Winter is when you get the best citrus in the UK. Sweet, easy to peel clementines and satsumas for Christmas stockings, lovely sour Seville oranges for the best tangy marmalade and blood oranges for, well, loads of things!
I love blood oranges. I get a weird thrill from seeing red and tasting orange. In the short time that they are in season it is definitely worth while grabbing a bag to play with. The skin is generally orange, although some have a flush to them, so it is worth looking for dishes where the colour of the flesh and juice really gets to sing.
With my bag of 6 organic and unwaxed blood oranges I made:
1. Buck's Fizz (known to the Americans as mimosas) - just blood orange juice topped up with sparkling wine. This would be perfect for brunch, but we had it in the late afternoon.
2. A warm salad, to accompany duck breasts. I segmented 2 of the blood oranges, reserving the juices. I roasted beetroot, peeling and cutting them into wedges while still hot and combining them with cubes of feta, the blood orange wedges and mint leaves. I mixed the reserved orange juice with finely diced shallot and a little sherry vinegar and microwaved it until hot and used it as a dressing for the salad.
3. I revisited this recipe for St Clement's Cream to make a tangy, fresh-tasting dessert. I didn't strain it, because I wanted to maximise the citrus flavour, so it wasn't a smooth, velvety cream, but the flavour was just gorgeous. The last time I made these St Clement's Creams I thought they were one of the best desserts I'd ever made, and this opinion hasn't changed!
4. I made little cakes and soaked them in blood orange syrup. I followed this recipe but I used the zest and juice of the whole orange instead of lemon, I used fresh goat's curd instead of yoghurt and I baked them in my friand tins. It made 11 little cakes. For the syrup, instead of using water, I used some whey that I had leftover from cheesemaking (more about that later). The flavour was wonderful, the texture was perfect, and they had very good keeping qualities - we ate the last of them 6 days after baking and they were still soft, moist and delicious, with a pretty soft pink colour from the juice.