Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Red Dirt... Beautiful!

Red Dirt... Beautiful!

Menindee is the Aboriginal word for Great Lakes... and that, amongst other natural wonders, is what I found on my second visit to Tandou orchard to help my friends pick and pack their oranges.
On the way out to Broken Hill, which is the closest air strip to the orchard, a cowboy sitting next to me leant across, peered out the window and said three words - "red dirt... beautiful!"  And I get that, 'cause I felt the same way.  I couldn't wait to get my boots dirty, kick up the dust and smell the dusty scent of the desert.
When I arrived at the packing shed I was amazed at the sea of orange bobbing along happily on the packing machines all shine and waxed then packed into boxes and off to the market

The taste was a perfect balance of sweet and tangy and easy to peel too, which was a bonus. We picked on glorious afternoons after the dew had left the orchard, moving quietly and contemplatively though the trees, picking buckets of sunshine.
At the end of each day, my picking buddies and I would go down to the billabong to "catch a feed"... We pulled up some lovely perch and took in the tranquility of the evening light.
I came home from my visit with a suitcase full of the must gorgeous oranges and made a big batch of my orange marmalade and will most definitely only ever buy Aussie grown fruit and I urge you to do so too.

I serve my blood orange marmalade on sourdough toast with lashings of butter in both my Cammeray and Double Bay stores. Pots of the liquid gold are also available for purchase.

Salad of Grilled Witlof, Orange, Chicken and Walnuts

4 chicken breasts, skin on
10 sage leaves
1 clove of garlic (peeled and minced)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 orange (juice and zest) - Aussie grown
1 orange (peeled, pips removed, and sliced) - Aussie grown
100g toasted walnuts

Cut into 4 length ways
1 tablespoon olive oil
40g butter
2 teaspoons runny honey

Marinate chicken for 2 hours in garlic, sage and olive oil.
Heat frypan on a medium to high heat.
Cook chicken skin side down for 4 minutes or until caramelised.
Turn and cook for a further 4 minutes, then rest.
Heat grill, line baking dish with baking paper and place witlof in with a dot of butter. Drizzle with olive oil and honey, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Grill for 5 minutes or until caramelised.
To assemble salad, place orange slices on a nice white platter, arrange caramelised witlof, sliced chicken, toasted walnuts and drizzle with cooking juices.

Happy cooking,
Simmone xxx

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