Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Blood Orange and Rosewater Sorbet

One of my more trusty restaurant companions, Amanda, has had to step down from her dining-out duties temporarily since she has more important matters to look after in the shape of her 3 month old son. Any time out together is precious, and in order to make things easier I travel across town to see her. It's hardly a chore to see a good friend, but in London traveling to different parts of town can be seen as a feat akin to traveling across the arctic with nothing but a chocolate bar and one spare pair of dry socks to keep you going.

"I'm going down to Hammersmith to see Amanda" I told one frie
"What, tonight? You have to go to work tomorrow - are you going to stay overnight?"
Bravely, I would be returning home the same night. From east to west London and back east again, all within 24 hours. Amazing.

Matters are made more difficult by where I live, since Lond
on Transport has decided to exercise their right to disrupt your travel plans and is closing the tube line I need to get home by 10pm. Each night. Until November. Hooray.

Knowing that I was spending the evening out across town and had t
o get on the tube by a given time meant that we had to be efficient with our fun. We tried, and despite the two of us being the fastest takers that Mr A&N knows, fun took precedence and it was a rush to the tube. And so, with this evident pressure to get on the train and get home, what do I do? Why, my eye catches site of a small grocery store and I wander in like a loved-up fool, just to browse the shelves in case there's something marvelous in there.

And what happens but I do find a wonderful thing: essence of rose water and orange blossom water. I've had some wonderful cakes and desserts flavored with each of these things, and had intermittently tried to track some down for myself. They're both regular features of middle eastern cuisine, but cooking with floral essences was also used quite a lot in medieval european cooking. I'm intrigued by why once-common
flavors fall out of fashion, and am looking forward to experimenting with them in my cooking.

One of Mr A&N's most memorable desserts was eaten at Moro, and combined rosewater and cardamom in an ice cream. Although it would be difficult to make ice cream without an ice cream maker, I turned to the Moro cookbook to see if there was any inspiration or guidance for how to use my prized flower waters. In there, I found a recipe for blood orange and rosewater sorbet, which appealed for it beautiful pink color and u
se of the short-seasoned blood oranges. It was a beautiful palate cleanser, hinting at spring things to come with the tang of citrus and the hint of the rose garden.

And the tube on that night? I leaped on the last train home, feeling ever so triumphant - until that tube stopped two stations away from home and declared it was going no further and we'd all have to find other ways home. Nuts.

Blood Orange and Rosewater Sorbet, from the Moro Cookbook

  • 200g/7oz caster sugar
  • 100-150ml/3½-5fl oz rosewater, to taste (I would tend toward the higher amount of rosewater, just so you can be sure to taste it)
  • 600ml/1 pint blood orange juice
  • ½ blood orange, zest only
  • squeeze of lemon
  1. Place the sugar and rosewater in a small saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Simmer for a couple of minutes until a thin syrup has formed. Allow to cool.
  2. Add the syrup to the orange juice along with the zest and a squeeze of lemon, to taste.
  3. Churn in an ice-cream machine, or place in the freezer, stirring the sorbet by hand every half-hour for the first two hours to prevent crystallisation.


Susan from Food Blogga said...

Lovely colored sorbet, annemarie. But, oh no, how did you get home? :(

Pille said...

Great recipe for using rosewater! (And avoiding the tubes was one of the reasons I chose Edinburgh over London for my pg studies:)

Peter M said...

Ahh, this would be lovely, perfumed by the rosewater...good show!

Rachael said...

Beautiful sorbet!

People always complain about Los Angeles not having good public transport, but it seems to me, with issues like that, we may be better off...

Glad you made it home, and found some rose water on the way!

Joy said...

Bloody tube! This is why I try and lure friends to my house with cake rather than deal with evil TFL. Where did you find the rosewater?

gillie said...

Another reason I don't miss London one bit (though breaking down on an unlit lane 3 miles from home is no fun either!)

I love flower waters, but don't use them nearly enough, and usually they end up fading away in my larder. The downside to rural Durham will be the hunt for blood oranges LOL

Cakespy said...

This looks just would soften the blow of the transit I think...

Annemarie said...

Hi Susan - I had to (gasp!) take the bus! For a couple of miles!

Hi Pille - See, I did my post grad in London, and I was clueless about the transport. You obviously did better research than I did.

Hi Peter - Yes, the perfume was lovely. I had to stop myself from dabbing it behind my ears. :)

Hi Rachael - I suppose people will always find something to complain about in their cities. For example, we have dampness, you have earthquakes - tomato tomahto, eh? :)

Hi Joy - Would you believe I found it in a Tesco metro (shhh!). I wandered in lured by something, and there it was. I was as shocked as you are.

Hi Gillie - I'm interested in accumulating flower waters now. What other types have you found?

Hi cakespy - Yes, it was like a gin and tonic without the alcohol. :)

Kevin said...

That sorbet looks good. I have not tied cooking with floral essences. They sound really interesting. I will have to look for some.

Wendy said...

Very impressed at how smooth your sorbet looks even though you have no ice-cream maker. I don't have one either and seem only to be able to make granitas.
Funny hearing you talk about travelling through London. Feels like you live on another planet to me. :)

Jeanne said...

Can there actually be a prettier fruit than a blood orange?? Love the flavours in this recipe too.

Btw, I have tagged you for a meme:

Helen said...

I think the Moro cookbooks are some of my all time favourites. I love this recipe and I love blood oranges. Did you know that Sainsburys stock rosewater and orange blossom water now? It is in the spice section. I don't know if you live near to one. I totally know what you mean about London transport as I am a Londoner myself. It requires quick thinking and flexibility to get where you want to go!

Judy said...

Well the recipe sounds lovely, but that ride home sounds awful! I am soooo sick of public transportation :(

Elle said...

Such a refreshing sounding sorbet. The tube experience sounds less are probably getting to be an expert at finding other ways hope it all works out for you each time.
Happy Easter Annemarie!

Pixie said...

This sounds very refreshing, I really need to get hold of some blood oranges.

Cinnamonda said...

Thank you so much for posting this recipe! I have a bottle of rosewater sitting in a cupboard and have been wondering what to do with it. This is the perfect recipe to use it for!

gillie said...

Hi again. I mainly use rose and orange flower water, but I have also got some lavender and chamomile water. You can make them yourself (although I have never tried - maybe I'll give it a go now). Essentially you cover the fresh flowers (choose the source carefully if you are going to use them for cooking) with boiling water and vodka in a sterile container, seal, shake, leave for a couple of weeks and strain. I have no idea of quantities, trial and error is my favoured method for things like this!

skrockodile (sabra) said...

Sounds yummy! I found out a little trick about rosewater: homemade from rose-scented geraniums is WAY better than store-bought rosewater that can be a little shampoo-like- try it next time . . . a bit of a pain to find rose scented geraniums but then you just brew a tea with sugar and reduce it to a syrup and you can bottle it and store it for a long, long time.

Gigi said...

The color of the sorbet is such a beautiful hue of dark pink. Beautifully done.

Emiline said...

Well, that's it. I'm off to seach for those flavored waters. This sorbet sounds wonderful, and think of all the other dessert items you could put it in!

Lore said... grandma used to make jam out of it but I don't remember very much since I was just a little girl. Your sorbet brings back memories :)

Lis said...

Well I'm glad you made it home okay!! And I hope it was worth the trip (my guess is, yes.. yes it was). :D

The sorbet is gorgeous! I love that color and I'll bet it smells heavenly.

But are you sure spring is coming? Please don't tease me. :P


Peabody said...

What a great flavor combo...and a lovely colored sorbet to boot.

jasmine said...

The colour of the sorbet just announces the beginning of warm weather. What a great flavour combination.


White On Rice Couple said...

We've been wanting to make a BO sorbet since january when our BO's were at their peak. You beat us to it and now we're inspired to have to try it before the season is over. Love the rosewater addition!

Cynthia said... eye catches site of a small grocery store and I wander in like a loved-up fool, just to browse the shelves in case there's something marvelous in there. - this so aptly describes me too! I had to laugh out loud.

Annemarie said...

Hi Kevin - I don't know what I'll be doing next time with the floral essence, but I do feel inspired.

Hi Wendy - I did rather obsessively stir my sorbet every 30 minutes, though I'd still love an ice cream maker to make it smooth. And London *is* like a different planet, so you're not far wrong!

Hi Jeanne - I agree, I think they're gorgeous. Thanks for the tag!

Hi Helen - I hear rumors about your average Sainsbury's stocking fresh yeast and floral essences but I've yet to spot it in mine. Maybe I need to head to a different neighborhood! :)

Hi Judy - Yes, anyone living in London can spend the best part of a night in the pub complaining about public transport. At least it's a London unifier!

Hi Elle - yes, it was wonderfully refreshing. Just what was needed. :)

Hi Pixie - do find some, and see what you can come up with!

Hi Cinnamonda - Glad I could help! Now I just have to find something to do with the rest of the rosewater. :)

Hi Gillie - thanks for the tips. I'm very, very intrigued now and may set up a chemistry set in my kitchen this weekend. :)

Hi Sabra - thanks for the tip. Flowers for the garden and for the kitchen cupboard don't sound a bad thing at all!

Hi Gigi - Yes, even if it tasted terrible I think I would have fallen for the color. Luckily, the taste was great. :)

Hi Emiline - I'm trying to find other uses now, though I'm sure you'll come up with several brilliant ideas before I do!

Hi Lore - Ooh, jam - what a great idea. I may just have to do something with that when summer berry and fruit season is on us.

Hi Lis - I have it on GOOD AUTHORITY that spring is coming. This past weekend, when I got blizzard-snowed on? Why, it was just a bit of spring cleaning on the part of the clouds and didn't mean a thing.

Hi Peabody - thanks!

Hi Jasmine - the color was, indeed, such a pick-me-up.

Hi White on Rice - Hee hee, I'm giggling at your mention of a BO sorbet (cause how would it SMELL?), but then I am a bit childish. :)

Hi Cynthia - Well, it's a bit comforting to know there are more like me out there, since I do feel a bit unhinged sometimes with my supermarket obsessions!

Tartelette said...

I have been feasting on blood oranges too for the past few weeks. The sorbet looks wonderful!