I always get slightly confused by this time of year. Mainly because of oranges.
In my head they just shouldn’t be in season, but of course it is the perfect time for them. The countryside around Seville has trees splattered by big blobs of, well, orange; like someone’s gone on a mono-chromatic paintball-ing rampage. And whilst they are at their very best and we should all be chomping away on them. Although having said that, here I am messing about with them.
Sure, I love the taste of them – not all of them made it as far as my two creations – but whilst they are at their most flavoursome I thought I’d take advantage and make them in two other tasty creations that will last longer than their short season. Well, in theory will last longer; whether they will or not waits to be seen. I’m going to make some Seville orange gin.
Next weekend I’m off to visit a friend who lives up in the Highlands, so I thought I’d make something to take along with me. Whilst cookies and muffins are not likely to be turned down by any of my friends, I thought I’d do something a little more interesting. I thought for approximately five seconds and decided that gin was the answer.
I’d be lying if I said this was an entirely original idea (I made the raspberry gin when I went down to London to visit a friend last year), however, given that the intended recipient likes gin as much as I do it seemed appropriate. Mixing gin and the season always makes for a fun combination so there seemed very little that could be better than Seville orange gin. Not only does it look fantastic – although its bright yellow hues still don’t compute with January in my head – it also tastes pretty damn good, although perhaps not quite as orange-y as I thought it might do (clearly I didn’t shake it enough).
To make things even better, it meant that I also had the orange slices from the gin to do something with. Whilst the usual recipient of this boozy fruit is a cake of some kind, I thought that I would incorporate them into the second part of my Seville orange adventure and so after bottling the gin yesterday I went on to make my first ever batch of marmalade. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may have already seen the result (it’s also at the bottom of this page and in tomorrow’s blog post), but I ended up with some Seville orange and gin marmalade. I think that’s definitely a Sunday morning well spent. Well, these two and the tennis, obviously.
Seville Orange Gin
This is an original recipe from The Usual Saucepans. It, like most of my gins, is based on the Chilli and Lime gin recipe, I made this one using Gordon’s dry gin and used my one litre kilner jar. It makes approximately 500ml.
3 Seville oranges
50g granulated sugar
500 ml gin
Zest the oranges into a large, sealable jar (I use a 1 litre Kilner jar I got on Amazon). Juice one of the oranges into jar, peel the other two and take out the segments.
Put the sugar and about 100 ml of the gin into the jar. Seal it and shake it until the sugar dissolves. Add the orange segments and the remaining gin to the jar, shaking gently to mix.
Leave it in a cool, dark place for a fortnight (or longer, if you can resist) until it is opaque and yellow; remembering to shake it every day or so. Decant through muslin (or a sieve lined with kitchen roll, it does the same job) and pour the gin into a sterilised bottle. It will keep for up to three months – allegedly – although none of mine have every seen passed a few weeks.
As I don’t like to see good food going to waste I used the orange flesh and zest that was left to add extra flavour to my Seville orange and gin marmalade.
Obviously responsible drinking is encouraged, but there’s not a lot that can be done about it if you decide to ‘forget’ this.