Monday, 31 January 2011

Bitter Sweet

The first act sees me up a ladder picking my fruit
Bitter Sweet,originally an operetta in three acts. I have dedicated my annual revival, inspired by the bitter orange from Seville,to the maestro himself, Noel Coward.
To prepare for the new production I am required to scale a ladder and pick some fruit.

Act 1    Seville orange curd
Act 2    Seville Orange marmalade
Act 3    Seville orange chutney

My fruit is ready for the preserving pan















 


Seville orange curd
(coalho de laranja sevillana)
This is a favourite of guests at the Casa Rosada breakfast table. 
I serve it cut through my home made yoghurt alongside 
fresh fruits and crunchy nut cereal.

Grated zest of 2 Seville oranges
1/cup of squeezed bitter orange juice, strained ( about 3 oranges)
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large free range eggs plus 1 egg yolk
250g (8oz9 unsalted butter

Put the sugar in a medium bowl and grate the orange zest into it.
Rub the zest into the sugar vigorously with your fingers.
Strain the orange juice into a medium sized pan
Add the eggs, extra egg yolk, butter and zested sugar mix.
Set a pan over a medium to low flame and cook, whisking constantly with a balloon whisk until the mixture begins to thicken. The temperature is crucial and you must not let the mixture boil.Be sure to keep whisking all over the pan especially around the edges.At the first sign of of a boil, remove from the heat and keep whisking. Pour into a sterilised jar and put in the fridge to set and chill.Pour immediately into warm, *sterilised jars and seal. Use within three or four weeks, and keep in the fridge once opened.

Seville orange marmalade
( geleia de laranja com sementes de coentros )
An invigorating and popular way to start the day at Casa Rosada, its combination of sweet and tart kick-starting the tastebuds and lifting the mood over the Portuguese morning papers.
The Portuguese word for quince, marmelo, gave its name to marmelada, a thick, sweet quince paste. In England, "marmalades" were made from all kinds of fruit, from pears to plums and gooseberries. By the 18th century, softer orange marmalades were being made in Scotland's private houses, and this led in turn to its latter day incarnation. Rather than serving it as a sweet ending to a meal, they served it at breakfast as a conserve.

1kilo (2lb) Seville oranges
2 lemons
2 litres (3.5pints) water
1.5 kg (3lb) preserving / granulated sugar
3 tablespoons coriander seeds crushed
75ml whisky (optional)

Cut all the citrus fruit in half, remove and reserve all the pips. Slice the fruit thinly. tie all the pips in a piece of muslin. Put the fruit and muslin bag in a large glass bowl with the water. Cover and leave overnight.
The next day transfer the citrus fruit and water to a preserving pan. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 45 minutes - 1 hour, or until the orange rind is soft and the mixture has reduced by half.
Add the sugar to the pan. Slowly return the pan to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Skim well then stir in the crushed coriander seeds.Boil the mixture rapidly for 15 minutes, or until setting point.Remove the pan from the heat and leave to settle for a few minutes. Stir in the whisky if using. Ladle into hot *sterilised jars and seal.

Cooking time: 1.5 - 2 hours     Makes: 2kg    Shelf life: 2 years

Ruth Watson´s Seville orange chutney
(conserva picante de laranja sevillana)
This is delicious with fish. Two rotten jobs to start, then the rest is a doddle.
3 Seville oranges
2 small red onions, peeled and finely chopped
2 large cooking apples, peeled cored and roughly chopped
juice of 1 lemon
1heaped teaspoon white mustard seeds
Thumb sized knob of root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
50ml balsamic vinegar
100ml red wine vinegar
225g (6oz )white sugar

First remove the zest from the oranges (a knife may be more useful than a zester to tackle the bumpy Seville skins ).Chop roughly and put into a fairly large mixing bowl. Quarter the oranges and remove (discard) the 10 zillion pips. With a small sharp knife, carefully tease the pip-free segments from the pith, trying to retain as much juice as possible.( I found the best way was to do this over a sieve sitting on a mixing bowl). Put these messy looking segments into the bowl with the rind and roughly tear them apart. now add the onion, apple, lemon juice, mustard seeds, ginger and some salt. Mix everything together thoroughly.
Put a large saucepan on a medium heat, pour in the vinegars and stir in the sugar. bring the contents gently to the boil, stirring at the beginning until the sugar has dissolved.Tip in the orange mixture and stir again.Reduce the heat to low, and simmer the oranges gently for about 90 minutes. uncovered. The oranges should have reduced to a thick, shiny marmalade coloured gloop. Remove the pan from the heat, leave the chutney to cool for 15 minutes, then pour it very carefully( it will be very hot) into *sterilised jars. seal immediately. 
Try to resist using the chutney for at least 3 days while it matures.
It will stay fine for months.

*Sterilised jars- Before putting foods into jars to be sealed and stored, the jars need to be sterilised. Sterilise the jars by by thoroughly washing in hot water. Let them dry naturally. Do not dry them with a tea towel. Place the jars on a baking tray in a preheated oven 100C (200F) for thirty minutes. Remove the jars from the oven, allow to cool, then fill as the recipe requires and seal.

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