Tag Archives: orange

Dark orange marmalade

Scraping the bottom of the jar to get out the last of my marmalade, I decided this weekend to make my own. (I think subliminally I have also been reading a lot of jam recipes, presumably to preserve the last of the summer fruits in the Northern hemisphere). I used Delia Smith’s recipe for traditional Seville orange marmalade with a few brave changes – using 50% brown and 50% white sugar and also a whole lot less sugar than her recipe calls for, which was still a terrifying large amount.

I’d seen/read/heard that the worse thing that can happen to jam is that it doesn’t set, so I also added some extra peel from some oranges I ate, and while I think the sugar part worked out just fine, the extra peel added so much pectin to my mix that the consistency was too firm. The brown sugar makes a dark marmalade with a strong molasses flavour – perhaps that’s why I could get away with using less – but I think maybe 50/50 was too strong and next time I’ll try 25% brown 75% white.

The good thing is that making your own jam is straightforward and fun enough to want to try it again, and guess what friends and family will be getting as gifts soon?

Ingredients

  1. 900g oranges – Seville would be perfect for their intensely sharp flavour but I made it with naval and that turned out fine
  2. 1 lemon
  3. 500g soft brown sugar
  4. 500g white sugar

You will also need:

  1. A large, heavy-based saucepan
  2. Cheesecloth
  3. 6 x 350g jam jars

Method

  1. Add the juice of the oranges and lemon to 2.25l water
  2. Scrape out the insides of the cut fruit and add the pips, the pith and everything else into the centre of the cheesecloth. Leave nothing behind – the pith and pips contain all the precious pectin that will help the jam to set
  3. Cut the remaining peel into thin strips and add to the juice and water. Don’t worry about the excess pith on the rind, it will boil off
  4. Tie up the cheesecloth tightly and pop that into the pot
  5. Bring to the boil and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 hours
  6. In the meantime chill some saucers in the fridge
  7. Once the peel is soft, remove the cheesecloth bag and allow to cool. Make sure the peel is soft enough so you can rub it to nothing between your fingers and before you add the sugar. Adding sugar arrests the softening of the peel and you don’t want tough rind in your marmalade
  8. Add the sugar to the pan and stir gently over low heat to ensure all the crystals have dissolved
  9. Once the bag is cool enough to squeeze, turn the heat to high and squeeze the contents in the cheesecloth bag. You can do this with two saucers if it’s still too hot. This part is messy, sticky and intensely satisfying as you watch the almost jelly-like goo that contains the pectin ooze out
  10. Stir into the mixture
  11. Once the mixture comes to a rapid, rolling boil, start timing. 15 minutes to start. After 15 minutes spoon a little of the marmalade on to one of the cold saucers from the fridge, and let it cool back in the fridge. Once it has cooled, you can see if your marmalade has ‘set’ by pushing the mixture with your little finger: if it has a really crinkly skin, it is set. If not, continue to boil the marmalade and give it the same test at about 10-minute intervals until it does set.
  12. After that remove the pan from the heat (if there’s a lot of scum, most of it can be dispersed by stirring in half a teaspoon of butter, and the rest can be spooned off)
  13. Leave the marmalade to settle for 20 minutes. This will allow any floating rind to settle
  14. In the meantime, the jars should be sterilised – washed, dried and heated in a moderate oven for 5 minutes
  15. Pour the marmalade, with the aid of a funnel or a ladle, into the jars, cover with waxed discs and seal while still hot
  16. Label when cold and store in a dry, cool, dark place

12 Apostles

Prosciutto with black truffles and parmesan with confit red peppers

On this trip, we fell in love with Verona. Forget all the Romeo and Juliet stuff – it’s fictional after all, and all a bit tacky for me – Verona is charming and just very very pretty.

We managed to eat at so many places this trip and this restaurant is the only one where we went back twice it was that good.

Just around the corner from our our hotel (the wonderful Gabbia D’Oro), 12 Apostoli got its name from the 12 tradesmen who used to meet every day after work back in the 1700s when it was an inn. In was only in the early 1900s that it became a restaurant but still serves simple food, stunningly prepared.

I have to say that it was a bit more formal than I expected, but the staff there were so cheeky in a totally professional way that it lured us back a second time. On recommendation, we started with shaved prosciutto with black truffles and parmesan on a bed of rocket, with red pepper confit. I don’t really need to say any more, do I 🙂

shaved salami on grilled polenta

We also had a traditional Veronese dish, shaved salami on top of grilled polenta. The Italians don’t seem to season their polenta at all but the saltiness of the salami took care of that.

Mains we both stuck to pasta – D had the beef tortellini tossed in butter and sage and I had the papaline (which amusingly is translated to “skullcaps”) filled with marscapone and olives.

Dessert was a total revelation for me. I’m familiar with dessert carts, but not three. It was such a thrill being surrounded by so much sugar ! And we usually had eaten so much that we had no space for dessert but that night, we had three between the two of us. And there were two winners which I would never have dreamed I would even order let alone love.

Traditional Sicilian cassata

The first was a cassata. Now my knowledge of cassata is vanilla ice-cream with dried candied fruit that you can order in Italian takeaways back in Australia – not all that appetising. Apparently that is a type of cassata but the version that we were served that night was the traditional Sicilian version – sponge cake moistened with liquer, layered with ricotta cheese and covered with a shell of marzipan and topped with candied fruit and peel. It was absolutely gorgeous. Light, with no overpowering flavour of marzipan (which I don’t really like the taste of), just delicate and somehow worked beautifully.

Sliced orange with candied orange peel

The second dish was “an orange”. I mean, that makes it sound so .. dull, but essentially it was peeled sliced orange with candied orange peel. That was pretty much it. But the zing of flavour in that orange made all the tastebuds in your mouth sing. Honest.

We had to almost roll ourselves out of 12 Apostles that night but not before we made a reservation for dinner on our last night in Verona. Perfect way to start a visit to this lovely city.

12 Apostoli
Corticela S. Marco 3,
37121, Verona, Italy
Tel: +39 045 596999
Email: dodiciapostoli@tiscali.it

Closed Sunday and Monday evenings


Orange and poppyseed cake

This easy and delicious cake with cream cheese frosting is one of my favourites.

Ingredients (to make a 19cm cake with extra mix to make 2 cupcakes)

For the cake:

  1. 1/2 cup milk
  2. 1/3 cup poppyseeds
  3. 180g softened unsalted butter
  4. 3/4 cup caster sugar
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 3 eggs
  7. Finely grated zest of 3 oranges
  8. 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  9. 2 1/2 cups plain flour
  10. 2 tsp baking powder

For the icing:

  1. 100g butter at room temperature
  2. 100g cream cheese at room temperature
  3. 1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
  4. 2 tsp lemon juice

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C. Grease a 19cm cake pan and line base with baking paper.
  2. Place milk in a bowl and stir in poppyseeds. Stand for 20 minutes.
  3. Beat butter, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer until light and pale.
  4. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each.
  5. Gently fold in zest, juice and poppyseed mixture.
  6. Sift flour and baking powder over top and fold in.
  7. Spoon mixture into pan and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Cool cake in pan for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a plate.
  8. For the icing, beat the butter and cream cheese until smooth.  Add the sugar and lemon juice and beat until thick and creamy.  Frost cake once the cake is completely cooled.