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Lemony Almond and Polenta Cake, Gluten Free

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One of the best things about being a food blogger is getting to review cookery books from time to time and I was recently sent a really nice one entitled My Family Kitchen, favourite recipes from four generations . . . the debut cookbook from Celebrity Masterchef 2014 Winner, Sophie Thompson!

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Sophie Thompson is a much celebrated, award-winning actress and the winner of Celebrity MasterChef, 2014. My Family Kitchen combines four generations of favourite family recipes, from Granny Annie's Orange and Ginger Chicken to Mum's Spare Ribs. From Uncle James's Pineapple Tarts to Salted Caramel Cookies for her sons. As well as recipes from friends, such as chocolate truffles from the legendary actress Penelope Keith. The recipes were photographed in Sophie's own kitchen - each one is relayed with her trademark humour, warmth and vivaciousness. They are fuss- free, easy-to-follow and delicious.

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Beginning with it's introduction and Larder essentials, there are a further seven chapters and a full index, all accompanied with gorgeous photographs.

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Soups Starters and Morsels, containing such delicious recipes as Emma London's Onion Soup with Blue Cheese Toasts,  Portobello Mushrooms with Cheese and Pine Nuts,  Corn Cheese and Chilli Bread, Richard's Guacamole and Ma's Deviled Cheese, plus a whole lot more.

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Fish From the Briney Deep . . . with curries and Salmon and Dill Fishcakes,  Salmon Steaks with Scotch Whisky and Brown Shrimp Sauce,  Anu and Seve's Quick Fish Curry, and others . . .

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Chick, Chick, Chick, Chick, Chicken . . . with delicious entrees such as  Orange and Ginger Chicken, Speedy Super Paella, Saucy BBQ Chicken, and a killer Garlic, Coconut and Chicken Korma to name but a few.

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Lambs, Beefs, Pigs and Game brings some old familiars such as  Slow Roast Sunday Lamb,  a Fabulous Meat Loaf and a very interesting Lamb and Beetroot Curry, and that's only the tip of this meaty iceberg!

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Vegetable Things  . . .  Melanzane (A delicious dish with aubergines, cheese and tomatoes), a fabulous looking Wild Mushroom and Pea Risotto, Martha and Dan's Napoli Peppers,  Herby Boulangere Potatoes, Clapshot, etc.

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Who's 4 Pud?  ME ME ME!! and who can blame me when there are such offerings as State Skool Mess, Passion Pots, Malteser Chocolate Pots,  Megsies Whim Whams, and Uncle James's Bavarian Orange Pie  . . .

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Cakes, Biscuits and Bites  . . .  James's Epic Walnut Slice, Anne's Irish Brack Bread,  Toffee Apple Cake, HOney Hazelnut cake, Birchover Bakewell Tart,  Granny Megsie's Millionaire Shortbread, Ern's Cinnamon Toast, Megsie's Dates . . . .  and a lotta lotta more delights, such as this delicous Lemony Almond and Polenta Cake which I am showing you here today.

Coz the proof of any pudding is in the eating and I would never talk about a cookerybook without trying the recipes out.

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I love lemon cakes  . . .  and this intrigued me . . .  it's flourless, being only composed of polenta (fine cornmeal) and ground almonds, eggs, lemons, butter, sugar  . . .

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Baked and then topped with a sweet sticky lemon glaze which seeps into the warm cake  . . .

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With lashings of toasted almonds thrown on top . . .  they stick to the glaze . . . I like to dust these types of cakes with icing sugar to show off the toppings  . . .

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Simple to make,  well instructed  . . .  moreishly lemony unctuously buttery delish!  What more could you want?

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*Lemony Almond and Polenta Cake*
Makes 8 to 10 servings

This is moist and very lemony.  Adapted from My Family Kitchen by Sophie Thompson. 

150g of polenta (14 TBS fine cornmeal, not self rising)
150g of ground almonds (1 3/4 cup, almond meal or flour)
150g of caster sugar (3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tsp)
1 tsp baking powder
200g butter, softened, plus extra for buttering the pan (3/4 cup plus 2 TBS)
3 large free range eggs
the zest and juice of 3 large lemonds
100g of icing sugar, sifted (3/4 cup, confectioners sugar)
20g of flaked almonds, toasted (2 TBS)

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Preheat the oven to 180*C/350*F/ gas mark 4.   Lightly grease and base line a 20cm/8 inch springform cake tin.  Set aside.

Place the polenta, ground almonds, caster sugar, baking powder and butter in the bowl of a food processor.  Blitz together for about 30 seconds to combine.  Add the eggs, one at a time, whizzing after each addition to combine well.  Add the lemon zest and blizt again for about 20 seconds.  (If you don't have a food processor you can do this by hand with a wooden spoon in a large bowl.)
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top over.   Bake in the centre of the preheated oven for about 45 minutes, or until golden and coming away from the edge of the tin slightly.

Whisk together the icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl until smooth.  (You should have about 100ml of juice, or a scant half cup)  When the cake comes out of the oven use a skewer to make holes all over the top of the cake and, whilst still warm, pour the lemony syrup over the top.  Scatter the flaked almonds over top while the cake is still tacky and leave to cool in the tin completely.

Remove from the tin when cold and serve on it's own or with a big dollop of cream on the side.

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About the Author: 

Sophie Thompson was the winner of Celebrity Masterchef 2014. Born in London and trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, she is an Olivier Award-winning actress and has landed roles across film, television, theatre and radio. Her film work includes Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Gosford Park, Emma, Persuasion and Four Weddings and a Funeral. Her theatre credits include Guys and Dolls and her television roles have included The Detectorists and Eastenders, for which she won the Inside Soap Best Bitch Award.

My Family Kitchen, by Sophie Thompson
Published by Faber & FAber
ISBN 978-0-571-32417-0
Hard back, full colour, 216 pages, full index
£22.00 UK

The book is also available on Amazon.uk for a lower price than the RRP.

Marie Rayner
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