Moroccan Oranges

MoroccanOranges2

Oranges, with a hint of cinnamon, are for me so evocative of Morocco.

It’s a classic flavour combination that I had eaten before but it was in Morocco where I enjoyed fresh orange segments sprinkled with ground cinnamon as part of a breakfast buffet in a posh hotel.

Part of the fun of travelling is discovering new foods and flavours or just new ways of enjoying familiar foods. I hadn’t eaten fresh oranges since my school days, where it appeared just too frequently in the lunchbox, so I was very pleased with this new way of eating them. It was fresh, simple and something I could easily replicate at home. My happy moment ended abruptly when I spotted something rogue on the plate. It was short. It was dark. It was curly. It was a hair!

Six years on I have recovered and I am ready to recreate this dish. I’ve taken these flavours and added a few touches to make it something a little more special. I’ve added labneh for some luxury. If you’ve never had it before it’s simply yoghurt where the excess whey has been drained leaving the texture gloriously thick and creamy, almost like cream cheese but with a pleasant tang. It can be flavoured and used in either sweet or savoury dishes. I have also added some pistachio praline, with a twist of orange, for extra flavour and textural interest. For an authentic touch feel free to add some rogue hair but I can assure you it is much better without it.

What flavours have you discovered, or rediscovered, while travelling?

Moroccan Oranges
Serves 4

Labneh
400g plain natural yoghurt

Place the yoghurt in a sieve lined with either muslin or a clean, unused kitchen cloth. Sit this over a bowl, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for at least 24 hours.
Labneh

Spiced Sugar Syrup

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp whole cloves
pinch cardamon seeds

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and heat until the sugar has dissolved and it looks like a light syrup. Leave the spices in and allow to cool; chill in the fridge.

This quantity will probably make more than you need for this dish. Store in the fridge.

Pistachio & Orange Praline

1/2 cup (approx) caster sugar
1/2 cup raw, natural pistachios
pinch orange zest

Cover the base of a small frypan or saucepan with caster sugar to a depth of about 3mm. Heat but do not stir. When the sugar is liquid and dark caramel in colour sprinkle over the nuts and zest and stir until the nuts are coated in the caramel. Spread over a piece of baking paper to cool. When cooled, chop.

Fruit
4 oranges, peeled and segmented
Pomegranate arils

To serve, place the orange segments on a plate and drizzle with a tablespoon or so of the spiced sugar syrup. Add a dollop of the labneh. Finish with the pistachio praline and pomegranate arils.
MoroccanOranges3

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