Happy New Year’s Eve! Not that we actively participate in any associated celebratory events or anything, but still, a timely reminder to reflect on the past year. Did you learn anything new? Did you have an existential crisis? Did you gain weight? Did you fulfill all your resolutions? To all but the last one, I say yes. I certainly scraped a passing grade in all my subjects, and am dreading/anticipating but mostly dreading third year. And I don’t know if I made new friends, but I certainly made closer friends.
But perhaps most exciting of all, I finally got my first job ever yesterday! If anyone was reading my ramblings, they’d be rolling their eyes at the number of times I’ve mentioned failed interviews and blank résumés. I saw a newly put up sign calling for part-time waiters, walked in and miraculously got the job straight away. I’ve been busy all day pedaling around in my bike getting all sorts of thing ready for the job, like getting a health check-up, opening a bank account and the like. Like most jobs here, it only pays the basic labour rate (about a fifth of what I made on my tutoring job in Aus), but it’s the sort of thing I need to at least fill in the ‘experience’ column on my résumé. It’ll also spare me from extreme boredom and a TV addiction.
What better way to round up 2015 than to make the origin of my namesake (5 orange peels) from scratch? Admittedly, candied orange peel isn’t exactly an essential ingredient in most recipes, and can be a little fussy to make, but the process is quite a calming and therapeutic one. Also, I saw a recipe today for the cutest orange chocolate cakelettes and thought the time was ripe for me to make my own candied peels.
Like me, you may like to experiment with other citrus fruits, of which I used oranges, a clementine, lemons, kumquats and a grapefruit today. Turned out that the green lemons had extraordinarily thick hard peels that refused to lose their integrity by the time the other fruits’ peels were done cooking; and the grapefruit turned out to be the best of the bunch with the most sweetness and least bitterness.
Candied citrus peel
assorted citrus fruits
sugar (for the simple syrup plus extra)
First thoroughly scrub the fruit clean under running water especially if not organic, in case there’s pesticides or mud.
Cut off the top and bottom of each fruit and discard them, although you could save them if they don’t have too much of the weird bumpy bit, and if you cut off most of the white bitter pith.
Depending on the size of the fruit, cut it into quarters or eighths, and separate the edible bit from the rind. Those edible bits don’t have to go to waste though! Simply get rid of the membranes and pips and turn into delicious iced tea.
Slice into desired sized pieces.
Blanche in boiling water, drain, repeat twice more. This helps get rid of some of the bitterness.
Make a simple syrup consisting of 1 part of sugar, and 1 part of water (by weight). Boil the mixture until the sugar dissolves, then add the blanched peel. Make sure there’s enough syrup to cover most of the peel. Cook on low heat for 45 – 60 minutes until all the bitterness is gone and so is most of the syrup. Make sure to keep stirring once in a while so the bottom pieces don’t burn.
Once cooled to room temperature, you may decide to leave them to dry as they are, coat them with caster sugar, or even dip in chocolate. The possibilities are endless, right now I’m thinking about a belated Christmas panettone…