Lit by orange light.…

I was invited to a friend’s house last night, on one con­di­tion. We had to sit in the dark. It turns out we were mark­ing Earth Hour by eschew­ing elec­tri­city. I admit that our ges­ture of solid­ar­ity to the planet was small, but sixty minutes of candle-lit gloom became slightly addict­ive. Four hours later we were still sit­ting in the murky light shed by a dozen candles.

Although gentle candle-light is flat­ter­ing to a slightly sag­ging com­plex­ion, it turns out that cook­ing in the vir­tual dark is a night­mare. But in the interests of Earth Hour camaraderie, I have the per­fect recipe, one inspired by the great chef Skye Gyn­gell. It’s so easy you could make this dish with your eyes shut. And so brightly zing­ily fresh-tasting is it, you could light a room with its orange glow.

Oranges in Rose­mary Syrup

Serves 4

5 or 6 sweet, juicy oranges. I used Mal­taise san­guines, a deli­cious vari­ety of blood orange

2 good sprigs of rose­mary, about 10cm long

150ml light, clear honey

Cut a thin slice from the top and bot­tom of each orange. Stand the fruit on a chop­ping board and, with a very sharp knife, slice the peel off in curving down­ward move­ments. Reserve a couple of table­spoons of the juice that col­lects on the board as you pre­pare the oranges. Slice the oranges thinly and arrange on a plate.

Bend and bruise the rose­mary in your hands to release the aroma and place in a small pan with the honey and the reserved orange juice. Warm gently for ten minutes over a low heat. Allow to cool for a fur­ther ten minutes, remove the rose­mary and pour the honey over the sliced oranges. Dec­or­ate with another sprig of rose­mary and it’s done.

After my even­ing of enforced gloom I walked home by the gentle light of a wind-up torch. But open­ing the front door was like walk­ing into a harshly lit lift in a muni­cipal car-park. Blink­ing mole-like at my slightly alarm­ing reflec­tion in the dazzling hall­way mir­ror, I real­ised there’s another peril to enter­tain­ing by candle light. It’s impossible to see quite how many times your wine glass has been filled up.