• Calamansi tart. (Maysie Lecciones)Source: Maysie Lecciones
A pop of citrus and colour goes a long way to brightening those gloomy days.
12 Aug 2021 - 11:30 AM  UPDATED 12 Aug 2021 - 12:39 PM

Where would we be without the pop of citrus colour during winter? The brightest yellows, oranges, greens and somewhere-in-betweens lift our spirits as much as they lift our dishes.

Speaking of which, nothing cuts through the drudge of winter like a citrus dish. It's impossible to taste the tang and not feel a little summer inside. Who knows why citrus feels like hot weather when it grows in anything but?

We're not complaining, though. As these recipes show, during the cool months, citrus is all you need to feel warm about the world.

Start with a biscuit

Dried mandarin rind powder adds zip to white chocolate and pistachio biscotti. The best news is that you can use your new stash of dried mandarin powder any time of year to bring on the citrus cheer.

Some kinda cut through

Your standard cheesy cauliflower will never be enough once you add some mandarin zest. The sweet bitterness offsets the rich creamy sauce in a very memorable way.


Pork cooked in milk (maiale al latte)

This dish can be found all over Italy with many variations. Here Stefano takes advantage of the sweetness of dates and dried mandarin peel for a floral finish.

Mandarin & bay leaf olive loaf

This cake is beautifully moist with slightly savoury, grassy notes from the olive oil and bay leaves, and freshness from the mandarin. 

Silken tofu with ginger syrup (tahwa)

Tofu really has a sensational sweet side as Luke Nguyen shares on of his all-time favourite desserts.

Blood runs thick

Blood orange and vanilla marmalade

Blood oranges are every bit as versatile as they are beautiful, as this thick, sweet marmalade proves. Actually, make a marmalade with all the citrus fruits. It's the way to really make their flavour shine.

Duck, duck, go

Duck pairs perfectly with citrus, especially blood orange. The zesty pop in this braised duck dish balances the richness of the meat like a champ.

Easy blood orange granita

Blissfully refreshing, this is the easiest icy treat around. Plus, there's no rule against adding a touch of your favourite liqueur. 

Blood orange tart

Blood oranges are wonderfully sweet with the perfect amount of tang. When they’re in season, I like to use them to bake this tart.

Baby fennel and blood orange salad

Salads are not just for summer, some of the winter fruits and veggies make magical salads. This winter salad of fennel and blood orange looks as beautiful as it tastes.

Or just play chicken


This roast honey and orange-glazed chicken proves that duck isn't the only poultry that loves orange. It's such a simple recipe that delivers huge rewards.

Sweeten the deal

The only thing that could make orange more perfect is if the word 'syrup' appears after it. Especially when that syrup is spiced with cardamom and cinnamon and poured over the cake.

Stuffed sardines (sarde a beccafico)

In Sicily, sardines are often paired with currants, citrus fruits and pine nuts, giving them sweetness as well as a savoury kick. 

Naked orange poppy seed cake with orange blossom frosting

This pretty cake, with its heavenly orange blossom-scented frosting, is currently one of my favourite ‘special occasion’ cakes – particularly for birthday celebrations. The cake layers are baked in two batches but if you are lucky enough to have four cake pans that can fit in your oven all at once, feel free to make the mixture in one lot and bake them all together.

Italian ricotta cake

Light citrus cheesecakes are a common sight across Italy, where they are made with ricotta in place of cream cheese. The case also differs, made with sweet pastry instead of biscuit crumbs.

Lime of the times

If you make one pudding this month, make it this one. A special rice pudding made with coconut milk, lemongrass and makrut lime leaves. It tastes as fresh as the winter dawn.

Curry up

Makrut lime and lemongrass (such a happy pair) add depth to a vego green curry. Citrus prevents coconut milk and other creamy ingredients from becoming too rich and over-bearing. The result is a lighter, more layered curry dish that is endlessly satisfying.

Coriander and eggplant caviar with makrut lime guacamole

This recipe has a few steps to work through but it's well worth the effort. It's an example of nouvelle Indian cuisine, delicious and a must-try for hardcore foodies.

Barbecued crayfish with makrut butter

An open fire is a fantastic way to cook crayfish. All they really need is a little oil or butter. Here, because we had them, I used the sensational fragrance of makrut lime leaves to add a little extra zing to our feast.

Makrut lime and lemon cordial

This recipe makes plenty, because you’ll want to have it as your drink of choice for a fortnight – it keeps well in the fridge for at least a couple of weeks.

Lemon bello

It had to be lemon meringue tart. Lemon at his most charming.

Lemon breezy

Adam Liaw says to just whack half a pumpkin into the oven and leave. Only to return hours later to drizzle it with lemon pepper butter and get stuck in. Our kind of recipe!

Lemon chicken

A Chinese takeaway classic, Adam Liaw shares his version of lemon chicken, which includes a rice wine and ginger sauce and does away with the gluey marinade associated with the dish.

Lemon, lime and bitters drizzle cake

Lemon lime and bitters is such a great flavour combination and it works especially well with this twist on the classic lemon drizzle cake.

Youverlakia (meatball, lemon and dill soup)

The mince is rolled with rice and fresh herbs, keeping the meatballs light and airy, and the stock is zesty thanks to the avgolemono (lemon–egg) sauce. 

Special mention

Some of the lesser-known citrus fruits are well worth exploring. Tangelo has an intense tartness that it desperately wants to hide with a fresh sweetness that sings. Hear the music in this tangelo cheesecake.

Ruby hues-day

Ruby grapefruit is so delicious in a salad that you'll soon find yourself slicing them in whenever you see a green vegetable. This salad is full of textures and crunch.

Toss another grapefruit

Grapefruit does tend to wind up in salads a lot, proving that they are not just for the warmer months. Or maybe proving citrus fruit's uncanny knack for making us feel summery. Either way, enjoy your scallop salad.

Caramelised grapefruit, blue cheese, rocket and watercress

This bitter salad adds hits of sweetness and creaminess from grapefruit slices and blue cheese. You’ll need a domestic blowtorch for this recipe.

Grapefruit marmalade

If you love marmalade then you will adore this tangy delight that celebrates the grapefruit wholeheartedly. It makes a great gift idea, a superb toast topper and accompaniment to your next cheese platter.

Chocolate cake with ruby grapefruit glaze

Dark chocolate pairs beautifully with this tangy-sweet citrus.

Citrus fusion

When native finger limes meet haloumi and pawpaw, the crowd goes wild.

Brittle bang

Bushfood brittle made easy.

This sweet and sour candy goes crackle, crunch, pucker. It's sweet from the caramel, sour from the tangy finger limes and perfect in every way.

Kangaroo tonnato

This dish is a hybrid of two classic dishes: tartare and vitello tonnato (cold sliced veal in a creamy sauce of tuna and capers). The combination of classic Italian flavours with native Australian ingredients gives this tonnato a fresh, vibrant appeal.

Grilled lobster tails with soft herbs and finger lime pearls

Finger limes have lots of small round segments that burst like caviar adding a fresh citrus twang to sweet grilled lobster tails.

Barbecued red emperor with finger lime, ginger and lemongrass

This simple BBQ recipe lets the delicate flavours of the beautiful red emperor snapper fish speak for themselves, with fresh and zingy enhancements from kaffir lime, ginger, chilli and Indigenous finger limes.

Small, but mighty

Filipino calamansi tastes like a cross between a lime and a mandarin. It's every bit as yummy as that sounds, especially when in calamansi tart form.

Calamansi gin spritzer

For those cocktail hours that require a citrus pop. 

Why calamansi is the next citrus hit
This tiny but mighty Filipino ingredient is easy to grow – and will make your drinks and food shine.

Yuzu you

Another small but mighty citrus fruit, this time from Japan. It's at its best when squeezed over karaage chicken. But then, everything is.

Soufflé landing

Think of a cheesecake that's so light and soft it's practically airborne. Then bring it back to earth with a lemon and yuzu jam landing. It's the ideal trip.

Yuzu citrus tea cake

A classic buttercream cake gets a zesty boost with the addition of yuzu citrus tea. Known as yuja cha in Korean, this tea comes in a jam-like form and can be found at Korean and Asian supermarkets. 

Yuzu cheesecake

Japan's iconic citrus, yuzu, has a flavour similar to lemon but with a hint of the herbal, piney edge of a mandarin. It's perfect spin for a spin on a regular lemon cheesecake.

Black sesame & yuzu biscuit sandwich

Wagon Wheel alert! Two black sesame biscuits, sandwiching a vanilla marshmallow and a layer of yuzu jam, all covered in black sesame white chocolate... sign us up! #BringBackTheClassics

Cumquat, that's what

Middle Eastern cooks sure know how to love filo pastry. Here it's by stuffing it with cheese and cumquats then drowning it in an orange blossom citrus syrup.

Snap it up

Infusing fresh cumquats through gently baked fish is a heavenly way to make a very easy meal. The tartness of the fruit brings out the flavour of the fish and the juice keeps everything lovely and tender.

Grilled lemongrass chicken with chilli salt and cumquat

Lemongrass chicken is one of those recipes that you'll want to have up your sleeve at the next dinner party and this version calls on red and green salts, fresh cumquat, Vietnamese mint and jasmine rice, to finish. The Chefs' Line 

Soy, ginger, cumquat and gin oysters

I came across a locally distilled gin when I visited the Maltby Street Market. It was called Little Bird Gin, and it surprisingly had great botanicals like grapefruit, orange and ginger. So I decided to use it to make some Vietnamese inspired gin-based dressings for freshly shucked oysters. If you can’t find cumquats, use half a mandarin instead. Luke Nguyen, Luke Nguyen's United Kingdom

Cumquat-scented trifle

This trifle is layered like a tiramisu, with a cumquat-scented ricotta replacing the cream component.  

Lime on

Lime is pretty much the perfect citrus fruit. Not too tart, not too bitter, not too sweet. It's almost like every other citrus fruit got together and made lime. Let it shine on in recipes like these arepas with lime and garlic prawns, which keeps things simple.

Lovely lime

Everyone loves a recipe where you lay everything on a tray in the morning, leave it to mingle all day and then slide it into the oven in the evening. Minutes to make, an hour to bake and you've got a dinner the crowds will go wild for.

Pork salad with lime sauce (moo ma nao)

A fresh salad bursting with the flavour of garlic, chilli and lime, moo ma nao is one Thai salad that is well known among the local population but not commonly seen outside Thailand.

Lemon, lime and bitters drizzle cake

Lemon lime and bitters is such a great flavour combination and it works especially well with this twist on the classic lemon drizzle cake.

Wahoo cutlets with ginger and lime

Wahoo is a great tropical fish that goes really well with this vibrant New Caledonia-inspired sauce.

Citrus up
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Lemon poppy seed squares

These are like a lemon poppy seed loaf met a lemon square, and became best friends!

Why people now call this lime by its Thai name
Makrut is an indispensable part of Thai cuisine. But the common term for it — kaffir lime — is worth avoiding.
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These cocktail bar-staples are great for decorating your summer drinks, Christmas tree, or table setting.
30 citrusy cakes to add some happy to winter
In the midst of winter, citrus brings a bright zing of sunshine. Especially when added to cake.
How you can buy yuzu, the Asian citrus fruit that top chefs love
Yuzu is now easier to find here, thanks to a first wave of Australian growers.
Candied citrus zest

This is a very quick way of preserving zest – the process is sped up because you are using just the pared zest, not the pith. It is one of those things you will not be able to stop eating – the flavour is intense and, if you add the citric acid, mouth-numbingly addictive. I use it as a garnish, or simply as a sweet (there is always a tub of these on my kitchen worktop). I will also finely chop it or blitz it to a powder to sprinkle or to give a sherbety hit.

Glossy pearls that zing - native lime packs a punch
It looks a little like fish roe but tastes like citrus: the native finger lime is one of Australia's national treasures.
Yoghurt citrus cake with gin syrup

I adore lemon and lime with gin, hence any excuse to knock up this cake. If it’s going to be eaten by the kids, use a few juniper berries in the syrup instead of the gin, and just strain them out before pouring over the cake.