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Yesterday I made a chocolate, orange and polenta gluten free cake. It doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue, does it?  The world of people who don’t eat gluten seems to be growing and growing so I’m adapting and trying to broaden my horizons. Plus cake is always, always a good idea.

I had never used Polenta before and I wasn’t exactly sure what it was. Wikipedia kindly advised me that it’s a cornmeal boiled into a porridge. That doesn’t sound like a taste explosion but it was very cheap and  with chocolate and orange how could I go too far wrong.


I got the recipe from Rachel Allen’s Easy Meals book. I can’t find her recipe online and I don’t want to run the risk of being attacked by her publishing company so if you’re keen buy the book or there is a different, more elaborate recipe for the same kind of thing here.

Aside from just wanting cake I had a secondary motif for my baking enthusiasm.

I also wanted an excuse to play with my aperture settings on my camera. I recently read a great blog post about getting to grips with the basics of photography. I am a fan of  Capture by Lucy’s  but this post in particular got me revved up to take out my camera and explore more. And never was there a more tempting subject than chocolate cake!


I have learnt bits and pieces from the DIY and food styling workshops but without practice or giving myself time I seem to forget it and my patience for exploring my manual setting drops.  Well after reading her post I decided it was time to go off-piste again!



Last night I photographed it by the fire with side plates and it was all a bit naff. This morning I revisited it and decided on cheery cake pictures but I wasn’t too pleased with those either. (I can be quiet the Goldilocks!)  I wanted to focus on dropping the aperture numbers, getting small details and blurring the background. I also wanted to play with the darkness of chocolate  a little so I decided to go for moody cake pictures instead!

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Sometimes I genuinely get unashamedly pleased with photos and will show them to Steve in a “look what I took” kind of way. I’m not as thrilled with these but I am proud of them and delighted to have spent so long playing with my camera. I took very mediocre shots last night but instead of leaving it at that I came back to it this morning.

Along with writing more this is one of the best gifts I have given by starting the blog. I love taking photographs and taking time to do, review it, sometimes to be unhappy with them, to start again, and to make something that I’m pleased with when it’s finished. I love sitting down to write a blog post and give it enough time to revisit it before you see it. I plan that you’ll see a lot more of these slow-process type blog posts in the future.

As for the cake itself if I had written this post last night I would have said it was very gritty. I thought maybe the polenta I bought was too coarse or the orange peel was not fine enough. However today these problems seem to have fixed themselves. The texture is still a little different from a flour based cake but the grittiness of yesterday is gone ( I’ll need a baker to explain how and why that happened!). So today’s verdict is that the cake is pretty darn good. It even got a “oh this is very special” from one of it’s recipients. So I’ll take that.






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