Having My Cake And Eating It ~ That Would Be Gluten Free Lemon Zucchini Cake

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This year I seem to have started off the zucchini aka courgette season with a glut. I anyway usually slice them into spaghetti strips or noodles to use, seasoned, sprinkled with fresh chopped oregano or coriander, and warmed through with a little oil or butter, instead of pasta. They go well with either tomato or meat based sauces.

But then as the harvest began to multiply beyond the sensible, including exceeding neighbour capacity, my mind wended towards cake. I remembered having a delicious slice of lemon courgette cake last year in a museum cafe.  So I did a trawl of recipes on the internet, and adapted a gluten free flour one found at The Pink Rose Bakery into a ground almond-polenta version. In fact I’ve been using ground almonds (and or polenta flour) in most of my cake recipes these days. They give much lighter, moister results.

So this is what I did:

Lemon Zucchini Cake

20 cm/8” deep cake tin, oiled

oven 180 C/160 C fan/350 F

Ingredients

250 gm/ good 8 oz of coarsely grated zucchini/courgette placed in sieve over sink to drain

2 large eggs

125ml/4 fl oz vegetable oil. I used groundnut

150gm/5 oz sugar. I used coconut flower sugar for its slight toffee flavour

112 gm/4 oz polenta flour

112 gm/4oz ground almonds

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon gluten free baking powder

3/4 teaspoon vanilla essence

zest of one unwaxed lemon, though zest of two would not hurt if you like lemon

Method

1. In large bowl beat eggs, oil and sugar together until smooth;

2. Stir into the batter all the other ingredients except the zucchini;

3. Gently squeeze any excess moisture from zucchini and add to the mix, distributing well;

4. Pour into tin and bake for around 45 mins until lightly browned and firm to the touch. I was using a fan oven. Probably wise to check after 30  mins.

5. Cool in tin for 10 mins. Turn out onto rack and sprinkle with coconut flower sugar.

Options: You could drizzle it with icing made with lemon juice and icing sugar, or maybe add a carrot cake topping, although we found the cake sweet enough without. I’m also thinking you could swap the lemon zest for orange zest, and use half a teaspoon of cinnamon in place of the vanilla essence. And I think the cake would be good served with fresh raspberries and creme fraiche. Unfortunately we have now eaten it before I could try out this last suggestion. But never mind. There are plenty more essential ingredients growing at the allotment.

copyright 2017 Tish Farrell

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Daily Post Photo Challenge: Satisfaction

Weekly Photo Challenge: saturated – Baked Bramleys and Autumn Bliss

Weekly Photo Challenge: Saturated

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The fat Bramley apples came from the Women’s Institute market, held in Much Wenlock every Thursday morning. The trestle tables are set out in the old Corn Exchange outside the library and are invariably laden with home-baked cakes – Lemon Drizzle, Rich Fruit, Iced Ginger, Millionaire’s Shortbread. Then there are the jams and marmalade.

But in recent weeks – this being the season of over-laden fruit trees – there has also been garden produce, and in particular bags of Bramley cooking apples. And what better thing to do with a Bramley than to bake it, stuffed with the last of the allotment raspberries?

The raspberries are called Autumn Bliss, and deliciously live up to their name; and especially so when added to apple. The synergy of hot, fruity flavours hits every taste bud with a satisfying zing.

This is how I cooked them.

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Baked Apples

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Per person: one apple, a handful of fruit, a good teaspoon of honey, a sliver of butter

Set oven to 200 C, 190 C for fan versions

With a corer or sharp knife carefully remove the apple middles, making sure all  tough core bits are excised. 

Remove the peel from the upper half of the fruit, then place in a greased oven-proof dish.

Stuff the apple centres with raspberries, adding a good teaspoon of runny honey to each apple. I used fair trade wild Zambian honey, which is cold-pressed, and has a rich, slightly smoky flavour.

Scatter any spare raspberries over the top.

Slather a small nugget of  farmhouse butter over each apple.

Add half a cup of water to the dish.

Bake for around 30 minutes, basting with the juices half way through. Bramleys have a habit of exploding, as mine were about to do, so keep an eye on them.

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Desert apples can also be baked, though they need longer, slower cooking and must be well basted. The result is not as ‘fluffy’ as a Bramley, and it’s better to remove all the peel. But desert apples often have a more distinctive flavour. Dip them first in in  water with a squeeze of lemon to stop them discolouring. 

Of course there are endless variations when it comes to stuffing apples. A good old English version is to use sultanas and raisins with a dollop of Golden Syrup.  You could make my version more sophisticated with a drizzle of an appropriate liqueur. Armagnac springs to mind. Or Creme de Cassis. And serve with some toasted almond flakes. But however you make them, they always go well with Greek yoghurt. (Or thick farmhouse cream…)

© 2013 Tish Farrell

Fresh strawberry and rhubarb cordial

WP weekly photo challenge: fresh

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Fresh to me means produce straight from  my allotment, pesticide-free and naturally fed plants. I’ll give you the recipe for the cordial at the end, but first I’m going to show off some of my harvest, which despite the burning heat-wave we’ve been having, and my erratic watering, seems  to be doing pretty well.  The strawberries have been delicious – warm off the stem, or made into ice cream. We even outfaced the heat by having some in a crumble (i.e. baked with a butter-sugar-flour crumb crust) and served with some Greek yoghourt.

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And now the raspberries and blackcurrants are beginning to ripen which means it’s time to make jam with the raspberries and coulis with the currants, or Summer Pudding with both.

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And then there are gooseberries to make into gooseberry and ginger chutney, and gooseberry fool, or gooseberry sauce to have with grilled mackerel.

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On Saturday night, after a hard day’s picking, weeding and sowing, we had steamed artichokes served with crushed garlic in melted goat’s butter.

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And on Sunday night, after digging up some Charlotte and Red Duke of York potatoes, picking French and broad beans and broccoli, I steamed the vegetables and dished them up with salsa verde and a few grilled rashers of Wenlock Edge Farm bacon. Bliss.

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And now I’ve teased your taste buds to extremes, here is the recipe I promised you:

Strawberry and Rhubarb Cordial

4 sticks of rhubarb chopped

300 gm/10 oz ripe strawberries, hulled and cut in half

320gm/11oz caster sugar

1 litre/1.75 water

juice of 2 lemons

Place fruit in heavy based pan, add sugar and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Add water and increase heat slightly. Cook for a further 15 minutes until the fruit is soft.

Leave to cool then strain through a sieve, pressing the pulp into the syrup. Add lemon juice and store in the fridge. To serve, dilute with chilled sparkling water, and add a sprig of mint if this appeals.

OR make a damn fine cocktail with some prosecco or other dry sparkling wine. I haven’t tried this myself yet, but I just know it will be wonderful – bellinis with bells on.

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And finally a shot of the marigolds and sweet peas that I grow amongst my vegetables to make the bees happy, and me happy when they have pollinated everything else.

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Happy summer to everyone who takes the

time to read my blog – lovely

people all of you.