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.

Baked Pear & Amaretto Cheesecake with Del Monte

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If you’re of my generation (40 something and rapidly heading towards 50) you’ll probably remember the Sunday tea time treat of tinned fruit and evaporated milk that you used to have.  It’s not something you tend to see too often now though.  However tinned fruit is not just tasty and convenient, but it’s a good source of vitamins and minerals.  A product no longer confined to just grabbing the tin opener, opening the tin and pouring the contents into a bowl before smothering it with evaporated milk or ice cream; or simply just placing a ring of pineapple on to your gammon steak; you can use it in many different recipes, to prepare delicious food without the faff and fuss of having to peel, slice and prepare it yourself.

Del Monte canned fruit

I’ve adapted a baked cheesecake recipe that I use and have incorporated a tin of Del Monte pears which pair perfectly with almonds and Amaretto for an added depth of flavour.

Del Monte canned fruit

Base:

  • 50g Unsalted butter
  • 8 Digestive biscuits, crushed

Cheesecake:

  • 400g Philadelphia Cheese
  • 250g Mascarpone Cheese
  • 410g Del Monte tinned pears, drained
  • 3 Eggs
  • 60ml Amaretto
  • 15g Ground almonds
  • 75g Caster sugar
  1. Heat the oven to 190ºC (170º Fan).
  2. Line a 20cm / 8” spring form tin with baking parchment.
  3. Melt the butter, add this to the crushed biscuits and mix together thoroughly.

Del Monte canned fruit

  1. Pour this biscuit mixture into the base of your prepared tin and press down evenly.

Del Monte canned fruit

  1. Place in the fridge to cool whilst you prepare your cheesecake filling.
  2. In a food processor, add 150g of the drained pears, the Philadelphia and mascarpone cheeses, the eggs, Amaretto, almonds and the sugar.  I find that using my Kenwood food processor makes this an incredibly easy and quick process
  3. Blitz these together until smooth.

Del Monte canned fruit

  1. Drain the remaining pears from the juice and cut into approx. 5mm pieces.
  2. Stir the pear pieces into the cheesecake mixture to evenly distribute.
  3. Pour this mixture over the biscuit base in the tin.

Del Monte canned fruit

  1. Bake in the oven for approx. 40 mins until the top has started to colour and there is still a very slight ‘wobble’ in the middle of the cheesecake.

Del Monte canned fruit

  1. Turn off the oven, but leave the cheesecake in there, with the door slightly open until it’s cooled completely. (Leaving the cheesecake to cool slowly in the oven allows it set fully and prevents it from cracking).
  2. Remove the cheesecake from the tin and serve, cut in to small slices.

Del Monte canned fruit

I was sent a selection of canned fruits from Del Monte along with a gift voucher to purchase additional ingredients with to develop this recipe. 

Stoves Winter Recipe Creation

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As a member of the BBC Good Food Show Blogger Community, and having worked on a previous Stoves UK recipe re-creation, I was again invited to take part and cook up a storm in my kitchen, with inspiration received from the live demonstrations that the chefs give at the shows.  I sat in the audience and watched the very talented Phil Vickery cook eels, but I’m not brave enough to try those slippery little suckers (I used to go fishing with my husband, so know their habitat and slippery/slimy persona). Instead I chose to do two recipes which can both be found on the Stoves Recipe website: (I have not re-published the recipes here; merely the method of preparation, as neither recipe is mine, but I have provided the links to them which you can find on the Stoves website).

Gusto’s pan-fried Chicken Breast with Creamed Leeks and Butter-fried Gnocchi

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Following the recipe (link above) and having sealed my chicken breasts until golden, before placing them in the oven to cook, I then sliced my shallots and crushed my garlic, sweating them off until softened but not coloured.  I added my sliced leeks to the pan and continued to sweat the vegetables before adding the cream, reducing the mixture and stirring through the oregano and mascarpone.
imageTo my pan of boiling water, I dropped in my gnocchi, removing them when they floated to the top to signify they were cooked.  They were then added to a pan of olive oil and butter and cooked until golden.

The chicken breasts are served on a bed of the creamed leeks, surrounded by a tumbling of the gnocchi and gives you a dinner worth of a fully tummy and an empty plate.

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Well, I say a full tummy, but you’re never too full for a delicous dessert, are you?  So, for my dessert I chose to make A Glug of Oil’s Limoncello Cheesecake using a bottle of Pallini Limoncello.

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I lined my springform tin with baking parchment (it makes it easier to remove it from the tin to serve).  I crushed my Oaties biscuits (Tesco’s own Hob Nobs) and melted my butter, then mixed them both together, pressing this into the base of my tin, before placing it in the fridge to cool.

The mascarpone, lemon curd and lemon zest, along with the lemon juice and Limoncello (I added 5tbs, not the 2tbs that are recommended in the recipe), all went into a bowl and were beaten together until thoroughly combined and smooth.  This was then poured over the chilled cheesecake base and placed back into the fridge to set overnight.

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The lemon slices are candied in syrup for the decoration.

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Remove your cheesecake from the tin to a serving plate and serve chilled.

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As part of the BBC Good Food Show Blogger Community, I was invited to take part in the Stoves UK cook along, for which I received a Tesco gift voucher to purchase ingredients.

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.