orange fest

It’s been a bit of an orange week. I blame it on Beth as I’ve been helping her make Marmalade Gin and the wonderful aroma of orange peel must have imprinted itself in my brain. Also the oranges in the shops at the moment are particularly good and we’re eating masses.


Despite my resolution not to make marmalade this year, because I still have jars from 2013 and 2012, I succumbed. You know how it is. There was a bargain priced box of Seville oranges in the shop and before I knew it, I was home with the oranges and a pan of boiling syrup. Just a small batch.

But that was just the start. We had striped jelly. Alternate layers of milk jelly and orange with Marmalade Gin jelly. I thought that if I made jelly in a silicone mould then I could just invert the mould and peel it back to reveal a glistening wobbly jelly. Let me tell you, it doesn’t work. You still need to briefly dip the mould into hot water. As I tried to peel back the mould I realised things were going awry and tried to push it back in and do the water dipping thing. It certainly released the jelly, but one end looked pretty good while the other splayed out like a hand of cards, each layer unceremoniously fanned out. Never mind, it tasted good. Maybe next time I’ll unmould the jelly before the meal, not half way through after a couple of glasses of wine.

As is the way, there was some leftover jelly the next day but not enough for everyone. To eke it out, I made what passes as pudding because we eat it with a spoon but is just peeled, sliced oranges. They’re delicious just as they are, though a shard of caramel gives a crunch if added at the last minute or makes a sweet syrup if added earlier so that it dissolves in the juice. A glug of orange liqueur doesn’t come amiss and a scattering of soft candied peel, caramelised or not, makes it look as though a little effort has been made.

Soft candied peel? My original recipe for this pudding instructs its readers to make a caramel and add the strips of peel to make soft caramelised peel, though I rarely bother.  Usually I dry the peel to use as fire starters but flushed with the success of the candied orange peel that I’d dipped in chocolate, I thought that as I had a large heap of cut off peel,  I’d candy it to use in baking. I didn’t want a hard peel like the ones you can buy either whole or ready chopped, but something altogether softer and fortuitously, I’d been reading Mary-Anne Boermans’ Great British Bakes (a fabulous book with resdiscovered and updated recipes from the past) that had just the recipe. It’s more or less the same procedure as Lisa’s candied peel but needs a stronger syrup (2 parts sugar to 1 part water) and the peel is put into a jar with the syrup instead of leaving it to dry out. When I’d put the peel into jars I had some syrup left over so mixed a little with some icing sugar to top an orange cake.

Just when I thought life couldn’t get any more orange, I noticed that when I updated my “about” pages here, I’d liberally sprinkled orange headings throughout. Next thing you know, I’ll be a true Essex girl nipping off to the tanning parlour for a Dale Winton. Or not.

15 thoughts on “orange fest

  1. What beautiful vibrant photographs and mouth-watering ideas. I do candy my own orange peel but use Jane Grigson’s recipe and it comes out quite crystalline. I freeze it actually (in a clearly labelled box!) and use it for fruit cakes etc but a soft candied version would be fab. Going to have little rummage for that book on Amazon methinks! Your stripy jelly may not have unmoulded as cooperatively as you wanted but it looks to die for to me! Your family are so lucky! E x

  2. It sounds like you are subconsciously craving sunshine Anne.
    Maybe delete the ‘sub’.
    Eggs in a heart shaped hole scheduled for a valentine breakfast tomorrow, I have made the bread specially..

  3. Oh my goodness, that all looks and sounds delicious!
    You left a comment on my blog about joining in The Stitched Journal Project, hooray! Could you send me your email so that I can send you reminders?

  4. I dont think I have had milk jelly since primary school, I used to love it though, much better than tapioca, the other staple of school puddings.

  5. I somehow can’t imagine you with a Dale Winton! But I’m happy to vouch for the Marmalade Gin … I think it’s my favourite among Beth’s creations 🙂

    Happy to see you’re also joining the Stitched Journal project.

  6. You are really convincing me to save my orange peels – for the candied orange peels & the fire starters. I start each day with a fresh orange. It’s funny though, some weeks we get the best, sweetest oranges & then the next week they’re all dry and tasteless. I’m not quite sure how to figure out what’s inside those peels.

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