As much as I love living in Leicester I’m often a little envious when I see London based bloggers nabbing all the rare and exotic produce. I know the world is a small place now and most ingredients are only a click of a mouse away but today I’m talking about the fresh stuff, the ingredients that won’t fit through your letterbox and that deserve to be selected and packed into a brown paper bag by your own fair hand. This leads me to the blood orange, I’ve been reeling at the torturous sight of all the blood oranges popping up on Instagram lately. From Holly’s beautiful blood orange, bitter chocolate and honey cupcakes to Ed Kimber’s Jaffa cakes there’s been some inspirational baking happening and i’ve been dying to sniff out some of these little tinkers for myself. With the season coming to an end I had almost given up hope, that is until C and I went out to dinner at Carluccios last week.
C spotted them first, I was so distracted by the multi coloured pasta selection I had neglected to check out the window display. Nestled amongst the usual meringues, biscuits and chocolate tarts sat a crate full of Sicilian Moro blood oranges just waiting to be snaffled. They are a lot smaller than your average orange with a red tinge to the skin and crimson red flesh. At 50p a pop they are slightly pricier, but they do have quite a bit more to offer, aside from being the most beautiful orange you could ever hope to cut into they are higher in antioxidants and superior in flavour. The first thing I did was squeeze one and drink it fresh. Amazing. Next job was to deliberate over what I could make with them, a tough decision which took quite some time with so many ideas and only 6 little fruits to play with. Sunday lunch was in the making so I eventually plumped for cake. Not just any old cake, something puddingy and indulgent for a sunday afternoon. This recipe only uses two blood oranges so I had enough left over to make a sorbet toO.
You will need:
- 4 dariole moulds
- 100g unsalted butter plus extra to grease the moulds
- 150g ground almonds
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 150g caster sugar
- 50g pistachios
- 2 eggs
- 2 blood oranges
Pre- heat the oven to 145ºC prepare the tins by melting a little butter and painting it into the inside of the mould. Zest one of the blood oranges and reserve. Thinly slice the other blood orange so you have 4 perfect cross sections, flick out and discard any seeds. Place the slices into the base of the moulds. Juice the remaining blood oranges and distribute the juice between the moulds.
Lightly chop the pistachios and toast in the oven for 5-8 minutes until golden. Set aside to cool.
Cream together the butter, sugar and orange zest until light and fluffy. Whilst this is happening weigh the almonds, salt and baking powder together in a bowl and keep close to hand. Break the eggs into a bowl and beat with a fork until well mixed. Slowly add 1/3 of the egg into the butter and sugar mix and beat well to incorporate, then add a spoonful of the almond mix. Continue to add the egg and almonds in alterations until all incorporated. Divide the mixture between the 4 moulds and bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer inverted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
These cakes are best served warm, once they are cool enough to handle run a knife around the outside of the cake to loosen then invert onto a plate, sprinkle with a little ground pistachio (I ground mine in a coffee grinder- a new toy, massive excitement!)
So exotic Leicester wins again and I think I’ve ticked off all my winter food wishes this season. I’m ready for spring now, bring on the rhubarb…