Wednesday, 10 March 2010


When I went to supermarket the other day, I walked past the reduced to clear section and saw mountains of reduced oranges, bags of eight for £0.39. I mean, there was nothing wrong with them, oranges don't really have a sell-by date, they all looked perfect. So, what's a girl to do? Just keep walking and ignore them? No, not me. I grabbed two bags and left the old granny that was looking at them too to decide how many she wanted as I didn't want to look too greedy, then when no one was looking, I went back and got two more bags. So, what happened to the 32 oranges? I used them all up of course.

First I made some spiced orange wine from 16 oranges, which is now bubbling away happily in my airing cupboard. It smelled really nice when I poured it into the demijohn, so I can't wait to sample the finished wine, but it's still got quite some time to go before it's anywhere near ready.

Then I made spiced orange and cranberry cordial. Sounds Christmassy? Think again! Think: bitter orange cocktails! Think summer! Once diluted in cold water it's such a quenching and refreshing drink and so tasty. I haven't tried it with hot water yet, but then I guess that would be quite a Christmas reminder.

Here is how I made it: I sliced 8 oranges (incl. the peel) and put them in the slow cooker, added two 400g jars of homemade cranberry sauce, some sliced root ginger, 3 cinnamon sticks and some cloves. I then diluted 1.3kg of sugar in just under 2l of boiling water and added it to the fruit and spice mix. Just to be on the save side I added a teaspoon full of pectin destroying enzyme as I didn't want the cordial to set and turn into marmalade or turn cloudy. This mixture was then cooked in the slow cooker for and hour on high heat and then for another 3 hours on low heat. Then I added two teaspoons of tartaric acid and waited for it to cool down. Once cold I sieved the cordial and filled it into sterilised bottles.

Finally I turned the remaining eight oranges into orange curd. Believe it or not, but this time I managed to control myself and stayed away from adding any spices, not even cinnamon.

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