My mother is tightening the reigns in her house. No more treats for a while. Time to cut back, to exercise a little restraint. Less carbs, more protein, she says. That sort of thing. My father sighs and pretends to hate every minute of it.

“No sugar in my coffee,” he grumbles, “no cream, just black. No alcohol, except on weekends. No chocolate, no baking, no more cheese and crackers before dinner. Carrot sticks and hummus. Hardly any bread, and no butter on it anyway.”

I took great delight in telling them about the latest food writer and food entreprenuer I had found, Nina Planck. Her philosophy is to reclaim the traditional whole foods of our ancestors; the red meat, full fat dairy products, whole grains, vegetables, lard and butter! My father sighed again, in an if only sort of way. But then he turned to my mother and said, what was that dish you made last week, like the stir fry? What else was in the salad today? We had a great lunch yesterday, didn’t we?

The thing is, my mother could make a pack of rubber-like tofu and bean sprouts taste fantastic. So any eating regime, not matter how severe, is no struggle. Especially not when she decides she simply must do some baking. It looks like a great recipe, she justifies, and it’s gluten free. Pretty much a health food I tell her. And this is how our conversations go.

Regardless of its nutritional make up, this is one of the nicest cakes I have had in a very long time. It is so very moist and light it is similar to a citrus moose. You can feel the air escape between your teeth. It is lovely with yoghurt – full fat, cream top, I say.

Lady Dundee’s Orange Cake
Adapted from Healthy Gluten Free Eating

2 medium orange
200 grams ground almonds, plus a little extra for dusting
3 eggs
200 grams caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

Scrub the oranges and place them, whole, in a saucepan with enough water to cover. Put a lid on the pot and simmer for 1-2 hours or until the oranges are tender. Change the simmering water up to 3 times to ensure the orange skins are not bitter.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush a 20cm spring form cake tin with butter and dust with ground almonds. Place a round of baking paper in the base of the tin.

Halve the cooked oranges, remove the pips and puree the flesh and the peel in a blender until smooth. Beat the eggs and sugar until pale and light. Combine the baking powder and ground almonds, then gently fold into the eggs. Fold in the orange puree. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the midddle of the cake.

Cool on a wire rack and remove the paper.

Advertisements