Blood oranges, Amalfi lemons, bitter limes, and pink grapefruits are just a few fruits that fall under the bright and zesty bracket of citrus fruits. In her book Citrus, Catherine Phipps, a London-based columnist for the Guardian's Word of Mouth food pages and a freelance food writer, shows you everything you need to know about this brilliant category of fruit.
Sweet and sour, citrus can be used in many different and delicious dishes from all over the world. Phipps does a wonderful job of highlighting the versatility of citrus, covering every detail about the uses of these fruits. From how to juice and zest citrus, to slicing, drying, freezing, and making citrus oils, Phipps covers everything you need to know to get the most out of your citrus.
Once you get to the recipes in the book, you are once more taken on a journey around the world. It is an eye-opening read that highlights the global value and appeal of citrus and offers mouthwatering recipes from countless countries to try and enjoy.
If you have been stuck in a citrus rut, forever making lemonade or lemon drizzle cake or only eating grapefruit at breakfast, then this book is for you. If you delight in the fancy of finger limes, adore yuzu and go crazy for kefir, then this book is also for you. It is a beautifully written and easy to understand cookbook that offers interesting insight for both novice and veteran citrus fans. It is a book to pick up and peruse for recipes when you don’t know what you feel like making for dinner or equally when you know just what you are looking for.
Recipes featured include:
What is your philosophy of cooking (and/or eating)?
I was brought up to care about where everything I eat comes from and was taught that cooking the best ingredients I can afford (or grow) from scratch was the way to go. So I try to stay away from as much processed food as possible, beyond basic condiments and store cupboard essentials. However, as I'm a busy working mum, I also try to make things as easy for myself as possible by working out lots of shortcuts and hacks which save time and effort but with absolutely no adverse impact on flavor!
How did it inspire the recipes you chose to include in this book?
I liked to include lots of things which can be genuinely helpful. For example, the quick preserved lemon recipe, which you can adapt to different citrus fruits, is an absolute boon. It is ready in 15 minutes (5 if you have a pressure cooker), is much, much better than anything you can buy in a jar, stores indefinitely in the fridge and not only do you have the preserved citrus zest, you have a vibrant yellow liquid as well, which is brilliant drizzled over all kinds of things as well as in a salad dressing. So, 15 minutes work and already you can transform some of your everyday dishes.
What is your favorite recipe in the book and why?
As a group, I love the salads as they are so flexible, and have such a variety of flavors and textures. However, my favorite recipe has to be the deep fried citrus slices. This is based on a Judy Rodgers recipe. She served hers plain, and they should be tried this way as they are amazing as they are, but I wanted to add just a touch more flavor, so I had great fun with my herb and spice collection, experimenting to see which complimented the various citrus. It's a dish which takes everyone by surprise, it's just so good.
What are some of the foods you can’t live without?
Lemons are second only to salt in my kitchen, they are so useful. I would hate to be without chicken, butter, decent bread and leafy greens of all types. And I always try to prolong the short season of mandarins as they have the best aroma. I'm a savory person!
Would you rather dine out or cook at home?
Tricky. There are many inspiring chefs working in London doing wonderful things and I learn something every time I eat in their restaurants. However, the reality of going out to eat where I live in west London is constant resentment at paying silly money for food I could cook better at home. So usually, I do prefer eating in.
What is your favorite go-to meal or drink?
Classic roast chicken with lots of lemon and butter. And then soup from the carcass afterwards with lots of greens. Always.
How do you hope readers will use this book, what do you hope they take away?
If this book gives any reader just one or two go-to recipes which become part of their repertoire, I will be happy. But really, the recipes are designed to be flexible — I hope this will encourage readers to experiment. We sometimes pigeonhole citrus into particular roles. Mix it up!
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Just that one of the joys of Citrus is embracing their seasonality! I know we can certain varieties all year round, but some of them — the non-tropical fruits such as meyer lemons, Italian lemons, yuzu, bergamot, blood oranges — have short, intense seasons which you have to make the most of.