|blood orange and lime zinger|
Unfortunately I absolutely loathe the smell and taste this blameless fruit. Like Monty Python's cat detector van pinpointing a purr at 400 yards, I can smell a peeled banana from several feet away and it doesn't fill me with any joy. (I blame the liquid antibiotics I was force-fed as a child to treat my constant tonsillitis; the medicine was banana-flavoured. I became so adept at avoiding drinking the stuff, that like a cat, my mother would have to wrap me tightly in a blanket, tip the stuff down my gob and then massage my throat to get me to swallow it!)
So mostly I don't drink smoothies and while I like fresh fruit juice I used to prefer it with a shot of vodka in it. I no longer drink spirits and have been "dry" since October (for no other reason that after a rather wild weekend with some girlfriends, I had one of those "oh god, never again" moments and resolved not to have a drink for a few weeks. Two weeks became three weeks. And then a month and then two. Three months in I am still dry and feel no inclination to drink until no doubt the next time the girls plan another night of wickedness!)
I have recently been attending some seminars around healthy eating; exploring what is actually in our food. One of the nutritionists told his audience that he wouldn't actually recommend smoothies and juices as a way of getting your "five-a-day". He wasn't suggesting that you should never have them, but that you should regard them more as a treat because most contain little or no roughage so you are losing much of the benefit of fresh fruit. Much better, he suggested, to eat a whole apple or orange.
Having said all that, blood oranges are in season right now and I have masses of them. (I have been making blood orange curd again. Be still my beating heart!). I love the colour and the flavour. There is also that feeling of anticipation when cutting open the oranges, as you are never quite sure whether you will get the delicate apricot-pink colour or the glorious deep crimson. But no matter what colour the oranges are the end result is delicious, particularly when given extra zest with lime juice and combined with spicy ginger and a little mint.
Skill level: Easy
8 x blood oranges
3-4 x limes
fresh ginger (a length about 4-5cm)
fresh mint leaves, plus extra to serve
- Make the syrup by first slicing the ginger. Add to a small pan with the water and 3 or 4 mint leaves. Bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Fish out the ginger and mint. Add the sugar and heat through until the sugar has dissolved. Stir occasionally. Strain to remove any bits of ginger. Set aside to cool.
- Juice the fruit. Pour into a jug. Stir in enough to ginger syrup to suit your tastes. You may need a little more orange or lime juice to balance it. If the drink is too thick, then add a splash of cold water.
- Best served chilled with a few sprigs of mint.
- Healthy yes, but assuming you haven't taken a pledge of alcohol abstinence, this is rather nice with a shot of vodka.
- Spice the juice up with a couple of pinches of cayenne pepper.