Domesticity, and the art of cooking risotto

As you can probably see by my last post, occasionally I get engulfed in a haze of domesticity. On my recent Tuesday, this was amplified times a million, after a dinner party was cancelled and manfriend and I decided to spend almost the entire day at home, doing homely things, and just generally enjoying being mildly normal for once. This entailed not only cleaning the house, which is a considerable task, given its size and length of time since the last clean (considerable), but also wandering the markets slowly deciding what to eat slowly and with care and based on what looked good (whilst eating a borek, naturally), multiple coffees at the bar at Carlton Espresso (Tuesday ritual), and cooking all afternoon. Lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Long sentence, and a whole lot of italics there, but it’s how I feel man, it’s how I feeel.

Back to what looked good at the markets. Bunnies. Cute as anything and cheap too – $10 for one plump farmed bunny. Gorgeous. As I mentioned last post we have a truffle at home, and we’ve been storing it in a jar with eggs and rice to infuse them. So naturally we wanted to use the truffle before it loses it’s pungency, and why not the rice too? So risotto it was.

Also, the incredibly awesome smoked salmon from Pavilion – another Tuesday ritual – blood oranges for cake, rhubarb for breakfast, Cotes du Rhone from King and Godfrey, baguette from La Parisiennes Pates, and buffalo mozzarella from La Latteria (which deserves a post all to itself).

Got home, cracked some beers (Zweic, from the local grocery store, because we have a fridge full of beer but a dearth of easy drinkers), and had a platter of smoked salmon with capers, shallots and lemon, baguette, mozzarella and watercress salad. A veritable pantheon of culinary treats (I watch Iron Chef America too many nights, and it’s starting to show).

Then, while Chris helpfully started scraping candle wax off the dining room table, I simultaneously baked a cake and started on dinner. The cake was blood orange and almond syrup cake, it was ridiculously delicious, and the recipe is below. It’s too good not to make. But dinner was a little more work. So I’m going to split this into two posts, to scintillate and keep you glued to the screen. Or simply to stop you from getting bored.


Blood Orange Syrup Cake 

2 blood oranges

3 free range eggs

1 cup caster sugar

3 cups almond meal

1 tsp baking powder

2 blood oranges

¾ cup caster sugar

Pre-heat oven to 170°C.

Place two blood oranges in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to the boil over medium heat and leave to cook for 15 minutes. Drain, then cover again with cold water and boil for a further 15 minutes. (This will take the bitterness from the orange pith). Refresh and allow to cool.

Roughly chop the oranges, removing any seeds. Place in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Mix together eggs and caster sugar until pale and creamy. Stir through the orange mixture, almond meal and baking powder. Pour into a 22 cm greased and lined cake tin and bake for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, zest and juice two more blood oranges and combine in a saucepan with caster sugar. Simmer until thick and syrupy. Add some water if too thick, or more sugar if you prefer it sweeter.

Once the cake is cooked, remove and cool for as long as you can stand to not eat it. Poke it all over with a skewer and our over the syrup, reserving a little to pour over individual pieces. Everyone always wants more syrup whether it’s needed or not.

Though I seem to say this about most of my baked goods, this cake is like crack. It disappeared quicker than I could have expected and I’ve already made a second one since.

PS Sorry the title of this post was misleading: all that “art” is coming next time.


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