Onion Jam Marmalade Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s Onion Mush

Wed 15th, Aug, 2012

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So, at the weekend, it was the kinda weather where you either bundle yourself up, go outside and do some gardening, bevvied along with hot chocolate or cups or tea, or you batten down the hatches, turn up the heating and get cooking. 

We did a bit of both.

And I made onion mush or onion marmalade or onion jam or caramelized onions, whatever we are calling them, they are good.


I first got this from a blog that got it from Nigella Lawson…basically you slowly cook a batch of onions and then store for use at a later time.



The first time I made this, years ago now when the Beach Cottage kiddos were littlies I made Nigella Lawson’s onion mush version, since then I have foofed around with other recipes for onion marmalade or onion jam – there are lots out there, many of them include sugar or balsamic vinegar, I don’t add that, but if you like oniony taste with sweet side to it, then a tad of sugar in there is nice…



When I make this I normally shove one portion in the fridge and the other in the freezer…there is nothing like wailing ‘oh **** what on this earth am I going to cook for dinner???’ when you are having one of those days where broomstick riding is inevitable and you suddenly realise you have at your disposal a vat of this in the freezer or fridge..shove it on some jacket potatoes, add it to some frozen pastry and pop in the oven (and a recipe for something along those lines, yummo, coming soon), spoon through some pasta and shed loads of Parmesan or throw it into your crock pot with some meat and as if by magic dinner is solved.

And the best thing?  As usual with Beach Cottage recipes, this onion jam, tastes outta this world, but in actual fact couldn’t be much simpler or much easier…if you can chop a few onions you are laughing.



Beach Cottage Caramelized Onion Mush / Jam / Marmalade Recipe


1kg onions

1/2 cup sherry or wine

knob of butter

2 cloves garlic (optional)



1.chop the onions & garlic

2. add butter to pan

3. add the onions and sherry and a few grinds of salt

4. saute onions on low heat with the pan lid on for 2-3 hours

5. remove lid, turn up heat to let the liquid burn off

Beach Cottage Recipe Notes**  Onion Jam*   you can use wine or Marsala instead of sherry or I have done this without any alcohol just lugged in some vinegar…add sugar if you like (have a look at the recipes for onion marmalade around to get an idea) …this is lovely served with cold meats and especially good for a Ploughman’s lunch.  * a knob of butter is an English cooking term which translates to about a heaped tablespoon  * to store pop in a sterilised jar (I use the dishwasher for that) or spoon into freezer bags (I have done this a couple of ways, if I am mega lazy, which is usually, I just shove it all into one big bag and then break chunks off to cook with…if I am being domestic I ladle into little portions in those small snack sized ziploc bags, you can then just pull out of the freezer as and when)   * this is great on sandwiches like a relish  * the amount here will make one small jar, I always make double this quantity and that is the amount that makes the size jar you see in the pics   * the garlic is optional I normally throw in more cos I lurve it

Take it from me. You need this recipe in your life.


Happy Days ladies, well that weather I was telling you about?  Hmm, it’s warm but it’s cloudier than I was hoping, perhaps as they say in the Old Country, it will burn off?

OK, I have to fly, you know that thing I was telling you about, the thing I have been waiting YEARS for the man in the red suit to bring me?  The thing I have lusted over, cried over and dreamt about?

It might just be hiding under the bed.

Oh yah.

Going to lay down under there and stroke it Winking smile

See you on the other side, I am now in the Club, yee ******* haw





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6 Responses to “Onion Jam Marmalade Inspired by Nigella Lawson’s Onion Mush”

  1. Alice says:

    Thanks for this Sarah!!!! I am looking foward to trying this lovely one… I quite like onions and garlic now…Itwas a different story when I was kid/teen, I couldn’t stomach them.
    I LOOOVVEE Nigela recipes(though I can eat very little of the food she makes). My daughter(2.5 at the time) and I used to sit down and watch her when SBS was showing her cooking programs… My daughter would get so excited! Too cute…

  2. No way!!!?!!! It IS white and whirry and will look GORGEOUS in your kitchen?!!!! Woo hoo for you!!! Back to the onions, I’ve never tried anything like this but it looks so pretty in the jar etc I may have to give it a try. Oh and I checked out your other foodie pics (my current obsession, so much fun!) and theyre beautiful…xx

  3. Robyn says:

    I’ll do this! I haven’t cooked anything from nigella for AGES. I too had “sitting on the floor crying” moments when my twins were very new and my massive hungry (and jealous) toddler was running around. I had the nigella express book then and it pretty much saved us. More recently I’ve loved a cookbook by Fay Ripley (were you in England still when ‘Cold feet’ was on? Anyway – thank YOU – you are Helping me through the latest stage of my now four year old twins who can create massive horrendous devastation mess in the time it takes to peel a potato. I’m finding I can follow your recipes and do policing at the same time! Yay! Although I do have handprints going up the stairs which a forensic team would quickly establish come from . . . Beach cottage chocolate chip cookies. Worth it though. They were delicious! Thanks again from way over here in Brighton.

  4. Susan @ Afford Your Passions says:

    Ok, I’m not sure that I would ever cook something like that, but I just had to comment, because I love all the pictures and foofing you’ve done – they are just beautiful.

    Enjoy your new present – if it is what I think it is, I hope you get as much pleasure out of yours as I do out of mine!

  5. Rukmini Roy says:

    Good one there Sarah! I have never really stored onions like this- in India we use a lot of fresh cut and fried, but I guess this is a good option. Best part is this one would save me countless days of peeling and crying over chopping board.
    I’ll take this Sarah…this one’s a keeper.

  6. alison says:

    No peeking or stroking till your birthday!!!!!!

    I remember the first time I had onion jam in a restaurant. Sheesh kabab-to borrow a phrase- I was blown away.

    One of my daughters makes huge batches of her own onion jam and gives me some. I quite like the Beerenburg brand. I recently put a potato in aluminium foil with a small amount of onion jam then cooked it in my slow combustion fire. Next time I will try a lot more onion jam.