Organic Blood Orange Jelly
Yes, it's cold down here in Melbourne - hence the open fire. :-) And what better than jelly by the fire? Well, Golden Syrup dumplings by the fire, perhaps, but this is for when you're in a lighter mood.
When A. and I were in Adelaide recently I was shown his grandmother's wonderful big garden where she grows so many flowers, fruits and vegetables. As it's the middle of winter, there wasn't much in flower or fruit, apart from her many citrus trees, which bear during the coldest days of the season. Those trees were groaning with fruit, and she encouraged us to take some home with us on the plane back to Melbourne (nb: it's only taking fruit out of Victoria that causes quarantine issues).
Lemon trees are really common in backyards in Melbourne, as evidenced by all the lemon butter I'm making, but you rarely see orange trees. The climate in Adelaide is a bit warmer and drier, and one of the major things I noticed was the amount of people with orange trees in their front yards.
Apart from her lemon trees, she also had mandarins, oranges and....whee! blood oranges!! I was very excited to see that, because you virtually have to sell your own mother to afford blood oranges in Melbourne supermarkets, and blood orange juice seems only available in the funkiest, most expensive cafes.
If you've never seen a blood orange before, they look like normal oranges with the usual coloured skin, but are often a little smaller. The surprise comes when you see their flesh, which is a definite red. Aren't they beautiful?
Blood oranges are usually grown in the warm Mediterranean countries, so Adelaide is a similar climate for them. They have a different taste too; like orange mixed with raspberry perhaps? It's difficult to describe, but the taste is more exciting than a regular orange.
A's nan's oranges are truly organic, grown in her backyard and nourished with real compost from the bins in the yard; and the taste of them was intense and wonderful.
So apart from eating a few alone and juicing a couple for an excellent cold-warding vitamin C shot, I decided to make jelly with the rest, based on a recipe in Jill Dupleix's Simple Food. Although you really don't need to follow a recipe to make jelly - just add gelatine to your juice, and that's it.
Check out the gorgeous colour juice a blood orange gives you; you'd hardly know it was orange juice, would you?
The blood orange jelly was loved by A. who thought it had the right edge of sourness with sweetness, but I found it too sweet. Jill Dupleix must have a sweet tooth! So, I've reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe below. I found that adding fresh passionfruit to the jelly balanced the sweetness for me, and gave a great combination too - another idea you could try? Jelly is so easy to make that it really is worth trying.
Blood Orange Jelly: