Apricots & Apron Strings

It’s nice when somebody creates something with thought; something that feels at once intimate and inviting. In terms of cookbooks, Julie Jansen’s independently produced Apricot & Apron Strings achieves just that: like a warm homemade muffin on your favourite chipped china plate, its charm is an irresistible one. Locally produced in Melbourne and printed on 100% recycled paper with vegie inks, you’ll find a homely mix of Julie’s favourite tried and true recipes from over 30 years in the kitchen, with plenty of her own foodie wisdom thrown in for good measure. Though we know a few mums might enjoy unwrapping this little treat on Sunday (or waking up to the smell of the Orange Almond Cake – shared below – wafting out from the kitchen), there’s no reason Dad should miss out on the chance to don his favourite apron too.

Orange Almond Cake
with Orange Blossom Cream

Serves 8

2 large oranges (preferably organic), well washed
6 eggs
2 cups almond meal (ground almonds)
1 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder

Orange Blossom Cream:
½ cup thickened cream
½ cup Greek style yoghurt
1 ½ tablespoons caster sugar
1 ½ teaspoons orange blossom water

Place oranges in a large saucepan. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered for 1 hour, ensuring oranges are constantly covered with water.

Drain oranges and allow to cool. Cut in half, remove any pips and roughly chop. Place orange pieces into a food processor with remaining ingredients and process for 1-2 minutes or until smooth.

Pour into a greased and lined 20cm square cake pan and bake in a preheated 170°C oven for 45 minutes, or until light golden on top (and when a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean).

To prepare orange blossom cream, whip cream until thick, then fold through remaining ingredients until just combined. Chill until required.

Serve cake with orange blossom cream.

To speed up the cooking of the oranges, piece their skins with a knife and place in a microwave safe bowl or jug. Add 1 litre boiling water, cover and microwave on HIGH for 20 minutes or until soft.

Known as orange blossom or flower water, this fragrant essence is made from the distillation of orange blossoms and used in sweet and savoury cooking. You can find it in some supermarkets, health food and Middle Eastern grocery stores.