Wednesday 21 February 2018

Live and kicking blood orange compote

Last week in my post I talked a little bit about kimchi, fermented food and their health benefits. I remember that my first fermentation workshop was with the wizard of fermented foods Sandor Katz. Back then Sandor wasn’t so well known worldwide as he is today. I count myself very lucky to have learnt how to prepare my fermentation food with the master. Last Saturday I helped out Nena Foster, who is a natural chef and food stylist, on her Fermentation Workshop in East Dulwich. Her fermented food were really good.

Nena had ordered by mistake a humongous amount of blood orange and I lucked out, bringing home some of her stash. At her workshop she taught the class how to make forced rhubarb compote. That compote stayed in my mind and on Sunday I decided to make my own. I used some blood oranges and kumquats I had left over from my farmer’s box. Following Nena's suggestion, I added a probiotic capsule, as a w
ay of speeding up the process of fermentation.
I not only enjoy eating fermented food, I am also fascinated with its health benefits. Did you know that one type of bacteria - Bifidobacteria - actively synthesises proteins, amino acids, B vitamins; and assists with the absorption of calcium, iron and vitamin D? One of the most important things about fermented foods is the number of good bacteria we replenish in our gut when we eat them. Mankind consumed fermented and cultured foods for centuries before refrigeration as a form of preserving them.

Fascinating as it is, enough of the science for today. Let’s get cooking.

Blood oranges and kumquats.
The other ingredients.
Kumquats, honey, cinnamon, sugar and the juice of the oranges went first...
...and cooked for about 5 minutes.
Blood orange segments added...
... and simmered for about 20-25 mins.
My blood orange and kumquat compote.
Blood orange and kumquat compote (with added probiotics)

This compote makes a great accompaniment to a cheese board, meat, on your toast, or with yoghurt.


6 blood oranges – cut into segments
200g kumquats - sliced
1 cinnamon stick
60ml raw honey or any other runny honey
15g raw cane sugar or any caster sugar of your preference
15ml of lemon juice
*1 capsule of probiotic (optional) – I used Ultraprobioplex with 15 billion live bacteria by Nutri Advanced.


Using a sharp knife, peel the oranges and cut them into segments. Reserve. In a medium saucepan, place the kumquats, honey, cinnamon stick, sugar, lemon juice and the juice from the oranges. Cook for about 5 minutes. Add the orange segments and cook on high heat or until it begins to boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer for 20-25 minutes. Let it cool.

Refrigerate. Once opened consume within 2 weeks.

*If you are going to use the probiotic, make sure the compote is not hot when adding the powder to it. The heat will destroy the beneficial bacteria. Leave the compote to set at room temperature for at least 24 hours. Then refrigerate it. Once it is opened consume within 2 weeks.

A healthy note: Studies have shown that oranges can help lower the risk of cancer. Apart from their well-known vitamin C content, oranges also contain potassium, folate and fibre - all related to heart health. They also contain calcium which keep bones and teeth stronger. The fruit has therapeutic effects such as antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, amongst others. Try to buy organic oranges whenever possible. Non-organic oranges are one of the most chemically sprayed fruits.

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