Perfect for use in festive baking, fruit cakes, fruit buns, and more.
Mixed peel is very difficult to find in North America. I like to use it when baking fruit cakes and fruit buns, and especially when it comes to traditional English festive recipes.
The traditional fruits to use are lemons and oranges and this is a very simple recipe. One advantage is that you can freeze it in small batches so it will be there just when you need it.
Homemade Traditional Mixed Peel
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Standing time: 2–3 days
5average sized citrus fruits, traditionally lemons and oranges
280g(10 oz) granulated sugar (1½ cups)
Wash the fruit, scrubbing the peel, and then cut each fruit in half.
Squeeze the juice from the fruit which can then be refrigerated and used in other recipes.
Now cut each piece of fruit in half again so you are working with a quarter piece.
With a sharp knife, scrape out all the remaining fruit segments, leaving as much of the pith as possible.
Then cut the peel into approximately 0.75 cm (¼ inch) wide pieces and put in a large pan.
Add water to the pan so it just covers the peel and then bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Drain as much of the liquid as possible by using a colander and then tip the peel back into the pan.
Repeat the process by just covering the peel with fresh water. Bring the water to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Now, drain off the liquid again, but this time reserve 120 ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup).
Put the peel in a bowl and leave on one side.
Now pour the reserved liquid into the pan and add 120 ml (4 fl oz) (½ cup) water.
Take two thirds of the sugar, 190 g (6½ oz) (1 cup), and add it to the pan.
Gently bring the liquid to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
Once the sugar syrup has come to a boil, pour it over the peel. Cover the bowl and leave to stand overnight.
Next day, transfer the peel, the liquid, and remaining sugar to a pan. Stir over a low heat until the sugar dissolves.
Then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and drain well.
Spread the peel out on two large baking trays/sheets covered with baking paper/parchment. Leave to dry. This can take 24–48 hours. Occasionally move the peel about with a fork to keep the pieces separate.
It can now be stored in the fridge for up to one month or divided into small batches and put in snap lock freezer bags and frozen.
I call these Cheat’s Crêpes Suzette because they aren’t flambéed just before serving. The crêpes with orange segments in orange sauce flavoured with Cointreau still make them sublime. (To flambé them, just follow the last steps of the method.)
Cheat's Crêpes Suzette
Preparation time: About 30 minutes
Standing time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: About 25 minutes
For the crêpes
115g(4 oz) plain/all-purpose flour (1 cup less 1½ tbsp)
You will also need a 25cm (10 inch) heavy gauge aluminium frying pan/skillet.
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and break in the eggs. Using an electric whisk or a balloon whisk, whisk the eggs into the flour, gradually adding the milk and incorporating the flour from around the edge of the bowl. Scrape any remaining flour down from the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and whisk again until all the mixture is smooth. It should be the consistency of thin cream. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Place five plates in a warm oven.
Meanwhile prepare the sauce. Squeeze the juice from one orange into a small pan and add the icing/powdered sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar and then add the butter. Gently heat to melt the butter and then simmer for 2 minutes. The mixture will thicken slightly. Set the pan to one side.
Zest the two remaining oranges and put the zest to one side.
Now remove all the pith from the 2 oranges, separate into their segments and remove any pips. Cut each segment into three.
To makes the crêpes, first melt the butter. Spoon 2 tablespoons into the batter and whisk it in. The remainder will be used to smear the pan/skillet between cooking each crêpe using a wodge of kitchen paper.
Get the pan really hot, then turn down the heat a little, to a medium–high setting.
Use about 2 tablespoons of batter for each crêpe. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first and then use this to tip the batter into the pan/skillet in one go. Using the ladle or cup, hold it so that the base is very close to the bottom of the pan/skillet in the centre and then pour it in. As soon as the batter hits the hot pan/skillet, lift the pan/skillet and tip it round from side to side to get the base evenly coated with the batter. If there are any holes, just fill them in with extra batter using a teaspoon. It will take less than a minute to cook. Lift the edge with a palette knife to check the underside is golden.
Now flip the crêpe over. The other side will need less time to cook. Then slide it out of the pan onto a warmed plate.
Continue until there are 12 crêpes. Overlap them on the warmed plate as you go, keeping them warm in the oven, covered loosely with foil.
Pour the sauce into the pan/skillet and warm through. Add the zest and 1 tablespoon of the liqueur.
Then fold the crêpes into quarters, placing a few orange segments in each one. Add the crêpes to the pan along with any remaining orange segments.
Cook for 2 minutes to heat through.
If you want to flambé the crêpes just follow the steps below.
To flambé the crêpes
This is done just before serving the crêpes. First mix together 3 tablespoons of Grand Marnier and 3 tablespoons of brandy. Then pour them into the pan and set the sauce alight. This has to be done very quickly or the alcohol will evaporate and won’t light. Carefully swirl the pan around so that the sauce flames evenly. Serve when the flames have extinguished. Be very careful when doing this.
A chicken dish that can be barbecued or popped under the grill/broiler for just 10 minutes.
Chicken fillets are coated with oregano, garlic and sundried tomato in olive oil that makes it super tasty. Just serve with a green salad and crusty rolls.
Coated Chicken with Peppers
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
For the chicken and peppers
4boneless chicken breasts, skinned
2garlic cloves, finely chopped
55g(2 oz) sundried tomato paste (¼ cup)
2tspchopped oregano leaves
salt and freshly milled black pepper
2Romano peppers/long red or shepherd peppers
For the salad dressing
115g(4 oz) Mary Berry’s Special Mustard Dressing/Walden Farms Honey Dijon Dressing or one similar (⅓ cup)
1small orange, juice only
A green salad and crusty rolls
Preheat the barbecue or grill/broiler.
Slice each chicken fillet in half to make 2 thinner fillets.
Now stir together the garlic, tomato paste, olive oil, oregano, and seasoning and spread over both sides of the chicken.
Halve the peppers lengthways, deseed and then cut into thin strips.
Whisk together the dressing with the honey and orange juice.
Sprinkle over the salad and toss to coat.
Barbecue or grill/broil the chicken for 5 minutes on each side until they are cooked through.
After the first 5 minutes of cooking the chicken, add the pepper strips to the barbecue or grill/broiler and grill for about 5 minutes, turning them a couple of times. They should be just soft but not blackened.
Divide the peppers amongst 4 plates and top each with 2 pieces of chicken.
Serve with a green salad and crusty rolls on the side.
A very simple fish dish that takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook. Salmon fillets are baked with freshly squeezed orange juice and dotted with butter. The result – a lovely buttery orange sauce to complement the salmon.
Salmon Fillets in an Orange Butter Sauce
Preparation time: 10–15 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
4x 170 g (6 oz) salmon fillets, skinned
55g(2 oz) butter (¼ cup, or ½ stick)
salt and pepper
fresh dill to garnish
This dish is good served with Creamy Garlic Potatoes (see below) and fine green beans.
If accompanying the salmon with the Creamy Garlic Potatoes, prepare the potatoes first. Then, when they have gone in the oven, prepare the salmon. Put the salmon in the oven 10 minutes after the potatoes have gone in. Everything will then be ready at the same time.
an ovenproof dish, well greased
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Lay the salmon fillets side by side in the ovenproof dish. Dot with the butter and pour over the juice of 1 orange, then season.
Cover with foil and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 20 minutes, until salmon is firm to the touch.
Thinly slice four pieces from the second orange, then cut each slice with one cut from the centre to the edge. Twist either side of the cut in opposite directions and place each one along the top of each fillet. Garnish with dill and serve with the orange butter sauce poured over the fish.
Chicken breasts are marinaded in a garlic, orange and wine sauce with wholegrain mustard and Tabasco to give it a kick. The marinading is well worthwhile as is produces succulent chicken breasts with lots of flavour.
Hot Orange Chicken
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Marinading time: 24 hours and overnight
Cooking time: 20 minutes
For the marinade
2oranges, zest and juice
60ml(2 fl oz) dry white wine
3sprigs fresh rosemary
2garlic cloves, skin removed
4boned chicken breasts, skinned
Put all the ingredients for the marinade into a jug or small bowl and stir well to combine. Cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
Prick the chicken with a fork and place in a single layer in a shallow dish so they fit snugly. Pour over the marinade, cover and refrigerate overnight.
These can then be either grilled/broiled or barbecued.
If using a grill/broiler, turn to a low heat then cook the chicken for 10 minutes on each side, basting each side well with the marinade.
Real orange jelly is simple to make and full of flavour. All you need is orange juice, a lemon, a little sugar and gelatine. Decorate it with slices of orange and serve for a refreshing dessert.
Real Orange Jelly
Preparation time: About 20–25 minutes
Standing time: 30 minutes
Refrigeration time: At least 5 hours or overnight
140ml(5 fl oz) water
50g(2 oz) caster sugar/fine white sugar
4–5 oranges, OR
1orange plus 425 ml (15 fl oz) orange juice from a carton, without pulp
powdered gelatine, enough to set 565 ml (20 fl oz) of liquid
orange slices to decorate
565ml(1 pint) (20 fl oz) jelly mould
Thinly pare the rind from the lemon and one orange and place in a saucepan with the water and sugar. Over a medium-low heat stir to dissolve the sugar and then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, squeeze the juice from the lemon into a large bowl.
If using the whole oranges, squeeze out the juice until there is 425 ml (15 fl oz) and add to the lemon juice. If using a carton of orange juice, add 425ml/15 fl oz to the lemon juice.
Strain the sugar syrup into the bowl and stir into the juices.
Dissolve the gelatine. Follow the instructions on the packet of the gelatine to set 20 fl oz of liquid. Then thoroughly stir the gelatine into the orange mixture until evenly distributed.
Wet the jelly mould, pour in the jelly and refrigerate for at least 5 hours, or overnight, until firmly set.
To serve, dip the jelly mould up to the rim in very hot water for 5 seconds, place a flat serving plate on top of the mould, then invert the mould and plate together. Holding both plate and mould firmly together, give the jelly a good shake to free it from the mould. Remove the mould, then decorate the jelly with oranges slices.