Oh My Darling Brandy Clementines – Christmas Recipe
Five soapy excuses for chocolate have left the advent calendar. Burley Eastern Europeans are flogging Christmas trees at the end of my street. Rosy-cheek-riddled adverts are selling the promise of a perfect Christmas, and the same old boys-bands are warming their vocal chords to do battle with the latest spawn of X-factor for downloadable chart dominance.
Yes, the sounds sights and smells of Christmas are with us once again, but if like me you hark for a more traditional festive season, your first clementine will have been one festive treat you will have savoured.
Bursting the fo-leather peel with a stubborn thumb, countless pockets of zest burst open to release an undeniable smell of Christmas that transports me back through the years to when Christmas was a care free time of over-excitement, as opposed the impending month of over-indulgence, over-eating and overdrafts.
Found cut-price, easy-peel, and pip-free in supermarkets and bundled in last years orange string vests or loaded with leaves still attached into boxes at the local market (always pick out the heavy ones) for me the first taste and smell of Christmas is always my first clementine.
Once the peel is removed (always doing my best to get of off in one go for good luck) each segment is squashed, chewed and swallowed releasing a sweet burst of tangy orange flavour that is as soothing and reviving on a cold day as any medicine.
But the Clementine has not always been a part of a UK Christmas. History hints that the humble fruit came into being after an unexplained cross-pollination occurred in the garden of an Algerian orphanage run by French monk Clement Rodier in the late 19th century.Sounds dodgy to me…While scientists believe the clementine must have originated in Asia and found its way through human migration and trade routes to North Africa, the Mediterranean and Spain where most of the clementines we consume each year are grown.
But whatever their origin, the fact is that the Clementine is now as much a part of our British Christmas as Wallace and Grommet, Jamie’s organic hand-whipped truffel infused-brandy butter and the vicars wife mopping up the sick after midnight mass.
So to celebrate my favourite Yuletide fruit here is a simple brandy infused recipe I knock up each year to add a little kick to my clementine.They can be eaten skins and all and they make festive desert that is sure to warm the spirits once the decorations have come down.
- 1 kilo of clementines
- 500 g sugar
- 1 litre water
- 3 sticks of cinnamon
- 350 ml of French Brandy
- 1 large Kilner jar
1. Add the water and sugar to a large pan and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently. Add the cinnamon.
2. Take each Clementine spear several times with a long fork or skewer.
3. Place the Clementine in the syrup and cook half covered for one hour.
4. Remove the Clementine and set aside to cool.
5. Turn the heat back on the syrup and reduce by a third.
6. Stir in the brandy and leave to cool.
7. Pack the Clementine into the jar, pour in the brandy syrup and leave for one week.