Tangelos and oranges with lime and vanilla syrup

Tangelos have a short season which makes them all the sweeter, to me, at least. I just love the intense citrus taste that is like an orange, and like a mandarine, but also uniquely tangelo. I’m salivating even as I write this. When I made this ultra simple dish, I wanted to celebrate the beauty of fruit in season – so I simply segmented the tangelos and oranges and then drizzled over a simple little sugar syrup infused with vanilla and lime, just enough to add subtle flavour but not to overwhelm.

My dad used to love to eat any fruit that had been cut up for him, and we ate this dish after Sunday lunch and thought of him. I also think a small serve of this dish on the side of a panna cotta would make a classy dessert for a casual dinner party. My middle son, who is a very good cook, suggested that a sprinkling of micro basil over the top would also be a nice touch. (He loves the fancy styling of contemporary chefs, and often rates my plating skill)

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Serves 4
3 tangelos, peeled and any stray bits of pith peeled off
3 navel oranges, peeled and segmented with a very sharp knife
1 large, juicy lime
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds removed
1/2 cup caster sugar
3/4 cup water

Place the sugar, water, vanilla bean and seeds in a small pan and bring to the boil. Boil for 2 minutes and then take off the heat to cool. Place the tangelos and mandarines on a serving plate. Zest the lime and add to the syrup along with its juice. Take out the vanilla bean, and put it aside to dry. You can then add it to a container of sugar and it will become headily vanilla scented. Spoon the syrup over the fruit and let sit for about 15 minutes before serving, to let the flavours meld. Serve on its own, or with panna cotta, or on pavlova, or with yoghurt for breakfast. Endless possibilities!

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