Oct 24

Food spending falls for first time – Onion Marmalade

Reading Time: 2 minutes

New figures show that spending on food has fallen for the first time since records began in 1986. The amount of food and drink bought in shops and supermarkets fell by 0.1% in the three months to September 2008. Usually food sales go up every year, typically by about 2-3%. So, we’re tightening our belts – buying fewer, and cheaper items. But that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy tasty and healthy meals, as I’ve been telling you throughout my time on the Moneymagpie food blog!

This week I’ve been using up a glut of onions dug from the ground by my own fair hands, at a Pick-Your-Own farm. Usually I just peel, chop and freeze them. Then, whenever I need chopped onion in a recipe, I just grab a handful of frozen chunks, and throw them in. They don’t come to any harm at all. But even I can’t use the amount of onions I have at the moment – so it’s onion marmalade! A lovely relish to go with sausages, cold meats, bacon, cheeses etc.

Recipe: Onion Marmalade

Ingredients: Makes 4 x 500ml jars

  • 2kg red onions or regular onions
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 140g butter
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 140g golden caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme
  • pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
  • 75cl bottle red wine
  • 350ml sherry vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 200ml port


  1. Peel and slice onions + garlic. Melt the butter + oil in a large saucepan.
  2. Add onions, garlic, sugar, thyme, chilli, salt and pepper.
  3. Stir again and simmer uncovered for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. The onions are ready when all their juices have evaporated. Don’t rush this stage!
  5. Pour in the wine, vinegar and port and simmer again, still uncovered, 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally until the liquid has reduced by two-thirds.
  6. It’s done when drawing a spoon across the bottom of the pan clears a path that fills rapidly with syrupy juice.
  7. Decant the hot onions into sterilised jars and seal.

Tip: Can be eaten straight away, but keeps in the fridge for up to 3 months.

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