Posts tagged orange

Orange Polenta Cake (free-from)


ollowing on from chapter 1 – “Hoisin, Soy and Ginger Meatballs” (previous post) you’ll know that a heavy weekend of exercise required some calorie replacement. Cue dessert. I’m not a big cake eater but any cake that’s doused in syrup is one that I can get on board with.

I’ve made a few drizzle cakes and polenta loaves in the past but the use of whole oranges in this recipe really makes a difference and bumps this one up the leader board! It doesn’t require a huge amount more effort but means this cake is moist and packed with orange flavour. It also make an excellent dessert unlike a Victoria sponge style cake as you can serve it warm with a scoop of creamy vanilla ice cream.


nintentionally this recipe is also dairy and gluten free! Which I think leads smoothly onto the news that I have now officially left the wine industry which has served me well for the past 4 years in London! But I’m more than excited to be entering a fresher, more creative and healthier career with Deliciously Ella. So next week starts the second chapter of my London life. Who knows what it has to hold and what recipes these blog posts might contain in the near future.

Adapated from a recipe by ‘John Torode’


  • 2 large oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 200g ground almonds
  • 4 eggs
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 150g polenta
  • 80ml olive oil
  • 10g baking powder

Sticky Syrup

  • 3 oranges, juice (150ml juice)
  • 75g caster sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 23cm cake tin (springform recommended or loose bottomed)
  2. Place 1 orange and 1 lemon in a saucepan of water so they are completely submerged and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, remove the fruit from the pan and cut in half. Remove any unwanted seeds.
  4. Place in the bowl of a food processor and add the juice only of the other orange and lemon. Blend into a thick smooth paste.
  5. Beat the eggs with a pinch of salt until foaming. Add the sugar and beat again.
  6. Next add the orange paste, almonds, oil and combine well.
  7. Add the polenta to the baking powder then fold these dry ingredients into the wet.
  8. Pour into your lined baking tin and bake for about 50 minutes.
  9. While cooking, make the syrup. Heat the sugar and juice on a medium heat until beginning to bubble and turn glossy. Keep warm.
  10. When the cake is ready pour over the syrup liberally whilst still in the tin. I like to pierce the whole cake with a cocktail stick (especially at the edges and middle) to allow the syrup to seep into the cake better. This prevents it running off the top and collecting round the edges.
  11. Once the syrup has soaked in thoroughly, remove from the tin and turn out onto a serving plate

Serve warm with ice cream or at room temperature. The cake will keep well for about a week if stored well and become more moist!


Raw Citrus Salad


f you’ve been (un)lucky enough to experience the heat wave that swept the UK last week then you’ll probably agree that appetites change from being food dominant to a welcome craving for frosty, cold and delicious beers. Iced rose if thats more your thing, or perhaps just a freshly made lemonade in the sunshine. However, food still has its place but freshness, lightness and nothing too heavy takes the culinary crown. This salad was perfect after what was probably the hottest day of the year so far. After trawling over London for a meeting – which at the time felt dramatically reminiscent of a desert voyage – I was in no fit state for cooking anything too warm later that evening….

This therefore seemed the perfect opportunity to make a fresh salad but one to replenish the nutrients. And time to crack out an ingredient that’s been waiting patiently in my pantry for the past few months. A little gift from overseas from the Norwegian’s.  I’ve not seen a oil like this before but have been delighting in it since. Whilst I’ve tried flavoured oils in the past which I’ve found to be either bland or synthetic, this little oil/balsamic combo – mandarin oil with an epic peach and apricot balsamic – served neat and combined in equal measures with some crusty bread for dipping was amazing! I instantly thought seafood, fennel, and raw salads….after thoughts of frosty beers and rose. I did mention it was very hot…

With a lack of garden space or even a balcony in London (sympathy welcomed) there was sadly no place for a BBQ here. But if you do then this would be an amazing salad served with charred barbecued squid or octopus. Or keep it simple and griddle your asparagus or sea bass. The smoky bbq flavour is perfect for anything citrus here.

Like I said, its a meal for a hot day…minimal effort, more an assembly of flavours. Feel free to add in any other ingredients of choice or fish and seafood.

*NOTE – if you’ve no time to pop to Norway for these delights, a really good extra virgin olive oil with either a generous squeeze of lemon/lime/orange would work a treat. Try adding a few very thin slices of orange segments or grated zest too. Blood orange if you’re feeling extravagant.

Serve 2

  • 2 celery sticks, finely sliced
  • 1 bunch asparagus spears
  • 1 bulb fennel, sliced wafer thin (using a mandolin if you have one)
  • 1 handful walnuts, toasted and lightly crushed
  • Small bunch fresh basil and mint, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon/orange/lime
  • Extra virgin olive oil and 1 orange OR flavoured citrus oil or equivalent to above
  • 2 sea bass fillets (or as above, squid, octopus etc)
  1. Hest a frying pan/griddle pan to medium high and add a splash of light olive oil. Griddle the asparagus spears to just take off the rawness for a few minutes until beginning to char. Season and remove from the heat and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the celery, shaved fennel, toasted walnuts and finely chopped herbs.
  3. When the asparagus spears have cooled a little, add them to bowl.
  4. Season and grate in the zest of half the lemon.
  5. The next bit if up to you. Add the citrus oil, and the juice of half a lemon or add the juice of an orange/lime and some plain, extra virgin olive oil. Its all about taste. You need a fresh citrus flavour but it needs to be balanced.
  6. Set aside once done. Fry your fish and serve atop your fresh salad.

I served mine alongside some roasted carrots …I’ll admit this isn’t supporting the cooling and ‘non hassle’ trend I championed above. What can I say, the frosty beer worked a treat…

  • Slice 2-3 large carrot into chunky diagonal chunks
  • Season and drizzle with olive oil
  • Scatter with 1 tbsp of cumin seeds
  • Roast for about 25 minutes until starting to caramelise and soften. Check after this time and leave in longer if needed.
  • 5 minutes before they look ready, add 1 btsp running honey and combine. roast for 5 more minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and served, slightly cooled, with your citrus salad (also lovely to add chopped parsley and crumbled feta/goats cheese)


Harissa Chicken With Orange Herb Barley Salad

Jess - Harissa Chicken4Jess - Harissa Chicken3


ts safe to say I’m a fan of Greece. The food, the weather, the glassy wakeboard inviting waters and the calming pace of life. I’ve even been partial to the odd Greek wine! I visit every year for my dose of Vitamin D and halloumi and to brush up on my water sports. But I’ll focus on the food for the time being. After experimenting with a unassuming pack of Odysea’s deliciously authentic Saganaki cheese last year it was time to venture into their range a bit more with my appreciation of Greece and the Med. Being the good natured Greek loving company that they are I arrived home one Friday evening after work to a box of delightful goodies to sample and experiment with!

And sample I did.

This recipe is adapted from a Bill Granger combination I once saw and with all the right flavours from Odysea (with the odd ‘forage in the pantry’ twist) it was the perfect foundation for my med inspired dish to help prolong the recent spring sun. The roasted oranges add a really unusual touch here along with the gentle spicing which are a perfect match with Odysea’s punchy, creamy and crumbly feta cheese. Heaps of mint, dill and lemon juice bring it all to life and sooth the post harissa spice! One to give a go on a sunny but still brisk Spring evening.

Serves 4

  • 2 small oranges
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ‘Odysea Wild Thyme & Fragrant Honey’
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g pearl barely or spelt
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 1 carrot grated
  • 200g ‘Odysea Greek Feta‘, crumbled in large chunks
  • Large handful mint leaves
  • Small handful dill, finely chopped
  • 2 small poussin (or 4 joints of chicken e.g. chicken legs, thighs etc)
  • 4-6 tbsp of ‘Odysea Harissa spread‘ or 2 tbsp harissa paste
  •  2 large garlic cloves
  • Salad to serve – I used a crisp mix of chicory, little gems and watercress dressed in some lemon and extra virgin olive oil (Odysea of course)
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C.
  2. Marinade the poussin in the harissa, seasoning well and then add 1 pealed, gently crushed garlic clove to each cavity and set aside.Jess - Harissa Chicken5
  3. Slice the oranges thinly and place on a lined baking tray evenly spread. Grind the fennel, cumin and chilli flakes in a pestle and mortar and then add the honey and olive oil and mix well. Coat the oranges slices in the mixture.
  4. Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes, keeping an eye on them until they begin to caramelise and char. This time with vary depending on how juicy the oranges are. Leave to cool slightly.
  5. Cook the barely or spelt according to the packet instructions until tender then drain well and leave to cool to room temperature.
  6. Meanwhile, turn the oven down to 190°C and place the poussin on a lined baking tray. Bake for around 40 minutes until tender and the juices run clear. Set aside to rest while you finish the salad.
  7. Add the warm oranges slices to the drained grains.
  8. Stir in the juice of the lemon, plenty of salt and pepper and the chopped dill.
  9. Scatter in the crumbled feta, the grated carrot and stir to combine.
  10. Finally, roughly chop the mint at the last minute and add to the grains and stir.
  11. Loosen with a little more lemon or a splash of extra virgin olive oil if needed
  12. Carve your rested poussin in half and serve half each alongside the grain and green salad, scattered with extra mint if you like

NOTES: This would also be lovely with a side of warm pillowy flatbreads, dipped into a cleansing and fresh lime and coriander yoghurt or tzatziki.

For a wine match I would suggest a fresh Chenin Blanc or the slightly aromatic taste of  Viognier.

Jess - Harissa Chicken2





This is an original Green & Blacks recipe with original G&B chocolate from my thumbed and chocolate covered copy of their first recipe book. I cannot take the credit for this decadent creation so I hail the writer of the book and the creator of the recipe….if I ever meet you, you deserve a big kiss….assuming you’re male, tall, dark and handsome that is….

In the original recipe, this ‘cake’ has been royally dusted in a shimmering sheen of gold dust. I didn’t get hold of any in time but to make it as glamorous and irresistible as the famous bond girl then go for it. I also chose to flavour mine with 1/3 ‘Maya Gold’ chocolate as suggested- an orange and spice flavoured bar. However, an orange, lemon or even salted bar (I’m dying to try that as I write) would be amazing too. Served with my marmalade and cocoa nib ice cream, the festive orange was a soothing addition.




Serves about 12

  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
  • 100g Maya Gold chocolate (or orange, lemon, salt, etc…)
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 165g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tbsp ground almonds
  • Icing sugar to dust
  1. Grease and line a springform cake tin (20-23cm wide). Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Place the butter, sugar and chocolate with a pinch of salt in a heatproof bowl and place it over a pan of barely simmering water and heat gently until all melted and combined. Set aside to cool a little.
  3. Whisk the eggs with the almonds. When the chocolate has cooled slightly, fold the eggs in and mix well to combine. It will look like it won’t combine at first but pursue it until smooth and creamy.
  4. Pour the mixture into the tin and level off. Bake for 35-45 minutes until set but with a small amount of give when touched in the middle.
  5. Leave to cool completely in the tin before removing and serving at room temperature. Scatter with a generous snowy blanket of icing sugar or a bond-girl-style sheen of gold dust and serve voraciously with cream or ice cream.



Chewy Date Slice



However delicious, I was unsatisfied with churning out another generic batch of star-topped, icing-dusted mince pies this weekend. Before you bar-humbug me (as those who know me know I a Christmas LOVER) these have the festive touch of chewy sweet dates, punchy orange zest and warming cinnamon that make a welcome alternative to the mince pie. Especially if, like my glamorous Gran, you are raisin hater. Devour after a cold walk with some warm mulled wine to warn off the teasing sniffles of a brewing cold that threatens to sabotage your Christmas day..

Makes about 12 slices

  • 175g plain flour
  • 125g cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 250g dates
  • 1 orange
  • 75g butter
  • 150ml water (maybe a bit more)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 100g flaked almond
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Start with the shortbread base. In a food processor, combine the flour, sugar and the cold cubed butter until a dough forms. Alternatively, rub the butter into the dry ingredients until you form a dough.
  2. Line a tin (about 25cm x 16cm) with parchment and mold the dough into the tin pressing it down with the back of a spoon. Chill for 15 minutes in the fridge.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bake the shortbread for about 15-20 minutes until golden but it doesn’t matter if not completely cooked as you will cook it again with the topping. Leave to cool while you make the topping.
  4. Put the dates, cinnamon, 25g of butter, water and the zest of the orange in a saucepan. Bring to the boil and then remove from the heat. Leave to cool and puree in a food processor. Add a splash more water if too thick.
  5. Combine the flaked almonds, vanilla, sugar and remaining 50g of butter in a saucepan and heat until the butter melts. Coat the almonds in the melted butter and leave to cool a little.
  6. Spoon the date puree over the shortbread base and spread out evenly. Scatter over the buttery almonds and bake for about 25-35 minutes until golden.image
  7. Leave to cool in the tin before cutting into slices and dusting with icing sugar.



Roasted Duck, Carrot and Orange Puree, Red Wine Sauce

This week I christened the kitchen of my new London flat. I bagged myself a feathery topped bunch of bargain carrots from Portobello Road market in my fleeting lunch break; a seasonal orange for companionship and festivity; a couple of fatty winter warming duck legs and some obliging red wine (of which I am not short of these days…). Flat hunting had evoked far too many saddened hours separated from my apron and camera so a free evening midweek was the perfect time to be reunited. Whilst it tasted delicious, I’m still to work on the lighting in my new environment….

Serves 2

  • 2 duck legs
  • Bunch carrots (About 4 large carrots), peeled and chopped
  • 25g butter
  • 1 orange
  • 250ml red wine
  • 250ml beef stock
  • ½ onion, diced finely
  • 1 small carrot, diced finely
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Bunch of thyme
  • 1 knob butter
  • 1tbsp flour
  • Handful of greens to serve
  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Season the duck legs generously on the skin side and roast for about 45 minutes to 1 hour until crisp and tender. Turn the heat down to 190°C after about 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a saucepan, fry the diced onion and carrot in a little oil until soft. Add one of the garlic cloves finely chopped and the thyme leaves and fry for a further few minutes.
  3. Turn up the heat and add the red wine and simmer for a few minutes. Add the stock and simmer briskly for about 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced by half.
  4. Once reduced by half, sieve and discard the vegetables and return to sauce to the clean pan. Season to taste and simmer very gently while you do the puree.
  5. Heat half the butter in another saucepan and add the chopped carrots. Add a whole clove of garlic (in skin) and 2 big strips of orange peel. Add enough water to just cover the carrots and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until really soft and almost all the liquid has been reduced.
  6. Puree the drained carrots in a food processor with the remaining knob of butter and some seasoning. Add a splash of the reserved liquid if you like to thin it out and then keep warm.
  7. Return to the red wine sauce. Mix together the knob of butter and the flour to form a paste in a small bowl. Whisk this, bit by bit (as you may not need all of it) into your simmering sauce which will thicken and turn glossy. Simmer until thick enough and ready to serve,
  8. Serve the puree topped with the roasted duck legs and a liberal drizzle of your red wine sauce. Serve with some cooked greens.


Chocolate Orange Polenta Tarts



So I’m not going to lie, this was an experiment that I’ve been meaning to try since I wrote it down on my ‘to cook’ dissertation-style list/essay. It was successful but only after much cursing, trial and error and some kitchen instinct. So…tackle as you may but be prepared to get cross. I essentially used an orange polenta cookie recipe (see here) that I have previously made which is crumbly and delicious, as the ‘tart case’ instead of pastry. Sounds simple, you’re right. then fill with chocolate orange ganache….! I lined some mini greased tart tins with the mixture and baked. However, there was a tendency for it to melt into a big pool….I used the bottom of a ramekin to push the mixture down but baking beans and parchment may have been a good shout. The mixture type does have the tendency to crisp up and harden when it cools so keep hope.

 Makes 9 mini tarts.

  • 85g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 130g polenta
  • 50g plain flour
  • Zest 1 orange
  • 1 egg
  • 150ml cream
  • 150g Green & Blacks orange chocolate


    Firstly, read above for technical details before starting. Preheat the oven to 190°C and grease about 9 small tart cases

  2. Rub the butter into the polenta, flour and sugar until combined. Add the orange zest.
  3. Mix in the egg thoroughly and chill for 1 hour, covered, in the fridge.
  4. Now, use handfuls or the mixture to press and line the well-greased tart tins to form a nice case up the sides and over the base. The mixture is fairly greasy too so it shouldn’t stick on baking. I didn’t, but line with parchment and baking beans and bake from anywhere between 20-30 minutes (helpful, sorry)- the mixture may melt down the sides but press it up to create a case. Remove the beans once the edges have begun to turn light gold and crisp and bake for a few more minutes until the cases are set.
  5. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack until really cold.
  6. While cooling, make the ganache. Simply bring the cream to near boil in a pan and then stir in the chopped chocolate and mix until melted.
  7. Leave to cool a little before spooning generously into the tart cases. Cover and chill for about 4 hours until set.
  8. Enjoy with a large dollop of cleansing creme fraiche and a grimace if this was a pain to make. Like I said it was an experiment!

NOTE: If the polenta casing was not for you, feel free to use a normal shortcrust pastry, spiked with orange zest or add a little polenta for crispness. You can also add marmalade or an orange curd to the base before pouring over the ganache which would be interesting…!?


Orange Polenta Biscuits

These will pleasingly fill any anorexic looking biscuit tin. Thanks once again to Jamie Oliver’s help……

  • 85g unsalted butter, cubed
  • 85g caster sugar
  • 130g polenta
  • 50g plain flour
  • Zest of 1-2 oranges
  • 1 egg
  1. Rub the cubed butter into the flour, polenta and sugar
  2. Stir in the egg and orange zest
  3. Chill in the fridge for about 1 hour.
  4. Preheat the oven to 190°C and line a baking tray with parchment. Take walnut sized pieces of dough, roll into balls and flatten slightly on the tray.
  5. Bake for about 6-8 minutes until crisp and tinged round the edges. Leave to cool before removing from the tray!


Trout with Almond and Orange Salsa

Fish and a vibrant salsa make the perfect marriage on the best of days but throw in some crunchy almonds and some cleansing fresh orange and you’ve got yourself a delicious swingers party……The texture of this ‘salsa’ add a lovely crunchy addition to the soft trout. It would also go brilliantly served with some blushing slices of roast lamb.

Serves 4

  • 90g flaked almonds
  • ½ lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 tsp runny honey
  • 1 orange- 1 tbsp orange juice squeezed
  • salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Bunch of coriander
  • Bunch of mint
  • 4 trout fillets
  1. Heat a splash of oil in a pan over a moderate heat. Fry the flaked almonds for about 3-5 minutes until they begin to turn a nutty brown and release their flavour
  2. Tip into a pestle and mortar and crush lightly but not to a paste, keeping some texture
  3. Add the lemon juice and zest, orange juice, honey, salt and pepper, and loosen with a good few tablespoons of olive oil.
  4. Allow to cool slightly  while you cook you trout. Season the skin side well with salt and pepper. Heat some olive oil in a hot frying pan and when really hot, fry, skin side down for about 4 minutes to get it really crispy. Season the flesh side and then turn and finish cooking for 2-3 minutes on the flesh side on a lower heat. Baste with a knob of butter at the end.


When ready to serve, chop the herbs finely and stir through the salsa. Add more oil to loosen if you like and season and adjust to taste. Serve your warm trout topped with the fresh salsa.


All made that extra bit more delicious by my personalised plate, courtesy of KVStudios!

Vitamin C Brownies

These chocolate orange brownies won’t fight off scurvy but I’m sure the Government would say you’re well on your way to one of your five a day here…..they do contain orange zest after all. Add a packet of fruit pastels and hey….new years health resolution kept. I’ve made countless amounts of brownies and all have varying textures from ‘cakey’ to ‘gooey’ but this one I would describe as ‘fudgy’ I think.

Makes, well, more than enough….(about 25 squares)

  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 350g plain, good chocolate chopped into chunks
  • 150g walnuts (or hazelnuts)
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 350g light brown muscovado sugar
  • 225g plain flour, sieved
  • Grated zest from 2 large oranges
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 23x32cm deep tin with parchment. Alternatively, use a few smaller tins, it just depends how thick you want the end result.
  2. Put the walnuts onto a baking tray and toast in the oven for about 10 minutes until fragrant
  3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat and once beginning to turn liquidy add the chocolate chunks and stir until melted. Put aside to cool slightly.
  4. Put the eggs, sugar and orange zest into a large bowl and whisk for a good 5 minutes or so until light, airy and creamy.
  5. Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture into the eggs and stir to combine.
  6. Add the walnuts and fold in with the sieved flour.
  7. Pour into your prepared baking tin and bake for about 20-25 minutes until set but with a slight ‘goo’ in the middle. Allow to cool in the tin before cutting into fudgy chunks and dust with icing sugar.

Also a great gift to cunningly ply any potential life-long friends or future husbands with…………..