By now you’d know we love growing and picking things in this place, and just last week, we were at it again. This time, plucking bundles upon bundles of blood oranges and mandarins from the Australian Man’s grandmother (Nan’s) house.
Nan is Maltese. In 1963, she made the journey to Australia – husband and children in tow – to nestle new roots. Though she has adapted beautifully to Australian life, some traits run deep; one step into her garden, overflowing with Mediterranean flowers, fruits and vegetables, serves as charming evidence of her seaside rearing.
It is unusual for us to return from a dinner at Nan’s without arms full of something – often leftovers, and as the temperature warms, fruit and veg. I knew before we left just where that day’s crop would go. And so it did, directly into this teacake.
This cake is similar to my grandmother’s in its intense orange flavor, ease to make, and universal love by all who taste it. That said, this version, inspired by the flourless one popularized by Claudia Roden, requires the luxury of time.
Three whole oranges (or two, if they are quite large) are simmered about an hour, until very tender, then blitzed and mixed with a simple mixture of eggs and ground almonds. For a crumbier texture, I added fine semolina, and for a bit of kick, a drop of pure almond extract, cinnamon and cardamom.
Orange, Almond and Semolina Cake may be the most obvious name for this beauty. But it seems more appropriate, considering his Nan’s oranges and my Teta’s legacy, to rename it: Grandmother’s Cake.