My bloody Valentine

February 8, 2013

Eliza 18 weeks 020

Mr Scrumptious scoffs when I tell him that I don’t want flowers for Valentine’s Day because of the guilt of how much they cost. And yet he agrees with me that a big bowl of citrus fruit is just as pleasing as a bunch of blooms on the table.

Regular readers may recall that one of my first blogs three years ago concerned my favourite fruit – the blood orange. Although, I note with sadness that in supermarkets they tend to be called ruby or blush now. Is it because they don’t actually contain blood? Or is it just that blood is not considered something we want to see in the name of a foodstuff? I don’t hear anyone referring to a Ruby Mary or Blush Mary cocktail.

So the blood oranges are here for their very short season and I’m easily getting through two a day. I passed a small fruit stall in Shawlands, Glasgow, yesterday and picked up eight for £2 – in Waitrose and Sainsbury you pay double that.

Fellow fans of the blood orange may think this blog’s recipe is a waste of the beautiful fruit which is with is for such a short time but it is even worth making the icing alone which, if the orange is bloody enough inside, takes on a peachy pink hue impossible to create with even the most sophisticated food colourings.

The strawberries taste a bit like the ones you get in Special K red berries and, since orange and strawberries are a match made in heaven, are a lovely topping. Because of the time of year, I used a heart-shaped silicone mould. These don’t require any greasing and give a very even result. It’s the all-in-one method which is easy – the only thing to remember is not to overbeat. Stop whisking or turn of the processor the minute everything is combined evenly.

My fellow foodie friend and former workmate Frank also used to welcome the blood orange season and he and I often rolled one across the desk to one another if the mood took us. He said a quartered blood orange on a white plate could be a ‘sexy dessert’. This enthusiasm in someone of his age was as refreshing as the fruit.

Sadly, this Valentine’s Day I fear foodie Frank will be without his better half Hazel (an actual woman, not a nut) since he is currently working in Abu Dhabi. So this blog is dedicated to them and I hope even if they can’t see each other, they will at least be enjoying the odd blood orange.

Blood orange and strawberry cake

200g each of self-raising flour, soft butter and sugar

3 eggs

zest and juice of two blood oranges

200g icing sugar

freeze-dried strawberries (located in home-baking aisle of supermarket)

Preheat the oven to 180C (170 fan)

Using a hand whisk, beat the flour, butter, sugar and eggs together. Add the zest and juice of one of the oranges and beat for a few seconds more (or put it all in the processor and turn on for about 12 secs). Pour the batter into your tin and bake for about 40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 30 minutes in the mould and then turn out and allow to cool completely.

The easiest way to make and pour the icing is to use a jug. Pour the icing sugar in and beat with the juice of an orange until it is of a thick pouring consistency. Drizzle over the cooled cake and sprinkle with the strawberries.

Eliza 18 weeks 016

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