Just look at the beauties that I recently received via Aust Post whilst I was overseas in Bali. Aren’t they glorious? Don’t you want to just dive mouth first into one of those divine red, red, orbs? You see blood oranges every now and again in the green grocers, but if you’re like me, you probably reach past them to grab a bag of navels, that’s what the kids prefer, isn’t it? Well, when I was asked by the lovely Bizzy Lizzy if I’d like to take part in a promotion for Redbelly Citrus blood oranges, from the Riverina, I jumped at the chance. Admittedly, I was intrigued about these perfectly round, soft, fleshy orange coloured fruits with the sometimes shockingly ruby insides, only eating them if out at a restaurant, and they’re on the menu in some dish. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this box, and started planning recipes and meals whilst still sipping on cocktails by the resort pool in Bali. Flashback, must make a Tequila Sunset with the juice…
Blood oranges are coming in to season, with the trees bearing rich vitamin infused fruit from August through to October.
A bit about the Mancini family from Redbelly Citrus
Reading the description below brings back vivid memories of the 8 years my family spent in Griffith NSW. Orchards of rich soil, bearing trees laden with ripe fragrant citrus fruits and their flowers, vineyards that seemingly went for miles, their vines bulging with grapes, of many varieties, giving off a weird, but somehow comforting smell of sultana’s and fermentation. As a kid growing up in a small country town with many different cultures, it was magical; the food, the smells, the accents, the languages, the laidback attitudes, the gossip with the neighbours. Riding our bikes til the sun went down, wickedly nicking mandarins, oranges, plums and table grapes off the Nonna’s trees as we rode past. I have serious bouts of nostalgia every now and again and wish I could just pack my young family up and move them right back to the roads of red dirt, with the pungent smell of fermenting grapes and oranges in the air, so they too could have the joy of living in a regional country city. This box of blood oranges smells like Griffith.
The oranges are grown on our two orchards based in the fertile Murrumbidgee area of the Riverina. Our aim is to provide you with the best blood oranges you have ever seen or tasted. Our company roots were set way back in 1950s Italy with our grandfathers, Vito Leonardo Mancini, and Guiseppe Barbagallo who both established orange orchards in the 1960’s in Griffith NSW.
Vito Mancini, remembers his first encounter with a blood orange, “As a boy, I was always fond of my grandfather Guiseppe’s back yard. Walking in and around always excited me by seeing what vegetables were planted and what fruits were in season. What always amazed me was a tree grown in the chicken pen with three different Citrus varieties: a lemon, navel orange and a mysterious red-fleshed orange that I had never seen before, neither in our orchards or in the shops. Nonno (grandfather) told me distinctly that this fruit was the fruit of Sicily and they are the best orange that can be grown for taste and for health.”
Len also remembers his grandfather Vito Leonardo bringing home boxes of oranges and inviting him to cut them. “The first time I cut them as a very young boy and saw the blood coloured juice coming out of them I was shocked if not downright frightened. Nonno thought that was pretty funny. It wasn’t long though before I was hooked on them, even as a kid”.
From these humble beginnings, the seed of Redbelly Citrus was planted. Some twenty years later, Redbelly has invested in the latest in agricultural technologies and planting techniques, and have over 32,000 trees planted to date. Our orchards were established in 2005 and continue to mature and increase in production.
We are passionate about blood oranges and hope to spread that passion far and wide with the supply of these most majestic of citrus varieties.
I read somewhere that the blood orange fell out of fashion in the 60’s and they practically disappeared. People only wanted the sweeter orange flesh of the navel and other varietals. I can’t remember where I read that? Madness, just madness.
After Tweenie and I devoured one each first, surprised at the slight tartness, but still delicious, Tweenie declaring that she now prefers them over the sticky sweetness of her previous fav citrus, the mandarin, the first thing I did with my oranges, was to cook a sticky ginger and blood orange chicken stir fry with spinach and rice. Perfect opportunity to also use my honey from Honey Delights.
Ingredients – these are approx and please feel free to rejig if it’s too sweet, tangy, or salty
- approx 1kg chicken breasts, sliced
- 2Tb honey
- juice from one juicy blood orange (the juice in these oranges is insane)
- 2 large garlic cloves, chopped finely
- around a 2cm piece of fresh ginger, grated, add more if you like it a bit hotter
- 1Tb caramel sauce (exclude if you don’t have it)
- 2Tb soy sauce
- salt and pepper (watch the salt as the soy gives a fair bit of the saltiness)
- a bunch of spinach, chopped – English, silverbeet, whatever’s in season (sliverbeet is cheap and in abundance at the mo)
- steamed rice
Add the garlic, ginger, juice, soy, caramel and honey in a bowl and mix together until all combined.
Fry the chicken until just cooked through, and tip onto a plate. Fry the spinach and also tip out into a bowl.
Add the sauce to the pan and let it bubble furiously for a few minutes, this cooks the garlic and ginger and will caramelise the sugars in the sauce. Add the chicken and juices back to the pan and stir til all gloriously sticky with the sauce, add the spinach and season with pepper and salt if you think it needs it, and a little water if you think it’s a bit dry. I added a little extra blood orange juice to give a little more tang and colour.
Take your steamed rice out of the microwave, and pour over the chicken and all it’s caramelised sauce. Enjoy.
Now to the new camera. I bought a Nikon Coolpix7800 to take overseas with me and also to start getting a little more serious with my photographs for my blog. And I have to say, I’m a bit disappointed with the results. It could very well be the user and not the equipment, as I will admit I haven’t yet read the manual. Can’t you just hit Auto and the camera takes awesome pics? No? The photo’s above are a mix of both my iPhone and my new camera, and I can’t really tell the difference. Can you?
Watch this space for more delicious blood orange recipes. I am having a bloody ball…