Sunday, 21 September 2014

Marmalade Cake

This is a light cake, perfect with a cup of tea and easily digested, it has a scattering of golden sultanas and a deep flavour of bitter oranges. If like me you are thinking about the marmalade making season fast approaching on the heels of Christmas and the New Year, then this cake is a really good way of using up some of this year's marmalade in preparation. I chose to bake the mix in 2, 15 centimetre cake tins, this way you have one to enjoy and a second to give to a friend.

For this recipe you will need;
300g of Self Raising flour
300g of marmalade
275g of golden sultanas
250g of unsalted butter (room temperature)
225g of light Muscovado sugar
100g of ground almonds
4 eggs
1 teaspoon (heaped) of mixed spice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
A large thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

Prepare 2 15centimetre baking tins by lining them with baking parchment. Switch the oven on to 140C.
Cream together the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the salt, mixed spice and ginger and beat in the ground almonds, marmalade and golden sultanas. Finally beat in the flour, until thoroughly mixed but no more.
Divide the mix between the 2 baking tins and place in the centre of the oven and bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer comes out cleanly when pushed into the centre of the cake. Allow the cakes to cool completely before removing from the tins.

This cake freezes really well.
The mixed spice and ginger are not in any way dominant flavours, they simply enhance the marmalade flavour.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Tomato Oil

With tomatoes ripening every day, I am happily in that state where it is difficult to keep up with supply. I'm not complaining, I don't buy fresh tomatoes during the year and savour this time of plenty.
Tomato oil is one way of preserving tomatoes and I find having a jar of it in the fridge, really useful. The odd spoonful gets added to all sorts of things from curries to pasta sauces to give the dish a boost.
I make my own passata, click here for the recipe but a good quality commercial passata is perfectly acceptable.

Burkina Faso, welcome! number 134.
Welcome Palestine! bringing the number up to 135.
For this recipe you will need;
500ml of passata
400ml of light flavoured olive oil
1 large head of garlic
2 red chillies
80g of jarred peppers, I use a brand called Peppadew
2 teaspoons of Pul Bebber chilli flakes
2 teaspoons of paprika
2 teaspoons of flaked sea salt

Begin by peeling and slicing in half, all the garlic cloves, cook them along with the chillies in the olive oil over the lowest heat you can manage, for 5 to 10 minutes or until the garlic cloves float to the surface and have taken on only a very little colour. Remove the garlic and chillies from the oil and place in a jug blender along with all the other ingredients. Taste the pureed mix to see if you require more chilli or if perhaps a little sugar is needed. Pour the mix back into the olive oil and place again on the lowest heat you have, place on a lid and cook gently for an hour. Whisk together the mix and pour into sterilized jars.

I usually find this quantity keeps me going for 4 to 6 weeks and the jar keeps perfectly happily in the fridge for that length of time. It may well last longer and as long as the lid has not been removed, it may last out of the fridge but I cannot claim it does as I haven't ever tried it.
Forget putting out a bowl with olive oil and balsamic vinegar on the table for your guests to tuck into with chunks of freshly baked bread, a shallow bowl of this tomato oil makes a very welcome alternative.
The oil tends to rise to the surface and of course in the fridge it solidifies but I find whisking it for a moment or two redistributes the oil perfectly.