Oranges, cinnamon and star anise wafting from the kitchen conjures up Christmas for me. I love the festive season and every year I promise myself I will be more organised and actually get round to doing some handmade decorations for the house. This year I have made a start and went foraging the other day with a friend for some greenery to make a start on my door wreath, along with drying oranges. You can buy dried oranges from most craft shops and garden centres at a hefty price (personally) and they are so easy to make and the added bonus is your house will be filled with the smell of oranges!
You will need :
Metal Cooling Rack
- Begin by preheating the oven to 100c. Pop some grease proof paper onto a baking tray.
- Slice your oranges about 1/8″ and lay onto the grease proof paper evenly spacing out and dab with kitchen roll to remove excess juice.
- Pop into the oven for about 4 hours, turning the orange slices over at the 2 hour mark.
- Leave to completely cool and dry
Easy peasy right! Now you can make garlands, hanging decorations and add your dried orange pieces to wreaths as well.
Being gluten intolerant has its downfall. My love for fresh french bread, almond filled croissants and homemade cakes are something I really cannot indulge in without causing stomach pain and migraines. I really do have to avoid like the plague! But I love cake, especially with a good cup of coffee mid morning and when out and about. This lemon polenta cake has become a firm favourite in our household and the bonus is it’s gluten free, and tastes delicious!
Please note this cake does contain nut flour and is not suitable for those with a nut allergy.
For the cake
- 225g/8oz unsalted butter
- 225g/8oz caster sugar
- 3 free-range eggs, beaten
- 225g/8oz ground almonds
- 115g/4oz instant polenta
- 1 tsp baking powder (gluten-free if necessary)
- 3 lemons zest and juice only
- icing sugar, for dusting
For the glaze
- 2 lemons, juice only
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Grease and line a 25cm/10in cake tin with parchment paper.
- Place the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric whisk until pale and light. Gradually add the eggs, whisking all the time. Using a large metal spoon, stir in the ground almonds, then fold in the polenta, baking powder, lemon zest and juice and mix to combine.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin and bake for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until just set and golden-brown.
Meanwhile, to make the lemon glaze, put the lemon juice and sugar into a small saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has melted. When the cake is cooked, prick the surface and pour over the lemon mixture. Let it cool in the tin for 15 minutes.R
Remove the cake from the tin and cut into wedges to serve. Transfer to a plate, dust with icing sugar and serve.