I am always on the look-out for blood oranges in January. Their season is relatively short and they are so juicy and the flesh and juice such a rich colour, that they are impossible to resist. They look pretty innocuous in the farm shop – indeed there weren’t that many around as the harvest – particularly in Spain – has been affected by snow and frosts. So I had the last half dozen in the farm shop and wasn’t tempted by the hybrid on offer. I had a taste. But it wasnt the same and had a much thicker skin. No. I like the thin-skinned originals.
There are eight for dinner tonight and I am cooking Turkish. Herb pie, flatbreads, duk-kah, roasted red pepper with black garlic, cucumber and fennel pickle salad, aubergines in pomegranate molasses.
What I am really looking forward to it the experiment with the ubiquitous clementine cake, which I have adapted using blood oranges and aquafaba, and which we are having for pudding.
Put four blood oranges (or six clemetines and a lemon) in a saucepan so they are a snug fit, cover with boiling water and boil away for a good hour. Let them cool and then whizz to a pulp in the food processor. Take five tablespoons of aquafaba (the water from tinned chickpeas – see previous posts – or search ‘aquafaba’) and a tablespoon of cider vinegar, and whisk until frothy not foamy – so it looks like well-whipped egg whites. The aquafaba takes the place of the eggs in the original recipe.
Put 200g ground almonds, a heaped teaspoon of baking powder, 30ml unflavoured oil and 175g soft brown sugar in the food processor with the blood orange pulp and combine at high speed, then pour into a clean mixing bowl. Gently fold in the whipped aquafaba with a metal spoon then pour the batter into a 21cm round springform tin that you have oiled and dusted heavily with coarse semolina. Put in the centre of the oven, pre-heated to 180C, to cook until firm in the middle. Note that these proportions are smaller than the previous recipe so I would check it after 30 minutes and then lay a double thickness sheet of baking parchment over the top, then leave for 10 more minutes. It should be done by then.
Remove from the oven and onto a cooling rack (still in the tin). After half an hour, run a round-edged knife round the tin and invert the cake onto a wide plate.
Whilst the cake is cooking, thinly slice two or three more blood oranges. Put 100g soft brown sugar in a wide shallow pan with 150ml water. Bring to the boil and reduce a bit then add the slices of orange and any juice that is on the cutting board. Cook in the pan until the syrup is thick and the oranges are almost sticking to the pan but not quite. Remove from the heat.
When the cake is cool, arrange the oranges on top of the cake and pour the syrup over the top. Sometimes I add more syrup. There is often some in the fridge. Earlier in the year it was quince and lime syrup. At the moment it is Seville orange syrup that I drained from a batch of Seville orange and quince marmalade that would not set.
This cake is a complete experiment on my part. I am eager to see how the aquafaba works. The cake itself looks great at the moment. But we’ve not eaten it yet! I will report in later!