Monthly Archives: January 2014

The Zingy Lemon Curd Cake

Ready to Nom Lemon Curd Cake

350g self raising flour

3 level teaspoons of baking powder (this is my trick, you really want a bouncy fluffy sponge!)

350g butter, at room temperature, unsalted

350g caster sugar

6 eggs

rind of 2 lemons

juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon (depending on how zingy you like it)

Get the sponges on, this is quick and easy. Grab a hand held whisk or a food processor and through all the above into a bowl and mix together. If you want to be fancy, sieve the flour first (but for some reason self raising flour is the poofiest thing and just flies everywhere, so I avoid that where possible). You’ll end up with a lovely consistent cake batter, which you should split equally between two 20cm cake spring form tins, lined with greaseproof paper at the bottom.

Bake for 40 minutes at 175 degrees celcius (335 degrees fahrenheit). They’ll be ready when golden brown, when a skewer comes out clean and when it bounces back on light pressing. Cool for a couple minutes and turn out on to a wire rack. Allow to cool fully.

Sponges Cooling

300g caster sugar

zest of 4 lemons

juice of 4 lemons

8 eggs

200g butter, unsalted

While the cake cooks, make the lemon curd. In one bowl (one that fits nicely over a pot of water) pop the sugar and lemon zest. In another bowl beat the eggs and add the lemon juice. Mix into the first bowl with the sugar and place the unsalted butter in little bits into the bowel. Heat the pot of water, with the bowl on top. Stir at intervals, allowing the sugar to dissolve and the butter to melt. This might take up to 30 minutes, but you’ll get a lovely thick lemon curd at the end of it. I always make more than I need. It’s the best on a slice of toast in the morning!

Wait for the curd to cool a little. Go back to your now cooled cakes.

Curd Delicious

With a wonderfully sharp knife, a steady hand and a good eye – cut each cake horizontally into two, to double the layers of the cake. Place the bottom layer on a cake stand or plate and spoon a big dollop, around a cup of the curd in the middle of the bottom layer. Spread outwards, add the second layer and add curd again. Repeat with the third layer. Finally, add the top layer, ensuring that the gold brown side of the cake is on top.

Dollop that curd

Half way there with the layringFinished layering

With the juice of half a lemon and 50-100g of icing sugar (go for a consistency you like, we like a thin runny icing on the top), make your icing and pour into the middle of the top layer of the cake. Smooth outwards trying to cover everything. With the rind of 1-2 lemons decorate the top. For the occasion I used some lime zest too!

Extra Curd Saved for Breakfast

Slice and serve. Moist, tangy, sweet, nommy. (Is moist even allowed to be used anymore? Totally un-food related.)

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An Unbelievable 50th Feast

Ever wanted a birthday menu. This is what whipped together for our parents joint Birthday celebrations. All home made by the children. We were a little too busy cooking for 35 people to take photos, but the menu is better than nothing!

Champagne Aperitif

Taitinger

Starter

A hot spicy crabby ginger tart with salad garnish and a chili dressing

White Wine

 Sophie Bertin Sancerre 2011

Main

Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, Ireland Sirloin Beef

with Roast potatoes, Salsa Verde and a Rosemary Jus

Red Wine 

Ch. Puygueraud 2005 Bordeaux cotes de Francs  (3L bottle=Jeroboam)

Ch. Latour-Martillac 1999 Pessac-Leognan Gand cru classe de Graves (1.5L bottle=Magnum)

Torbeck 2009 Barossa Valley Grenache-Shiray-Mourverdre

Villa Novare 2009 Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso

Dessert

Lemon Drizzle Cake or Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte

or Both! served with Berries and Creme Fraiche

Dessert Wine

Chateau de Rolland 1989 Barsac

Cheese

A large selection of Irish, French and Swiss cheeses served with rye crackers with linseed.

Port 

A bottle of Dow’s 1963 Port (from the year of Mom and Dad’s birth) and a bottle of Taylor’s 1977 Port (supposedly the best vintage for port of the entire 20th century)

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Absolutely Nutty Not-Just-Pecan Pie

Nommy Nutty Mix

This is absolutely delicious. It genuinely very quick to make. Took the filling from Nigella, but did not like the dough she used, so I whipped up a batch a la Delia Smith – the Quick Flaky Pastry (we basically use this as a standard in pastry in our house).

So whip up a batch of that by grating 110g butter (which I pop into the freezer before hand) into 175g of plain flour. Once grated use a metal spoon to stir all the grated butter into the flour, ensuring all little bits are covered. Then add a small amount of cold water and using your hands, but minimising your touching of the dough, bind it together. Adding a little more cold water if needed. Once its a consistent ball of pastry, wrap in cling film and through it in the fridge for at least 30-45mins.

Take the pastry out and roll it to 5mm thick to fill a 25cm flan dish. Press it into the sides and cut off excess pastry, but leaving a little above the rim. Pop the flan dish into the freezer (I had to find space for it, but managed) for 20 minutes, while you make the filling. (Pop it in the fridge if you can’t fit it in a freezer).

To get the filling together; start with a pot or saucepan and let 200g of light brown sugar, 150g unsalted butter and 4 large tablespoons of golden syrup (I only use Lyle’s Golden Syrup, but I believe corn syrup, maple syrup or molasses could do the trick too). Once melted, stir together, although the butter tends to separate, don’t worry about that. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence, stir again and pull off the heat and leave for ten minutes to cool. Whisk 3 eggs in a bowl and leave ready for after.

Golden syrup, butter, brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius (or 350 fahrenheit). In the mean time grab the flan dish from the freezer and check that its nice and cold. The freezing protects the shape of the pastry once it gets into the hot oven, so it’s important its crisp and cold.

Grab at least 350g of mixed nuts (they have to be unsalted and ideally with no additives in them). If you want feel free to use only pecans, but its handy to use all the half packs of almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans etc. I do love an odd brazil nut in here too or a cashew, so be daring. It is delicious after all. Arrange them nicely in the flan dish.

Nutty Mix Arranged in Frozen Pastry Flan Case

Pop back over to the now slightly cooled filling mix and with your whisk, mix in the beaten eggs, until its a lovely thick caramel-like nom.

Syrupy Mix and Eggs Ready to Go

Pour gently over the nuts into the pastry case. Pop into the now heated oven for at least 40 minutes or until the the filling has set.

Pre Baked Nom

Let it cool a little. Serve with a dash of lightly whipped cream.

Post Baked Nom - The Not-Just-Pecan Pie

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A Mixed Berry Pie

Somehow, you always end up with some kind of fruit just about to turn, nobody wants to eat it and you need to find something to make out of it. I whipped up a simple batch of Delia’s Quick Flaky Pastry and popped it in the fridge to cool.

I grabbed about 4 old apples, 250g of blueberries and 125g of blackberries from the fridge and heated them up in a saucepan with a tablespoon of brown demerara sugar (it really doesn’t need the sugar, but its nice to caramelize it all a little). Although the mixture to cool a little.

I then popped in 300g of raspberries and just gently stirred them in. I prefer not to cook the raspberries as they are so delicate they just turn into seedy mush (I worry less about the black and blue berries). Its nice to stumble across a whole raspberry!

Line a flan dish with the pastry, rolled to about 5mm thick, stab some little holes in the bottom to let some air out and blind bake it for 10 minutes.Fill the pastry case with the fruit filling.

Practicing the Weaving

I had a little pastry spare to make a weave for the top. Brush the weave with milk and sprinkle a little sugar on it too.

Mastering the Weaving

Bang into a preheated oven (180 degrees celcius, 350 fahrenheit) and leave for 30 minutes or so, until the edges of the pastry are golden brown!

Ready to Bake Berry Pie

Serve hot, with some cream or custard.

Ready to Nom Berry Pie

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The most delicious and easiest Cranberry Sauce

Doing a normal shop in Tesco, I saw a load of cranberries that were reduced after Christmas. The best accompaniment to chicken or turkey, all year round is Cranberry sauce!

This is a super easy one I made, its delicious and quick and we bottle it and keep it for the year. There is nothing like homemade cranberry sauce.

Ready to Bottle Nom

Double, triple or quadruple this recipe depending on how much cranberry you have:

350g fresh cranberries

1 cup of sugar

1 tablespoon of Kirsch Wasser

1 tablespoons of Port

2 tablespoons of Water

Throw everything into a pot and cook until cranberries are soft. They are absolutely chocked full of pectin, so it’ll be a very jellified sauce, but break the berries open as they cook and mix well, cooking off the alcohol. While the sauce looks runny, it’ll solidify a lot once cooled, so don’t over cook it just because it appears watery.

Cooking off the Kirsch and Port

Heat bottles in the oven. Bottle, serve with Christmas dinner or eat with a turkey sandwich!

Bottle Cranberry Sauce

Nom nom nom!

Turkey Sandwich

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