It’s been bonkers round here recently as both our children’s birthdays are in January. Long story short, we did not have a long term view when planning our family.
This has its plus side as I can take full advantage of the January sales when shopping for birthday pressies.
It also has its down sides. Christmas comes and goes, and whilst the rest of the world relaxes gently into the new year, eating healthily and allowing the bank balance to recover, we keep going.
I’m not complaining for one minute. If we’d been sensible and thought about it then we wouldn’t have the children that we do…but my advice, if you are still pre-kids, is to think about it just a little more than we did.
As a result of our naivety I spend any free time I can get from the moment the kids go back to school, until the end of birthday season, planning, buying, wrapping and baking. Not once, but twice, as their birthdays are just a week apart.
To top it all, back in the autumn when January seemed a very long way off and a little fuzzy in my mind, I booked a dinner party for the weekend before the first birthday. Of all things.
An SOS went out and our friends arrived with the main course. That’s my kind of friends! I put together a simple starter of tomato, mozzarella and basil salad and made these jellies for dessert. They are beautifully quick and easy to make.
One thing to note about these jellies is that they really do need to be made with freshly squeezed orange juice. I’ve tried them with the stuff you get from a carton, even the unpasteurised, ‘freshly squeezed’ stuff, and the result is just not as good as it is when you use the real McCoy. This recipe is also great made with a mix of sweet citrus fruit. I particularly like a combination of oranges, clementines and blood oranges. I also love this jelly minus the prosecco. Just add an extra 150ml orange juice instead of the wine. It loses the fizz but tastes just as good.
Orange and Prosecco Jelly
- The juice of about 10 – 12 oranges to give 400ml freshly squeezed orange juice
- 4 leaves of gelatine
- 30 g sugar
- 150 ml prosecco
- Cream to serve (optional)
- Squeeze the oranges into a bowl or jug. When you have slightly over 400ml, pour the juice through a sieve into another jug until you measure out exactly 400 ml. Discard the pulp.
- Place the gelatine leaves in a small bowl and cover with cold water to soften.
- Transfer about 100ml of the juice to a pan. Add the sugar and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Lift the gelatine leaves from their soaking water, allowing any excess water to drain out, then add them to the orange juice. Continue to heat gently, stirring constantly, until the gelatine leaves are totally dissolved. Return this mixture to the rest of the juice and stir.
- Measure out and add the prosecco gently, ensuring you don’t lose too much of the fizz. Stir just once then pour the liquid into four glasses or small bowls. Leave to cool then refrigerate until set. Serve with a small drizzle of cream and a fine grating of orange zest if you wish.