Legacy

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For my first “Forever Nigellachallenge, I knew exactly the dish I wanted to make. Not for nothing it features in Nigella’s Legacy episode of her Nigella Bites series. This month’s theme is “nostalgia” and for me, this dish is full of nostalgic evocations. Granny Lawson’s pie is surprisingly similar to the empanadas that are such common fare in Argentina, where I come from. I have tweaked the recipe a bit to make it just so. I also noticed when watching the video that Nigella is not quite deft at making repulgue (the border which is twisted in order to prevent the filling from leaking) but I forgive her. So I’ve made it my way.

Yak and onion stuffed bread

Yak and onion stuffed bread

Instead of making it square, I’ve made it round, the way I’ve seen it done in the Himalayas (in photos only, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never been there). Really, this dish seems to be universal and with good reason. Bon appétit!

Granny Lawson’s Lunch Dish (source: Food Network)

Ingredients

For the pastry

1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, preferable Italian 00
Scant ¼ cup solid vegetable shortening
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
Approximately 4 tablespoons chilled, lightly salted water
1 egg beaten with pinch of salt, for brushing
2 to 3 tomatoes (about 12 ounces) or same amount of drained, chopped, canned ones
2 small onions
2 eggs, hard-boiled
4 ounces pitted black olives
2 tablespoons olive oil, not extra-virgin
9 ounces organic ground beef
Fat pinch allspice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

For the pastry

Measure the flour into a dish that will fit into the freezer (it doesn’t need to have a lid) and cut the shortening and butter into small – approximately 1/2-inch dice and toss them in the flour. Put in the freezer for 10 minutes.

I tend to make pastry in my stand mixer, but a processor’s fine too. In whatever contraption – fitted with the flat paddle in the one, with the double-bladed knife in the other – mix until you have a mixture that resembles coarse uncooked oatmeal. Now, dribble in the chilled salted water, slowly, with the motor still running, until the dough looks as if it’s about to cohere, but stopped short of its actually clumping totally. Turn out of the processor (though you could still do this in the bowl of the mixer) and squidge together with your hands until all the pastry forms a cohesive ball. Dribble in a little more water if you feel it needs it. Divide into 2 pieces of equal size and form it into fat disks. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. And this can be done a good day or 2 in advance if it helps.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Put the tomatoes in a bowl, cover with boiling water from the kettle and leave for 5 minutes. Drain, run under the cold tap, then peel, seed and chop roughly (or use canned tomatoes, chopped and drained). Peel and chop the onions, hard-boiled eggs and olives, too.

In a large frying pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Cook the chopped onions until softened and beginning to colour, turning the flame down to low if they look as if they’re sticking. Turn the heat back to medium and add the chopped tomatoes and cook, stirring for a minute or so before adding the beef. Stir well, breaking up the clumps of meat with your wooden spoon as you go, then when the meat’s browned, stir in the chopped eggs and olives and season with the allspice and salt and pepper. Cook over gentle heat for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Get a baking sheet out, and flour a surface and rolling pin. Remove the pastry from the refrigerator and roll out 1 of the disks until you have a thin, but not exaggeratedly so, rough square that will fit on the baking sheet, then place it on the baking sheet. Now roll out the second disk and leave it there while you cover the layer on the baking sheet with the ground beef mixture, leaving a margin of about 1-inch all around. With a bit of cold water and your fingers, dampen this edge. Place the second square of pastry on top and press the edges together to seal. Now, roll these edges back on themselves once or twice, then get a fork and press it, the tines curved side down, against this rolled border. Prong the top of the pastry to make air holes and then beat the egg with a generous sprinkling of salt and brush the top and edges of the pie with it to glaze.

Put it into the preheated oven for 20 minutes, by which time the pastry will be golden and cooked. Slice it into fat oblongs and eat warm with a vegetable or salad, or cold, wrapped in a napkin and without ceremony or cutlery.

 

My changes: I added the boiled egg and the black olives as I was assembling the pie and not before. I think there’s no need to cook the olives or the egg any more than they already are (plus, you’re going to cook them even further, inside the pastry). I substituted fresh tomatoes with sun-dried tomatoes, simply because that’s what I had. And, as I mentioned before, I did my own repulgue. I also dispensed with the shortening and used just butter for the pastry. Other than that, it’s Nigella’s recipe.

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You can also make them as individual empanadas if you feel like it.

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Edible gifts: Christmas chocolate cupcakes

So, once again it’s Christmastime. And, once again, the tradition of the edible gifts has begun. There is nothing about Christmas I love the more than giving gifts of food. In fact, the tradition of giving gifts around this time is very ancient and has its roots on Pagan festivals where the farmers gathered to celebrate the ending of the Winter (with the Winter solstice being the shortest day of the year, the days began, once more, to get longer) and they would swap the food they had preserved to use during the winter months.

Then, there is the cookie swap tradition which also has its roots on ancient Pagan festivals. In Scandinavia, the people who were too poor to offer animal sacrifices to the gods, would offer them animal-shaped biscuits instead.

This year, one of the stars of my edible gifts hamper were these delicious chocolate cupcakes by, who else? Nigella…

Nigella’s Christmas chocolate cupcakes

Ingredients

  1. 125g soft unsalted butter
  2. 125g caster sugar
  3. 2 large free-range eggs
  4. 100g plain flour
  5. 25g cocoa
  6. ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  7. 2 tsp baking powderfood
  8. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  9. 2-3 tbsp full-fat milk

For the decoration

  1. ½ x 500g packet of instant royal icing
  2. Christmassy sprinkles
  3. Red and green ready-made roll-out fondant icing or sugarpaste (optional)
  4. Seasonal sugar decorations (optional)

 

Have all the ingredients at room temperature.

With an electric mixer, mix the eggs and the sugar to ribbon stage. Add the dry ingredients, sifted, and then the melted butter.

Bake at 180ºC for around 10 or 15 minutes.

You can freeze them, without the decoration as soon as you’ve made them.

For the icing:

Mix some icing sugar into some boiling water and add some lemon juice.

It has to be pretty thick for it to run smoothly yet stay on the cupcakes.

My first catering event!

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Well, OK, it´s not technically my first one, having done big catering events for music festivals and all but it was the first catering event I ran on my own, designed the menu, etc. I loved the adrenaline and, most importantly, how smoothly it all went.

I had initially decided on a starter of figs wrapped in prosciutto with a blue cheese filling as I thought that was easy enough and, most importantly, could be done in advance. All very nice in theory… except it isn’t the season for figs here in Argentina. So, I went for plan B. The hostess had suggested Cantaloupe melon wrapped in prosciutto but I thought that would be baby stuff to do and not really challenging so I suggested a scallop starter. Boy! Was that a wonder! And it looked just beautiful (and very elegant) on the plate. Unfortunately, due to the speed I was cooking with (and the hungry guests that were waiting) I couldn´t immortalise it for posterity… which means I may have to do this dish again… Oh, well…

For the main dish, I adapted a wonderful Nigella recipe for Teriyaki salmon I found here, mainly in that I used my well-tested Teriyaki sauce for marinating the salmon and I also marinated the salmon for longer. Let me tell you, if you leave it overnight, like an ordinary marinade, it will turn into this glossy, thick, caramel you won´t believe you´re eating. They were four children having dinner that night and they all ended up licking their fingers. It is also a breeze to cook for an event if you have the sushi rice prepared (and covered with tinfoil) beforehand.  I had a few unexpected situations, such as being presented with this wonderful (whole) salmon which I had to manually pin-bone with a pair of stolen tweezers but if you ask your fishmonger to do it for you before you take it home, it should be easy peasy, reallly.

For dessert, I chose a classic,  crème brûlée, for two reasons: it is both very elegant to serve and it is very easy to make AND have it prepared beforehand in the fridge. You can even do it the night before. This is the dish I was the least concerned about and the first one I made. Once dessert was out of the way, I could concentrate on my fish. When I suggested this dessert, the hostess said that although she didn´t have a torch, she did have an iron burner which she was confident could be used for caramelising the surface… All I can say is, whatever you do, do NOT attempt this dish if you don´t have a blow torch. Failing that, forget the sugar and serve it in individual pots. I did neither which resulted in a technical fault in the middle of service, but the hostess was very gracious about it. Now I know.

So, if you are tempted to do some professional catering, the moral of the story is… make things easy for yourself, choose dishes that could be done in advance, at least in part (especially if you are feeding a large number of people), dishes that can be finished off quickly, and, most important of all, expect the unexpected, be a problem-solver and be prepared to improvise because more often than not, some things will just not turn out the way you thought.

Scallops and endives with orange sauce – adapted from a recipe by Narda Lepes

Ingredients

Bacon, cut into a very small brunoise,  100  g
Scallops  200  g
Endives,  4
Butter, as needed
Sea salt, as needed
Orange, as needed
Lemon, as needed
Coriander flowers, to garnish (I used edible Monks cress flowers, fresh from

the garden)

How to make:

Fry the bacon in its own fat. Set aside and in the same pan seal the scallops. Do NOT touch them too much. For best results, turn them over with a pair of small tongues. Failing that, tumble them over with your index finger. They cook extremely fast, just a couple of minutes each side. If you overcook them, they become rubbery so you really need to watch what you´re doing.

At the same time, in a big, flat pan sautee the endives, previously cut into long strips (into quarters really) in butter. Add the sea salt and the orange juice (if you use freshly-squeezed orange juice it will taste divine). Let it reduce a bit.

To serve: Put some endives on the plate, scatter some bacon cubes and place about 5 scallops on top. Garnish with the edible flowers and drizzle with some of the orange sauce. You can also add a lemon wedge and some orange peel cut into strips.

Mirin-glazed salmon  (adapted from Nigella Express)

Ingredients

  • 60ml mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine)
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 60ml soy sauce
  • 4 x 125g pieces salmon, cut from the thick part of the fillet so that they are narrow but tall rather than wide and flat
  • 2 x 15ml tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1-2 spring onions, halved and shredded into fine strips

Method

Serves: 4

1.      Mix the mirin, brown sugar and soy sauce in a shallow dish that will take all 4 pieces of salmon, and marinate the salmon in it for 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second. Meanwhile heat a large non-stick frying pan on the hob.

2.      Cook the salmon in the hot, dry pan for 2 minutes and then turn the salmon over, add the marinade and cook for another 2 minutes.

3.      Remove the salmon to whatever plate you’re serving it on, add the rice vinegar to the hot pan, and warm through.

4.      Pour the dark, sweet, salty glaze over the salmon and top with the spring onion strips.

5.      Serve with rice or noodles as you wish, and consider putting some sushi ginger on the table, too.

For the sushi rice

Gohan – © Gabriela R.

Wash 1 kg of sushi rice 3 or 4 times, then rinse for approximately 30 more minutes. Place the rice in a big pan and cover with 1000 cc water. Cook until it boils, WITHOUT stirring, lower the heat to its lowest setting, cover the pan and leave it like that until the rice has absorbed all the water (about 20 minutes). Do NOT lift the lid of the pan during cooking. Turn the heat off and leave to rest, covered, 10 more minutes.

For the sushi vinegar :

Heat 150cc sushi vinegar, 1 tsp. salt and 150g sugar in a pan. Stir until everything is combined and the sugar has dissolved. Leave to cool.

Place the warm sushi rice in a plastic or wooden bowl. Add the sushi vinegar and stir it in, making sure all the rice has some vinegar. Keep warm.

Note : If you are using this rice for sushi, leave it to cool completely. Spread it out on a flat surface if you are in a hurry. That way, it will cool down quicker.

Crème brûlée

  • 600ml double cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • Approx.6 tablespoons demerara sugar

Method

Serves: 6-8

1.      Put a pie dish of about 20cm diameter in the freezer for at least 20 minutes. Half-fill the sink with cold water. This is just a precaution in case the custard looks as if it’s about to split, in which case you should plunge the pan into the water and whisk the custard. I’m not saying it will – with so many egg yolks in the rich cream, it thickens quickly and easily enough – but I always feel better if I’ve done this.

2.      Put the cream and vanilla pod into a saucepan and bring to boiling point, but do not let boil. Beat the eggs and caster sugar together in a bowl, and, still beating, pour the flavoured cream over it, pod and all. Rinse and dry the pan and pour the custard mix back in. Cook over medium heat (or low, if you’re scared) until the custard thickens: about 10 minutes should do it. You do want this to be a good, voluptuous crème, so don’t err on the side of runny caution. Remember, you’ve got your sinkful of cold water to plunge the pan into should it really look as if it’s about to split.

3.      When the cream’s thick enough, take out the vanilla pod, retrieve the pie dish and pour this crème into the severely chilled container. Leave to cool, then put in the fridge till truly cold. Sprinkle with demerara sugar, spoonful by spoonful, and burn with a blowtorch till you have a blistered tortoiseshell covering on top.

4.      Put back in the fridge if you want, but remember to take it out a good 20 minutes before serving. At which stage, put the bowl on the table and, with a large spoon and unchecked greed, crack through the sugary carapace and delve into the satin-velvet, vanilla-speckled cream beneath. No more talking: just eat.

No Reservations

And no photos this time. At least not for the moment. And today’s dish is not particularly photogenic anyway.

But I thought I’d blog about the dish that has been a staple in the past few months more times that I’d care to count.

I’ve told you about my teeny-tiny kitchen before. My fridge is teeny-tiny too which means I cannot store a lot of ingredients there, not as many as I’d like to, that’s for sure. So whenever I come across a recipe with less than 5 ingredients, I jump with joy.

Browsing Nigella’s new book I discovered the spaghetti with marmite which she in turn discovered via Anna del Conte and enjoyed them so much that she was somewhat crossed about not having discovered the recipe before. That intrigued me. But the fact that it included marmite as its main ingredient wasn’t very encouraging. After all, in Argentina we only use it for bread. Not to mention the “love it or hate it” ad here in the UK not so long ago.

To say I approached this recipe with apprehension would be the understatement of the year. Still, I trust Nigella for all of the recipes I’ve tried have turned out really tasty. I even forgive her the unnecessary lengthy process for her Clementine cake. So, I closed my eyes, grabbed the smallest marmite jar off the supermarket shelf and headed for the counter, making a mental note of remembering each and every one of her family members if I didn’t like it.

I shouldn’t have worried though. It was so tasty that I promptly adopted it and have been making it over and over again, mostly when I feel like a quick supper and have almost nothing else in the fridge but half a packet of butter.

It is almost embarrassing to say I’ve simplified such a short and easy recipe even more, but I have. Which means I have to do less washing up!


Spaghetti with marmite – adapted from Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home

Ingredients:

  • 375g/13oz dried spaghetti
  • 50g/2oz unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp Marmite, to taste
  • freshly grated Parmesan, to serve

Preparation method:

  1. Cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling, salted water, according to the packet instructions.
  2. When the pasta is almost cooked, grab the bowl where you are going to serve the pasta (I am normally quite hungry so that tends to be a deep bowl), and add a couple of tablespoons of the pasta cooking water to it.
  3. Add the Marmite and the butter and mix thoroughly to dissolve.
  4. Reserve half a cup of the pasta water; then drain the pasta and pour it in the bowl to mix with the sauce, adding a little of the reserved pasta water to amalgamate if required.
  5. Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan.

A quick way with leftovers




Here’s a quickie for all of you who don’t want to hassle over lunch and yet want a tasty treat.

This is another gem from my beloved Nigella.

Enjoy!


Chicken, almond and parsley salad – by Nigella Lawson (taken from here)


Ingredients


1 cold cooked chicken breast, sliced and shredded

couple of handfuls fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 tablespoon or so extra virgin olive oil

juice of half a lemon

Maldon sea salt

50g or so flaked almonds, toasted


Serving Size : Serves 1


METHOD

1. Using your hands, mix the chicken and parsley together in a large bowl or on a large plate. Dribble over the olive oil and, still using your hands, toss to mix. Now squeeze over the lemon juice, sprinkle over the salt and tip in most of the toasted almonds and toss again. Sprinkle over the remaining almonds, and your work here on earth is done.

From the vaults: Chocolat

This is yet another entry I have to re-post, God knows why. Maybe it’s me and I still haven’t figured out how to use WordPress properly. Just because I don’t want you to felt cheated, I’ve added a little extra.


Having recently finished “The Lollipop Shoes”, Joanne Harris’ excellent sequel to her superb book “Chocolat”, I felt quite inspired to write a themed entry for my blog. Although she is not a chef, Joanne Harris is very passionate about her food and that comes across really well in her books. I wish I had her skill when describing a recipe…

I have to say chocolate has always been one of my perennial passions anyway.

So I thought I’d leave you with two of my recent chocolate recipes: brownies and chocolate pistachio fudge, both from Nigella Lawson. Having temporarily lost my staple brownies recipe, I decided to try hers and they turned out great.

I will be including the other version (the one I use most of the time) here anyway so that I don’t lose it anymore.


Having recently been on holidays in Miramar, Argentina, I will also include a few pictures I took there, this time from a chocolate shop which made fresh batches of c hocolate twirls (chocolate en rama for us in Argentina) at the shop window, as you can see.



The other shop window is from a shop in Buenos A ires (it was in Miramar too) which had a lovely chocolate chess on display.

I don’t know if the pun was intended or not but regardless of that, it’s highly original when you stop to think that the point of the game (apart from the check-mate) is to “eat” your opponent’s pieces. I think that in English the proper term would be to “capture” your opponent’s pieces. Anyway, that’s what we would say in Spanish.

By the way, the chocolate fudge makes a wonderful present if you have friends who are into chocolate. By using a chocolate that was high in cocoa (70%), the taste is rich and not too sweet but very chocolatey. Enjoy!


Brownies – from How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson (I halved the recipe and it was still quite enough)

375g soft unsalted butter

375g best-quality dark chocolate

6 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

500g caster sugar

225g plain flour

1 teaspoon salt

300g chopped walnuts

tin measuring approximately 33 x 23 x 5 ½ cm

birthday candles and holders, if appropriate

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Line your brownie pan – I think it’s worth lining the sides as well as the base – with foil, parchment or Bake-O-Glide.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a large heavy-based pan. In a bowl or large wide-mouthed measuring jug, beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla.

Measure the flour into another bowl and add the salt.

When the chocolate has melted, let it cool a bit before beating in the eggs and sugar, and then the nuts and flour. Beat to combine smoothly and then scrape out of the saucepan into the lined pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes. When it’s ready, the top should be dried to a paler brown speckle, but the middle still dark and dense and gooey. And even with such a big batch you do need to keep alert, keep checking: the difference between gungy brownies and dry brownies is only a few minutes; remember that they will continue to cook as they cool.

Makes a maximum of 48.

VARIATIONS

You can really vary brownies as you wish: get rid of the walnuts, or halve them and make up their full weight with dried cherries; or replace them with other nuts – peanuts, brazils, hazelnuts – add shredded coconut or white chocolate chips or buttons; try stirring in some Jordan’s Original Crunchy cereal. I had high hopes for chic, after-dinner pistachio-studded brownies, but found the nuts get too soft and waxy, when what you need is a little crunchy contrast.

Brownies (this is the recipe I turn to most of the time)

First turn the oven on.

Grease and flour a rectangular pan.

Place a pan with boiling water on the heat and on top of this another pan to create a bain Marie. Here melt 6 bars of good-quality chocolate and 125g butter. Once melted, take off the heat.

Mix and add 2 cups sugar, 4 eggs, ½ tsp salt, 1 cup plain flour, 1 cup chopped walnuts (optional) and 1 or 2 tsp vanilla essence.Scrape it out of the saucepan into the greased and floured pan. Bake until the top is dry (about 30 to 35 minutes but do check regularly as it will depend on your oven). Take out of the oven and leave it to cool. Cut into squares. They must be gooey inside but dry outside.


Chocolate Pistachio Fudge adapted from Nigell a Express by Nigella Lawson

350g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids), chopped

1 x 397g can condensed milk

30g butter

pinch salt

150g pistachios


1.      Put the chopped chocolate, condensed milk , butter and salt in a heavy-based pan on a low heat, and stir to melt.

2.      Put the nuts into a freezer bag and bash them with a rolling pin, until broken up into both big and little pieces.

3.      Add the nuts to the melted chocolate and condensed milk and stir well to mix. If you were doing regular fudge, you would notice the condensed milk change colour, a bit like when you make dulce de leche. This being chocolate fudge, I’m afraid you’ll have to play it by ear.

4.      Pour and spatch this mixture into a foil tray 23 cm square, smoothing the top.

5.      Let the fudge cool down, and refrigerate until set. You can then cut it into small pieces approx. 3 x 2.25 cm. cutting 8 x 10 lines in the tin to give 64 pieces best achieve this.

6.      Once cut, it can be kept in the freezer – no need to thaw jut eat straight away.

Makes 64 pieces of rich fudge


And here it is, the Domestic Goddess herself making them:


Nigella´s famous cake and what happened afterwards



Or:How to Turn a Long and  Winding Recipe into an Easy Peasy One.

I must confess I have always been puzzled by unnecessary steps in cooking, particularly if such steps are reeeeeeaaaaaaaaaally long.

I learnt the hard way not to take what’s written on a recipe as if it was written in stone. (I am equally annoyed by unnecessary ingredients added to a recipe for no reason like, when they don’t change the texture or flavour of a dish. I will rant about this in another post. Keep waiting).

So what I do is this. First time, I follow the recipe. Second time, I start meddling with it. Believe it or not, sometimes omitting those (long) steps really works.

Unfortunately, one of the persons that does that is my beloved Nigella.

I’m all up for simple, speedy things, when I can. Shortcuts? I don’t mind. And if you work in a hectic restaurant kitchen, believe you me, ANYTHING that will make your life easier will be welcomed with wide open arms.

I love Nigella. Seriously, I do. You should realize it by the number of recipes by her I’ve cooked and posted on this blog.

But sometimes her recipes have THESE-UNNECESSARY-LONG steps which get me thinking: ‘Won’t I live longer if I just don’t do that?’

Like, for example, in her Rosebud Madeleines recipe, she recommends resting the mixture in the fridge for an hour and then at room temperature for another half an hour more. Why? Oh, why?

I let it rest at room temperature for 5 minutes and my madeleines turn out fine.

I should know since madeleines are pretty much the only sweet cakes I bake. (That is because my madeleine tin is the only one I have left. For now).

I had heard so many people talk about NIGELLA’S CLEMENTINE CAKE that I knew I had to try it. So when I went to Argentina last year, Nigella’s cake was one of the recipes on my ‘to-do’ list.

It was a treat to make it, the clementines in Argentina are so big and juicy and here, well, here in London they’re just teeny-tiny… Oh, well…

Back to my issue with unnecessary-long steps in a recipe.

For this cake Nigella advocates boiling the clementines to death (for 2 hours!!!!!!) and believe me, if you don’t, you’re in for a surprise ‘cuz… nothing’s gonna happen. Really.

Don’t get  me wrong: the cake was delicious. It was a beauty. So I didn’t want to give up on it completely.

So what happened afterwards?

Well, Nigella’s lengthy, somewhat fussy cake became the easiest thing in the world.

And all that because I didn’t boil the clementines to death. No, I didn’t. and you know what?


They turned out fine.

Also, I experimented using plain flour and baking powder instead of ground almonds because I didn’t see how that could fail. It didn’t. True, made with almonds is a different story altogether but that doesn’t mean that if you haven’t got ground almonds you can’t enjoy this beautiful cake because you can.

I found recipes that used butter instead of oil and that worked fine as well.

These recipes are super easy. All you need to do is blitz everything in the blender (skins and all) and pour the mixture into the cake tin.

Honestly? I didn’t notice the difference.

Nigella’s Clementine Cake – from Nigella’s website

4-5 clementines (about 375g total weight)

6 eggs

225g sugar

250g ground almonds

1 heaped teaspoon baking powder

Put the clementines in a pan with some cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 2 hours. (!!) Drain and, when cool, cut each clementine in half and remove the pips. Dump the clementines – skins, pith, fruit and all – and give a quick blitz in a food processor (or by hand, of course). Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190ºC. Butter and line a 21cm Springform tin.

You can then add all the other ingredients to the food processor and mix. Or, you can beat the eggs by hand adding the sugar, almonds and baking powder, mixing well, then finally adding the pulped oranges.

Pour the cake mixture into the prepared tin and bake for an hour, when a skewer will come out clean; you’ll probably have to cover with foil or greaseproof after about 40 minutes to stop the top burning. Remove from the oven and leave to cool, on a rack, but in the tin. When the cake’s cold, you can take it out of the tin. I think this is better a day after it’s made, but I don’t complain about eating it at any time.

I’ve also made this with an equal weight of oranges, and with lemons, in which case I increase the sugar to 250g and slightly anglicise it, too, by adding a glaze made of icing sugar mixed to a paste with lemon juice and a little water. (this is Nigella talking, not me)


Clementine Cake with oil – adapted from Recetas de Tortas Inolvidables by Blanca Cotta

2 clementines (use 3 if they’re small) If you live in the UK, chances are they will be

3/4 coffee cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1 cup sugar (250cc)

1 ½ cup self-raising flour (I actually used 1 cup)

Cut the clementines in half and blitz it together with the juice of the other clementine. (I didn’t bother and used the 2 whole clementines). Add the egg, sugar and oil to the liquidizer. When everything is well processed, transfer to a bowl and add the sifted flour mixing with a spatula.

Transfer to a greased and floured mould (unless you have silicone moulds, I don’t. Yet.). The mixture should reach  2/3 of the mould because it will grow when baked. (Yes, I know you know, but still…)

Bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes or so until the cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.


Clementine Cake with butter – adapted from another recipe by Blanca Cotta

zest and juice of 4 clementines

100 g butter

2 eggs

1 cup sugar (250cc)

200g self-raising flour

1 tsp. baking powder

Cream the butter with the clementine zest and the sugar. You won’t be able to. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking really well. Now add the juice of the clementines (passed through a chino). The mixture will appear separated but don’t worry. Keep going. Now add the flour sifted with the baking powder. Mix with a spatula, transfer to a mould and bake in a preheated oven (see above).