Apple-Citrus Cranberry Sauce

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Oh hey, do you have a recipe for cranberry sauce for this weekend yet? I’ve been resting on the laurels of my chipotle cranberry mix but this year I wanted something a bit different and now this is my new favourite. This one is easier, too, which makes life better around the holidays.

Start with 2 12oz packages fresh cranberries, 2 large apples, and 2 large oranges. If you’d like a bit of extra zip, replace the oranges with grapefruit and go from there.

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Wash the cranberries and set them aside to drain.

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Peel the apples and cut them into small pieces (whatever size you would like to find dropped across your turkey).

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Zest and juice the oranges into a medium saucepan.

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Tip in 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar and give it a good stir.

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Tip in the apples and cranberries and heat over medium, stirring often.

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The liquid will simmer up and the cranberries will make very satisfying soft pops as they break open.

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Once you’re happy with your ratio of broken cranberries, remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to chill.

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This makes about 2 quarts, so plenty of sauce for dealing with leftovers!

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Creamsicle Pudding

HAPPY BIRTHDAY RUSTY!

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I adapted this recipe from Food52 when I had three oranges and two lemons and I didn’t know what to do with them (other than simply eat them, but that’s not very exciting).

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Start by zesting and juicing your 3 oranges and 2 lemons.

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You should end up with just over 1 cup juice (like a cup plus a couple tablespoons, which is good).

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Set a medium-sized pot on the stove with a couple inches of water in it and set it to simmer.

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Then grab a metal or heatproof glass bowl and crack in 6 large eggs plus 2 egg yolks. Give those a thorough beating-up. They probably deserve it, the jerks.

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Whisk in 1 1/2 cups sugar.

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Then toss in your zest and your juice.

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What a lovely colour.

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Set that on top of the simmering water and make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir pretty much constantly. If you leave egg yolks and granulated sugar alone for more than a minute they get a bit grainy and we don’t want that. Keep stirring!

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After about 10 or so minutes, the foam will disappear and you’ll have this lovely thick stuff that leaves a trace when you move the whisk. If you test this with a thermometer it should read around 180°F.

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Remove the bowl from the heat and let it cool a bit, stirring occasionally to release more heat. You want it somewhere around 140°F before you put your butter in. My butter was actually frozen so I started adding it in at around the 150°F mark.

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Tip all your lovely citrusy goo into a blender (you can use an immersion blender if you have a deep enough bowl) and add in 2 cups of unsalted butter, a few cubes at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition, until your concoction is pale and very thick. I may have overfilled my blender here. Oops. All the more reason to make sure the lid stays on.

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The finished product is more or less a curd, so you can use it to fill tarts, spread it on scones or toast (I have some panettone that is simply itching to be slathered), or eat it as a pudding. I’m also tempted to whip up some cream and fold them together to make a frozen fool (though the weather outside is too cold to make me crave cold treats). Just keep it covered and in the fridge if you don’t eat it all right away.

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St. Clement’s Cake

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I made this Jamie Oliver recipe for Mrs. Nice’s birthday cake and it was a real hit. If you’re not super into the huge layer cakes with tons of icing then I think this will be right up your alley. It’s a nice moist cake as well so it keeps for quite a few days if you wrap it up well.

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Measurements for this recipe are mostly in metric, so if you have a scale handy I would recommend using it. Start by greasing a springform cake pan with butter, and then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Preheat your oven to 350°F.

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Next, grab yourself a large orange and take all the zest off. Juice it as well while you’re at it. Set that aside for a bit.

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In the bowl of your mixer, beat together 125g softened butter with 125g sugar until it’s soft and fluffy and amazing.

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Next, crack in 4 large eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition until everything is foamy and smooth.

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Tip in *most* of your orange zest. Keep some aside for the syrup and topping.

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Next, fold in 100g self-rising flour (see here for a DIY substitute) and 200g ground almonds.

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Smooth that loveliness into your cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until fully risen and lightly golden.

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Let that cool in the pan for a few minutes and make some syrup.

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In a small saucepan, tip in 100g sugar and the juice from that orange you smooshed earlier. Add in a pinch of the remaining zest as well for extra flavour if you like. Stir over medium heat until the sugar is totally dissolved.

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Next, take a skewer and poke a ton of holes all over your still-hot cake. Go all the way to the bottom.

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Drizzle the syrup all over the top of the cake and leave it for a few minutes to soak in before popping off the edges of the pan.

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Let the cake cool completely.

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Now I want you to zest and juice 1 lemon. Add a pinch of the lemon zest to your remaining orange zest, but stir the rest of it into 225g icing sugar.

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Drizzle in your lemon juice, stirring the whole time, until you have a glaze that is a nice consistency for pouring.

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Pour your glaze slowly over the entire cooled cake, allowing it to drip off the sides. It’s best to put a sheet of waxed paper under your rack BEFORE you do this.

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Sprinkle that remaining zest on top and leave it to harden a bit. Once it’s set you can transfer it to a plate for serving.

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Enjoy!

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Cardamom Orange Date Squares

Cardamom Orange Date Squares 25I know we’ve already done some truly decadent date squares at Ali Does It, but I wanted to do another one to emphasize how truly great dates are. They’re so underrated. And in date squares? My, my, my. Date squares always seem like some kind of old people food when you’re just looking at them, but then you bite into that crumbly, sticky, gooey-ness and you remember that they’re just pretty much amazeballs, regardless of how old you are. Cardamom Orange Date Squares 23

I was making these for that shindig business that’s coming along and I sent the Pie out to buy dates – I wanted the ones in a block, not the ones I would have to pit and chop up. Because I’m lazy. And the Pie, knowing my penchant for doubling and tripling every recipe, picked up the biggest block of dates he could find. IT’S A KILOGRAM. A whole kilogram of dates. So here’s what I came up with in order to deal with a KILOGRAM of dates.

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Start with your kilogram of dates. Unwrap them from the triple-wrapped wrapping craziness. I guess they’re pretty sticky if you let ’em.

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Then slice your block up a bit.

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Chuck that in a pot with 3 cups water. Bring that to a boil and then simmer it for like 10 minutes.

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It’s gonna be all squidgy and icky and gross. Take that off the heat and let it cool slightly. Zest and juice 2 oranges.

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Tip the juice, as well as 2 teaspoons ground cardamom and 4 teaspoons vanilla, into your date goo. Give it a stir.

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If you want, shove it in a food processor. I like my dates to be smooth but I’ll leave that up to you.

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And buzz it until it’s all super sludge.

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Now preheat the oven to 350°F and butter and line some baking dishes with parchment paper.

While that’s heating up, whisk together 3 cups flour, 3 cups oats, 2 cups brown sugar1 teaspoon baking powder, and that orange zest you have on hand.

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Cube up 2 cups room temperature butter and dump that in the flour. Mix it in with your hands until it’s all crumbly and you want to eat it.

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Scoop half that mixture into the bottoms of the dishes and press it down.

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Scoop the date mix into the dishes as well and smooth it over.

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Add the rest of the oat mixture to the top and press it down slightly.

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Shove those into the oven for 45 minutes, until everything is golden brown.

Cardamom Orange Date Squares 20Let those cool slightly in the dish, on a rack, and then lift them out to cool completely on the rack before cutting into eatable-sized squares. I won’t judge you on the size of said squares. Whatever works for you! Cardamom Orange Date Squares 24

SideBar: Frosted Whisky Root Beer

Root Beer Cocktail 19This popped up on my Facebook feed recently and Trav and I decided it was interesting enough that we wanted to try it. That, and root beer is a favourite amongst our set. Root Beer Cocktail 15

First, grab yourself some oranges. You’ll need about four large juicy ones.

Root Beer Cocktail 2Juice those suckers until you get 1 cup fresh orange juice. Root Beer Cocktail 4

Next in the recipe is 1/2 teaspoon cherry bitters, which we didn’t have, so we improvised. I pitted about 5 fresh cherries and mushed them up with a fork. You can use any other kind of bitters you like. We think that it would have enhanced the flavour, but the cherries were a nice touch.

Root Beer Cocktail 7Then we chucked those things in a 1L bottle. Root Beer Cocktail 9

Add in 1 1/4 cup Canadian whiskey (we actually used Maker’s Mark, which is a bourbon, but Trav says it’s a better choice) and 1 cup water. Give it a decent shake and then shove it in the fridge for a couple hours.

Root Beer Cocktail 10When you’re ready to serve, grab some pint glasses, run them (inside and out) under cold water, and chuck them (gently) in the freezer for about 10-15 minutes. Grab yourself some of your favourite ice cold root beer. We were trying to find Harvey & Vern’s, because it’s local, but this was the stuff they had at the store. Root Beer Cocktail 11

Grab one of your frosted glasses and pour in 3oz of your orange juice/whiskey mix.

Root Beer Cocktail 12Top with root beer and serve immediately. It’s subtle, but it’s quite nice. Root Beer Cocktail 18

SideBar: the D’Artagnan

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Let’s sit down and have a drink today to celebrate: Ali Does It Herself turns FIVE this week! Five years of shenanigans and DIY failures and a whole lotta successes and support from you, you gorgeous nearly 14,000 followers. Thanks for sticking with us through the ups and the downs – here’s to five more years!

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This light cocktail seems at first like a standard mimosa but it packs a secret punch with a touch of class. To make the simple syrup that goes into this recipe (and a whole lotta other ones), simply dissolve one part granulated sugar in one part water and store the result in the fridge. I made this to serve 6 people twice, but I will put in brackets the amounts for just one serving so you can do your own math when expanding or contracting the recipe.

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Start by grabbing 2 large juicy oranges and using a zester to pull some twists off them.

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Then you might as well juice them as well, so as not to waste all that citrusy goodness. Pour 6oz orange juice (1/2oz for one) into a container with a pour spout.

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Next, tip in some booze. This recipe calls for 1.5oz Grand Marnier (1/8oz for one), which you could substitute for another orange liqueur (though Grand Marnier is the best).

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It also calls for 1.5oz Armagnac de Montal (1/8oz for one). Armagnac is a type of brandy from a particular place (Armagnac), but you can substitute with another type of brandy if you find Armagnac a little pricey.

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Then you need to tip in 6 teaspoons simple syrup (1/2 teaspoon for one).

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Give it a good stirring – don’t fret about the seeds and pulp from the oranges because you’re going to strain this as you pour. Add in some ice cubes and stir it again to chill the mix.

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Pour about an ounce each of the mix through a strainer into 6 champagne flutes (one for one), then top up with about 3oz chilled sparkling wine or Champagne.

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I used Freixenet brut because I like how it tastes and also I had an enormous bottle of it under the sink and that’s why I made this whole party beverage in the first place.

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Garnish with a twist of orange peel and serve immediately.

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Orange and Caramel Bananas: In the Woods

 

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I halved the recipe for this dessert from The Camping Cookbook, and it was so good I think I need to make it again from home. Like, all the time.  At this point we were sick of the rain and the damp and had pretty much determined that this would be our last camp meal, so I really hoped it didn’t disappoint. And it didn’t. This is good. And it was easy enough to construct in the dark, in the rain, under a flapping tarpaulin.

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Start by zesting and juicing one orange. Tip the juice and zest into a saucepan.

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Thickly slice up 2 large bananas and set those aside for a moment as well.

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Add 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla to the orange juice in the pan and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until it starts to caramelize.

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Tip in the banana slices and shake the pan to coat them in the glaze.

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Add in 1 tablespoon butter and cook that, stirring, for 3 minutes, until everything is thick and glossy.

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Rather than add extra dishes to our soggy lot we ate this straight from the pan, piping hot. Worth it.

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Introducing the SideBar! and Bourbon Slush

I am positively chuffed to announce the addition of a bar to the Ali Does It DIY repository. The delightful Trav, a budding home bartender, has caved to my peer pressure kindly volunteered to show us the ropes with a few of the fun and fantastical alcoholic beverages you can mix up these days. Enjoy this one as a last taste of summer on your long weekend! – Ali

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Bourbon Slush Punch

So, food is tasty, and cooking is interesting, but we all know the truth: eating is just a thing we do so we can stay alive long enough get to the good part, which is drinking.

With that healthy, well-balanced guiding principle in mind, I give you the first SideBar offering: a bourbon punch from Smitten Kitchen that’s strong enough to make you dizzy, but delicious enough that you won’t notice until you stand up.

This one’s easy, and it disappears quickly. That’s why we quadrupled the recipe.

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First, you’ll need to make a strong black tea. I’m not a tea drinker, but Ali picked out an Assam tea that worked very well. Let it steep until it cools, and toss the leaves. You’ll need 4 cups of tea.

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Next is lemon juice. Don’t use juice from a bottle, though, you monster. Squeeze 1 1/2 cups of juice from some fresh lemons.

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Finally, you’re going to need 1 cup of granulated sugar, 6 cups of orange juice, and a decent bottle of bourbon. You can juice some oranges, but a good bottled orange juice tends to be much better than bottled lemon (or lime). For the bourbon, we used Wild Turkey 81, and I’d also suggest Four Roses Yellow Label as a similarly cheap option. You can use a pricier bourbon if you want, like Bulleit or Woodford Reserve, but some of that flavour is likely going to be overwhelmed by the citrus.

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Pour all the liquids into a fairly large mixing bowl, including the whole bottle of bourbon. Since you’re going to want a glass or three while you’re making the punch, you should probably buy another bottle just in case.

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Stir in the sugar.

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This is the base for your punch. You could probably shake this with some ice and drink it by itself, but we’re not done yet. Keep this refrigerated until you serve it.

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When it’s time to serve the punch (which was, in our case, immediately), put equal parts ice and punch base in the blender. Half a cup of each should make one serving, and 5 cups of each makes about two litres.

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Blend them together until slushy, then pour the punch into glasses and garnish with a lemon slice, lemon peel, or mint leaves. Mint in particular is always good with bourbon and orange. If the mixture isn’t slushy enough, blend some more ice in. If the flavour isn’t strong enough, add more punch base. We definitely had to do a bit of experimenting to find the exact ratio for small servings. A lot of experimenting.

I’m going to be honest, I don’t remember how many I had.

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Gluten-Free Orange Almond Snacking Cake

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I came across this recipe in the May 2014 issue of Canadian Living.  I haven’t really felt like doing too much cooking in recent days, but this one looked easy and post-able enough that I figured I’d give it a shot.  This is one of those cakes that is “naturally” gluten-free, meaning that you’re not looking for a flour substitute.  It’s more that the recipe doesn’t require anything flour like in the first place to keep its structure.  It’s also dairy-free too (just don’t use butter to grease the pan), if that’s something you’re interested in.

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Preheat your oven to 350°F and grease (with butter) a 9″ springform pan.  Line the bottom with parchment paper.  While you’re at it, separate 6 eggs and put the whites in a mixing bowl.

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In a large bowl, with an electric mixer, beat together 6 egg yolks, 1 cup granulated sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract2 teaspoons grated orange zest, and a pinch of cinnamon.

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You are going to want to beat this stuff until it turns the colour of butter and when you lift the (stopped) beater away, you get a lovely long yellow ribbon coming out of the end, about 5 minutes.

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You need 2 cups ground almonds for this, and 2 tablespoons orange juice, so you might want to get these ready ahead of time.  I used the store-bought almond meal because I’m lazy, and just juiced the orange I took the zest from.

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Fold the almonds and orange juice into the yolk mixture.

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Now take those 6 egg whites you set aside and start beating them until stiff peaks form.

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Take a scoop of the whites and stir it into the almond/yolk mix.  This will sort of thin out the mixture in order that it doesn’t crush the rest of your whites in the next step.

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Once that first scoop is combined, gently fold in the remainder of your egg whites into the almond/yolk mixture until fully combined.  Make sure to scrape up from the very bottom to make sure you got it all.

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Plop the batter into your prepared pan and bake it until the edges pull away from the sides of the pan and the centre is golden and firm to the touch, about 35 minutes.

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If you need to, run a knife around the edge of the pan and leave the cake to cool in the pan on a wire rack.  Mine came right out, but I’m not always this lucky.

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Don’t worry — it will sink in the middle.  They always do.

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Dust the cake with icing sugar right before you serve it (or the icing sugar will be absorbed into the moisture of the cake).

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This cake was pretty good.  I think I’d like to make it again, but this time I would do it with lemon zest, lemon juice, and then coconut flour instead of almond flour for a more tropical cake.  I think I would also bake it differently.  This one you can see was still a little runny in the centre, but the outside was starting to burn.  I think I would bake it for longer, but at a lower temperature, like 325°F. Thoughts?

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Petite Piglet Patties

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I was going to call these things “savoury sausage sliders,” or even “summer savoury sausage sliders,” but then the Pie suggested the above title and for some reason I started to laugh so hard I needed a tissue and had to sit down.  And then he suggested that, since we used hot italian sausage meat, we call them “picante petite piglet patties” and I may have told him to shut up at that point.

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Anyway.  These are sliders, if you hadn’t gathered that by now.  I picked up a package of ground sausage meat the other day and this is what we did with it.  Basic ingredients are about 1lb ground pork, 1 egg, half a white onion, and some fresh summer savoury.

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Mince up the savoury and the onion and chuck them in a bowl with the sausage meat and the egg.  Season with salt and pepper.

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Give that a good stir with a spoon and then mix in about 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (or whatever kind of bread crumbs you have on hand).

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Form the goo into balls slightly larger than a golf ball but smaller than a cricket ball and flatten them into patties (I ended up with eleven patties).

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Fry those suckers up.  For some reason the light was such in my kitchen on this particular afternoon that it took us twelve tries (the Pie tried to help) of blurry patty photos before I gave up and used flash.

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While that’s on the go, why don’t you have yourself a salad, too?  Here we have a mixture of baby spinach, a small hunk of plain goat’s cheese (chevre), a handful of sliced almonds, another handful of dried cranberries, and a diced ripe pear.

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Then the dressing is 3 equal parts vegetable oil (I used almond, because we’re trying to use it up), rice vinegar, and orange juice).

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Toss it up!

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Top your sliders with whatever floats your boat.  I used mayo, tomatoes, avocado, and spinach.  The Pie voted for barbecue sauce and cheese.  We had them on some picnic buns I grabbed in the bakery section.

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All in all, a good summer meal. Don’t forget to eat your veggies! You see them peeking at you in the background? Don’t forget them!

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