In A Blood Orange Mood
I was so excited to see blood oranges on our neighbourhood supermarket shelf that I completely forget my doctor's orders to stay well away from citrus fruit. Blood oranges are exceptionally uncommon in this part of the world, the closest country to grow them being Australia. Named for their red specked flesh and deep red juice, blood oranges are lower in acidity than regular oranges and tend to be sweeter. The "blood" in these oranges come courtesy of a pigment called antocyanin, not typically found in citrus, but more common in other red fruit and flowers like pomegranate. Their colour alone endears them to cocktails and all kinds of pretty dishes with the added benefit of being antioxidant rich.
Alas, despite all the good stuff it packs, a glass of its vibrant vermillion juice later and my esophagus retaliated with a vengence. The good doc's orders echoed in my mind like a flashback in a bad movie. No pills could save me now. I would have to ride through the night gagging away uncontrollably like an unwitting porn-flick newbie.
Anyways, with a whole bag full of blood oranges still waiting in the fridge, I had to do something with them. Inspired by J's amazing Orange Conserve, the last of the precious portion she so kindly gave us dwindling fast, I decided to try something I had never done before: make jam. Following her recipe to the letter, but with blood oranges instead of regular oranges, I emerged with a beautiful coral-red conserve that was as delicious as it was gorgeous.
With the rest of the blood oranges, Claudia Roden's fool-proof and always-a-hit Middle Eastern Orange Cake, gussied up with a dollop of whipped thickened cream, strewn with chopped pistachios for that extra Middle Eastern touch and of course a teensy wedge of conserved orange like a sparkling garnet crown.