Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Winter Sunshine

Vin d'Orange1
Vin d'Orange2

Don't you think that people fit into seasons, rather like fruits and flowers? I am definitely a sunshine person. Each of the seasons has its own special magic and beauty, but I find at this time of year when the days are short and dark, and the weather so often dull, I really miss the vibrant colours and bright glow of the sun. I start dreaming of warm places and that inspires me to think of food and recipes to bring a bit of sunshine into my kitchen.

For a few short weeks - from mid January to early February - we get these wonderful Seville oranges in the shops. They are so fragrant, full of flavour, and very sour. They remind me of the sour oranges that you get in the Caribbean. We use to use them regularly for marinating fish and making cocktails. So I decided to try making a West Indian version of a vin d'orange. When we would take little weekend trips to Martinique, I fell in love with the French influenced cuisine, the spices and the rums. We often came across a drink of rum that was steeped with spice and sun dried orange peel. So this recipe is inspired by that. I also used the traditional Caribbean technique of deeply caramelising the sugar which gives a wonderful colour and flavour.

Vin d"orange3

How to make my West Indian Vin d'Orange

3 Seville or sour oranges, washed and cut roughly
1 bottle of white wine
150ml dark rum
200g demerera, or golden caster sugar. (I use lovely amber sugar from Barbados!)
1 vanilla pod
Nutmeg, a small teaspoon, freshly ground
Black peppercorns, a large teaspoonful, or so

Put the cut oranges in a large bowl together with the vanilla and spices. In a small heavy pan, allow the sugar to melt over medium heat and let it bubble until it is dark and nicely caramelised. (See picture below.) Carefully pour the sugar syrup over the oranges. Then, also with care, pour the wine over the oranges and add the rum. Mix it all up. The sugar syrup will form into hard bits in the liquid but not to worry, just leave it for a bit and they will soon dissolve. Give it all a few more stirs and then pour it all into a large jar or airtight container that you can keep in the fridge. Glass is best - don't use metal or plastic as these can have strange reactions. Leave to infuse for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain into a nice bottle and keep it chilled for drinking.

Well I am now waiting to drink my vin d'orange. This is the difficult part for me, I am so impatient! And it would be just the thing to enjoy by the fire on these chilly winter evenings...


  1. Sounds divine! Let us know how it tastes when you crack into it and I might have a go too.

  2. I love the pictures - I can almost taste the rich sunshine flavours. The Seville/Caribbean fusion is an inspired adaptation. MH

  3. What a wonderful alternative to marmalade and I bet it tastes fantastic. I'm definitely a spring person, but I do love those warm colours of orange, red and yellow.

  4. beautiful....lovely shots...keep them comming..