recipes for healthy living

Tag: olive oil

Olive Oil & Lemon Cake with Raspberries

OO&L Lemons II

This is a recipe belonging to Jamie Oliver from one of his earliest books Jamie’s Italy which I had completely forgotten about how much I loved. He makes it with Fragola Grapes,but raspberries or blueberries are delicious in it. I didn’t have as much fruit as the recipe needed so had to content myself with just putting fruit into the middle rather than onto the top as well but it was still delicious. I couldn’t resist anything containing my 2 favourite ingredients so went ahead and made do. Still warm loaded with icecream or the next day with a great coffee – a lovely treat.

4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I used gluten free )
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
a pinch of salt
The zest of 3 lemons
1 lb. 6 0z. fresh fruit such as raspberries or blueberries

Oven at 170C
Butter and line a 9-inch cake pan
Beat the eggs and sugar for about 3 minutes, until thick and pale yellow
Add the butter, oil, milk and vanilla.
Mix well, then sift in the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add the lemon zests and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly blended.
Set aside for 10 minutes to allow the flour to absorb the liquid.

Stir about 2/3’s of the batter into your cake pan and smooth out the top.
Scatter over the fruit,
Place the cake pan in the center of your oven and bake for 15 minutes
If you are using more fruit then remove the cake from the oven and working quickly, scatter the remaining fruit over the top. Gently push them down into the cake then return it to the oven for another 30-40 minutes, until the top is a deep golden brown and the cake feels quite firm.
Put the pan on a rack to cool. After 10 minutes run a knife along the sides of the pan and turn out your cake.

Serve warm with ice-cream or cream

OO&L Raspberry Cake

An Olive Oil cake with Lemon and Orange puree

An Olive Oil cake from Italy made with lemon and orange puree and lots of olive oil. Its not too sweet rather like our madeira cake or pound cake, nice with a cup of coffee. The olive oil flavour comes through along with the citrus juices and toasted almonds. Try it and be surprised at how well it works.

Olive Oil Cake
1 orange
1 lemon
4 eggs
4 oz coconut palm sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
8 oz extra virgin olive oil
4oz almonds, toasted and chopped and some reserved for the top
6oz plain flour – I use gluten free and it works in this recipe ( i added the juice of 2 clementines to make it more moist)
juice of 2 clementines if using gluten free flour

Oven at 180C

Oil and line the base of a sprinform tin
Put orange and lemon in a pot and cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes until very tender
Drain and cool
Cut away the skin from the white pith and whizz to a puree
Beat the eggs with the sugar.
Sift flour baking powder and salt together
Fold the flour mix and olive oil (in alternate batches) into the egg and sugar mixture
Fold in the almonds and pureed fruit very gently
Pour into prepared tin and bake for 40-45 minutes

Quinoa Salad with Pomegranate


This is a spectacular salad the basis of which is Quinoa. Easy to cook, a great source of protein and combined with vegetables and topped with pomegranate seeds and dressing was just beautiful to eat.  We had this accompanied by the lamb meatballs I have posted on before although I varied them slightly by replacing the spices in the recipe with a tablespoon of ras el hanout which was a really great addition. This is a Moroccan spice blend (it means ‘top of the shop’ I believe) and refers to the blend of the best spices a merchant can offer… The spice version of a ‘top shelf’ perhaps?. Containing lots of classic Moroccan spices and widely available, I used a version from www.spiceentice.com which won a great taste gold award in 2011.
The dressing adds a lovely dimension of zingy flavour which just seemed to go very well with the colours and flavours of the rest of the dish.

Serves 4
1 cup quinoa cooked in 2 cups of stock until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is soft and fluffy
1 red onion finely chopped
1/2 red, yellow and green pepper finely chopped (Or all the same colour if that’s all you have)
2 tbsp of mint chopped finely
2 tbsp of coriander chopped finely
4 cherry tomatoes deseeded and chopped
Seeds from 1/2 Pomegranate (called arils!)

Extract the seeds by placing the cut half of the pomegranate onto the palm of your hand and give the fruit lots of good bangs and the seeds will pop out. I do this over a bowl and let the seeds drop into the bowl. I actually use the main body of my knife sharpener to whack the fruit with. (If you have seen Jamie on telly, you will have seen him do this, much easier than soaking the fruit!)

Combine all the ingredients except for the pomegranate seeds with the quinoa and season really well.
Top with the little red jewels and pour the dressing over the salad just before serving.

2 tbsp of Juice from 1/2 blood orange
6 tbsp of olive oil
1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Combine and shake, Taste and if seems a bit sharp, add a glug more olive oil. If a bit underwhelming, then add a tsp or 2 more of the blood orange juice. Whn you are happy pour over the quinoa.

We loved this dish for its flavours, the protein and vitamins from it are a great benefit too.

Salad dressing


Salads are amazing as a meal in themselves or accompanying another dish. Done well – divine but I have so often been put off by a soggy dish of brown leaves with an overpowering vinegary salad dressing.

The ‘get right’ salad basics include choosing the crispest of greens and freshest of herbs and when bought get them home as soon as possible so that flavours wont drift away in the boot of your car. Wash if necessary and add some ice to the washing water if they have wilted a bit. Treat your leaves with love and dry flat in a tea towel or spinner.

Mild leaves include butterhead, lollo rosso, spinach, gem, lambs lettuce. Pepper can be found in rocket, mizuna, watercress. Bitterness from some radicchio and don’t forget about the less well known leaves and cabbages such as Savoy, Chinese Leaves and even Kale.

Oils and Vinegars
The simplest plate of leaves becomes a taste sensation with the right oil and vinegar. The shops are full of choices and I would advise buying a selection of them and tasting and experimenting until you have found the ones you love. Try and look for brands advertising proper aging and showing good colour as a cheap brand is exactly that and will generally sabotage all your work in getting your lovely leaves ready.  I use extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for all my dressings and when a vegetable oil is called for I use a first press rapeseed or sunflower (especially for mayonnaises as 100% olive oil would be too strong). If I’m making mayonnaise I often infuse some of my EVOO with rosemary, thyme or even some chorizo oil. Nut oils are great for adding interest to dressings and combined with some of the vinegar suggested below.  Hazlenut is wonderful with a bit of orange zest, As with other oils it is best to store them in a cool dark place.

Balsamic vinegar is one of my favourite – intense, sweet and sour, very aromatic. Sherry Vinegar from Spain comes a close second and is also amazing in making a delicious jus or Madeira sauce. Red and White wine vinegars are also great and I use them loads when making savoury jams such red onion marmalade or fennel jam.

Anyway on to a recipe or two – try them and let me know what you think.

Pomegranate Dressing

This dressing is delicious, lemony sherbert, sweet, sour and great on north African salads or a mediterranean salad with a cheese in it such as mozzarella or feta.

4-5 Tbsp pomegranate molasses
Juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove chopped and crushed to a pulp
4-5 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp sugar
Good pinch of ground cumin.

Salt and pepper – freshly pounded Maldon and ground black pepper – to taste. I like a good few twists of pepper and about 1/2 tsp of salt.

Put all these ingredients into a small deep bowl and using a fork or small whisk ensure all the ingredients are combined. To dress the leaves I like to add them into a big bowl and sprinkle the dressing over and toss them the leaves with my hand to ensure all they are glistening with the dressing.

Classic Vinaigrette

The classic vinaigrette is twice the oil to vinegar, chopped crushed garlic, Dijon mustard and seasoning including a pinch of sugar if needed. However there are loads of options, change the mustard type, add some fresh chopped herbs, perhaps some orange juice and drizzle of hazelnut oil … lots of options for variation.


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