Raspberry orange cake

Baking goes well with the quiet of the morning. I like to sift flour and zest citrus fruits on a neat kitchen countertop while drinking caffè latte.  Cakes and biscotti require some precision in preparation. Yet dessert should be as uncomplicated as a bowl of fresh fruit. This cake is made with the classic trio of flour, eggs and butter.  It is sweetened with oranges and honey and filled with the scarlet juices of fresh raspberries.

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Garlic infused honey


Garlic braided from LautrecWhere sweet and pungent go together, honey and garlic make for an interesting contrast of flavors. Raw garlic cloves caramelize when infused with honey. The process of blending the ingredients is a short one, while the results improve with time. Garlic infused honey is one of my cupboard essentials, discovered while experimenting in the kitchen. I like to keep a jar of it in the pantry, available for immediate use drizzled over baked cheeses,  fresh figs, or on grilled red capsicum peppers.

Honey and garlic can be prepared with raw and roasted garlic. Raw garlic makes for an intense honey. Roasted garlic is decidedly sweeter, and the honey is more subtle as a result. In both cases use the freshest garlic possible, with cloves as smooth and shiny as ivory.

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Orange infused honey

I cannot recall the first time I stirred the zest of an orange into a few spoons of honey. Perhaps it was in the period that I was experimenting with the elements of Sicilian pastries. Unable to find candied orange peel to mix through the ricotta and apricot filling for a tart, I put some orange zest into a jar of honey, imagining it to be a compromise. It turned out to be the contrary. The orange zest altered the color of the honey to a deep sienna almost immediately, infusing it with its vivid color. The sweet oils of the orange mingled through the honey, changing a primarily sweet flavor into a perfumed syrup. A few hours later the zest had changed consistency, turning into a clutter of threads. When left on the cupboard shelf, I discovered that the orange in the honey had caramelized completely. This made the simple combination of two ingredients even more fascinating in my mind. It meant that the orange zest could be used separately from the honey itself. Drizzled together over a bowl of raspberries or shavings of a crisp apple, orange-infused honey makes dessert appear to be a great effort, while it simply isn’t. A cupboard essential it is.

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Honey and white wine vinegar

A worthwhile addition to the kitchen cupboard is a mixture of honey with white wine vinegar. Simply whisk the best honey or agave syrup available to you into good white wine or apple cider vinegar until the honey dissolves. Pour the vinegar into a glass jar and save it in the refrigerator, keeping it at least a month. Use the honey vinegar as a base for vegetable marinades and salads. Having the honey vinegar at hand makes creating salad dressings that much easier.


  • 250 grams (1 cup)  of white wine vinegar
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) of honey or agave syrup

♦ Suggested combinations
Mix equal amounts of honey vinegar to extra virgin olive oil with a bit of sea salt and some celery seeds. Pour the dressing over fresh, thinly sliced cabbage to make a simple coleslaw. Let the two ingredients marinate one hour in the refrigerator. Toss the coleslaw and serve with a handful of corn and a few leaves of fresh mint.

Add 5 threads of saffron to the honey vinegar and let them steep a few days until the vinegar turns bright orange.

In another post, red onion vinegar will be added to the kitchen cupboard using honey vinegar as a starting point.