Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Winter Kitchen - Orange and Walnut Bundt Cake

Picking up a kilo of blood oranges at the market the other day I began what's fast becoming my annual marmalade madness. For me, spending three days carefully tending to orange quarters really pays off. I just can't get enough of marmalade!

I followed up the jam making with an orange cake. I remembered Coconut and Quinoa's method of incorporating whole, pureed oranges and reserved some of the cooked orange quarters for the cake. 

Incorporating the pureed orange resulted in a really moist melt in your mouth cake with intense orange flavour. The walnuts added nuttiness and texture. And the bundt tin, was just because I like bundts.

I'd love to hear your feedback if your trying the recipe. Let me know how it goes in a regular cake tin. I'm thinking the high moisture content might make for a slightly soggy center but see how you go.

Orange and Walnut Bundt Cake

125g Butter, room temperature
200g Sugar
1 Egg
150g Pureed Orange, method below
½ tsp Grated Lemon Rind
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
150g Plain Flour
2½ tsp Baking Powder
60g Walnuts, ground
½ cup Milk

Heat oven to 180°. Butter a 6 cup bundt tin and dust with flour.


In a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar on medium-high for 3 minutes. Add the egg and continue to beat for 6-7 minutes until well and truly creamed. Add the vanilla, pureed orange and lemon rind and beat to incorporate.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour baking powder and walnuts. Stir the flour mixture into the batter in three batches alternating with 1/4c milk after the first and second additions. Be careful not to over mix. The batter should be fairly stiff but still light and fluffy.

Transfer the batter into the bundt tin, spreading evenly and smoothing the surface. Bake for approx. 35min until a knife comes out cleanly but the cake still appears steamy and moist.

Method for pureed orange

'Method' is probably a bit misleading as I didn't really have one. The oranges were left over from the marmalade making process. In brief, I used blood orange quarters that had been steeped over night and simmered for 2 hours. By this stage the skins had become extremely soft with little flesh left at all. I blended about 150g with a stick blender until smooth.

If you wanted to make your oranges from scratch I would suggest simmering 2 quartered oranges for at least an hour. Once completely cool, carefully press oranges to remove some of the juice and blend.

Monday, 11 June 2012


It seems lately that I'm spending all my energy just trying to keep warm. It's a real winter this year and wetter than it's been in a while. But I'm making the most of it, using all this seasons winter vegetables in warming stews and soups.

The canning mum did back in summer is paying off. I've just started using the peaches (on everything). Last night was a simple peach crumble. I had the leftovers on my porridge for breakfast this morning - very nourishing on a cold winters day and slightly cheeky.

Spending some time in the garden also, cleaning up mainly preparing the ground for next season. Will also have to start my seedlings soon.

I'm going to finish my marmalade toast now and watch the fire crackle.

The dam at full capacity.

Friday, 6 April 2012

Flower Show - Seeking Inspiration for Spring

Just a quick post to share some of my snaps from the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show.

It was a good day and saw lots of great ideas for Spring.

Picked up a selection of ranunculus and freesias that I'll plant as soon as the cool weather sets in.

Monday, 2 April 2012

The Flavour Garden

My first foray into to real gardening this year was inspired by a cookbook I purchased last Christmas titled Fast, Fresh & Green by Susie Middleton. The subject matter is vegetables but in no way is it just a vegetarian cookbook.

The book is a carefully thought out compilation of cooking technique and experience and has become invaluable to me in the kitchen. Susie's message is simple but effective and has changed the way I prepare every meal. She's taught me that all you need is the right technique and a few simple ingredients to create a mouthwatering and flavourful meal.

So where does the Flavour Garden fit in... Well now, with my new found skills I'm only limited by my imagination and what I have on hand. So in the interest of flavour I needed a herb garden.

I thought it was important to locate the garden in a sunny north facing plot close to the house. I didn't want to be traipsing around in the dark to gather my herbs for dinner.

The plot was an old succulent rockery so it was a bit of work removing all the rocks. The soil underneath hadn't been turned over in 40 years. I know this because we found a Coke can that was still measured in fluid ounces.

Three months on and the gardens is getting quite established. I have a nice collection of herbs, chillies, spring onions, and hopefully in the near future will be home to garlic and maybe even ginger.

The garden is fast becoming an indispensable addition to the kitchen.