag back into the pan with the juice, water and peel.
Put the pan back on the heat and stirring all the time slowly pour in your sugar until it’s all dissolved.
Start your timer when the liquid is at a rolling boil. (Paddington is normally put on watch for this bit. He has a keen eye for detail. He says his whiskers start to stand on end!)
The marmalade will be ready about 20 minutes later but Mrs Bird likes to start testing a little before (just in case!)
Testing: Take a teaspoon full of marmalade and tip it onto one of your plates from the freezer.
The Uncle Pastuso (wrinkle) test: if the top wrinkles when moved across the plate with your paw then the marmalade is ready.
Take the pan away from the heat, leave to rest for 20 minutes and fill your jars.
Please ensure the marmalade is thoroughly cooled before any sandwiches are made.