Lately I bought so nice oranges from Sicily that I couldn’t resist and use them also for some baking. My orange cookies are a hit and so great, I am sure I will make them many times and especially when I am invited somewhere.
But the other day I ‘stumbled’ over a Moroccan Orange Almond cake that is naturally gluten-free (like many original dishes and treats are, I found out). I looked at the original recipe that was actually a video and I was immediately intrigued by the fact that the whole oranges are cooked previously and then just blended.. with the peel. That is genius!
Basically the recipe has just three ingredients, the rest is for taste. Two oranges, two cups of almond flour and 6 eggs. Sweetener, vanilla and salt are for taste and it depends also by the oranges, you can omit all of it. The baking powder gives more fluffiness which I think is important.
I used instead of the conventional sugar raw honey and 4 eggs instead of 6. The honey has already a lot of moisture. I didn’t want to use coconut sugar as it has a strong taste. But I think next time I will try with coconut sugar and cinnamon as well. I found recipes that have also a little bit of cardamom which is used very often in the Arabic cuisine and gives a great taste (did you ever tried it in coffee? Sooo good!).
The almond orange cake is called Meskouta and seems to be done everywhere a little bit different. I found it also under name Persian Orange Cake.
It’s a perfect winter coffee cake, because winter is the season of oranges. Use only organic ones and maybe try the cake with lemons instead sometimes. As decoration: very thin orange slices are perfect. But also chocolate sprinkled on the top, icing sugar or simply ‘nude’ for breakfast coffee. Yummy
The evening before you want to bake the cake put the two whole oranges it a pot with water and boil them for two hours. Take away from the heat and let them cool overnight out of the remaining water.
Preheat the oven on 180°C/375°F.
Next day cut the two oranges in halves and take out the pips (if they have any). Then put the whole oranges into the blender and blend until they are a smooth cream. Add the eggs, the honey and the vanilla, pulse again until all combined. Add now the dry ingredients and blend until it forms a smooth and even cream.
Line a cake pan of 8" with parchment paper and transfer the cake dough into the pan. Bake for around one hour or a toothpick in the middle of the cake come out clean.
Take the cake out of the oven, let it cool a little in the cake pan and then transfer the cake on a cooling rack.
Garnish with icing-sugar and/or thin orange slices.
After a not too bad winter, just a couple of weeks ago the winter decided to remind what we missed. And in one night there came more than 30 cm/12 inches of snow. And a very cold wind from east brought Siberia to Europe. The winter frost stayed for a week before in almost only two days everything melted away.
I was pretty afraid that the flowers I saw before showing up right a little bit out of the ground, would have gone and lost for this spring.
Instead, it happened just the opposite: the flowers start to grow under the thick and apparently warm snow blanket. Being this way protected by the heavy frost of those days.
Now it’s a few days the sun is out, the warmth on my face is so beautiful, the birds singing the whole day and the fish in the pond has now 3 big frogs for company. Until summer there will be again at least a dozen of the ‘croakers’ and they will have their daily evening concert then.
I was out today doing my first garden work of this year and found a lot of colors, flowers that show their beauty to the sun. I love the lawn full of daisies, when I walk on it I can smell the sweet scent of them. Soon there will be a burst of colors, birds nesting in the cracks of the house and starlings coming to built their homes under the roof. I wake up in the early morning and hear them rolling stones and talking to each other. Spring is maybe the most beautiful season of the year.
Here are some of the beauties I found in the garden today, enjoy!
As I am a little bit in a ‘baking mood’, I wanted to try out some orange cookies. I decided to try a very simple Italian recipe for lemon cookies and prepare them just with oranges. Almost the same, isn’t it?
I played around a little bit with the flours. Instead of the only almond flour, I mixed in some amaranth flour. Both flours are not really holding the liquids so I also add some coconut flour to dry the cookie dough a little bit, give it a more firm texture.
The baking itself was a little tricky. It should be around 8 to 10 minutes. But my oven is a little ‘slow’ so I left them in for 15 minutes. Always checking that they don’t get any color.
When taking them out, they are still super soft. The outside is a little harder but they seem more raw than baked. When they cool out, they are perfectly light crunchy outside and inside soft and fluffy.
These cookies are definitely a huge success and perfect for any occasion!
When I say Caprese, nearly everyone things about salad. The also typical tomato and mozzarella slices with basil and olive oil. That’s right. And I love it. But even in the northern parts of Italy they never have heard about this very typical, very yummy, very light cake from Naples with the same name. Though it’s a very famous one and very often eaten.
When I first talked to friends here in Italy they looked at me like I would have soap for breakfast. How can you bake a Caprese? Well, and again I notice how different we are in one country. Many things I am used to, I don’t find in the north and very often, when I talk about something that seems very normal to me for the people here in the north it seems strange. In particular many things around the kitchen.
A Caprese cake is made of almonds, sugar (in my case honey or maple syrup), chocolate, butter (ghee) and some eggs. That’s it. Nothing more. All well mixed together and baked. A little icing sugar on the top for decoration and voilà! We have a nice almond chocolate cake that will intrigue everyone.
There are moments I have a kind of feeling like having something delicious. Or I would like to have a nice slice of toasted bread with a little jam on it. But for this really very rare moments I don’t want to buy a whole glass of jam and then leave it in the fridge for half a year. So why not doing some quick jam that is not too much and can be finished in just a couple of days?
Something I always wanted to try out is jam made with chia seeds. They give a kind of jelly consistence to fruit or even milk. I like chia seed pudding for example. I made that for a couple of times as breakfast. Very yummy and easy. So why not with fruit that gets spreadable this way?
That’s what I did. But not ‘trusting’ too much that the chia seeds will hold the relatively liquid fruit in a spreadable consistence I put also some agar. This made my jam perfect and on the homemade buckwheat bread, toasted in the oven, with a little ghee it is heaven. And ideal for breakfast or even in the afternoon as a snack.