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Orange Passion
© Sue Courtney
12 January 2003

My tangelo tree groans with its bright orange fruit most of the year round. Just one of the two trees, that is, the one in the confines of the garden. The other is in the back yard and is very alluring to possums, so much so that the little blighters have just about stripped the tree for the last couple of years before we manage to trap them. But the one tree does us very well, thank you very much. So I had this urge to make some candied peel and the tangelos were there. Why not, I thought?

Candied Tangelo Peel
This is such a simple recipe but it can be time consuming. Still it does not require constant attention so it is ideal to make if you are a writer experiencing one of those horrendous blocks.

All you need is citrus, water and sugar. Tangelos are ideal, as the skin is thin with very little pith.

Cut four or 5 tangelos from the tree as close to the stalks as possible (the skin tends to rip at the stalk if you just pull them off).
Wash and if necessary scrub the skin to ensure they are free of all blemishes, dirt, fungus, etc.
Cut the fruit into quarters - use a plate so you can drain off the juices into a container for later use.
Carefully remove skin from pulp and save the pulp also for later use (my uses included eating and using in a marmalade, which I also made over the holiday week).
Using a very sharp knife, cut along the longest length into fine strips, about 3-4mm in width.

Now I kind of followed the method in the Womans Weekly Cooking Class Cookbook.
Put the chopped peel into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer 10 mins. Drain through a sieve.
Repeat three more times, however the last time reserve the cooking liquid.

Put the peel in the sieve to one side.
Into the saucepan add 1/2 cup of the reserved liquid and 1/2 a cup of the citrus juice, which has been squeezed from the reserved pulp.
Add 1 cup of sugar to make syrup.
Stir sugar and liquid over heat until sugar has dissolved.
Remove the saucepan from the heat, add the peel which has been sitting in the sieve all this time.
Let the peel steep in the syrup for at least 8 hours.
Return the saucepan to the heat.
Add another 1/2 cup of sugar.
Bring to the boil, simmer for 15 minutes and drain well into a container so the syrup can be used in other recipes.
Cover a wire rack with baking paper. Spread out the peel.
Place in a sunny spot to dry off a little, then place the rack into a fan oven and bake at 100C (with fan on) for an hour.
Remove the rack from the oven and place in a sunny spot to continue drying. (I left the rack on the table overnight.)
When peel is dry, store in an airtight container, though it is so yummy, it may not last too long.

* * *

One thing leads to another and I thought that candied tangelo halves might make a suitable edible container for a delicious dessert. So I volunteered to make some for our New Years Eve dinner. I was going to fill them with a chantilly cream of some sort but my sister wanted to make Panna Cotta. Accompanied with a de Bortoli Semillon 1994, it turned out to be a most delightful combination for the last course of our last meal of 2002.

Candied Tangelo Bowls
You will need one tangelo per person. Cut the fruit across its girth about 1/3rd of the way down from the stalk end. Scoop out the flesh and reserve for later. Now the method is similar to the peel preparation.

Place the 'bowls' into a saucepan and cover with water. They will tend to float so watch how much water you are adding. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 15 minutes. Drain. Repeat three more times, reserving the liquid from the last boiling.

Now you need to make enough sugar syrup, using half-and-half reserved liquid and tangelo juice to an equal quantity of sugar. Because of the floating problem I used a tall cylindrical container and place the 'bowls' in this, one on top of the other, skin side down, and filled the top bowl with polished tumbled quartz gemstones to weigh the lot down. This ensured they were totally immersed in the liquid. Note that the peel will now be quite soft, you will have to handle them carefully so they do not tear.

Steep for at least 8 hours.

Return 'bowls' and syrup to the saucepan. Add half as much sugar again, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes.

Drain and reserve the syrup.

Place the 'bowls' skin side up on the drying rack, allow to dry off a little before drying further in the fan oven for an hour at 100C.

I used the 2/3rd's sized bowls for the dessert. The remaining bowls have been stored in an airtight container for later use.

Panna Cotta
This recipe comes from Food , Wine and Art, page 161.

You will need -
120g (1/2 cup) vanilla sugar - this is made from blending a vanilla bean with a cup of castor sugar and sieving. Store the remaining half cup.
300 g marscarpone cheese
350 g sour cream
500 ml cream
4 teaspoons gelatine
1/4 cup boiling water
juice of 2 small lemons

Beat together the cheese and the creams with the vanilla sugar in a stainless steel bowl. Place into a double boiler and stir gently until mixture is almost boiling and melted. Stir in lemon juice and the gelatine, which has been dissolved in the water. Heat for one to two minutes longer.

Put enough of the panna cotta aside to fill the citrus peel bowls when it has cooled. Pour the remainder of the mixture into a large greased mould or smaller individual greased moulds, to set.

Use some of the candied peel made earlier - or slice one of the excess 'bowls' into thin slices - to decorate your dessert.

* * *

BBQ'ed Smoked Salmon Fillet marinated in Citrus Syrup and Dill and served with a Creamy Dill Sauce.
What do you do with the saved syrup? Why, marinate your salmon in it, of course.

I bought a whole fillet of smoked salmon and marinaded this in a cup of the reserved tangelo peel syrup left over from the candied peel process. Cover the salmon with copious amounts of fresh dill fern. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours, basting occasionally during this period.

When it come time to cook, completely encase the salmon fillet in tinfoil, then heat over the BBQ, turning once.

Creamy Dill Sauce
1/2 cup of plain unsweetened low fat yoghurt
1/2 cup of light sour cream
4 tablespoons of reserved tangelo peel sugar syrup
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill fern

Mix all ingredients together and leave for at least an hour before serving in order to let the dill flavour infuse into the sauce.

Decorate the salmon with the sauce and more dill fern, and use one of the reserved Candied Citrus Bowls as a container in which to serve additional sauce.

For a wine accompaniment I chose Pinot Gris.

* * * *

A Salad Bouquet
Simply pick salad greens from the garden. We grow lettuce of various types in pots on our deck and pluck the individual leaves most of these summer nights to accompany our meal. Keeping on the orange theme, use fresh nasturtiums from the garden, along with nasturtium leaves and other herbs. I used some dill fern and lemon thyme, which is flowering right now. The chives have just finished flowering - the flowers would have been a pretty addition to this salad bouquet - however the chives were used as a tie to hold the bouquet together. So simple, yet so effective.

Accompany the salad with the creamy dill sauce.

© Sue Courtney
January 2003

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