One Pot Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup

Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup

During last year’s first lockdown when there were grocery shortages aplenty, I was really surprised that there was always Orzo in stock. Here in Australia, it’s usually called Risoni, but it’s the same short cut pasta, the size and shape of a large grain of rice. The entire pasta aisle was wiped bare except for boxes and packets of risoni on the top shelf. It honestly made me a little sad to see that this little pasta shape seemed to be so unloved! I find it to be a really versatile ingredient to always have on hand in the pantry. This Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup is one a one pot wonder, and one of my absolute favourite things to make with it.

It blows my mind that Spicyicecream is turning 14 this year – and this recipe was originally shared all the way back in December 2007. I actually remember the day I made this very clearly. It was a humid summer day that ended with a spectacularly dramatic thunderstorm. I could smell the rain in the air as I looked out the window of our tiny old kitchen (pre-renovation!) and carefully chopped vegetables. The dish turned out even more delicious than we expected and I’ve been making it ever since!

Chunky Chicken Vegetable Orzo Soup

Since I probably only had 3 blog readers back then and the photos were definitely terrible, I wanted to re-shoot and re-share it again. I actually love re-sharing my very early blog recipes (like this Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta) because you just know that if I still cook it and genuinely love it after 10 or more years, it’s a winner. By this point I have also most likely made every substitution and taken every shortcut under the sun! These are the recipes that my family request all the time. Or that I pull out of the repertoire when I need a recipe I know by heart and am 1000% confident will work.

If we’re being honest, it’s a bit of a stretch to call this soup. It’s more like the love child of minestrone and risotto. Picture a more ‘juicy’ risotto with orzo/risoni instead of aborio rice. You can literally eat it with a fork! But nonetheless, this Chicken Risoni Soup has become a family favourite and one of my most-loved comfort food dishes. Everyone I have ever made it for has absolutely loved it. This soup is chunky, hearty and filling but still feels fresh with lots of vegetables that bring colour and texture. It is somehow perfect any time of year.

Chunky Chicken Risoni Orzo Soup

My best tips for Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup…

  • Prep all of your ingredients first. I’m usually a bit impatient and start cooking and chopping simultaneously but it really helps to be organised with this one and prep everything first. The chopping is the most hands-on time consuming part of this recipe and once that is out of the way, the rest comes together really easily.
  • There are loads of substitution options! If you want to change it up from chicken and bacon, you could also try chorizo or another kind of spicy sausage. Prawns or scallops could also be a delicious addition. If you’re making this vegetarian, double down on the beans and vegetables! Leeks, mushrooms or cherry tomatoes would be awesome and even frozen veg in a pinch, which I always have on hand.
Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup
  • This recipe serves 6, which is great for a family, however if you don’t want to eat leftovers for days, I would recommend halving the recipe or just making it until step 4, then cooling and freezing it. When you defrost it another day, just continue with the recipe as written, adding the risoni, beans and zucchini. This way, you have a quick dinner for next time as the most time consuming part of finely dicing your vegetables is already done!
  • To make this more like a traditional ‘soup’ you can use half the amount of risoni, substitute with another small soup pasta, or leave it out entirely. 
  • This is a one pot wonder! I love this recipe because even though there is a fair bit of vegetable chopping, there is barely any washing up because it all comes together in a one pot. You will need to use a large pot with a lid. My 3.7L dutch oven works perfectly.
  • I love to use homemade chicken stock that I make in big batches every few months and keep in the freezer. I also save the carrot tops/peels, onion and garlic skins, celery leaves and other vegetable scraps and chicken off cuts in a bag in the freezer. When the bag is full, I make another bag of chicken stock. It’s the circleeee of liiiiiifeeeee…
Chunky Chicken Orzo Soup

A note on leftovers.

What I like even more about this Chicken Risoni Soup is the leftovers. The next day, the pasta has soaked up the rest of the liquid and the texture is more like a risotto. I actually love a dish with built in leftovers, so to speak, and I don’t mind that the dish ‘changes’ by the next day. It reheats and transports really well, if you’re taking lunch to work. Don’t forget to add some parmesan, fresh herbs and a crack of black pepper on top. But if you don’t love the new texture, you could reheat it in a small pot and add a little extra chicken stock and that should get you roughly back to where you started last night.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do. If you try it, please give it a rating below or share a photo on Instagram and tag me @spicyicecream. It really makes my day to see you guys trying out my recipes!

Related Post: One Pot Moroccan Chicken

Chunky Chicken Vegetable Orzo Soup

One Pot Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup

This Chunky Chicken Risoni Soup is like the love child of a minestrone and a risotto. It's hearty, chunky, delicious and perfect for any time of year. Even better it all comes together in one pot for minimal washing up!

Course Dinner, Soup
Keyword Autumn, Chicken, Simple Dinners, Soup, Winter
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 6 people

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 slices shortcut bacon, diced
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 3 chicken breasts, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup small pasta such as risoni
  • 1 large zucchini, diced
  • 1 x 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 50 g baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsely finely chopped
  • Finely grated parmesan and fresh crusty bread, to serve

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally
  2. Add onion, carrot and celery and cook until slightly softened.
  3. Add chicken and garlic and continue to stir until chicken becomes opaque.
  4. Add wine, tomato and chicken stock, and season to taste with salt and cracked black pepper. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add the risoni, zucchini and cannellini beans and stir to combine. Increase the heat again to medium high and cook for 10-12 minutes, or until the risoni is al dente.
  6. Remove from the heat and stir in spinach and fresh parsley
  7. Ladle into bowls and serve immediately with parmesan cheese, more cracked black pepper and crusty bread.

Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Autumn and the transition of the seasons always makes me want to get into the kitchen to cook and bake. I don’t even mind washing up if it means I can warm up my perpetually cold hands! There’s absolutely nothing better than the warming spices in a cup of chai on a cold afternoon. I seem to have a habit of posting Chai recipes in Autumn, like this Chai, Fig & Almond Biscotti from last year. This time around I have created cute Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise.

I was thrilled that Chai Walli recently gifted me some beautiful products to experiment with in a recipe. This was music to my ears as there is almost nothing I love more than using tea in cooking. I find it to be one of the most delicious and versatile ingredients that can be used in many ways (as you will see in today’s delicious recipe).

Chai Walli Chai Tea ingredients + packaging

Chai Walli is an award-winning Australian tea company who sell the most authentic chai on the market! I love that their blends are derived from Ayurvedic recipes and made using whole spices. I was immediately drawn to the 11 Spice Chai, which smells and tastes incredible. It is complex in flavour and so beautifully balanced. I’m not surprised to learn it is a best seller!

In addition to organic black tea from the Assam Valley in India, it includes fennel, mace, aniseed, rose, rooibos and ajwain. Plus the usual suspects of green cardamon, Ceylon cinnamon, clove, star anise and ginger. Yes, I did have to google Ajwain, an ingredient I had never heard of before. I learned that it’s a spice and traditional Ayurvedic ingredient that has a flavour profile similar to anise and oregano, and has many medicinal benefits. The addition of the rose petals and fennel makes this one of the prettiest teas I’ve ever seen!

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Today’s recipe is a beautiful autumn dessert that sees tender tea-poached pears enveloped in a generously spiced cake batter. The final flourish is lashings of a creamy chai-infused creme anglaise. There’s chai in every element, used in three different ways. I really wanted to show how versatile an ingredient it is and the variety of ways it can be used to add a delicious flavour to your desserts.

Firstly, in the liquid for the Chai Poached Pears. Essentially the pears are poached in a sweet tea, which gives them such a beautiful flavour. I’m always a fan of cooked pears over raw and poached is one of my favourite ways to enjoy them. The pears are so delicious that you can eat them on their own and not even bother with the rest of the components of this dessert! Poached pears make a fantastic simple and classic dessert, however I also love eating them for breakfast on my porridge in winter!

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Next up, I ground some tea in my Nutribullet to use in the cakes. I have done this before with Earl Grey to add to desserts but had not tried it with chai before. This chai blend is so flavoursome that no other spices are needed! I decided to make mini cakes because I thought they would look so cute with the pear stem sticking out of the top. I used 10 cm (4 inch) springform pans and this batter made 3 small cakes. If I was making this again I would add a make 4 slightly smaller cakes as I had 4 chai poached pears and these cakes were a little large for a single-serve dessert.

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Lastly, I infused more chai into the milk/cream mixture for my creme anglaise. This smooth and creamy custard is the perfect accompaniment for this beautiful dessert. In fact I can think of a dozen other recipes it would be perfect with, from apple crumble to sticky date pudding. The 11 Spice Chai blend has so much flavour, I actually needed to use less than I expected to achieve the perfect flavour in each element. This creme anglaise can be served warm or chilled and you can also make this element ahead of time and refrigerate for up to 3 days. 

Thank you again to Chai Walli for gifting me your beautiful product. We all loved this dessert and also brewing up a warm cup of chai with soy milk in the afternoon. I followed the directions on the back of the packet to make the perfect cup of tea! Full disclosure, I was sent this product for free but I was not paid to share my thoughts, and all opinions are my own. I really truly loved using it in this recipe and look forward to using it in more recipes in the future!

Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise

These beautiful Mini Chai Poached Pear Cakes with Chai Creme Anglaise use Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai in every element and are perfect for this lovely autumn weather!

Course Dessert
Keyword Autumn, Cake, Winter
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 4 mini cakes

Ingredients

Chai Creme Anglaise

  • 2 tablespoons Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai, or your favourite loose leaf Chai
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
  • 250 ml milk
  • 250 ml pouring cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 60 g caster sugar

Chai Poached Pears

  • 4 small pears, peeled
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai, or your favourite loose leaf Chai
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste

Mini Chai Cakes

  • 2 tablespoons Chai Walli 11 Spice Chai, or your favourite loose leaf Chai
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/3 cups plain flour
  • 75 g butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/3 cup milk

Instructions

  1. First, make the poached pears. Add the water, sugar, chai and vanilla to a small saucepan and bring to a the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add the pears. Cook, partially covered for about 20-30 minutes, turning them occasionally to cook evenly. The pears should be just tender and may take a little longer if they are larger. Allow the pears to cool in the syrup and scoop them out with a slotted spoon.
  2. To make the Creme Anglaise, place the milk, cream, chai and vanilla in a saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Remove from the heat and allow to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the tea so just the liquid remains and return to the saucepan and rewarm. Lightly whisk the egg yolks and sugar together in a bowl. Whisk the chai hot milk mixture into the egg mixture, and return to the saucepan.
  3. Using a wooden spoon, stir constantly until the custard thickens and coats the back of the spoon. Do not let it boil. Strain again through a fine sieve, allow to cool to room temperature, then refrigerate until cold. Crème anglaise will keep refrigerated for up to 3 days. To serve warm, gently reheat in a saucepan over low heat.
  4. To make the Mini Chai Cakes, preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and lightly grease 4 x 10 cm (4 inch) springform cake tins with some butter or non-stick spray. In a Nutribullet with the milling blade or a spice grinder, grind the chai to a fine powder and set aside. We will use about 3 teaspoons for this recipe.
  5. In a medium bowl, with a hand-mixer (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) beat the eggs and brown sugar together in a bowl until pale and thick. Sift the baking powder, flour and 2-4 teaspoons of ground chai. I started with 2 teaspoons but added a little more to taste. Beat until just combined. Add the melted butter and milk and gently combine all ingredients.
  6. Divide evenly between 4 prepared mini cake tins and gently push a cooled poached pear into the middle of each. Place the mini cake tins onto a baking tray and cook for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted near the centre comes out clean. Remove cake pans from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the cake tins.
  7. Serve the mini cakes warm or at room temperature with the Chai Creme Anglaise.

No Knead Hot Cross Buns

No Knead Hot Cross Buns

I love baking, but I don’t often make my own Hot Cross Buns at Easter time. I honestly prefer making Cinnamon Rolls or even this Hot Cross Bun Pull Apart Bread… but I think that is all about to change because I’ve stumbled across the holy grail of recipes – No Knead Hot Cross Buns

This is exactly as the name suggests – a recipe that requires no stand mixer, hand mixer, special equipment or any kneading at all!

This recipe makes a traditional hot cross bun that is just like you’d get at a bakery. Fluffy, golden and generously spiced and studded with lots of sultanas. Plus it’s really easy, with very little hands on time. As with most No Knead recipes, it has a long, slow proofing time. In the past I was always unsure whether I was under-kneading or over-kneading and the results were not as light and fluffy as this batch.

No Knead Hot Cross Buns

The best part about making your own hot cross buns, is that you can choose whatever flavours you like! I love a traditional version but this recipe is quite adaptable.

  • Sultanas – my personal favourite and a must-have in a traditional hot cross bun. I have increased the amount from the original recipe. You could also try a version with your favourite dried fruit – cranberries, chopped dates, figs, dried apples or peaches. 
  • Mixed Peel – usually a combination of orange and lemon peel from a packet, which can sometimes be a little bitter and has a very distinctive taste. I think you either love it or hate it…
  • Fresh Citrus Zest – I’d much rather use a little fresh orange zest in my cooking, however lemon or mandarin zest would also be delicious!
  • Mixed Spice – a store-bought Mixed Spice usually contains cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg. Sometimes I use a Chinese Five Spice instead (like in my Fruit Mince Pies) as I think the addition of ginger, star anise, clove and black pepper can give a lovely complex flavour.
  • Earl Grey – It might sound strange but bear with me here. The first time I made these hot cross buns I infused the milk with 2 teaspoons of earl grey tea and added an additional 3 teaspoons of powdered tea to the dough. It was very nice but had quite a subtle flavour. Perhaps next year I will try and perfect the recipe! I used my Nutribullet with the milling blade attached to grind the tea.
  • Chocolate Chips – lots of modern recipes replace the fruit with chocolate chips! Super tasty if you’re eating them fresh, but I really hate chocolate melting and burning in the toaster!
No Knead Hot Cross Buns

The day before you want to serve your No Knead Hot Cross Buns, make the dough. It’s really a matter of mixing the ingredients together to form a sticky, shaggy dough. Cover and leave it for an hour and them give it a few folds. To do this, you’ll use your wet hands or a spatula to scoop the dough and fold it to the other side of the bowl. Then turn the bowl 90 degrees and do it again so you’ve done four folds. Repeat this again after another hour. Then the bowl will go into the fridge (or room temperature if it’s cool where you live) overnight or for up to 24 hours. 

The following day, add the sultanas. This can be a little tricky, so I like to bring the dough out of the fridge about an hour beforehand. I had to very gently knead the dough to evenly incorporate the fruit. Next time I might try adding sultanas in when mixing the dough and seeing if there is any difference as this step is a bit annoying! The dough is shaped into round balls, and allowed to prove again until the buns have doubled in size. This recipe uses an egg wash pre-baking, instead of a glaze brushed onto the warm buns.

No Knead Hot Cross Buns

Another thing that is a little different to recipes I’ve tried in the past is that the crosses are made with a mixture of flour and milk, instead of flour and water. I had to play around with the consistency to get it perfect to pipe. And even then, I am not so good at making perfect crosses on my buns! But I think when you are making them from scratch, it’s nice when they look a little rustic.

I decided to bake mine in a round cast iron pan but you can definitely use a square or rectangular cake dish. They smell so incredibly good as they’re baking but try not to tuck into them straight out of the oven. They continue cooking as they cool, so for the best texture it’s important to wait, or they might seem doughy inside. Be patient, it’s totally worth it!

No Knead Hot Cross Buns

I was super happy with how these No Knead Hot Cross Buns turned out and I’m looking forward to experimenting more with this recipe (which I originally found in Olive Magazine) in future years. I’m making one more batch this weekend to share with my parents. I love that I can make the dough the day before and then pop them in the oven in the morning for a delicious Easter breakfast. 

I loved how light and fluffy they were, with a good hit of spice and a generous amount of fruit. They tasted best fresh on the day they were made, but they are also delicious toasted and slathered with lots of butter. If you have any leftover, you could also try making my Baked French Toast using them! It would be soooo delicious!

No Knead Hot Cross Buns
No Knead Hot Cross Buns
5 from 1 vote
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No Knead Hot Cross Buns

No Knead Hot Cross Buns – a delicious fluffy Easter bun full of fruit and spices, that requires no stand mixer, hand mixer, special equipment or any kneading at all!

Course Brunch, Dessert
Keyword Bread & Yeast, Breakfast, Brunch, Easter
Prep Time 1 day
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 12

Ingredients

Hot Cross Bun Dough

  • 525 g plain flour, plus extra for shaping
  • 75 g brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • 7 g instant dried yeast
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 150 g butter, melted and cooled
  • 200 ml milk, room temperature or slightly warmed
  • 3 eggs
  • 200 g sultanas
  • 1 egg, extra for egg wash, whisked lightly

Crosses

  • 3 tablespoons plain flour
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. The day before you want to bake your Hot Cross Buns, place the flour, brown sugar, mixed spice, salt and yeast into a large bowl and stir until combined.
  2. Whisk the milk, butter and eggs together into a jug. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the mixture. Using a wooden spoon, mix together to form a shaggy dough, ensuring that all ingredients are mixed and there are no pockets of dry ingredients. Cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and set aside for 1 hour.
  3. Use a wet hand or a large spatula to scoop up the dough from the side of the bowl, lifting and folding it over to the opposite side of the bowl. Rotate the bowl 90 degrees and repeat, doing this for all four sides of the bowl. Cover again and let rest for another hour. Repeat this 1-2 more times and then cover and chill overnight or for up to 24 hours.
  4. The next day, take the dough out of the fridge around an hour before you want to start. Scoop the dough out onto a floured bench top or work surface. Press flat and scatter over the sultanas, pressing gently into the dough and giving it a gentle knead for a minute or two. I like to fold it over a few times to secure the fruit and ensure it’s evenly distributed through the dough. Divide into 12 equal portions and form into round balls.
  5. Line a tray, or a round/square/rectangular cake pan with baking paper and place dough balls seam side down, around 2cm apart. Cover with a clean tea towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise for 1-2 hours until almost doubled in size. To test if they are ready to bake, gently press and if the dough springs back quickly and fully they need a little longer. If they spring back slowly, they’re ready to be baked.
  6. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F). Brush the tops of the buns with the beaten egg. To make the crosses, combine the milk and flour to form a thick paste. It should be a nice pipe-able consistency and not too runny or too thick. Scoop into a piping bag (or a zip lock with the tip cut off) and pipe each bun with a cross shape.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating half way, until the buns are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool fully before serving. Serve fresh or toasted, slathered in lots of butter!

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

I had to dig out a cardigan the other night, so autumn must be on the way here in Sydney. This is actually my favourite time of year. I love going out for a walk when the morning air is crisp and cool, but warms up into a beautiful sunny day. Plus, I loooove cardigans. The change of seasons always brings me cooking inspiration and I’ve been happily brainstorming cool-weather comfort food dishes. I was very excited about one particular idea and couldn’t help but try it straight away – Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey.

I’ve made a lot of cheeseboards in my time. I love the process of putting them together and styling everything beautifully. Cheese, grapes and honey are staples and a delicious combination of flavours together, but this is a unique and totally delicious way to serve them. With this dish, I wanted to elevate your standard cheeseboard and give it a seasonal autumn twist. Just add a glass of wine!

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

Have you ever tried roasted grapes? 

Just like roasted strawberries, a little time in the oven turns red grapes into an even more delicious version of themselves. The flavour and sweetness gets super concentrated. Grapes are in season right now and super affordable so it’s the perfect time to give this recipe a try! I kept the grapes on the stalks for my photos (#aesthetics) but honestly it would be much easier to eat if they were removed before cooking!

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

Feta is such a versatile cheese to use in a wide variety of dishes. The whole internet has gone feta mad thanks to the viral TikTok pasta recipe! I love it crumbled over roasted carrots or in salads, but I had never tried crumbing and frying it before! The pan-fried crumb coating becomes golden and crisp, adding a lovely textural contrast. The cheese inside doesn’t melt, but becomes creamy and crumbly and is so delicious served warm.

The grapes and honey add sweetness that offsets the salty crumbed feta beautifully. The fresh thyme and oregano add a pop of contrasting colour and lovely flavour.

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

I served the feta as one big block, crumbed and fried until golden. You could also cut into smaller pieces. This will help to get a better crumb to cheese ratio and individual pieces might be better for a larger group. Just make sure to serve with crusty toasted bread or crackers! 

This Crumbed Feta is so quick and easy to prepare – like 20 minutes, tops – but really takes your cheeseboard to a whole new level. It’s also a great little vegetarian appetiser that can be adapted through the seasons all year. Think fresh cherry tomatoes or sliced peaches in summer with scattered basil and mint leaves. I’d also love to try a wintery version with roast pumpkin, sage and toasted pine nuts. You can also try it with olives, figs and pomegranate or any other flavour combination you dream up!

Related Post: Slow Cooked Lamb with Homemade Hummus

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

Crumbed Feta with Roasted Grapes and Honey

This Crumbed Feta is so easy and takes your autumn cheeseboard to a whole new level. The salty, crispy cheese goes perfectly with the sweet grapes and honey!

Course Appetizer, Side Dish
Keyword Autumn, Side Dish, Simple Dinners, Vegetarian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes

Ingredients

Roasted Grapes

  • 1/2 bunch grapes, picked off the stalks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 1 block Danish fetta
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (panko or regular)
  • Big pinch flaky salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Honey, to serve
  • Fresh oregano and thyme, optional, to serve
  • Crusty bread, toasted to serve

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Place grapes in an even layer on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Scatter with salt, pepper and thyme leaves. Roast for 15-20 minutes until the grapes are softened and have released some juice.
  2. In the meantime, make the crumbed feta.
  3. Place the egg into a flat-bottomed bowl and whisk lightly. Add the breadcrumbs and a big pinch of salt to a second bowl. Dip the feta into the egg and then transfer to the second bowl. Press gently into the bread crumbs on all sides to evenly coat.
  4. Heat olive oil in a fry pan over medium heat. Cook the feta for about 3 minutes each front and back and then carefully turn to cook the other sides until golden brown.
  5. Transfer to a plate to serve. Place roasted grapes around and on top of the feta, spooning over the grape juices. Scatter with fresh oregano and thyme. Serve immediately with a good drizzling of honey and toasted bread.

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

I’m here today with a recipe that should definitely be the newest addition to all your future cheese boards – Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney! Jam is my jam, but I also love trying other kinds of preserving.

This recipe was born out of an abundance of homegrown chillies and my well-established love of summer stone fruit. I’ve been wanting to make chutney for a while now, and nectarine and chilli sounded like the perfect flavour combination to try. I love that sweet-tart chutney can take a boring sandwich or simple ham and cheese toastie to a whole other level.

So, what’s the difference between a jam and a chutney?

Honestly it gets a little tricky here and I’ve spent the last 30 minutes trying to work it out. 

Very basically, jam is a sweet preserve and chutney is more savoury. It’s sometimes spicy, and often (but not always) contains vegetables, plus vinegar and spices. I’ve seen chutney made with so many different ingredients – from mint, coriander, dates, coconut, onion and chillies to things like tart apple, rhubarb, quince, mango, eggplant, tomato, dried fruit and so many more. 

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

Chutney originated in India but soon spread around the world. It is a condiment used to complement a meal like a little flavour bomb. Some chutneys are traditionally made to pair with curries, but others go perfectly on sandwiches, or with cheese and cold meats.

This may be controversial, but when I think about the flavour profiles of a jam vs a fruit or vegetable based chutney, the difference is white sugar vs brown sugar. If I was making a nectarine jam vs a nectarine chutney, I would approach them quite differently. Even thought the base ingredient is the same, the supporting players would change and the end result would be very different. 

Even though my Tomato and Chilli Jam contains vinegar, the white sugar gives it an overall sweeter flavour profile. This nectarine chilli chutney has sweetness from the brown sugar, but to me feels more savoury with cider vinegar, onion and a lot of spices. Luckily, I don’t think there is such thing as the Chutney Police, and both are great with cheese! 

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

I like making small batches of jams and chutneys, using roughly a kilo of fruit at a time. This gives me around 2-3 jars of finished jam. To me this is much more manageable than having to spend a whole day canning and then sterilising and storing dozens of jars! And even better, each batch takes under an hour to cook! Making small batches also means I can try different flavour combinations more often. In-season fruit is usually very affordable, and lately I have been preserving the vegetables I am growing in my small backyard garden.

This chutney recipe is really easy to make and perfect for beginners. All the ingredients go into a saucepan and are stirred occasionally while they cook and thicken. That’s it! As always, I love a versatile recipe and this is definitely one of those. You can play around with the spices used, or add more or less chilli to your own personal taste. Just a quick note that the chilli was definitely more pronounced and spicy when it was hot and I was tasting for flavour than a few days later after it had been chilled. 

I think this Nectarine Chilli Chutney is absolutely perfect with a crumbly sharp cheddar and some fancy crackers. I’ve bought plenty of chutney in the past but now that I’ve tried home-made, I’m never going back! It’s going to be my new cheese board staple going into autumn, a delicious way to preserve one of my favourite summer fruits. 

Related Post: Roasted Spiced Plum Jam

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney

I think this Spiced Nectarine Chilli Chutney is absolutely perfect with a crumbly sharp cheddar and some fancy crackers. It's going to be my new cheese board staple going into autumn, a delicious way to preserve one of my favourite summer fruits. 

Course Jams & Preserves
Keyword Chutney, Jam
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 900 g nectarines, stone removed and roughly chopped
  • 1/2 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 6 kaffir lime leaves, very finely sliced
  • 2 hot chillies, finely sliced (add more or less to your taste)
  • Salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for around 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally. When it’s ready, the mixture will be thickened. Set aside for 10-15 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, sterilise 2-3 glass jars by washing the jars and lids in boiling water and then placing in a low oven (120°C/250°F) until completely dry. Place the warm jam into the jars and seal. Cool to room temperature and then store in the fridge.

Blueberry Loaf Cake with Lemon and Thyme Glaze

Blueberry Loaf Cake

I am hanging on to the end of summer with a celebration of my favourite fruits. This delightful Blueberry Loaf Cake is the perfect treat for afternoon tea. It’s full of fresh bursting blueberries and covered in a tangy cream cheese glaze flavoured with lots of lemon and delicate thyme leaves. 

If you’ve been reading for a while, you might know that I love creating recipes with fruit. I’ll choose a fruity dessert over chocolate almost every time. We are so lucky that there is such a variety of beautiful and delicious fruits every season. Berries are so different to peaches or figs, but I love them all for different reasons. It’s not hard to find cooking inspiration just by heading to the farmers market and looking at what’s in season. To me, fruit is one of the most versatile ingredients to play with as a baker and I love making it the star of the show.

Blueberry Loaf Cake

But if fruit is the real star, it has so many supporting characters that help to make it shine. Warming spices like cinnamon, ginger and of course vanilla are always winners. A splash of bourbon with peaches or Chambord with berries takes the hero ingredient to another level.

But today we’re talking fruit and herbs.

Blueberry Loaf Cake

My herbs are going wild out in the garden so I’m always looking for interesting ways to use them. It may sound unusual but if you’ve never tried the combination of strawberry and basil, pineapple and coriander, watermelon and mint or lemon and rosemary, you’re really missing out! Today’s choice was blueberry and thyme – a match made in heaven. 

I had an abundance of fresh blueberries and wanted to use them in a special recipe. The idea of a loaf cake kept coming to mind, which is actually something I don’t make that often. My pretty new pink loaf pan, which may have had something to do with it!

Blueberry Loaf Cake

I wanted the texture to be lighter than a pound cake, not too dense. I knew there would be yoghurt or sour cream in the mix to add a bit of tang. There would be jammy pockets of blueberries all throughout the cake, and lots and lots of lemon zest. I wanted a glaze that wasn’t too sweet with a big hit of lemon and lots of fresh thyme.

Well, I think I pretty much nailed it! We really loved having big slices of this Blueberry Loaf Cake with a cup of French Earl Grey tea. It’s the perfect afternoon tea treat! The best part is when you get a little of everything in the one bite – the tender cake, a jammy blueberry and some of that delicious glaze too.

Blueberry Loaf Cake

As usual, I encourage you to take this recipe and make it your own. I think it’s a great simple cake base that can be adapted. I just know I’ll be making it again and again. You could make it a round cake instead of a loaf. If you like the idea of a frosting better than a glaze, just leave out the milk for a spreadable texture. I think any other berry would work really well here too!

Blueberry Loaf Cake

Blueberry Loaf Cake with Lemon & Thyme Glaze

This delightful Blueberry Loaf Cake is the perfect treat for afternoon tea. It’s full of fresh bursting blueberries and covered in a tangy cream cheese glaze flavoured with lots of lemon and delicate thyme leaves. 

Course Cake
Keyword Cake, Dessert, Summer
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 110 g butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon & Thyme Cream Cheese Glaze

  • 120 g cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons icing sugar, sifted
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 5-8 tablespoons milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C / 160°C fan forced (350°F). Grease and line a loaf pan with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until pale and fluffy. Add the sour cream and beat until combined. Add the eggs and mix in one at a time until combined. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and lemon zest and beat until combined, being careful not to overmix. Add the blueberries and gently mix in with a spatula, being careful that they don’t burst.
  3. Pour the cake batter into the loaf pan and bake for around 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool in the loaf pan.
  4. In the meantime, make the glaze. Mix together the cream cheese, sugar and lemon juice in a bowl. Add the lemon juice and thyme leaves and mix again. Add the milk a little at a time until the desired glaze consistency is reached.
  5. To serve, drizzle the glaze over the top to cover completely. Serve in thick slices with a cup of your favourite tea.
  6. The un-glazed cake will store in an airtight container for 2 days but is best to eat fresh on the day that the glaze is added.

Easy Salami Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes & Burrata

Easy Salami Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes & Burrata

I am literally always on the lookout for new weeknight dinner ideas. While I love having a few favourite dishes that I make over and over, I find it really refreshing and fun to try new recipes. But sometimes I forget to share them here on the blog! This super easy Salami Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes is one that I’ve been making often since 2014, but I am only just getting around to sharing it with you now!

I came up with it when I was house-sitting for a friend and had a few seemingly random ingredients on hand. I put them together in a pan and magic happened! Honestly, is there a better combination than tomato and basil? Maybe yes, if you add salami and burrata too 😉

Easy Salami Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes & Burrata

Sometimes when I have had a crazy day or everything has gone wrong, this dish is a little way to treat myself. It has some of my favourite ingredients combined and it feels like a moment of self care to actually cook a dish that I love rather than ordering something unhealthy or eating toast for dinner. Luckily, the sauce component of the dish comes together in less time than it takes to cook your pasta. In fact, it’s so quick that if you start cooking the sauce before you put your pasta into the boiling water, you’ll be waiting around for the pasta to finish cooking.

I think this Salami Pasta would also be a nice homemade option if you’re having a Valentine’s Day dinner at home with your sweetheart. If you’re not a confident cook, this recipe is super easy but impressive and more importantly it’s DELICIOUS. Just serve with a nice wine, a loaf of crusty bread and a green salad on the side. Cozy and perfect for a romantic night in.

Easy Salami Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes & Burrata

Cherry tomatoes are the star here and the recipe just isn’t the same using a tin of tomatoes. This summer I have been lucky enough to use all home-grown cherry tomatoes from my garden. They’ve been a big winner for this newbie gardener, and I have 3 plants that are taller than me now! I am growing two kinds – Sugar Gloss which gives you a smaller, traditional red tomato and also Black Cherry Tomatoes, which are a darker purple.

Every week I am harvesting a heap of cherry tomatoes and this is one of my favourite things to do with them. You can use any kind of cherry tomato, or a mix. I love those punnets you can buy at the supermarket that have a variety of colours and sizes. The cherry tomatoes blister and cook in the heat of the pan, creating a sauce as they burst. The tomatoes also give a pop of flavour and jammy sweetness.

Easy Salami Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes & Burrata

Next up we have salami, which gives you a heap of flavour. I think it’s a great versatile ingredient and I almost always have some in my fridge. You can use any salami that you like. It is a dominant flavour so make sure you use a good quality one that you love the flavour of. Sometimes I mix it up and use a spicy one, but today I used a pork and fennel salami. I also love that the salami is roughly torn by hand for this recipe which gives it a rustic touch. The oil that comes out of the salami flavours the garlic beautifully and often means you don’t need to add extra olive oil. 

Easy Salami Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes & Burrata

The cherry on top for me is the burrata added to the finished dish that gives so much creaminess. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese. It has a soft ‘shell’ that gives way to a super creamy inside. It can be a little hard to find in shops sometimes. If I can’t get my hands on it I will substitute with torn mozzarella or bocconcini cheese. The cheese starts to melt with the heat of the pasta and adds another dimension to this dish.

This dish is also great with any kind of pasta. I’ve made it with almost every shape and size you can imagine. This time I tried bucatini, a spaghetti-like noodle with a hole in the middle, which was awesome. So there you go, I’ve finally shared one of my Salami Pasta recipe! I hope you love it as much as I do.

Related Recipe: Creamy Chicken Pesto with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Easy Salami Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes & Burrata

Salami Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Burrata

This Salami Pasta with Cherry Tomatoes and Burrata is a delicious and easy recipe, perfect for weeknights or a cozy home-cooked Valentines Day dinner!

Course Dinner
Keyword Pasta, Simple Dinners, Spring, Summer
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 250 g bucatini pasta, or any shape of your choice
  • 100 g salami, roughly torn into pieces
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli, finely sliced (or to taste)
  • 350 g cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Drizzle of balsamic or red wine vinegar
  • Half bunch fresh basil, finely sliced with a few leaves reserved for garnish
  • 1 fresh burrata
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water until al dente and then drain, reserving a small amount of the pasta water.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, place the torn salami into a frying pan and cook on medium heat until crispy. Add the garlic and chilli and stir for a minute until fragrant. Turn down the heat and add the cherry tomatoes, stirring for 5 minutes or until the tomatoes are starting to burst and release their juice. Add a good drizzle of balsamic or red wine vinegar. Add the chopped basil and stir until wilted.
  3. Remove from the heat and add the drained pasta to the frypan, mixing to combine all ingredients and coat the pasta in the tomato juices. If it’s looking a little dry, add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water and a drizzle of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve with halved burrata ball on each plate and some fresh basil leaves on top.

Homemade Passionfruit Curd

Homemade Passionfruit Curd

Oh hello there. I really didn’t mean to take a 6 month break from blogging, but 2020 was a YEAR, am I right? Without a doubt, the best part to come out of the year-that-shall-not-be-named is my thriving quarantine garden. It’s my new favourite hobby and I love learning all about growing veggies. 

I’ve had my share of rookie mistakes… like when I planted an entire packet of seeds and ended up with 40+ capsicum plants. Or managed to kill rosemary (twice), which are meant to be hardy and almost indestructible. The cherry tomatoes I grew from seed are taller than me now. I’ve grown some very oddly shaped cucumbers, learned how to hand pollinate zucchinis, have been to Bunnings at least once a week and yes, I still have a completely irrational slug phobia. 

Homemade Passionfruit Curd

All in all, I would call this season a success and I am loving cooking with things I have grown myself. It definitely has re-inspired my long-time love of preserving. I’ve made countless batches of Tomato & Chilli Jam and Zucchini Pickles which were gifted to friends and family for Christmas.

In addition to preserving the things I’ve grown myself, our neighbours have a massive sprawling passionfruit vine that has taken over our side of the fence too. Every time I go outside there are a few more ripe passionfruit that have fallen to the ground – fair game, right? 

Homemade Passionfruit Curd

So today we are making one of my favourite things – passionfruit curd!

If you’ve ever had lemon curd, you’ll know the creamy and sweet spread that is perfect on pancakes or in a pie crust. Passionfruit curd is like its tangy tropical cousin. The method is very similar and uses only a few basic ingredients – butter, sugar, eggs, passionfruit juice and a little lemon juice. Only about 10 minutes and a bit of whisking separate you from perfect curd. If you can wield a whisk, you can make this recipe!

Homemade Passionfruit Curd

My best tips for making passionfruit curd…

  • Seedless passionfruit curd can often be better for filling cakes and tarts so I like to strain out the seeds and set them aside. Sometimes I will add a few tablespoons of the seeds back in at the very end. This way you get to control the amount of seeds present for a more pleasant texture as you eat it.
  • Store in the fridge. Because curd contains eggs you have to treat it a little differently to a jam and always store in the fridge. It will last around 3 weeks. You can also freeze it for up to 6 months and defrost overnight in the fridge before you use it.
  • Use a silicone whisk. Some people think that using a metal whisk can react with the eggs and lemon. I haven’t had this problem personally, however it’s easily avoidable by using a silicone whisk.
  • Use a low heat. Some people prefer to make curd in a double boiler (with a non-metal bowl of course) but I just keep the heat a little lower to avoid burning the curd or scrambling the eggs. 
  • If you’re nervous that you may have scrambled the eggs (don’t worry, it happens to the best of us!) just strain the mixture with a fine sieve.
  • Some recipes call for egg yolks only but I like this one that uses 3 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks. The whole eggs help to thicken the curd to a scoop-able consistency which is helpful if you’re using it in between cake layers or sandwich cookies. It will also thicken as it chills in the fridge.
  • I used fresh passionfruit because I have a ton of them but if passionfruit isn’t in season you can also use canned juice.
  • I also made my very first Reel on Instagram if you want to see how I made it!

There are so many ways to use your delicious homemade Passionfruit Curd. My favourite way is swirled with cream on top of a pavlova or through my No Churn ice cream mixture. If you want to get fancy you can try this cake inspired by Christina Tosi from Momofuku, which my sister declared as her favourite of all the birthday cakes I have ever made for her. It’s also completely delicious on a warm scone or a piece of toast. If you’ve got a glut of fresh passionfruit, then you really can’t go wrong!

Homemade Passionfruit Curd

Homemade Passionfruit Curd

Passionfruit curd is like lemon curd's tangy tropical cousin. The method is very similar and uses only a few basic ingredients. Only about 10 minutes and a bit of whisking separate you from perfect curd. If you can wield a whisk, you can make this recipe!

Course Jams & Preserves
Keyword Jam
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 2 cups/jars

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup 160ml passionfruit juice (seeds strained out and reserved)
  • 165 g butter
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks

Instructions

  1. Place passionfruit juice, butter and caster sugar into a saucepan and whisk over medium heat until the butter is melted and the sugar has dissolved
  2. Put 3 eggs and 2 egg yolks into a bowl and whisk them together. Pour the passionfruit mixture over the eggs slowly and whisk them together.
  3. Put the mixture back into the saucepan and whisk continuously for 6-7 minutes until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Sometimes I like to add a few tablespoons of the passionfruit seeds back into the curd.
  4. Pour into sterilised jars and store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.

Pulled Pork Baked Beans

Pulled Pork Baked Beans

Ahhh Baked Beans. I think almost everyone has some memory or association with them, whether it was an after school snack or a favourite on the buffet breakfast… but not me. I was a fussy kid and the list of things I didn’t like was probably longer than what I would eat. I’ve grown out of a lot of my food fussiness but unless there is a literal apocalypse, I don’t think I’ll ever willingly reach for a can of baked beans. 

It was completely surreal walking around the supermarket in mid-March, during the height of pandemic panic buying. Toilet paper was the first to go, then pasta and baked beans soon followed. As with most things, the homemade version is a million times better and that is what I want to share with you today!

Pulled Pork Baked Beans

Pulled pork baked beans.

Perfect on toast with a little crumbled fetta, but you could also serve alongside poached eggs and roasted tomato if you’re missing cafe style brunches. If you want to get technical, my version is actually not baked. It’s simmered in a slightly sweet, slightly spicy tomato sauce, thanks to flavour-packed ingredients like golden syrup, smoky paprika and cayenne pepper.

I had all of these ingredients already in my pantry so I think it’s great for times like these. However feel free to make substitutions if you don’t have everything on hand. I always like to make recipes that are flexible because I never cook something the same way twice! Just make it work with what you have, taste along the way and make it your own.

Pulled Pork Baked Beans

I like the big fat butter beans but cannellini, navy or pinto beans are all great options too. You may need to adjust the cooking time to 15 minutes since these beans are smaller. You could probably even try this with chickpeas in a pinch. If you are using dried beans, prepare as you normally would by soaking first and pre-cooking until almost tender before adding to the sauce in this recipe.

Some other substitutions for you. Golden syrup can be switched out with maple syrup, honey or even a little brown sugar. If you like it really smoky you could add some treacle or blackstrap molasses. I used malt vinegar but you could try apple cider vinegar or even balsamic. No fresh herbs? Dried thyme or rosemary are totally good too. If you like it spicy, add chipotle in adobo, a splash of your favourite hot sauce or as much cayenne as you can handle!

Let me preface this by saying, I almost always have pre-cooked pulled pork in the freezer. I’m not sharing the recipe for that today, but please comment if you would like me to post in the future. Instead of pulled pork you could fry up some diced bacon or speck with the onions in Step 1. You could also substitute with any other kind of shredded slow cooked meat (chicken or brisket would be good). If you are vegan, try using pulled jackfruit. Failing everything else, the beans in this delicious tomato sauce are still a winner! 

Pulled Pork Baked Beans

Not only is this recipe really quick and easy to prepare, but it makes a generous 4-5 servings. So you can #mealprep this in advance and heat it up for a super quick breakfast, brunch or even breakfast for dinner! If you are home-schooling your kids this recipe could make a great easy lunch too. These pulled pork baked beans are hearty and comforting and keep you satisfied for a really long time. I would recommend heating it on the stove not the microwave because I did not realise that beans can explode… Let’s just say I learned that one the hard way and had a huge mess to clean!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and that you’re keeping safe at home during these uncertain times. Please leave me a comment below if you have any specific recipe requests. Tag me on Instagram @spicyicecream if you give this one a try!

Related Post: Carrot Cake Ricotta Pancake

Pulled Pork Baked Beans

Pulled Pork Baked Beans are a hearty and comforting meal for any time of day, using ingredients you probably have in your pantry!

Course Breakfast, Brunch
Keyword Australian, Breakfast, Simple Dinners
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cans butter beans
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup or maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoky paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cayenne or chilli flakes, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons malt vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup pulled pork

To serve

  • Sourdough bread
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Fetta cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh thyme leaves, extra (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in a medium frypan, add the onion and cook until translucent. Drain and rinse the beans and add to the pan with the thyme leaves.
  2. Add the can of tomatoes, golden syrup, paprika, garam masala, cayenne if using, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, tomato paste and salt and pepper. Simmer for 10-15 minutes and then taste for seasoning. Add the pulled pork and heat for a further 5 minutes. Add a little water or stock if the sauce becomes too thick.
  3. To serve, brush slices of sourdough with olive oil and toast in a frypan or in the oven until golden brown. Pile the toast high with a generous spoonful of baked beans. Drizzle with a little olive oil and scatter with crumbled fetta and fresh thyme.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake (Gluten Free)

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

At this time of year I would usually be elbow deep in cinnamon roll dough with warm spice aromas coming from the oven and filling my apartment. But you may have noticed that 2020 is not like other years. There is the biggest worldwide crisis in a century happening affecting almost everything about day to day life. My heart goes out to all those who are suffering with illness and unemployment among all the other stresses right now. 

I have been keeping a daily gratitude journal for years and have continued to do so in these crazy times. Some days I write three things and other days I write three pages. These days I am especially grateful for the little things that are easy to take for granted. If you are feeling stressed and anxious, I would recommend grabbing a notebook giving this a try. Even though this situation is scary with so many unknowns, shifting your brain into a feeling of gratitude for even a short time can really help.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

There have been several weeks of grocery shortages and supply issues here in Australia, as I’m sure there have been all over the world. Toilet paper was the first to go, followed by pasta, cleaning products, canned and frozen food. It was crazy to see the grocery shelves stripped bare. I’ve managed to find everything I needed except flour for over a month, but I still wanted to bake something special.

Enter this delicious Flourless Orange and Almond Cake. This is a lovely cake for Easter, Mother’s Day, a birthday celebration or even just a weekend cooking project. I adapted the recipe from a Donna Hay recipe that I’ve been making for years. The original recipe does require a small amount of flour and I’ve made it this way many times with great success. But I wanted to see if it would work completely flourless too, and it turned out great. I will link to the original and share the changes I made in the recipe below.

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

When I first made the cake I was intrigued because whole oranges are cooked, deseeded and then pureed whole. Then the rest of the cake ingredients are added to the same food processor, so it’s ridiculously easy to make. If you are stuck indoors and new to baking, cakes rarely get simpler than this, so it’s perfect for newbie bakers. As I mentioned, I made this one totally flourless so it becomes gluten free. The almond meal gives the cake a beautiful crumb while keeping it nice and moist. 

The original cake is served warm with a sweet orange syrup but I decided to go all out on decorating! Firstly I baked it in two layers, which I think it pretty but optional. Then I made a super easy whipped mascarpone icing and topped the cake with fresh figs, raspberries, pomegranate, chopped pistachios and rose petals to make it really special. I’m not that great at cake decorating but I truly love how this turned out. 

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

If you want to experiment further you could try this with other citrus fruit or other nut meals. I think a combination of almond and pistachio would be really nice! You could also halve the recipe if you are isolating solo, or make this as individual mini cakes. You could try a chocolate ganache icing for a jaffa cake vibe or maybe an orange blossom buttercream. The options are endless!

Update – I did find flour last night, and practically did a happy dance in Coles. Maybe there will be cinnamon rolls afterall! 

Related Post: Blueberry Crumble Cake

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

Flourless Orange and Almond Cake

This delicious Flourless Orange and Almond Cake is perfect for Easter, Mother's Day or birthday celebrations. It's also gluten free!

Course Cake, Dessert
Keyword Cake, Dessert
Prep Time 1 day 45 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 day 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 2 oranges, washed well
  • 125 g butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups ground almonds, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mascarpone Icing

  • 250 g mascarpone
  • 1 cup icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water or orange blossom water (optional)

Decorations

  • Fresh figs, cut into quarters or eighths
  • Fresh raspberries
  • Pomegranate arils
  • Finely chopped pistachios
  • Edible dried rose petals

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Line the base of two 20cm cake tins with non-stick baking paper.
  2. Place the oranges in a saucepan of water, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until soft. Remove from the water and chop roughly, removing any seeds.
  3. Process the orange, butter, sugar, eggs, ground almonds, flour and baking powder in a food processor until smooth. I have a small food processor so I had to process the oranges first and transfer to a large bowl, and then process the remaining cake ingredients separately and mix them together.
  4. Spoon the mixture evenly into the prepared cake tins and bake for 45 minutes-1 hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer. Set aside to cool in the tins for 20 minutes and then remove and cool completely.
  5. To make the icing, beat the mascarpone, sifted icing sugar, vanilla and rose/orange blossom water if using until combined.
  6. Place one cake upside down on a plate and spread 1/3 of the icing over the top with a flat spatula. Top with the second cake and then spread a thin layer of icing over the sides for a “naked cake” effect.
  7. Spread the remaining icing over the top and then decorate with figs, raspberries, pomegranate, pistachios and rose petals.