Boiled Bitter Orange & Polenta Cake

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For those who don’t like their cakes too sweet, but still love them full of flavour, then this one is definitely for you!  As it contains corn meal/polenta instead of flour, it’s also gluten free (ensure you use gluten free baking powder in this instance).  I glazed mine with an orange and Amaretto syrup.

This is an incredibly easy cake to make and can be prepared quickly and easily using a food processor.  I have a Kenwood MultiPro Sense food processor which also has a weighing scale built in, so this really is an easy, one bowl wonder of a cake to make!

Bitter Orange & Polenta Cake


Ingredients:
2 large oranges
250g demerara sugar
200g ground almonds
100g fine ground corn meal / dried polenta
6 large eggs
2tsp baking powder (see note above re: gluten free)
2tsp ground ginger
1tsp ground cinnamon

Orange & Amaretto Syrup:
75g caster sugar
60ml water
1 large orange, juice and zest
30ml Amaretto


Method:

  1. Wash any wax coating off the oranges.
  2. Place the oranges into a large saucepan and cover with cold water.
  3. Bring to the boil, cover and reduce to a simmer.
  4. Simmer for 1 hour until the oranges have softened.
  5. Remove the oranges from the water and set aside to cool.
  6. Preheat the oven to 170°C.
  7. Grease and line a 23cm/9″ springform cake tin.
  8. Cut the oranges into ¼ and remove the pips.

Bitter Orange & Polenta Cake

  1. Place the oranges (skin, pith and pulp) into a food processor with the sugar and blitz into a smooth paste.

Bitter Orange & Polenta Cake

  1. Add the almonds, corn meal/polenta, eggs, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon.

Bitter Orange & Polenta Cake

  1. Blitz together until combined.
  2. Pour the cake batter into your prepared tin.

Bitter Orange & Polenta Cake

  1. Bake for 60 minutes, until cooked in the centre.

Bitter Orange & Polenta Cake

  1. Cool the cake in the tin.
  2. Remove the cake from the tin when cold and place it on to a plate.
  3. For the glaze, add the sugar and water into a saucepan and heat gently, bringing it to the boil without stirring until the sugar has dissolved and the syrup has turned a golden brown.
  4. Add the orange juice, orange zest and amaretto and stir to fully combine.
  5. Bring back to the boil and boil gently until the syrup has reduced and become thickened.
  6. Poke small holes in the top of the cake to allow the syrup to soak through.
  7. Pour the syrup over the cake evenly and gently, allowing it to soak in.
  8. Serve the cake warm or cold with some clotted cream, ice cream, or cream.

Bitter Orange & Polenta Cake

For my cornmeal, I used Gaya Foods Authentic Brazilian corn meal which I bought in my local Tesco

Bitter Orange & Polenta Cake

This recipe was neither sponsored, or endorsed by Kenwood, Gaya Foods or by Tesco.

Slow Cooked Shin of Beef

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I’d originally wanted to cook Ox cheek, however neither of my two local butchers had any, and only one had some British shin of beef as an alternative, so that’s what I’ve used for today’s dinner.  I’ve cooked this in 2/3 bottle of Aldi UK Fleurie red wine, from the Beaujolais region of France, but you could use an ale if you prefer.

30ml Rapeseed oil

2 medium onions, chopped

3 medium carrots, chopped

3 sticks of celery, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, bruised

2tbs Plain flour

Salt & pepper

2kg Shin of beef, diced

500ml red wine (or ale)

300ml beef stock

Handful of thyme, roughly chopped

2 Bay leaves

Stick of cinnamon

 

1. Preheat your oven to 180℃ (160℃ fan).

Slow cooked beef shin in Aldi Fleurie red wine

Slow cooked beef shin in Aldi Fleurie red wine

2. In a large casserole dish, heat 15ml of oil.

3. Fry the onions, carrots, celery and garlic until transparent, but not coloured.

Slow cooked beef shin in Aldi Fleurie red wine

4. Remove the vegetables to a bowl whilst you prepare the beef.

5. In a plastic bag, put the flour and season with salt and pepper.

Slow cooked beef shin in Aldi Fleurie red wine

6. Place the beef into the bag and toss to coat evenly. Shake off the excess.

7. Heat 15ml of oil in the casserole dish and fry the beef in batches until brown on all sides.

8. Remove the beef with the vegetables.

Slow cooked beef shin in Aldi Fleurie red wine

9. Add 100ml of the wine to the casserole dish and scrape the bottom of the dish to release all the flavours.

10. Add the rest of the wine, the beef stock, thyme, bay leaves and cinnamon stick, along with the browned beef and vegetables.

Slow cooked beef shin in Aldi Fleurie red wine

11. Give it a good stir to mix, put the lid on and put the casserole dish into the oven to cook.

12. Cook for 3-4 hours until the beef is tender and falls apart.

13. Remove the bay leaves, cinnamon stick and the garlic cloves.

14. Serve on a bed of chive mashed potatoes with some steamed savoy cabbage.

Slow cooked beef shin in Aldi Fleurie red wine

Quark Winterberry Wobbly Cheesecake

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I was invited to take part in a Mistletoe and Quark food blogger challenge to come up with a recipe using the Lake District Dairy Co. Quark.  Originally I intended to make a cheesecake but the final outcome is more like a pannecotta; with that hint of a wobble (a bit like my thighs, some may say!) and one which I’m very pleased with too.

As a lover of things tart and not too sweet, this is what I created:

150g Digestive biscuits
10ml Ground Cinnamon
90g   Butter
4       Gelatine leaves
60ml Orange juice
200g Light Philadephia
500g Quark
200g Icing sugar
5ml   Nielsen Massey Vanilla bean paste
250g Cranberries
1       Orange, grated zest and juice
75g   Caster sugar

1. Line a 20cm/8″ spring form tin with baking parchment.
2. Crush the Digestive biscuits and add the ground cinnamon.
3. Melt the butter, pour onto the biscuits and cinnamon then mix thoroughly.
4. Tip the biscuit and butter mix into your prepared tin and press well down into an even layer.
5. Place into the ‘fridge to chill.
6. Place the gelatine leaves in a bowl of cold water for 5-6 minutes until softened.
7. Heat the orange juice in a small saucepan until warm.
8. Squeeze the water from the gelatine leaves and add to the warmed orange juice, then heat together gently until the gelatine has dissolved.  Remove from the heat and leave to cool for 5 minutes.
9. In a large bowl, whisk together the Philadelphia cheese, Quark, icing sugar and vanilla bean paste.
10. Gradually pour in the orange juice and gelatine mixture in a slow stream whilst continuing to whisk until combined.
11. Pour this Quark mixture over the chilled biscuit base, smooth the top and leave in the ‘fridge to set overnight.
12. In a saucepan, place the cranberries, orange zest and juice with the sugar.
13. Bring to the boil then continue to cook on a simmer for 15-20 minutes until the cranberries have burst and the mixture is thick.
14. Pour this cranberry sauce into a bowl, cover and leave until cold.
15. Remove the cheesecake from the ‘fridge and pour over the cranberry sauce, spreading out to an even layer.

Serve chilled and enjoy the sharpness of my wobble!

I was sent a box of chilled Quark with which to create my low fat, tasty seasonal dessert to enable me to take part in the Food Blogger Challenge.  

Venison Tagine

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We love venison as its such a rich and lean meat that’s full of flavour and I was lucky to have been given a 3kg haunch of venison a while back by a colleague in exchange for making her daughter’s Christening cake. Her husband shot and butchered the venison, so I can be sure of it’s provenance.

 After boning the joint of meat, I divided it and used one portion to make a tagine in my slow cooker as follows:

500g Venison, cubed (you can use beef or lamb if you prefer)
30ml Rapeseed oil
2 Onions, sliced
2 Cloves of garlic, crushed
1tbs Ground coriander
1tbs Ground cumin
2tsp Ground ginger
1tsp Ground cinnamon
250ml Beef stock
400g tin Plum tomatoes
100g Dried apricots, chopped
2tbs Ground almonds
400g tin Chick peas, drained and rinsed

1. Heat the oil in a heavy based frying pan and fry the venison in batches until browned.
2. Transfer the venison into the base of your slow cooker.
3. Gently fry the onion & garlic in the pan for 5 minutes until softened, then add the ground coriander, cumin, ginger and cinnamon and fry gently for 2 minutes.
4. Add this onion & spice mixture to your venison in the slow cooker.
5. Pour your stock into your frying pan to deglaze and heat until just boiling.
6. Pour this stock mixture over your meat and spice mixture.
7. Add the plum tomatoes, chopped apricots, ground almonds and chick peas.
8. Stir well then place the lid on top.
9. Cook in the slow cooker on low for 12 hours or on medium for 8 hours.

Serve with cous cous and a little fresh, chopped coriander to garnish.