Moroccan Orange Cake

Light and perfumed, gritty and moist – this is a superb cake.

You will need a baking dish – this is a batter cake.

4 medium sized eggs

1 1/2 cups of sugar

1/2 cup of vegetable oil

2 cups of flour (any kind will do oat, corn meal, wheat) or you can add ground almonds as part of the flour here for extra grit

4 tsps baking powder

A bit of salt

1/2 cup of fresh orange juice

Zest from 2 oranges

1 tsp vanilla extract of vanilla sugar

Preheat the oven to 180 deg C

Get a big bowl and add the eggs and sugar and beat, then add the oil and the dry ingredients  – mix

Put in the juice, vanilla and orange zest -mix.

Pour in to the baking dish. At this point I put on a sheet of greaseproof paper over it to stop it from burning.

Bake for approx 40 mins.

You can make this cake with whole boiled oranges using the flesh and peel in the recipe – it’s a more dense and moist cake, and more orangey!


Chocolate and Almond Biscotti

Here’s a recipe I tried twice now and it worked for me. although didn’t think it would. As you know biscotti means bake twice and once you’ve done so then this amazing Italian biscuit will survive two weeks and can be frozen.


2 large eggs – and I do mean large

2/3 cup of sugar ( I use my pot of vanilla-infused sugar)

1 tsp vanilla extract – the good stuff

1/4 tsp salt

1 3/4 cups of good plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

Sliced almonds and bashed-up dark chocolate – a good one not a cooking one

Crack the eggs in to a bowl and whisk, add the sugar and then whisk some more, a lot more. Whisk like crazy til the mixture is rich and stringy.

Add the vanilla and stir

Add the salt and baking powder to the flour in another bowl and stir, then transfer to the egg mixture.

Mix it all up with a wooden spoon.

Then add almond slices and chocolate to your taste.

You can replace half the flour with cocoa powder for a very chocolatey taste.

Anyway, what you will have is a sticky mass, which doesn’t look like it will work.

Transfer the mixture onto a grease-proof sheet on a tray in a log-like fashion.

Whack it into the oven at 180 deg for 35 mins. Take it out and have a look. It should look like a slightly domed bread. Test it. If it’s baked in the middle then slice it up and lay the sliced pieces out on their backs and pop back in for 10 mins or so. Flip them and put back in again.  

St Nick’s 19 December

The Feast of St Nicholas

Cooking with Mama, and Baba

Pinny on, tails trail to the floor

Bowls filled with sumptious ingredients

I dip my finger, then lick, close my eyes,

Delighting in the heaven of vanilla with walnuts,

Juicy, bulbous pearls of barley; smells divine.

Slava bread, large, round

Kissed and blessed by the holy man

Drenched with wine, burned with candle wax

Remembering Serbian clans and tribes

Wanderers from Mongolia, Russia, Armenia;

We are Rom, blue-eyed Gypsy, roses in our hair, our hats.

In our eyes, souls of a travelling past,

Making bread at camps, killing boar for the feast,

Dancing with a spirited moon, laughing at our shadows

Mama and Baba, hands and hearts of the plains

Ceremony of St Nick with love for decades.