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Back to the Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair 10 Oct

Contributed by Dominic Franks, Belleau Kitchen

I was in Laceby a few weeks back having the little Mini serviced and I was approached by a chap who'd clearly come out of the service yard. He told me that he and his wife were very disappointed that I wasn't at the Food & Gift Fair last year as they'd turned up especially to see me. It's hard to know what to say in situations like this - I love what I do and writing a blog is a platform that by its very nature is out in the public domain, but there's an element of anonymity provided by the internet. When it comes to food-demoing you're very much out there. People can see who you are, how you work and, most importantly, can actually taste your food then and there. Of course this doesn't really worry me as I really enjoy the live aspect of it all and it really thrills me when people feed-back that they've looked forward to me being somewhere or that they've gone away and cooked my food is always surprising and rather humbling.

So I'm back in The Lincolnshire Kitchen, which is very exciting. I love this show! It celebrates everything I love about gifting; firstly, there's my love for Christmas itself. It's quite simply my favourite time of year - there's just so much joy around. Time for family and friends and eating wonderful food and the Lincolnshire Food & Gift Fair really reflects this.. I mean, two halls filled with Christmas! Secondly is all the artisan producers creating beautiful things that clearly show the love in the making and therefore make the gift all the more special. The fair brings all these brilliant people together under one roof, from cheese makers to candle makers and everything in between.

As one of the demo-cooks I'm also really privileged as we get to cook with some of the gorgeous produce. I know I have my eye on some very scrumptious looking festive mincemeat from Saints and Sinners Preserves to use in the special frangipane mince pie tarts I'll be making. Last time I was here I made my Christmas Cake Brownies, which went down really well but they're a breeze to make and I always like to challenge myself - especially when I'm in front of a live audience. This year's recipe is a twist on the classic mince pie, jazzing it up a little with a very special shortcrust pastry which I will be latticing on top of the tart so if you've ever wondered how to create that lovely lattice look, or just want to come along to see me making a mess of things, then do feel free to pop along!

So we're still a few weeks away but like a child on Christmas Day I just cannot wait, but wait we must and to keep your taste buds tingling in anticipation for the fair I have created a special festive recipe just for you. Give it a go!

CHOCOLATE CLEMENTINE MARBLE LAYER CAKE WITH MARMALADE GANACHE AND CANDIED ORANGE

This is an adaptation of Nigella's infamous clementine cake, which is a flour-free cake that I have made to great success many times. It's a very wet, egg-heavy, almost cheesecake-like cake, which is wonderful but I was after something with a more traditional crumb texture and still with the added moisture of the boiled clementines. I've added the chocolate for a little extra richness and it makes this very much a bitter-sweet cake, but with all the sweetness around at this time of year it's exactly what I'm after! This cake is Christmas to me. The house fills with the aroma of the clementines and it settles me into place.. I make this cake when I'm finally back at the cottage and all is good again with the world.

For the cake

  • 2 clementines (or roughly the equivalent of 250g)
  • 4 large free range eggs
  • 300g sugar
  • 300g butter
  • 200g flour
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted

For the orange butter cream

  • 250g butter
  • 500g icing sugar
  • The grated zest of an orange
  • Fresh orange juice

For the marmalade ganache

  • 200g dark chocolate
  • 300ml double cream
  • 3 tablespoons marmalade
  • 3 tablespoons water

What to do

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C and grease and line 2 x 20cm loose-bottom cake tins - I also lined the sides as this cake tends to burn easily!
  2. Place the whole, unpeeled clementines into a pan of cold water and bring them to the boil and boil them for 2 hours.. check on the water level regularly as it will need topping up, after two hours, drain and set aside to cool slightly
  3. Weigh the flour and ground almonds and mix them together in a small bowl
  4. In another large bowl, beat the sugar and butter until soft and light and creamy (roughly 5 minutes) and then beat in 2 of the eggs, followed by half of the flour and almond mix, then beat in the last 2 eggs and the rest of the flour along with the vanilla paste
  5. Use a handheld stick-blender to blitz the clementines to a smooth pulp, then add them to the cake batter and stir them in thoroughly then divide the batter between the two cake tins
  6. Melt the chocolate very gently in the microwave and then pour over both cakes and use a spatula to stir the chocolate into the cakes - you want a rough marbling, not entirely mixed in
  7. Bake on the same shelf for 30 - 40 minutes, then remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wore rack until cool
  8. Decorate in a manner to which you see fit - I found this wonderfully easy candied orange recipe on the Coriander Queen blog - then I have used the butter cream icing to sandwich the two layers of cake together, but you could use cream or even mincemeat, or a simple chocolate ganache would work superbly - or try a marmalade ganache as I have done here
  9. Chop the chocolate into very small pieces and place in a bowl with the marmalade
  10. Put the cream in a pan and bring gently to the boil and then pour this over the chocolate and marmalade and stir until it melts - let it cool slightly to thicken before using

If you decide to give this a go for yourself, we'd love to see! Share your results with us on Twitter @lincsshowground, Facebook /LincsShowground or Instagram @showglincs

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