Chocolate Candied Orange Peel

Our founder, Katie Tress, shares her favourite festive recipe for chocolate candied orange peel

In our household, as I’m sure with many others, oranges were always synonymous with Christmas, we would make dried orange garlands to decorate the fireplace, Satsuma’s studded with cloves to hang from the tree and, if we’d been good and managed to avoid the lump of coal we were always threatened with, a fresh juicy clementine could be found at the bottom of our stocking come Christmas morning.

I try to recreate many of these traditions still, and one in particular that I always make time for is candied chocolate orange peel, that Ma used to make! Candied chocolate orange peels are beautifully bright and delicate, they look wonderful piled in a bowl in the centre of the table and feel sophisticated, yet are delightfully sweet. Perfect to have in the house at Christmas, when sweet snacks should always be on offer.

Tip: Start making these candied chocolate oranges peels at least three days in advance, as elements of it need time to set.

Ingredients

  • 3 oranges
  • 700g caster sugar
  • 150g 70 or 80% dark chocolate, broken up

Method

  1. Wash the oranges and remove the peel with a sharp vegetable peeler. Slice the peel into 4-5mm wide strips. Place the orange strips in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil then drain off the water through a sieve. Put the peel back in the saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and drain. Repeat the process once more (so you’ve done it three times). Then set aside the peel.
  2. Place the sugar in the saucepan and add 650ml cold water. Bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar crystals, then turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the orange peel and simmer for 35 minutes. Take off the heat and leave the peel in the syrup overnight.
  3. The next day, drain the orange peel and carefully lay the candied shards of orange on a baking sheet lined with non-stick baking parchment. Leave to dry out for 48 hours.
  4. Place the chocolate in a bowl and rest it over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure the base of the bowl is not touching the water. When the chocolate has melted, take it off the heat. Cool slightly, then dip the dried orange peel into the chocolate. Place on a wire rack and leave until set.

Tip: You can use the flesh and the cold cooking syrup for a fruit salad later. The same technique works for lemon and grapefruit too.

This recipe was adapted from House and Garden and the image was taken from their website.

 

 

Recipe: Super Healthy Summer Salad

We’ve all been on a bit of a health kick recently; getting plenty of exercise and sleep to keep us fighting fit and ready for a long and busy summer season. However, being active is never enough, and a healthy lifestyle really depends on what you are fuelling your body with. In our busy kitchen, it may sound ridiculous (since we’re surrounded by food) but it’s often hard to find the time to make ourselves a good meal. Therefore it is crucial for us to be able to make a nutritious lunch as quickly as possible, and this one is fab because it literally takes less than ten minutes to make!

 

This delicious healthy summer salad is great for everyone but especially good for vegetarians or vegans who can substitute the feta for some silken tofu. The lentils, feta/tofu and pumpkin seeds are great sources of protein, and canola or hempseed oil is a source of omega-3.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 200g pre-cooked Puy Lentils (We used these ones)
  • 3 Courgettes, peeled into thin ribbons
  • 1 Punnet Cherry Tomatoes, halved
  • Generous handful each of Spinach Leaves, Mesclun Salad Leaves and Rocket
  • 150g Feta Cheese, Crumbled or Silken Tofu, cut into cubes
  • Small Handful of Pumpkin Seeds

 

Balsamic Dressing:

  • 1 tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
  • 4 tbsp. Olive Oil/ Canola Oil/ Hemp seed Oil
  • Salt & Pepper

 

There’s not much more to it really – follow each other the ingredient instructions then throw it all together in a large salad bowl, pour over your balsamic dressing and give it all a good mix. Tuck in for a guilt free, super healthy, super tasty lunch that your body will thank you for. Bon App!

Recipe: Apricot Almond Tart

We recently made this Apricot Almond Tart for a working lunch in central London, and would love to share our recipe with some handy hints and tips. Some people may find the pastry side of things a little challenging but freshly baked pastry is absolutely worth the time and effort as it is LEAGUES above the pre-made ones that you can find in the supermarket. Real pastry should be full of flavour, rich and crispy and it should literally melt in your mouth. Trust me, your efforts in making your own pastry will be rewarded when you tuck into this tasty treat.

 

Apricot Almond Tart:

Serves 10-12

 

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

225g cold butter

100g icing sugar

315g flour

1 egg plus 1 yolk, beaten

1 vanilla pod  *handy tip* add the vanilla seeds to the beaten eggs to get an even distribution of them throughout your tart base

 

For the filling:

175g soft butter

175g sugar

4 eggs

175g ground almonds

1tsp vanilla extract

2/3 tbsp apricot Jam

2 tins of poached apricot halves or even better 10 fresh apricots if they are in season

flaked almonds to decorate

 

To make the pastry, sieve the flour and icing sugar together and chop the butter into cubes. If you have a magi mix then pulse the flour mix together with the butter until it forms breadcrumbs. If you don’t have one then use your fingers to rub the mix together by hand. Once you have a good breadcrumb then you can add the eggs and vanilla seeds, either pulsing again or by using a fork to bring the mix together to form a ball.

 

Turn the pastry out onto a lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll the dough into large circle. Line your tart case with the pastry, leaving the edges hanging over the side of the tin (don’t worry, these will be trimmed off once the tart has been baked). Use a fork to prick a few holes in the surface of the pastry then place the whole thing in the fridge for 10 minutes. This is to firm up the pastry so that it holds its shape better whilst baking.

 

Once chilled, fill the case with parchment paper and baking beans and bake in the oven at 200°C for 12-15 minutes. Remove the baking beans, and return the tart to the oven for a further 2-5 minutes until the base of the tart is fully baked and feels firm. Once the tart has cooled use a sharp knife to trim off the excess pastry (which is excellent for nibbling on whilst you’re making the tart filling).

 

Reduce the oven temperature to 180°C. For the filling, cream together the butter and sugar, and gradually mix in the eggs alternately with the ground almonds to create a smooth mixture. Add the vanilla extract.

 

Now you’re ready to assemble your tart. Fill the base of the tart with the apricot jam and spread it out evenly. Next spread the almond mixture on top, and place the apricot halves at intervals around the edge of the tart, gently pushing them into the almond mixture. Sprinkle a good handful of flaked almonds over the top, and whack it in the oven for up to 30 minutes. Don’t forget to regularly check on the colour of the filling, and take the tart out once it has reached a lovely golden brown.

 

Et voilá! There you have it: a delicious apricot and almond tart, one that will have your friends and family raving about your baking skills. I always serve mine with a big dollop of fresh clotted cream or some delicious ice cream, because, well… why not? Enjoy, and post any photos of your creations on Instagram with the tag @parsonscreative.

Recipe: Roast Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup

For our first ever blog post we would like to share with you one of our favourite winter warmer recipes! Spring may be on the way but we’re still feeling a bit chilly here in London and this delicious roast vegetable soup definitely hits the spot. It’s really simple to make, so why not give it a try? If you do then share a picture with us on Instagram using the tag @parsonscreative.

Roast Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup:

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and chopped into 2cm cubes
  • 2/3 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • few sprigs of thyme, chopped
  • 1 white onion, finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • olive oil
  • small knob of butter
  • 1.5L hot chicken/vegetable stock
  • dash of cream 
  • salt and pepper

Firstly pre-heat the oven to 200°c. Line a roasting tray with baking parchment and evenly spread out your chopped vegetables. Pour a splash of olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle on the thyme and a good pinch of salt. Roast in the oven for approximately 25 minutes or until coloured.

Next, using a medium sized saucepan, sweat the onion in olive oil and a little bit of butter on a medium heat for a few minutes. When it starts to soften add the garlic, then shortly after add the roasted vegetables. Stir around for a few minutes before adding the stock. Make sure that the stock completely covers all of the vegetables. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat to simmer, and place a lid on the pan.

Cook until the vegetables are very soft, then blend until smooth using a hand blender, adding more liquid if necessary. Finally add a dash of cream and salt and pepper to season the soup. Best enjoyed with a big wedge of soft bread on a chilly day!

Healthy Tip: For a healthier version, omit the butter and add a little olive oil instead of the cream whilst you are blending the soup.