So, this Citron spoon sweet is what love is about.
Why not? What is love anyway?
It is sweet but it can be bitter, it is sour and it can be salty.. salty like the taste of tears or like the taste of the sea salt from the body of your loved one one summer day.
I bought two citrons the other day.. Bought them with a few bergamots as well...
Huge fruit and very delicate... The woman at the stall of the farmers market told me that I have to prepare them as soon as possible as they are very tender and spoil easily.
Still I left them on the table to givw their aroma to the living room for 3 days.
Last night I decided to turn them into a spoon sweet. Spoon sweets are really big in Greece. Great as a way of preserving fruit and great as a dessert anyway because they do not have any fat content of any carbs from the flour..
All the calories come from the sugar and you eat a little bit of it every time. Great on your yogurt as well...
So since today is st. Valentines day I thought that this dessert would be the most appropriate..
I love blood oranges..It’s a winter fruit that has such a warm colour that it seems to bring the summer back..and as they appear in the markets after Christmas and they are around until the end of January it’s like they bring a whiff of spring with them…
Meanwhile you can never tell exactly what colour they will have until you cut them. Of course if you see some red colouration on the outside peel you get an idea but again you cannot be totally sure.
I photographed some the other day and was left with about ten that I had cut in two and was wondering what to do with them..So I thought I would squeeze the juice out of them and make something with that..I had about 500ml of juice in the end but was at loss of what to do with it.
I went out into the backyard to bring Farah back inside and I spotted the Verbena in the herb garden which was a bit battered by the recent cold spell we have had.
So I cut about 20 leaves and went back inside the house. I had decided what I was going to make…
I don’t have an usual recipe to offer you as I was working with what was available but I will try to make you understand the thought process..
OK with the juice you can do various things.. you could put it in a cake or biscuits or make a jelly or freeze it and make a granita let’s say. Or make a sorbet which is what I wanted to make.
Generally a sorbet is juice our pulped fruit with ice and usually has some sugar added and often a little alcohol..
You can make it more aromatic by adding various herbs but as we are not making ice cream where you can boil the herbs and spices with the cream we have to find an alternative way.
The easiest way is to place the juice in a blender and throw the herbs in and blend together and then sieve the blended mixture. That way the pulp of the orange is broken down as well as the herbs and the whole mixture is much more aromatic.
You need some type of syrup to sweeten the mixture- I used the syrup left over from my Bergamot cake and I added a little sweet dessert wine I had left over.
When I found the first Bergamots in the market I immediately bought a few to start building wonderful recipes with them.. They are of my favorite citrus fruit, with a sour but flavorful juice and a rind so heavenly aromatic that it almost hurts you when you smell it...
Was looking for a recipe using bergamot that had a mediterranean feel to it. And also a recipe that has a little something, a twist if you like.
I love cakes especially with olive oil as they are juicy and aromatic and also have a nice crumb. So, to enhance that I wanted to exchange some of the flour in the recipe with fine semolina... Also I figured that in order to take it a step further to add some almond flour as well so that it has even more flavour. Citrus and Almonds go hand in hand... If you add to that the olive oil it is a combination made in heaven but it needed a little bit more so I took a stroll in the garden and got some fresh thyme... and thought I should add it to the cake. And was soooo happy that I did in the end.
And it also needed something extra after baking. I could have made a syrup and dunked the whole cake in it but thought that it was a bit too much so I decided to make something between a glaze and a syrup and brush my cake with that...
And the new year arrived and we are in 2020 now! A few days ago Ι harvested the last of my citrus fruit from the garden. From time to time I have posted pictures of my favorite citrus fruit on Instagram and Facebook and I am very proud of them as it was not easy getting them to Greece.
The one that looks like an orange is called Yuzu.
It is a citrus fruit that arrived in the west from the central part of China and one of the great things about it is that it can withstand low temperatures and so we can grow it in Greece even when the temp goes down to -9 celsius. It's aroma is out of this world and it is something between a grapefruit and a tangerine.. The small tree starts bearing fruit after the tenth year and this is one of the reason that it is so expensive.
Another reason is that it produces a little bit of juice so it takes many fruit to have the juice that you get from one lemon for instance. Also I have to add that the thorns on it are HUGE!! In Japan they love it and use the juice and the skin but also they even use the whole fruit in your bathroom and take a bath with it. It is customary that during the winter solstice people have a bath with a few yuzu fruit in their bath tub. So maybe if i have enough fruit next year i will take a Yuzuyu (this is how they call this special bath... :-)
The other strange fruit with the elongated "fingers" is called the Buddha's hand. Exactly because the fruit resembles fingers.. It is another citrus fruit that comes from the central and northern parts of China as most of the citrus fruit do anyway. The Buddha's hands are a type of Citron and there are many varieties with fingers totally apart or close together.
In Asia they are used as offerings to the temple and of course they prefer the fruit with the fingers close together that resemble fingers in prayer. Other strange things about it is that it does not have any juice and the pith is not bitter.
It is also used to give it's aroma to a room or for our clothes if you put it in a cupboard as it's scent is to die for. Also they turn it into desserts as it is very tasty caramelized and also they turn it into a kind of Lemoncello. The tree has thorns as well but they are not as big and hard as the thorns of the Yuzu tree. Out of the three strange citrus fruit i have, it is the most civilised one...
The third fruit I showed to you earlier is called Finger lime and it's fruit resemble fingers. The colour of the fruit when it is mature can be red or brown and the inside when mature is red or orange and yellow and green when still young. It's leaves are tiny and there are spines that are also very tiny. It comes from Australia and the first people there were using it instead of lemon.
The incredible thing about it is that the flesh is not in segments like normal citrus fruit but there are tiny beads filled with the juice and in a way it resembles caviar.. It is used as decoration in gourmet dishes and it is very expensive... Fruit cost about 300 euros per kilo..
This year I had 200 grams of fruit so i guess it was rather good for the second year i am growing the plant... There is also a lemon tree planted in the garden but the site where i have it does not receive a lot of sun and so it did not produce any fruit this year.. If the same thing happens next year as well i will be moving it in another part of the garden...
This is all the news about my citrus fruit! Hope I can make a few recipes using them to share with you!
One of my favourite dishes that I love making as it is very easy and quick to make and with a few ingredients that I have always at home. Serve it in the beginning of a meal with a little Tsipouro.
It is just a little meze type thing, like a mayonnaise but instead of a hen's egg it has fish eggs inside. In a way it works just the same and also spoils just the same so you need to be a bit careful while making it.
All the ones I had tried in the past were not to my taste... usually they were made with bread or potatoes, they were thick and not light at all. And then one day I found myself at the Travolta restaurant I have told you about.
There I had the best taramasalata ever. And I tried to replicate it. After many tries I succeeded in making the best one ever. For that I had to find out all the secrets of making it and found out a lot. For instance in the beginning they were making it using a mortar and pestle so it came out very grainy as the bread or potatoes could not be smooth enough that way. Afterwards people started using a blender and that improved things a bit but still it was a bit blunt. So by removing ingredients I was able to accomplish simplicity.
So.. all you need to find is good ingredients and you will end up with an amazing taste. I found that using olive oil gave it a strong taste that would class with the light fishy taste. A simple an light grape seed oil or any other light oil is sufficient. Also it needs something acidy so I use either lemon or lime juice. Lime works best I think.
I serve it on crackers usually with some fruit like fig jam or actual figs or grapes, what ever is in season. Also smearing the cracker with a tiny bit of fig jam does the trick. Usually I would add another crunchy level by adding some poppy seeds or black sesame... all work well... So here is the recipe!
I love Tsipouro! The Greek version of Grappa... We have many types and some really tasty ones! It is a great drink to have before dinner and I use it as a welcome drink at the dinners that I offer to people.
I wanted to make it a bit more special though and give it a nice little twist and make it a bit more playful! So I thought that by adding some spices or aromatics it could do the trick. I love citrus fruit and I believe that Tsipouro loves them as well. So definitely I thought that adding something like that would do the trick. But I also wanted to give it some colour and for that I could use either Turmeric or Saffron. Turmeric I really love and it's antioxidant properties are renowned but it's taste profile does really go well with Tsipouro so the next logical idea was saffron. And it worked perfectly...
It gave the Tsipouro a lovely yellow hue, makes it almost look like limoncello so much so, when the guests drink it they are surprised that it is not sweet and it is actually one of the little surprises I have for them. Also the citrus fruit really go well with saffron. And one other thing. Saffron is Greek and there is a whole area in the north of Greece where they harvest it! Anyway! I urge you to try it. If you cannot find Tsipouro you can try it with Grappa or even a nice Vodka..
Store it in the freezer and serve it nice and cold. It is a great aperitif and it really get's the party going!