Instagram friends know I cheekily snuck off for 3 sun-soaked days to North Stradbroke Island. Despite living in Brisbane for nearly 10 years (side note, does that make me a local?) it was my first visit. I'm already scheming ways to get back.
^ Sunrise from Point Lookout
^ We ate well. Of course.
^The light at sunset made everything magical. The water transformed into intense gradations of blue, and tree trunks shone silver.
If you're grasping onto the last days of your Summer in the Northern Hemisphere (which according to my blogger stats, a fair chunk of you are) - sorry. I'm sorry for all of the stone fruits & salt water that will be washing over this blog in the coming months. But to be fair, you have been flaunting your woodlands, swimwear, popsicles and summer dresses for months now. So, you know. You could always come visit.
One of my favourite things about 'Spring' - snicker - is the welcome reappearance of Blood Oranges. Lusciously juicy, delightfully sweet, sensuously coloured, and really good for us.
The raspberry or 'blood' colouring comes from their high content of anthocyanins. In Eating on the Wild Side (which I will wax lyrically about in another post) Jo Robinson explains how these colourful critters help to fight cancer, lower blood pressure, decrease memory loss and decrease the bad effects of a high sugar and fat diet. Um, I'll take 2 thanks.
When I was busy shovelling a precious boatload into my arms at the weekend markets, I noticed that some of my fellow market-goers were selecting blood oranges as if they were navel oranges. Just to be clear - you want blood oranges that have a red blushed appearance on their skin, almost like burst capillaries. The redder the skin, the redder the flesh, and the more anthocyanins you get.
Also oranges, unlike some fruits (e.g., bananas), don't continue to ripen after they have been picked. So there's no point in 'I'll leave this on the kitchen bench for a few days,' because it will just go mouldy and break your little orange lovin' heart.
My final tip for eating blood oranges might not be for everyone but I'll mention it anyway. If you can handle the slightly bitter and spongey pith, leave some on. It's packed with phytonutrients, way more than the flesh. I leave a thin layer on and find that by cutting the orange into medallions, it's hardly noticeable (see above).
This salad is super simple, incorporates only a few ingredients and delivers some seriously fresh & punchy results. Perfect for those cheeky little early summer getaways when the only kitchen utensil you could be bothered to wash (or pack) is a knife.
Blood Orange & Fennel Salad - Serves 4 as a side, or 2 as a light meal
Be warned that blood oranges can stain. Not as bad as beetroot but I would suggest not using your favourite wooden chopping board (I'm say from experience, sniff).
This is fine as a light meal, but is also a great side dish. Fish or salted quail would be nice.
1 handful rocket (arugula) (~80g)
1 baby fennel or half a large fennel (~180g)
2 blood oranges
Mint leaves (~5g), roughly torn
Good quality olive oil
White wine vinegar
Salt & Pepper
Slice the fennel as thinly as you can with a sharp knife. I aim to get it almost see through.
Peel your blood orange and slice it into medallions. Remove any seeds you find, but blood oranges usually have very few or none.
Assemble your salad by mixing the rocket, fennel, mint, and blood orange medallions. Drizzle with olive oil and white wine vinegar, and season with freshly ground salt and pepper.