Last weekend I met up with some friends in the Peak District. We had planned to have a day walking and then spend an evening in a local Inn. Then Storm Dennis arrived. Wikipedia tells me that Storm Dennis was a ‘European windstorm which became one of the most intense extratropical cyclones ever recorded ever recorded, reaching a minimum central pressure of 920 millibars (27.17 inches of mercury)’. Now I have no idea what these measurements mean, but they sound pretty bad. It was rather windy, and very, very wet, but we did at least manage a walk before retreating to a cafe for some soup and massive mugs of tea. Since you ask, this was the Outside Cafe in Hathersage which was full of outdoorsy types – so we weren’t out of place hanging our dripping waterproofs over the radiators…..
On our walk we saw North Lees Hall, just outside Hathersage, which is thought to be the inspiration for Thornfield Hall in Charlotte Bronte’s gothic novel Jane Eyre. ‘Morton’ in the novel may be based on Hathersage, and Charlotte Bronte stayed in the area before writing the novel. It’s certainly exactly as I had imagined Thornfield Hall….
One of my friends had baked an excellent rhubarb cake and I promised to show you a picture…….
I found some blood oranges in our local farm shop, so used them to make this really rather beautiful and delicately flavoured Blood Orange Cake
Blood Orange Cake
125g unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
2 large eggs
250g plain flour
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
120g double cream (I didn’t have enough so topped up with some natural yoghurt)
zest of 3 blood oranges
juice of 1.5 blood oranges
- Preheat oven to 180/160 fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 1lb loaf tin
- Cream butter and sugar for 8 minutes until pale and fluffy
- Beat in eggs one at a time
- Fold in flour, baking powder and bicarb
- Mix in the cream/yogurt and orange zest
- Spoon into the loaf tin and bake for 40-50 minutes
- Once cooked, pierce the top with a skewer and pour the orange juice over.
- I’m sure you can decorate the cake with the rest of the orange, delicately sliced, but I ate them…….