When I was a girl I spent the long summer holidays at my grandmother's house. The days started early and she would work her way through breakfast orders, garden maintenance and chores, listening to John Laws on talkback radio, until all toil stopped at midday.
That woman could run the country and still knock off at twelve noon. Nothing and no man got in the way of her "serials"as she called them. Lunch was prepared at precisely 11.45am in preparation for her two hour hiatus. Days of Our Lives and The young and the Restless were touchstones in her otherwise industrious days.
I remember men with strange names like Storm and Roman, wearing eye patches and leather vests. Woman with glamorous blow waves and enormous jewels, losing all the men, money and children in their dramatic lives. I would curl up on her plaid couch and rest my head on her thigh, happy to just be with her.
Her lunch was almost always the same undressed salad with some cold meat. She was always watching her weight. Afterwards she would peel a navel orange and to this day, whenever I peel an orange I immediately think of my nan. The lively smell of orange oil mixed with her own talcy floral fragrance made me happy. For two hours, as a child I would lie by her side, content in a cloud of citrus and lavender.
So this cake reminds me of her and it's a memory that makes me smile. I sometimes substitute agave for the sugar if I'm feeling virtuous but it's pretty healthy anyway and very low in fat. Nan would approve.
Orange and Almond Cake
1 large orange
50 grams fresh ginger
3/4 cup 185 gms sugar plus 1/4 cup 60 gms extra
3/4 cup 185ml buttermilk
1 vanilla pod scraped
2 egg yolks
1 3/4 cup 215 gms plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarb
1 1/2 cups 140 gms almond meal
4 egg whites
simple lemon icing glaze (icing sugar and lemon juice)
* Preheat oven to 175 degrees and grease a bar tin.
* Place sliced ginger in a saucepan (cover with water) over high heat and boil for 10 minutes. Cool and put into food processor.
*Scrub orange and cut into 8 segments. Remove white pith and seeds but put zest and flesh in to food processor with ginger. Add 3/4 cup sugar, buttermilk, vanilla and egg yolks. Process until smooth.
*Sift flour, baking powder and bicarb in a large bowl. Add almond meal and orange mixture and stir till combined.
*Beat egg whites until soft peaks and then gradually add remaining sugar. Gently fold through remaining ingredients and pour into tin.
*Bake for approx 1 hour until a skewer comes out clean.
*Mix lemon juice into icing sugar until it's thick enough to coat a spoon. Pour over cake once it has cooled.
*Enjoy without guilt. (your welcome)