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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Monday, July 25, 2005

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:
200ml water
15g powdered gelatine
150g sugar (test for sweetness)
250ml blood orange juice (3 to 4 oranges depending on size)

Heat the orange juice and water until simmering. Remove from heat and sprinkle over the gelatine. Immediately whisk to combine, leaving no undissolved lumps in the liquid.
Rinse four 100ml moulds with water and shake dry. Fill with the orange liquid, allow to cool, then refrigerate for several hours until set.
To serve, dip the base of each mould in hot water, run a knife around the edge to loosen the jelly and turn onto a serving plate.
Alternatively, fill martini or wine glasses with the liquid, refrigerate and serve, for full glamour effect.


  • That looks great, Niki and so sophisticated! I haven't made a jelly yet but I am keen to experiment with agar agar one of these days.

    The Food Section ran a quick piece on these oranges a few months ago at http://www.thefoodsection.com/foodsection/2005/03/shopping_list_b.html. I've only had the juice - I may have to seek the fruit out in all its glory!

    By Blogger plum, at 7/25/2005 10:32:00 pm  

  • I love home made jelly! So easy too (and no artificial crap!)
    Did you know that to get the orange colour they have to get the right amount of water or they are just orange?

    My mum can grow mandarins, oranges, lemons etc in wollongong, it is just abit too humid sometimes. Dont they taste so much better fresh off the tree though? *sigh*

    By Blogger eat stuff, at 7/26/2005 12:01:00 am  

  • That is the most beautiful picture of blood oranges I've ever seen. The shades of coloring are fantastic! Be sure to enter it in next month's "Does My Blog Look Good In This?"

    By Blogger Jennifer, at 7/26/2005 12:19:00 am  

  • The juice is so beautiful : a pure ruby.
    I love blood oranges too.

    By Blogger *fanny*, at 7/26/2005 08:32:00 am  

  • Hi Niki, your photos of the oranges are terrific! The colour of the juice is just amazing too.

    By Blogger Kelly, at 7/26/2005 11:12:00 am  

  • Plum - I just checked out that post - the difference in colour of those oranges was incredible!
    I've never tried using agar agar yet; I've only just got into the gelatine thing, which used to freak me a bit. Maybe in the future...

    Clare eats - no artificial anything in this jelly, no sir! I didn't know about the relation between water and the colour of the oranges - that's really interesting, and partly explains why sometimes you find them more red than others. Much nicer off the tree - and the scent is incredible.

    Jennifer - thanks! I was thinking of entering in this month DMBLGIT, but thinking of the first photo by the fire. Maybe I'll have to toss a coin!

    Fanny - The taste belies the colour, but is somehow more tangy that normal orange juice. Gorgeous.

    Kelly- - thanks so much!

    By Blogger Niki, at 7/26/2005 03:15:00 pm  

  • Hi Niki - Aaah this sounds perfect for a summer dessert as well.

    By Blogger deborah, at 7/26/2005 05:05:00 pm  

  • Hi Niki - Aaah this sounds perfect for a summer dessert as well.

    By Blogger deborah, at 7/26/2005 05:07:00 pm  

  • Hi Niki - Aaah this sounds perfect for a summer dessert as well.

    By Blogger deborah, at 7/26/2005 05:07:00 pm  

  • The thought of Golden Syrup Dumplings lifts the heart! And as a veggie I hope you'll bite the bullet and have a try with agar agar sometime.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/26/2005 06:39:00 pm  

  • I love homemade gelatine pudding. No artificial colouring, just good juice and gelatine. This jelly is beautiful. I actually do not like seeing blood oranges; believe it or not they make me queasy---like oranges with blood on them. But the gelatine pudding is beautiful.

    By Blogger Ana, at 7/27/2005 02:21:00 am  

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