So what are blood oranges? As my mum and various aunts have asked (we really don't see them around these parts), I feel we could all use a trip to Wikipedia (one of my top 5 favourite places in the world):
The blood orange is a natural mutation of the orange, which is itself a hybrid, probably between the pomelo and the tangerine,Within Europe, the arancia rossa di Sicilia (red orange of Sicily) has Protected Geographical Status. In the Land of Valencia, it was introduced in the second half of the 19th century.
Also, it's not ALL aesthetics:
Blood oranges have a unique flavor profile compared to other oranges, being distinctly raspberry-like in addition to the usual citrus notes.
Ah, the reason we don't see it around these equatorial parts:
Blood oranges may have originated in either China or the southern Mediterranean, where they have been grown since the 18th century. They are now the primary orange grown in Italy. The anthocyanins which give the orange its distinct maroon color will only develop when temperatures are low at night, as during the Mediterranean fall and winter. Blood oranges cultivated in the United States are in season from December to March (Texas), and from November to May (California).Interesting.... well, maybe not to you, but I now have 7 other tabs open linked from that one Blood Orange wiki page. It's a slippery slope... could easily spend hours going down this wikipedia rabbit hole.
Okay, now that I have wasted enough of your (and my) time, here's the recipe for my new favourite thing. Also, let's be honest ...
... you can totally do these with normal oranges. I have, and I will - when the season ends. But for now... let's just enjoy the colours.
Blood Orange Poppyseed Loaf
Slightly adapted from The Whole Bite blog
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup natural yogurt
- 2 tsp blood orange zest
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 tbsp poppy seeds
- 1/3 cup fresh blood orange juice
- 1 tbsp confectioner's sugar
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare a loaf tin by greasing and lining with non stick paper
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the yogurt, orange zest and sugar until combined, then add the eggs, vanilla and vegetable oil and beat well
- Add the flour, baking powder and salt and fold until all the dry ingredients are just wet, and stir in the poppy seeds
- Pour the batter into the tin, top with thinly sliced oranges (optional) and bake for 50 - 55 minutes
- When done, remove from the oven and prepare the orange glaze (whisk the orange juice and confectioner's sugar together to form a paste), pour this over the warm cake and let it sink in
That's it, hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Give the recipe a go this weekend, it really doesn't require a lot of hands on time and it's always nice to have something a bit extra for tea time. Lots of love,