It’s time for a blood orange

Today was an absolutely beautiful day in Bordeaux. I will remember it as the first day of Spring. It was as if a raging storm had done its worst, and cornflower blue skies, a big, bright sun and a billowy wind ruffled the winter cobwebs. The crispness of winter remains, but that sun was the first note of spring.

I have been lucky enough to already have had a summer this year as I spent my Christmas in Melbourne. Having an ice-cream on the 5th January was a rather surreal experience, but it was made even more memorable by the sorbet sitting on top of the already stunning chocolate ice-cream. I had already been to The Boardwalk Café at St Kilda’s and had the mango sorbet which was sweet sunshine. My tastebuds tingling for more sorbet, I decided to go for the blood orange sorbet. The combination of tangy citrus with a deep, mellow sweetness was bloody (hehe) amazing.

My encounters with blood oranges have been surprisingly few. In fact, it was only once I’d tasted it in a sorbet that I began to think about their possibilities and it turns out I am very taken with them. The slightly gothic, dark name of the fruit is quite seductive and, from what I had tasted, I liked the flesh too – I love its dark cranberry colour! As Pancake Day loomed, I decided to introduce blood oranges to the traditional lemon and sugar combo. The blood oranges I picked up at a bio shop (the Carrefours in Bordeaux did not stock them) they were quite innocent-looking. Apparently they come predominantly from Sicily, Spain, the US and their season stretches to May. They have apparently been associated with fertility, and it is recommended to eat them fresh. So, pancake on plate and blood oranges in wedges, I concocted a lemon, blood orange and sugar topping and rolled it up. In it goes. The blood orange bridged the gap between the sharpness of the lemon and the sugar, but it gave greater depth of flavour that even blood orange aficionados find difficult to put into words. Suffice to say, I’ll be recreating that next year! While I do not think it is an adequate substitute for lemon, my mind is swimming in blood and oranges – I think a blood orange butter icing atop a vanilla sponge would be something…

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