Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Marmalade (the dorky jam)

I once overheard a conversation in a shoe store between two people about my age that went something like this: "Marmalade is gross", "Yeah, it's like something my Grandma eats", "I don't even know why they still make it, nobody really likes it, except Grandmas". I restrained myself from jumping in and explaining to them the virtues of marmalade, it's citrusy sweetness and versatility. But that might have made me look crazy.

Marmalade is kind of like a dorky kid in high school that nobody likes, but that ends up being cool and successful later on. I put it in the same category as raisins, prunes and pickled onions. I feel the need to stick up for these underloved but delicious ingredients. Raisins, in particular, get a lot of flack. I get the slime factor, when they sit inside cinnamon buns and just get wet and ruin the whole experience. But when they are the star of the show, like in a really well basted and aged fruitcake, they become delicious and complex, with notes of caramel and molasses. But standing up for raisins is for another post. Today I'm working on converting marmalade haters, and I know this cake will do the trick! This one's for my shoe buying peers, and their Grandmas.

Citrus Yogurt Cake

I have adapted this cake from a recipe I found in Cooking Light a few years ago. I've made it many times and everyone always loves it, even marmalade haters (my husband included).

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Sift dry ingredients together in a medium bowl.

1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 egg white
1/3 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup olive oil (or you could use canola oil)

Whisk these ingredients together in a large bowl.

zest of one orange and one lemon
1 cup freshly squeezed orange and lemon juice (I usually squeeze one orange and one lemon and make up to the cup mark with water)
1 tbsp orange flower water

Add juice and zest to the wet ingredients. Then add the wet into the dry and give it a whisk to combine, stopping when the ingredients are just about combined. Finish mixing gently with a spatula. Pour into a greased and floured 8 inch round baking pan (I line the bottom of mine with a circle of parchment paper just to be on the safe side) and bake for about 50-60 minutes. Check at the 50 minute mark. A toothpick should come out clean and it will be lightly golden on top. Remove from oven and cool about 10 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack.
While the cake is cooling, get on with the glaze.


1/3 cup marmalade
2 tbsp Grand Marnier

Place the marmalade and liqueur in a small saucepan and warm on medium heat until it just starts bubbling, remove from heat. Put the warm, but not hot, cake onto the serving dish and poke it with a toothpick to create lots of little holes. Pour the glaze over the top. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature before serving.

To make the cake ahead of time, bake the cake, cool completely, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and freeze. Remove from freezer and thaw for a few hours, make the glaze and pour over top before serving.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

November is a month that I come into with a certain amount of dread. I'm not a cold weather person and the first month that has the real potential to feel like winter just doesn't appeal to me. But every year, I'm reminded that there can be nice days in this transitional month. There are not many leaves left, but there are a few hangers-on, there is the odd day that the mercury creeps tentatively up to 13 or 14C, and have I mentioned my love of scarves? So November is not all bad. It is also a great cooking month. There are still pumpkins and squash around, and I just ate my last garden tomato this week (with a tear in my eye). I pulled all my swiss chard and multicolored carrots the other day, before the big frost, as well as what was left of my parsley, chives and mint. So there has been a last bowl of my favourite summer dish, taboulleh, in my fridge this week and parsley on everything. Now I must move forward into this inevitable season of cold whiteness and enjoy the flavours it brings.

My last post was all about pumpkins, and I do love them so! On Halloween as I was carving a funny face into a big pumpkin, I decided to make roasted pumpkin seeds, and since JS doesn't like them, I made them spicy. They are so easy to make, and are delicious and really healthy too! Here's what I did....

Spicy Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

2 cups pumpkin seeds (washed and dried)
2 tbsp olive oil
good sprinkling of Maldon salt and black pepper
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp piment d'espelette
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Toss the pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the oil, salt and pepper and spices. Spread onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and place in a 350C oven for about 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temp to 250C and continue baking, stirring occasionally for about 45 minutes or until they look toasty, dry and golden. These are best when they are warm from the oven, but you can keep them in an airtight jar for about a week.