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P1020836

There is something very special about these little cakes. The combination of delicate flavours and sweetness make them an exotic treat. For a sharper flavour you could easily swap the orange for lemon. But I think they are just perfect the way they are.

Ingredients

For the cake

  • 175g softened, unsalted butter
  • 175g caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 150g polenta
  • 100g almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • zest of 1 orange

For the glaze

  • 50g demerara sugar
  • juice of 1 orange

The cake

Set the oven to 180C (160C fan). Grease and line a baking tray – mine is about 16cm x 16cm.

Whisk the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Slowly add the eggs, whisking as you go.

Add the polenta, almonds and baking powder and whisk again, slowly this time.

Grate in the orange zest and give a final stir.

Pour into your prepared baking tray.

Bake for around 30 minutes.

The glaze

Whilst the cake is cooking, mix together the sugar and orange juice.

When the cake is still warm make little holes in the top to help the syrup sink right in. Pour the glaze as evenly as possible. Cut into little squares.

MAKES 9.

P1020813

Over the summer we travelled to France by ferry. Sam was very impressed with the pasta box which we bought in the on-board restaurant. Since he so rarely enjoys tomato-based sauces, I did my very best to re-create it once we got back home.

We call it ferry-box pasta because we bought it on the ferry, and it was served in a box.

Obviously the idea behind cutting up the vegetables so small is to cunningly disguise them. I like to keep a few vegetables big enough to pick out so the children have the illusion of control.

Ingredients

  • olive oil for frying
  • 1/4 onion, very finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp demerara sugar
  • a dash of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 chicken breast, chopped
  • about 5 small brown mushrooms – finely diced, but keep a couple to one side and cut them into bigger chunks
  • 1/4 courgette, very finely diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, very finely diced
  • 200ml passata
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • a sprinkle of herbes de Provence
  • a handful of pitted black olives
  • 200g pasta (dry weight)
  • some chopped parsley and basil

Cook your pasta according to the instructions on the packet.

Meanwhile, fry the onion over a low heat, until it begins to caramelise. Add the demerara and balsamic vinegar and turn up the heat a little.

Remove the onions from the pan. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until browned.

Now add the mushrooms, courgette and garlic. Cook until they too are nicely browned. Return the onions to the pan.

Add the passata and chicken stock. Reduce. Throw in a handful of olives.

When the pasta has cooked, drain and stir it into the pan with the sauce.

Sprinkle over some chopped parsley and basil.

SERVES 4.

Here's one I made earlier

Here's one I made earlier

Hi, my name's Helen and I live in London with my husband and two children. When I started piping the potato on my shepherd's pies, my husband suggested that it might be a good idea for me to find an outlet for my creativity, so here we are. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, the extra twist is that I don't eat meat (I do eat fish though) and Jim, who loves meat, is always on a diet. Here are a few recipes that I have enjoyed making for my family.

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