Chocolate Curls

Quality counts. Chocolate… dark, milk or white always buy good quality. Room temperature chocolate gives the best results when making these easy chocolate curls.

How to curl the chocolate: Not wanting to melt the chocolate with my warm hands I used the wrapper to hold onto the bar of chocolate while running the swivel vegetable peeler firmly along the narrow side of the bar of chocolate, this gave me lots of lovely delicate chocolate curls to use for my culinary requirements. Sometimes I make the chocolate curls in advance and store them in a covered container in the fridge, chilling also makes them easier to handle.

A few ways of using the chocolate curls 

  • Cupcakes decorated with a generous mound of chocolate curls
  • Hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a sprinkling of chocolate curls
  • Add a touch of chocolate indulgence… pile chocolate curls on top of cheesecakes, trifles, mousse, pavlova and cakes
  • Pile some chocolate curls on top of ice cream before serving

It really is so easy to make chocolate curls and they add a touch of glamour to your sweet treats… so take out your vegetable peeler and get curling.

Dried Orange and Lemon Rinds

Getting rid of the guilt… do not throw out orange and lemon rinds!

I always felt a bit guilty throwing out the rinds of oranges and lemons after juicing. So now when I know that I will be juicing lots of oranges and lemons, I make plans to recycle the citrus rinds instead of throwing them into the rubbish (at least the bin smelt nice), it just seemed such a waste of so much scent and flavour.

Recycle

choose fruit that feels firm and free of blemishes

One of my favourite ways of recycling citrus rinds is to dry them or make candied orange peel. It’s a simple process and much more rewarding than having a rubbish bin that smells nice! Always choose citrus fruit that feels firm and free from any blemishes.

I always wash the citrus fruit in hot water and gently scrub with a vegetable brush, this  helps to remove the wax coating. Organic citrus fruit don’t always have this wax coating.

Removing the rind

When removing the rind of citrus fruit I use my swivel vegetable peeler ( y-shaped ) for the task, resulting in thin parings of citrus rind with none of the bitter pith. Avoid using a knife, it’s harder to get the same results.

Drying

Before juicing the citrus fruit,  pare the rind using the swivel vegetable peeler. I have a small dehydrator (not a necessity)  which I use for drying citrus rinds, but you can use an oven.

drying orange rind in a dehydrator

Take the prepared citrus rind and lay skin side down in a single layer on a baking tray. Place the tray into the oven and turn the temperature to its lowest setting. Drying the citrus rinds can take anywhere between one and  two hours, depending on how low the temperature of your oven can go. Aim for about 50C/122F setting or lower by propping the oven door open with a wooden spoon. Once the citrus rinds feel dry and crisp to touch, they are done.

OR

Take the prepared citrus rind and lay skin side down, in a single layer on a baking tray. Leave the citrus rinds to air dry for a day or two until dry and crisp.

Store the dried citrus rind in a clean jar or airtight container until needed. A great store cupboard item to have.

Ways of using the dried lemon and orange rind:

  • I like to add a few pieces of dried lemon or orange rind into some of my marinades and dressings, infusing them with citrus flavours.
  • When making a fruit salad I like to add some dried pieces of lemon and orange to marinate with the fruit for a few hours, removing them before serving.
  • Sometimes I like to add dried lemon to my green tea.
  • I like to infuse a jug of water with some dried lemon, giving a slight citrus taste to the plain water.
  • At Christmas when making mulled wine my dried citrus rinds come in handy.
  • When I am roasting fish, meat, poultry or vegetables I will throw in a few pieces of the  dried citrus rind into the roasting pan to add a citrus note to the food…e.g. I add lemon with white fish, orange with salmon, lemon with lamb and chicken, orange with duck and orange with carrots and pumpkin.

This list could go on but hopefully I have given you enough good reasons for ”  not throwing out your orange and lemon rinds”.

Do you dry citrus rinds? What is your favourite way of using them?

cucumber ribbons, fresh dill and orange salad with a citrus dressing

The swivel peeler comes in handy when preparing the cucumber ribbons for this refreshing salad. The citrus dressing is prepared in advance so the flavours can infuse together.  Before serving, shave the cucumber into ribbons and gently toss them together with the citrus dressing. When making this salad I like to buy the English cucumbers as they contain fewer seeds and the cucumber ribbons are firmer. Serve this salad with a nice piece of grilled salmon for a delicious and healthy meal.

Cucumber Ribbons and Orange Salad with Dill and Citrus Dressing

 Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges, segmented (squeeze juice from remaining pulp and reserve for the dressing)
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped red onion
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped dill
  • 1/2 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 5 tablespoons virgin olive oil
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large cucumbers

Hold the orange over a small bowl while segmenting, to collect any juice that drips from the orange. I like to use a very sharp paring knife when segmenting the orange, so that I end up with neat slices. 

Using a swivel vegetable peeler, shave the cucumber lengthways into neat ribbons.

How to make: Place the red onion, dill, garlic, orange juice, lemon juice, sugar, virgin olive oil into a screw top jar and shake all the ingredients together until combined. Season the citrus dressing with salt and black pepper, set aside until needed. 

Just before serving, trim the ends of the cucumber and shave the cucumber lengthways into ribbons, using a swivel vegetable peeler. Place the cucumber ribbons into a serving bowl with the orange segments and pour over the prepared citrus dressing, gently toss together and serve. Serves 4


%d bloggers like this: