Tag Archives: candied peel

Blood Orange Sorbet

We went to London for a few days during half term last week. The reason for the visit was because it was Chinese New Year and my youngest had requested that instead of our usual trip to Birmingham we went to see all the festivities in London. I messed up though as I booked it early to get a good deal on the hotel and trains. I booked it before the Chinese New Year festivities were published. There was I thinking that as CNY was on a Thursday this year things might be happening on the Thursday. Things weren’t happening on the Thursday, they were happening on the Sunday when we would be back in Shropshire. Oh well, lesson learned.

We still had a great time and we walked up and down Chinatown several times so that the youngest at least felt that she had soaked up something of the atmosphere. We did the British Museum to look at Ancient Greek items and the mummies. The mummified cat they have there is a mixture of amazing and horrid. Always a good mixture for things in a museum case I think. We did a couple of the more famous and older patisseries, our friend Tony bought me a cup from Patisserie Valerie which is much treasured. The other patisserie was perhaps the most disappointed by a cake shop that I have ever been. The cakes were delicious, the surroundings were grim. I am not sure when the Environmental Team were last in there but I am presuming it wasn’t recently.

One of the most exciting things about London is that you can buy anything, and what I most wanted was blood oranges. I remember my mum buying blood oranges in Shropshire when we were little but they are rarer than hen’s teeth in the county these days. If any one knows a secret source can they let me in on the secret.

So five blood oranges were duly carted home, amongst the huge bags of M&Ms the girls had managed to persuade me were a good idea in M&M World, and the small but treasured box of Turkish Delight from Fortnum and Mason.

The girls were horrified by the idea of blood oranges, reminding me how I had been the same when I was young, until I tasted one. History repeated itself. The girls loved this sorbet, sweet and refreshing as it is, and that colour could not easily be beaten surely.

Blood orange sorbet

It is very easy to make. Squeeze and measure the juice. Measure a quarter of that amount of caster sugar (so 200ml of juice needs 50g of caster sugar).Put the sugar in a pan and add enough of the juice to cover the sugar. Place the pan on a gentle heat until the sugar is dissolved. Leave to cool and then add the sugary juice to the rest of the juice. Pour into a freezer safe container and freeze. Stir up with a fork and freeze again. Then enjoy every sweet  mouthful.

The peel of the blood orange is so beautiful that I couldn’t throw it away so I candied it. I then promptly forgot the peel in the simmering oven of the Aga for a full 24 hours. Turns out it was a delicious mistake to make. The peel is sticky and moist with all of that sugary water evaporated down to a sweet, sweet sludge.

blood orangesblood oranges

Candied peel

Candied peel

I have been slicing oranges into segments into a pretty bowl, sprinkling them with sugar and the juice of another orange or a clementine and leaving them to marinate for a few hours in the fridge. My eldest then tucks into them for breakfast or after school. I have been throwing the peel into the bin; neither the chickens or the compost likes it. It occurred to me that I should candy it. After all, it is nearly Christmas and there is something very Christmassy about candied peel.

This recipe is very easy to do on the Aga as you can leave the syrup and peel to simmer away in the simmering oven and then dry out the peel in the warming oven or on the top of the warming plate. You don’t need an Aga to give it a go though. A warm airing cupboard or shelf near a fire or radiator will have the same effect.

There is something very satisfying about candying your own peel. It does take a while, and it is a bit of faff, especially when you can buy it. But still, I think it’s worth giving it a go just for the smug glow you get when you look at your jar of candied peel and think to yourself ‘I did that’.  I am going to dip some of the glistening strands into molten dark chocolate for a treat for Mr OC and me, and maybe the children (if I tell them about it). But that’s another day in the not too distant future. Today I am just going to enjoy looking at the jar and enjoy my smug glow.

I used Debora’s recipe as a guide, I didn’t slice it as beautifully though and used only orange peel rather than a mixture of citrus. Four orange rinds needed about half the sugar and half the water Debora gives in her recipe, so 450g of sugar and 600ml water.  At the point when the peel was soft in the syrup I let it cool in the pan and then placed the pieces into a tin, lined with baking paper. I didn’t dredge it with extra sugar.  I put the tin into the warming oven of the Aga and left it there for about four hours, took it out and left it overnight on the warming plate of the Aga. It was beautifully dry in the morning and ready for the jar.

I plan to use the remaining few tablespoons of orange flavoured sugar syrup to glaze an orange flavoured cake.

Thanks must be given to Debora for all the inspiration she has given me over the past couple of years in both her blog and her book.