It’s not too late to make chocolate orange peel.

Over Christmas I find myself addicted to clementines. I always feel a little guilty about throwing the peel away – too many in the wormery upsets the worms – then I found this recipe for candied orange sticks in The River Cottage Preserves Handbook. So I just replace the orange peel with clementines, although I have used grapefruit peel as well. There are always little bits of peel that are too small to turn into sticks and these I cut up and use in other recipes as candied peel . I must say that the about 25% of these don’t make it as the presents I intend, well I have to check the quality!

Ingredients

4-5 large oranges (If using clementine peel it takes around 10 skins), 500g granulated sugar, 1 tbsp glucose syrup, 200g good plain chocolate.

Method (it looks complicated but actually isn’t)

Scrub the oranges and using a sharp knife, remove the peel and attached pith. Weigh out 250g or peel and cut into slices about 6mm x 5cm. Place the peel in a large pan and cover with 2 litres of cold water.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, drain and return to the pan with 1 litre of cold water. Bring to the boil again and simmer, covered, this time for 45 minutes (30 minutes for clementine peel). Then add the sugar and stir until it’s dissolved, simmer for a further 30 minutes, still covered. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 24 hours.

Bring the pan to the boil again – if using glucose syrup, add it now – and boil for 30 minutes, until all the liquid has evaporated and the sticks are coated with bubbling syrup. Allow to cool then carefully remove sticks to a wire rack. Leave in a warm place (an airing cupboard is ideal) for 24 hours.

Break the chocolate in to pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat and dip half of each orange stick in the melted chocolate, placing on greaseproof paper to set. Before dipping the sticks will last 3-4 months, once dipped in chocolate they are best eaten within 3 weeks. (As if they are going to last that long!)

Christmas Sweets

Over Christmas I find myself addicted to clementines. I always feel a little guilty about throwing the peel away – too many in the wormery upsets them – then I found this recipe for candied orange sticks in The River Cottage Preserves Handbook. So I just replace the orange peel with clementines. There are always little bits of peel that are too small to turn into sticks and these I cut up and use in other recipes as candied peel . I must say that the about 25% of these don’t make it as the presents I intend, well I have to check the quality!.

Ingredients

4-5 large oranges, 500g granulated sugar, 1tbsp glucose syrup, 200g good plain chocolate. (If using clementine peel it takes around 10 skins)

Method (it looks complicated but actually isn’t)

Scrub the oranges and using a sharp knife, remove the peel and attached pith. Weigh out 250g or peel and cut into slices about 6mm x 5cm. Place the peel in a large pan and cover with 2 litres of cold water.

Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes, drain and return to the pan with 1 litre of cold water. Bring to the boil again and simmer, covered, this time for 45 minutes (30 minutes for clementine peel). Then add the sugar and stir until it’s dissolved, simmer for a further 30 minutes, still covered. Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 24 hours.

Bring the pan to the boil again – if using glucose syrup, add it now – and boil for 30 minutes, until all the liquid has evaporated and the sticks are coated with bubbling syrup. Allow to cool then carefully remove sticks to a wire rack. Leave in a warm place (an airing cupboard is ideal) for 24 hours.

Break the chocolate in to pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove from heat and dip half of each orange stick in the melted chocolate, placing on greaseproof paper to set. Before dipping the sticks will last 3-4 months, once dipped in chocolate they are best eaten within 3 weeks. (As if they are going to last that long!)

My favourite nearly Christmas Cake

Every year I look forward to clementines – the smell is pure Christmas and I eat them like sweets. It must be a mental reminder of the orange at the bottom of the Christmas stocking calling to my inner child or something – anyway carrying on………………….

This recipe was a real find - Clementine Cake from How To Eat by Nigella Lawson. Easy to make, gluten free and absolutely delicious. I look forward to making this before Christmas.

Ingredients

4 – 5 clementines (around 375g total), 6 eggs, 225g castor sugar, 250g ground almonds, 1 heaped teaspoon of baking powder. (If you really want it gluten free use gluten free baking powder or make your own)

Method

Put the clementines in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 hours. Drain and, when cool, cut each clementine in half and take out the pips. Then pulp the whole fruit skin and all, in a food processer.

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/ 190 degrees C and butter and line a 21cm springform cake tin.

Beat the eggs. Add the sugar, almonds and baking powder. Mix well adding the pulped clementines.  Pour the mixture into the tin and bake for an hour, when a skewer comes out clean. You may have to cover with foil after about 40mins to prevent the top burning, as you can see from the photo I forgot to do this. Put on a rack to cool then remove from the tin. I agree with Nigella this is better the day after but it doesn’t always last that long.