Friday, 20 February 2009

Seville oranges

In the depths of winter, citrus fruit from the northern hemisphere is at its best adding colour, vitamins and energy to the kitchen.

Bitter Seville oranges are a seasonal treat most commonly used for making marmalade. This is partly because their high acidity makes an ideal setting power for preserves. But the fragrant zest and sharp juice of these tough-skinned non-eaters also works well instead of lemons in many recipes.

Add a squeeze to make a tangy salad dressing with grilled chicken and crushed walnuts or a classic sauce blended with port to mitigate the richness of roast duck.

Or try it as an alternative to lime juice in ceviche, South American-style super fresh seafood marinated in citrus juices. Queen scallops bask beautifully in Seville orange juice, shaved onions, coriander, chilli and salt. Savour them with an Argentinian Susana Balbo Crios Torrontes 2007 Cafayate Salta (£8.75;, a honeyed white with crisp acidity and a creamy finish.

The organisers of the rather grandly named The World’s Original Marmalade Festival held earlier this month at Dalemain House, in Cumbria ( have compiled their own Recipes with a Citrus Twist book that features 80 zesty dishes made with Seville oranges, lemons, or limes. Try a slice of almond and orange cake drizzled with marmalade syrup served with a Croix Milhas Rivesaltes Ambre, Roussillon, France (£7.99, Tesco). The dessert wine’s spicy notes of caramelised oranges add depth to the cake’s flavours.

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