1. Whole orange and almond cake
Wheat and dairy free, this is a wonderful celebration of natural, simple food – a favourite of Claudia Rosen, the British food writer and inspirational Middle East specialist. The recipe was first published in 1968, in her book ‘The Book of Middle Eastern Food’. This was updated in 1986 to a ‘New book of Middle Eastern food’ and has since been celebrated on Radio 4s The Cookery Library.
Oranges have a lot of flavour in the skins, which we usually throw away (or, hopefully, compost!) This recipe harnesses that flavour, and, combined with the simmered skin, it gives the cake a wonderfully deep flavour and gooey, damp texture; without being overly heavy.
The cake is both light and dense; exuding moist, natural goodness with an essence of warmer climates. Perfect for a special tea, even more so for dessert with cream or dairy free vanilla yogurt – in the summer, with fresh berry compote or freshly picked black currants, or in winter with crystallised orange peel.
- 2 large oranges
- 6 free-range eggs
- 250g/9oz ground almonds
- 250g/9oz caster sugar
- 1 tbsp baking powder (gluten-free, if required)
- A 23 Cm springform tin, lined with waxed paper
- Wash the oranges thoroughly. Bring to the boil in a saucepan of water and gently cook for two hours.
- Preheat the oven to 175C/325F/Gas 3 and line a 23cm/9in cake tin.
- Leave oranges to cool, then slice into quarters and remove pips.
- Pulp the oranges in a food processor.
- Beat the eggs and lightly stir in all the remaining ingredients, including the orange pulp.
- Pour into the cake tin and cook for about an hour, until the cake is golden in colour and has risen.
- Transfer to a wire cooling rack, keeping the cake in the tin.
- When the cake has cooled, carefully remove from the tin and serve as desired.
2. ‘Waste’ orange peel & apple chutney
I call this ‘Chuck it in Chutney’ – a very flexible, super easy recipe based on one from BBC Good Food.
It gets better with a bit of age, but never fails! The following makes around a litre – increase as needed.
- 1.5 Kg apples – core removed. Peeled, or not as you prefer
- 750g sugar – light muscovado gives a darker & more treakly result, but white is fine too
- 500g raisins and / or other dried fruit
- 2 medium onions
- 2 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp salt
- 700 ml cider vinegar (but other vinegars work too!)
To the basic recipe, add Orange peel – washed & cut into cubes: I save the peel when eating oranges until I’ve a good amount.
Add other spice to suit – experiment.
I usually have chilli ready to pick at the same time as a glut of apples, so slice some and add them – give it a kick and the red streaks in the finished chutney look pretty .
- Combine all the ingredients in a large, heavy saucepan.
- Gently bring the mixture to a boil over a medium heat.
- Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, for 30-40 mins, or until thickened.
- Sterilize clean jars in the oven and prepare your seals and lids whilst waiting.
- Remove chutney from the heat and transfer to sterilised, clean, dry jars and seal.
3. Candied Orange peel in bitter chocolate
This is another great use for the orange peel you’ve saved after eating the oranges. Use the best bitter chocolate, or just leave the candied orange strips natural. This recipe also works with other citrus fruit, and makes a beautiful, and tasty Christmas present, packaged in a pretty jar.
The recipe is taken from ‘The New City of London Cookbook‘, by Peter Gladwin – head chef at Party Ingredients: an extremely successful outside catering company based in London, and a blast from my past as a head chef in a rival company many years ago! Happy days…
- 4 Oranges
- 1 Litre of water
- 500g Caster sugar (or granulated)
- 1 Cinnamon Stick
- 6 Star Anise Pods
- 200g 70% dark chocolate (I use Green & Blacks)
- Remove the pith, carefully so as not to cut in too deeply. Cut into long 5mm wide strips.
- Place peel in a pan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil.
- Simmer for 5 minutes. Drain & discard water.
- Repeat at least once to tenderise the orange and remove bitterness.
- Return peel to the pan a final time & cover with water. Bring to the boil & reduce to intensify flavour. Simmer for 40 minutes.
- Add sugar & spices to make a syrup. Simmer for 30 minutes, ensuring it doesn’t burn.
- Leave the peel in its syrup overnight, to soften.
- The following day, return to the pan to the boil and cook gently until all liquid has evaporated and the peel is well coated: gently swirl the pan without stirring.
- Carefully remove the peel & cool on a wire rack.
- Place the rack, with peel, onto a roasting tin and bake in a low oven (50c) for 2 – 3 hours, to dry.
- The peel can be stored for months in an airtight container for months, at this point.
- When ready to coat in chocolate, dip half into melted chocolate. Lie on silicone paper to set.
‘You paid good money for that… Why waste it?!!”