Friday, June 27, 2008

Stephanie's spiced oranges and other Canberra goodies

Yes, I know you are all saying: what has Stephanie Alexander to do with Canberra? She's a Hawthorn woman. And you are both right and wrong. This week I was in Canberra for the funeral of my cousin who died of @#$% breast cancer. One of the pleasures of being there was that I stayed with my friends Marg and Tony, and Marg sent me away with her produce.

Marg has a prolific orange tree and last winter she made a vat of Stephanie's spiced oranges. We had some with cheese on Tuesday night - luscious. They highly recommended it with cold meats as well. I have Marg's bottle to eat immediately but I decided that I needed to lay in stock for myself. So as navel oranges are in abundance at present, I have bought a batch and all the other ingredients and will be making my own vat tomorrow. This is Stephanie's recipe and the photographs are mine but of Margaret's spiced oranges.


8 oranges (preferably pipless navels), washed
1 teaspoon salt

1 kg sugar
1/3 cup golden syrup
1.5 cups white wine vinegar
seeds from six cardamon pods
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon whole allspice
1 teaspoon cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon

Put oranges in large non-reactive pot, then cover generously with cold water and add salt.
Settle a plate down over oranges to keep them under the water.
Bring to simmering point, then simmer for about 50 minutes until the oranges are tender.
Lift gently into a colander and drain.
Discard water in pot.
When oranges are cool enough to handle, halve them using a serrated knife and cut each half into 4-5 wedges (do not peel).
To make the syrup combine all ingredients and heat to simmering point in a non-reactive saucepan, stirring until sugar has dissolved.
Simmer for five minutes, then remove from heat.
Put orange wedges into syrup and and return to a moderate heat with pan resting on a simmer mat.
Simmer for about 30 minutes until orange is tender and skin can be pierced easily with a fine skewer.
Using tongs fill sterilized jars with orange pieces, then ladle in syrup to cover.
Seal and leave for as long as possible before eating (at least a month).
The fruit will darken over time.

How lucky am I? I can cook my oranges tomorrow and, while mine are steeping in the syrup, I can eat Marg's 2007 oranges! Thanks, Marg!

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