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.

Lamb steaks with Friars Farm Middle Eastern Marmalade and Potatoes

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Being based in Northamptonshire, Friars Farm, one of the local producers of jams, chutneys and sauces approached me and asked if I’d like to sample some of their products.  Of course being a foodie, and wanting to support local producers, I said yes and I’m thoroughly glad I did too!  They have a fab range of products; the first of which, their Middle Eastern Marmalade, I’m reviewing here. I also used this in a batch of flapjacks that I made, but for that recipe you’ll have to wait a short while…!
1 Red onion
4 Lamb leg steaks
4 tsp Friars Farm Middle Eastern Marmalade
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Sweet potato, peeled
2 Large potatoes, washed but not peeled
1 Knorr chicken stock pot, dissolved in:
280ml Boiling water
145ml Orange juice
2 tsp Mint sauce concentrate
1 Knorr rich beef gravy pot
100ml Double Cream
1. Heat the oven to 150℃.
2. Lay the lamb leg steaks in a single layer on the bottom of a rectangular dish.
3. Spread 1 teaspoon of the Friars Farm Middle Eastern Marmalade over each of the lamb steaks.
4. Season with ground black pepper.
5. Slice the sweet potatoes on setting 3 of a Oxo Hand Held Mandoline and layer on top of the lamb steaks.
6. Slice the potatoes on setting 3 of the mandoline then layer these over the sweet potato and lamb.
7. Mix the chicken stock, orange juice and mint sauce concentrate together.
8. Gently pour this over the lamb and potatoes.
9. Cover the dish with foil.  I run my finger gently around the inside of the dish after covering it which creates a low point, thereby enabling the evaporated juices to drip back down into the dish and retaining the moisture.

10. Place in the centre of the oven and cook for 3 hours.

11.  When cooked, remove from the oven and gently drain the juices into a saucepan.
12. Re-cover and keep warm whilst you make the gravy.

13. Add the beef gravy pot to the saucepan and quickly bring to the boil, whisking to distribute the gravy pot.
14. Add the double cream and gently heat through.
15. Serve a lamb steak with the potato topping on a bed of peas with the gravy poured on top.

I was given a range of products from Friars Farm to try.  I was under no obligation to develop or publish a recipe using their products.

Orangeblossom Water Scones

After recently being sent a bottle of Nielsen Massey Orange Blossom Water to try & being wife to a man that loves good, simple baking, I dug out my trusty, basic scone recipe and set about making him a batch of scones.

225g Self raising flour
Pinch salt
50g Butter, cold & cubed quite small.
25g Caster sugar
50g Sultanas
1 Egg (medium sized)
5ml Nielsen Massey Orange Blossom Water
1 Medium sized orange
100ml Greek yoghurt
1. Heat your oven to 220C
2. Rub the butter into the flour and salt until it resembles breadcrumbs.
3. Grate the zest from the orange and stir into the flour with the sugar and sultanas.
4. Lightly beat the egg to break the yolk.  Reserve 1tbs to glaze the scone tops.
5. Squeeze the juice from the orange.
6. In a measuring jug, put the egg, orange juice, orange blossom water and enough Greek yoghurt to make 150ml.  Mix together thoroughly.
7. Add the yoghurt & orange mixture to the dry ingredients and work together gently until it just forms a ball.
8. Gently knead the mixture on a lightly floured board.
9. Lightly roll out to a thickness of 1cm.
10. Cut out using a 6.5cm circular cutter and place onto a greased baking tray.
11. Re-roll any trimmings and cut out more scones.
12. Glaze the scone tops with the reserved egg, being careful not to allow it to dribble down the sides.
13. Bake for about 10 minutes until golden brown on top.
14. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
 
The lighter you handle the scone dough, the better your results will be.  Mix the wet and dry ingredients together gently, knead the dough lightly and roll out carefully.
Perfect sandwiched together with some Roddas Clotted Cornish Cream and strawberry jam.
My husband’s verdict on these scones? Let’s just say they didn’t last long after the first bite!
I was sent a bottle of Nielsen Massey Orange Blossom Water free of charge.  I was under no obligation to either use it, develop a recipe or to give it a positive review.

Flavoured sugars

You can flavour caster sugar to use in cakes, baking, biscuits or desserts. It’s really simple to do, so I want to share with you some easy flavours to make.

Take a clean Kilner jar.
Fill it 3/4 full of caster sugar.

VANILLA SUGAR
Vertically slice 4 vanilla pods, leaving the vanilla seeds inside.
Add these to the jar, top up with caster sugar, seal the lid and shake well.
Shake every few days and leave to infuse for a couple of weeks.
Use as needed and top back up with sugar, shake as before.
You will find that the sugar sticks together to start with as it draws the moisture out of the vanilla pods. Keep shaking and be patient with it!

ORANGE & CLOVE SUGAR
Using a potato peeler, peel the zest from an orange, place it onto a baking tray in an oven at 100C for an hour until dry.
Allow to cool.
Add the orange peel and 8-10 whole cloves to the sugar.
Top up, seal and shake well.
Shake every few days and leave to infuse for a couple of weeks.
Use as needed and top back up with sugar, shake as before. Make sure to pick out the cloves from your baking.

LAVENDER SUGAR
Pick fresh, clean lavender flowers. Ensure that you haven’t used any pesticides nearby.
Shake off any insects etc.
Place somewhere warm until dry.
Remove the flowers from the stalks and add these to the jar, top up with caster sugar, seal the lid and shake well.
Shake every few days and leave to infuse for a couple of weeks before using.
Sieve to use as needed, returning the flowers to the jar and top back up with sugar, shake as before.
You want the ratio to be about 98% sugar to 2% lavender.