Give your sponge an Italian twist with Jane Hornby's easy-to-make polenta cake
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Frozen berries are a fantastic freezer standby. They’re much cheaper than fresh at this time of year and, crucially, were picked at the height of their season (usually in the UK) so they’re full of flavour. To defrost, lay in a single layer on a plate and leave at room temperature for about 20 mins. Treat them a little more carefully than fresh as the freezing process makes them quite delicate.
Put ½ jar good-quality raspberry conserve into a small pan with 200g frozen raspberries, then gently heat until the fruit breaks up completely and the mix starts to boil. Press through a sieve and leave to cool. It will keep for up to 3 days in the fridge or freeze for up to 1 month.
Fine polenta, sometimes called cornmeal, is available in most supermarkets and is made from dried and ground up maize kernels. If you can’t get hold of any, just substitute the polenta and plain flour for 225g self-raising flour and leave out the baking powder. The cake tastes wonderful served as dessert with a raspberry coulis, which is really quick to make – see my simple recipe, bottom right.