Wednesday, 10 September 2014

The whole mandarin - Mandarin Cordial & Mandarin and Almond Praline

I tend to take it as a challenge not to waste food! Freezer soup is always underway in our house (any veggies that are getting wilty are chopped up and popped in a container in the freezer, then made into soup when the containers full!) 
I experimented with using the spent grain from brewing (12) - still have heaps of it so I think the compost heap is a realistic final fate for that!
Lemons that have been falling off our tree I have been collecting weekly and packing in salt - easy preserved lemons! 
But citrus peel? Worms don't like it- compost gets overwhelmed- they are full of all these lovely essential oil but it's oh so bitter... 
I went home the other weekend and we harvested the mandarin tree, my parents only have one and the fruit were teeny tiny so we decided to make cordial.
----------------------------------------Mandarin Cordial ------------------------------------------
Whole juiced mandarins -
1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of boiling water for every 1 cup of juice
Add tartaric or citric acid to taste.
A few spoonfuls of the processed/minced skin mixture

Bring the juice and sugar to a simmer, add the processed skin,  cool and bottle in sterilised jars. 

We had a bit of an experiment wether the whole fruit could be juiced- NO,, the liquid was really bitter due to the piths oils. However adding a bit of the minced skin mixture really added to the cordial changing it from tooth rotting sweet to something that actually resembled a fresh mandarin! Happy discovery!

Tooo yummy for a proper picture

Lots and lots of cordial! Simmering away

  So we peeled off the skin but rather than throwing it away- dried it in the oven. My sister used to add the dried skin to casseroles, and it certainly has a lovely mandariny flavor as when dried it loses some of the bitterness and goes deliciously caramelly.

But what to do with ALL that dried skin?


--------------------------------Mandarin and almond praline!--------------------------------

1/4 cup milled mandarin skin (powder) 
1/3 cup toasted almond meal
1 cup sugar 

Whiz up some of the dried mandarin skin in my food processor- until the largest bits were ~3mm. Then toast some almond meal (I'm sure you could use larger nuts, but we didn't have any!). 
Add the sugar directly to a heavy bottom saucepan, melt stirring continuously on high heat until it caramelises- be careful not to let it go too dark! It changes quickly!  Then chuck in the powders and combine quickly- spread onto baking paper ( lightly oiled if not using non stick) 
Let set and try not to burn your fingers eating it as it cools!
I coated some of mine with chocolate and sprinkled with more of the powdered dried mandarin skin! 
Pretty and tasty!

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