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Almond and Orange Polenta Cake

Some time ago Boyfriend and I started watching ‘Downton Abbey’. We haven’t watched it before. At the beginning we laughed a lot because it is a classic example of a British subdued drama, just like Eddie Izzard described:

There are some decent one liners, I am not sure if they are unintentionally hilarious or intended by the writer.

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At first I thought – classic drama written by a toff, where the lord is a gentle soul, the upstairs treats the downstairs with respect and in a nice manner. There is never a coal miner shown, or any real poverty in the working class. Obviously it is nostalgic for any toff watching, because those times were marvelous for them. Well, then again, current days still are for most of them. And even though at first I was rolling my eyes when lord Grantham and his butler were against anything new, any changes, soon I remembered the program Country House Rescue. It was a documentary program in which Ruth Watson (a hotelier and businesswoman) advised the owners of stately British homes how to diversify and raise revenue to keep their houses. For her it was a really frustrating tasks as in most of the episodes old country houses owners refused to change anything and stubbornly fought any new ideas. And as soon as I remembered that I thought, all right, so it’s actually believable. Why wouldn’t it be, it was written by a toff after all.

But then I thought about how popular it is, and how well it did in America. And that made me think again. Maybe it’s not such a bad thing. At least people get to know what’s polite and how to behave, to show good manners. Who nowadays is getting up when a lady enters the room? How many people know how to dine and have luncheon and keep the conversation topics polite, non offensive and flowing? Also, makes you feel appreciative towards suffragettes and all those who fought for women’s rights. All women who think feminism is a dirty word should be ashamed because let me assure you, if you are one of them, would you move back to the times when you couldn’t inherit anything because of your gender, weren’t allowed to study, work or vote, even drive or go anywhere without a chaperon? I am forever grateful to be able to do all of it, and looking forward to the times when the glass ceiling is shattered.

But moving on, Downton Abbey makes me always think of the great original film – ‘Gosford Park’. First of all because of Maggie Smith. She plays the same role in every movie, but she does that with grace and class. Boyfriend and I quite often wonder if she’s type casted or is it her choice of roles…So we always imagine what would it be like if she played in a mafia movie and talked with a New Jersey twang. Whenever she appears on the screen, we say something like :’ Hey Maggie, where’s the pizzas?!’

Secondly because it was co-written by the same writer and apparently Downton Abbey was supposed to be a spin-off of ‘Gosford Park’, before it became a different story set earlier then Gosford’s one.

‘Gosford Park’ is so much better and lively. Maybe because the magnificent American director, Robert Altman, was involved. He was famous for making any scenario real, any dialogue natural. ‘Gosford Park’ is a study of class system, study of characters and people’s behaviour. There are many layers to the story, the main core of it being Agatha Christie-like country house murder mystery, where all the suspects are under one roof.

And you can have it with sugar free, gluten free cake

Almond and orange polenta cake

Almond and orange polenta cake

Almond and Orange Polenta Cake:

200 g ground almonds

100 g polenta

1 tbs baking powder

grated zest and juice of 1 orange

150 ml olive oil

3 eggs

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup xylitol (or 3/4 cup honey)

For the cream:

1 1/2 cup Greek thick yoghurt

1/2 agave syrup

1 tbsp orange blossom water

raspberries to decorate

1. Preheat oven to 160 C. Grease cake tin. Mix polenta, almonds, baking powder and orange zest together.

2. In a separate bowl mix eggs and xylitol for 5 minutes until they double in size. If you are using honey, mix eggs first.

3. Add oil, juice of half orange, almond milk and mix together. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Pour the mixture into cake form and bake for 30- 45 minutes (should be golden on top and skewer should come out clean).

4. Remove from the oven. Heat juice of remaining half an orange with 4 spoons of xylitol. Wait till it desolves. Pierce the cake with spaghetti and pour your orange juice over the cake. Leave it to cool.

5. Mix yoghurt with orange blossom water and agave syrup. When the cake is completely cool, spread yoghurt on top of it, decorate with raspberries.

Almond and orange polenta cake

Almond and orange polenta cake

Almond and orange polenta cake

Almond and orange polenta cake

Almond and orange polenta cake

Almond and orange polenta cake

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About potatofaces

People who cook always go on about precious memories of childhood food one of their family members cooked, how daddy or nanny taught them the importance of cooking and eating together, and they still remember the comfort food they produced, amazing dishes whipped up by brilliant but humble cooks in their family. Well, let me tell you, it was totally different in my family. My mother’s family – totally useless as cooks, who could survive on bread and butter, cooked once a week a terrible, terrible meal, usually some kind of meat piece with lots of brown sauce. Also, they were never bothered about eating together. That’s maybe why most of them were depressed and suicidal. My mother followed that path and couldn’t really cook, and because I never wanted to eat meat, was warning me that ‘one day I will regret it’. Probably because my mother wasn’t into cooking my sister at the age of 12 took over and started producing amazing dinners and cakes. Well, luckily for me and her we weren’t that genetically doomed because apparently my father’s family were gifted in that compartment. I can only presume it was genes, as my father divorced my mother when my sis and me were little and he strongly believed that he also divorced us. So, we were growing up never having any contact with him and as a result, couldn’t learn how to cook from him. That’s why I believe the love of cooking ( and the ability) was just passed to us genetically. My father, short time before he died, unexpectedly felt an urge to contact us. First he gave my sister a mandolin (that’s another thing I know about him- he played a few instruments). My sister refused to talk to him, he then decided to contact me and wanted to spend some time with me. I didn’t want to, as he was a stranger to me (I was 11 or 12 at the time) but as I was promised I could leave whenever I wanted to, I went to the village he lived in. There I tried his mother’s cooking everyone was raving about. It was simple and amazing, I wish they were as family dedicated as they were at baking, cooking, making pastries, wine, tinctures, you name it. But I ate, drunk, and got bored of strangers who were my family and demanded to be let to go home. One of the last things my father said to me was that I should start learning English because I might need it one day, which I ignored for another 16 years… Because my sister was such a domestic goddess I wasn’t really bothered about cooking. I got hooked properly after my son was born and I wanted him to eat healthy and get everything he needed, especially that it wasn’t his choice to be a vegetarian (yet). And that is how the story begins…

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