Category Archives: lemon

Avocado, smoked salmon with poached eggs on sourdough (Serves: 2 -Preparation time: 10 minutes)

My day always kicks off with a strong cup of coffee, it is my one vice that I simply can’t do without.  I love the ritual of making it, packing the coffee grounds into my percolator and then waiting the five minutes for it to brew whilst the blissful aroma fills my kitchen.   The only downside is that I have a tendency to gulp the coffee down in a matter of minutes before dashing out of the door to catch the train to work.

  At the weekend when time is not of the essence a lazy brunch with lots of coffee is how I like to start my day before heading out to walk Oscar up on Wimbledon Common.  The recipe below is a fantastic brunch option that is very simple to make and absolutely scrummy.  If you are efficient it can be prepped and on your plate in under 10 minutes.

 The key to this recipe is not over cooking your poached eggs so that the yolk is still runny when you cut into it and creates a beautifully rich sauce.  In essence poaching an egg is very straight forward, however sometimes it takes a couple of tries to work out the timings.  My tip for poaching an egg is to put a ¼ teaspoon of vinegar in the poaching water and make sure that the water is simmering whilst the egg is cooking not boiling.

This is a fantastic recipe full of vibrant colours that is a great way to start your weekend. Enjoy!

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Baked apples (Serves: 3 – Preparation time: 45 mins)

Happy New Year!

I have decided to share a recipe that helps to use up one ingredient that has a tendency to be leftover after Christmas – mincemeat. The recipe below is super easy and can be eaten either hot for pudding with a little cream, or is great served cold as a topping for porridge in the morning for breakfast.

The inspiration for this dish came after a visit to East Sussex to see some of my friends who swear by a bowl porridge for breakfast, topped with fresh apple, yogurt, seeds, nuts and honey before a days hunting, shooting or fishing.  Not being one for porridge normally, I am well and truly converted and the recipe below is my take on their porridge toppings.

The simplicity of this recipe makes it an absolute gem, it takes a matter of minutes to prepare, the key really to this recipe is about how well you core the apple as you want to create a cavity that is large enough to pack all of the mincemeat in.  As the apple cooks it becomes beautifully soft and infuses with the spices and flavours of the mincemeat.

This is definitely a recipe to try and is absolutely fantastic on these chilly winter days.  Enjoy!

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Lemon posset with lemon and pistachio shortbread

Today’s recipe is for a super easy pudding!  Both parts to this recipe take less than 10 minutes to prepare.  If you are a fan of lemon you are going to enjoy this pudding.  So what is a posset? Well put simply – it is a velvety creamy rich pudding made using just three ingredients and is genuinely something anybody could make!

Shortbread makes the perfect accompaniment to this pudding.  Again for those of you that lack confidence in the kitchen shortbread is very simple to prepare, provided that you have a set of scales, a large bowl and a baking tray.  I find that making it by hand is just as quick as using a food processor just with less washing up!  If you are having friends over for a cup of tea or coffee and want to be able to offer them something to nibble on – this shortbread is a goer as it can be prepared, cooked and on the table in 30 minutes.

If you don’t have pistachios, don’t fret – either leave them out, or, if you have some other nuts or dried fruit available use that instead.  I am a firm believer in making use of what you have!

I hope that you give this recipe a try and enjoy it as much as I did.

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Lemon cake with mascarpone icing, lemon curd and summer berries

photo 2With my brother’s wedding fast approaching I thought I had better try out another cake idea that I have had for his wedding.  As it was my birthday and it is tradition at work to bring in cake I thought I would take the opportunity to try this cake out on a lot of people.  In the end I think around 40 people ended up trying the cake with a number of people sneaking back for seconds…

As I mentioned in an earlier blog (An idea for a wedding cake) my brother and his fiancé have decided to have a “bake off” at their wedding and are encouraging their guests to bring a variety of baked goods.  It is my understanding that the cakes will be judged on both creativity and presentation.  At the moment I am thinking that this is going to be the cake that I bake as I think will all the colours of the summer berries it is visually very pleasing, however, I think that I am going to have to make a few refinements to the cake to make it more structurally sound as ideally I would like to make the cake several tiers higher.

I ended up icing and decorating the cake at work as I could not face the idea of taking the finished cake onto the London underground.   I popped into the work canteen at around 8.30am and put the cake together within about 10-15 minutes.  All in all it was a stress free process as the beauty of this cake is that is does not matter how messy the cake looks after you have iced it because the berries will cover any mishaps that you may have.

So, why do I think that this is going to be the cake that I make for the bake off?  Well, as the wedding is at the end of August and we are all crossing our fingers that the weather is going to be lovely, I felt that a light cake that has a beautifully creamy filling which is countered by the sharpness of the lemon curd and summer berries would be the type of cake that people would want to eat.  However, we shall just have to wait and see how it turns out.

I would definitely say that this is a cake to try.  If you do not want to make such a large cake, then halve the recipe and bake the cake in a 10″ tin and you will have a lovely cake for either afternoon tea or a summer pudding that your guests will love.

photo 1Lemon cake with mascarpone icing, lemon curd and summer berries

Ingredients:

For the cake:

8 eggs
400g soft margarine
350g caster sugar
400g self raising flour
zest of 2 lemons
1tsp baking powder
1-2 tbsp milk

For the mascarpone icing:

250g mascarpone
150g- 200g icing sugar
zest of a lemon

For the filling and toppings:

1-2 heaped tbsp lemon curd (per layer of sponge)
1 punnet strawberries
1 punnet blueberries
1 punnet blackberries
1 punnet raspberries

Steps:

1. Preheat oven to 170C and line a 10″, 8″ and 6″ round cake tin with baking paper.

2. Beat together in a bowl the soft margarine and sugar until light and fluffy.

3. Add the eggs, flour, zest, baking powder and milk, then beat together using an electric whisk for 1-2 minutes.

4. Divide the cake batter up between the 3 tins and bake for around 15-20 minutes for the 6” and 8” tins and 35-45 minutes for the 10” tin or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.

5. Leave to cool completely before cutting each of the cakes in half.

6. Make the mascarpone icing by beating the mascarpone in a bowl until soft, add the lemon zest and a little of the icing sugar at a time until you get a consistency of a smooth butter cream.

7. Place one half of the 10” sponge onto a plate then smooth over a little of the mascarpone icing, add 1-2tbsp of lemon curd on top and smooth over with a palette knife. Repeat the process until all of the sponges are stacked on top of each other. (Make sure you don’t use all of the mascarpone icing as you will need some left over to act as the glue to stick the fruit on the cake.)

8. Once the cake is stacked up, then spread the remainder of the mascarpone icing all over the cake before decorating with the berries.

Tip:  If you want to make the cake more special decorate with roses and sprigs of mint interspersed between the berries!

 

Vanilla and lemon panna cotta

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A few months ago one of my friends cooked me supper, the whole meal was absolutely delicious however the pudding was exceptional and I have been wanting to try to make it ever since.  The perfect opportunity presented itself a few weeks ago as I was cooking supper to celebrate my birthday with friends and family.  Given that panna cotta needs to set I made it a couple of days in advance which meant I didn’t have to do anything other than wash the berries on the day.

Thanks to my French housemate my kitchen is packed full with every cooking utensil and serving dish that you could possibly want which meant I was able to serve the panna cottas in individual cocottes which was quite fun and very easy for presentation purposes.  So if you can get your hands on mini-cocottes then all the better, otherwise,  ramekins would do the job just as well.

The flavour of the panna cotta is delightful and is a nice balance of sweet, tangy and creamy.  By serving it with raspberries it adds a slight sharpness that cuts through the panna cotta complimenting it beautifully.  This is a brilliant summer pudding good for special occasions or as a bit of a treat.

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Vanilla and lemon panna cotta served with fresh raspberries (makes 6)

Ingredients:

  • 400ml double cream
  • 400ml yogurt
  • 3 gelatine sheets (softened in water)
  • ¼ vanilla pod and seeds
  • zest of 3 lemons
  • 100g caster sugar

To serve:

  • 1-2 punnets of fresh raspberries
  • juice of 1 lemon
  •  1-2tbsp caster sugar

Steps:

  1. Place the yogurt, lemon zest and vanilla seeds in a bowl and stir together.
  2. Put the cream and sugar and vanilla pod into a pan and heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
  3. Add the gelatine to the pan, and cook until the gelatine is dissolved.
  4. Sieve the cream and sugar mixture into the yogurt (this is to ensure your panna cotta is completely smooth).
  5. Stir the mixture together and then carefully pour into 6 mini cocottes.
  6. Leave to set over night.
  7. Before serving, mix together the fresh raspberries, lemon juice and sugar in a bowl and serve with the panna cotta. Enjoy!

A lemon syrup pudding in 10 mins…

I don’t tend to cook with a microwave that often other than to melt butter and de-thaw bread.  That being said, there is one pudding that I will happily cook in the microwave time and time again – a lemon syrup pudding.  This is because it takes less than ten minutes to make and it comes out beautifully light with a texture that is not dissimilar to a steamed pudding.

Over the last couple of weeks this pudding has whipped up several times as it is very comforting on these cold winter evenings and takes no thought to prepare.  If the old man had his way it would be served with custard every time, but for Mumsy and I it is crème fraiche all the way.

If you are looking for a dead easy pudding this weekend, then this pud is a no brainer!

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Lemon Syrup Pudding

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 4oz caster sugar
  • 4oz soft margarine
  • 4oz plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2tbsp milk
  • zest 1 lemon
  • 2 heaped tsp golden syrup

Steps:

1.  Spoon the golden syrup into the bottom of a 1 litre microwaveable bowl (I use an old plastic ex- Christmas pudding bowl), then grease the sides with a little soft margarine.

2.  Place all the other ingredients together in another bowl and then beat together well using an electric whisk.

3.   Spoon the mixture on top of the golden syrup and then gently level it out.

4.  Place the pudding in the microwave and cook on a medium setting for 4 minutes.  Allow it to rest for 30 seconds and then cook for a further 4 minutes.

5.  Check that your pudding is completely cooked by seeing if a skewer comes out clean after being inserted into the middle.

6.  Tip the pudding out onto a plate (make sure it has a slight lip so that you do not lose any of the golden syrup) and serve!

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Lemon and Raspberry Soufflé

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If there is one thing that has always daunted me in the kitchen it is the soufflé.  For some reason it has been built up and built up and it has put me off trying it.  However, I am pleased to say that I have conquered my nemesis – as yesterday I made my first ever soufflé and honestly I have no idea what all the fuss was about!

I had done a lot of research, reading various methods for making a soufflé and decided that I would try to make a jam then add it to a simple meringue recipe and it was very successful.  The meringue was wonderfully light and had a sweet yet slightly sharp flavour due to the raspberry and lemon combination.

I will absolutely be making them again and will be trying them out with a variety of different fruits.  They are definitely worth giving a go!

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Lemon and Raspberry Soufflé  (Serves 3)

Ingredients:DSC_0236

For the jam: (will make enough for at least 6 soufflés, use the required amount and freeze the rest to use another time)

  • 100g raspberries
  • juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1-2tbsp sugar (depending on how sweet the fruit is)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 heaped tsp cornflour (made into a paste with a little water)

For the meringue:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 heaped tbsp caster sugar

For the ramekins:

  • butter (for greasing)
  • caster sugar (for coating)

Steps:

1. Prepare your ramekins, by greasing them with butter and then coating thoroughly with caster sugar, then place in the fridge.

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2.  Make the jam by heating the raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a pan until the raspberries have completely broken down.

3.  Pass the raspberries through a sieve and then return to the pan.

4.  Add the lemon zest and cornflour and stir until the jam has thickened then, allow to cool completely.

5.  Once the jam has cooled, whisk the egg whites until they are at the soft peak stage, then whisk in the caster sugar.

6.  Place 1 heaped tablespoon of the jam in a bowl , then add a heaped tablespoon of the meringue and carefully fold together.  Continue to add in a little of the meringue at a time until it is completely incorporated.

7.  Equally divide the soufflé mixture between your ramekins.  Use a palette knife to smooth the tops.

8.  Finally run your thumb around the rim of the ramekin (as this will help them to rise) and clean the outside of the ramekins.

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9.  Place in a preheated oven at 170C fan for 12-14 minutes, until it has risen and slightly golden brown on top.

10.  Remove from oven, dust with icing sugar and serve immediately with a little cream.  Enjoy!

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Lemon & Lime Curd Mousse

It has been a while since I have made a mousse and I had forgotten how easy they are to prepare. However, it does require you to use a lot of bowls resulting in a huge pile of washing up afterwards.  I think the reason that I don’t make them that often is because you have to wait for them to set in the fridge for several hours and I tend to prefer a more spontaneous pudding that can be prepared and cooked within 30 minutes…

Once this pudding sets it has two layers.  The bottom layer is a beautifully zingy citrus curd that isn’t too sweet and the top layer is a wonderfully light and airy mousse.  The only regret I have about making this dessert is that I didn’t put it in a glass bowl, as it is a really attractive pudding with its two layers.

 

Lemon & Lime Curd Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons (juice and zest)
  • 3 limes (juice and zest)
  • 4 eggs (separated)
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 sachet of gelatine
  • 200ml cream
  • water

Steps:

1.  Measure the juice of the lemons and lime in a measuring jug and top up with water so that you have ½ a pint of liquid.

2.  Place the liquid into a saucepan and heat.  Once the liquid is warm add the gelatine stirring until it is dissolved then leave to cool slightly.

3.  In another bowl whisk together the zest, sugar and egg yolks.  Slowly whisk in the liquid.

4.  Beat the egg whites until they have stiff peaks and whisk the cream to allow it to thicken slightly.  Add both the egg whites and cream to the lemon mixture and fold in carefully.

5.  Pour the mixture into the bowl (or individual glasses) that you wish to serve in and place in the fridge to set for 3-4 hours.

 

 

Chicken in breadcrumbs

This is one of my all-time favourite things to eat.  This is my aunt’s recipe which she often cooked for us when we visited her in Italy.  Whilst it may not be the healthiest thing to eat, it is absolutely delicious as most fried foods tend to be…

When I was last in London my brother cooked this for me, however, he broke away from the traditional recipe and used a combination of stuffing mix and parmesan because he couldn’t find any breadcrumbs.  I have to say it worked well, but, my aunt’s recipe will still always be my favourite!

I tend to make my own breadcrumbs these days as a way of using up any stale bread as I hate throwing things away.  Below is a quick guide to make them.

Quick guide to making breadcrumbs

  • Preheat oven to 100C fan.
  • Cut any old or stale loaves/rolls etc. into chunks.
  • Place the chunks onto a roasting tray and bake in oven for 45 minutes to an hour to remove any moisture from the bread.
  • Remove from the oven and leave to cool down.
  • Place the bread in a food processor and blitz until you have fine crumbs.
  • Store in an airtight jar.

 

Chicken in breadcrumbs

Ingredients:

  • 3 chicken breasts
  • 4oz breadcrumbs
  • 1oz parmesan
  • seasoning
  • 1 egg (beaten)
  • oil (for cooking with)
  • 1 lemon (cut in quarters for serving)

Steps:

1.  Slice or beat the chicken (using a rolling pin) into thin escalopes.

2.  Dip the chicken pieces into the beaten egg (make sure it is well covered).

3.  Combine the breadcrumbs, parmesan and seasoning together in a bowl.

4.  Place the chicken pieces into the crumb mix and coat thoroughly pressing the crumbs firmly into the chicken.

   

5.  Heat a good amount of oil in a frying pan.   Once it is very hot, carefully add the chicken in batches and fry on both sides for 3-4 minutes. (Check to see if the chicken is cooked by cutting into the middle of one of the escalopes).  Place the cooked pieces in an ovenproof dish, keep the warm in the oven at 100C fan

6.  Once all the chicken is cooked serve with a piece of lemon and the vegetables of your choice for example ratatouille and/or mashed potatoes.

 

When one pudding just isn’t enough – make three…

I have a weakness for a good pudding and always struggle to work out which one to choose when eating at a restaurant.  But I find deciding what kind of pudding to make even harder especially when some people like chocolate based puddings and others enjoy a fruity pudding.

Yesterday was the last night all the family would be together so choosing the right kind of pudding was imperative!  Given that it is summer, warm puddings are very much off the cards at the moment, so last night I settled on a selection of cold fresh puddings.  First up we had a light lemon drizzle cake with raspberry sauce – the intention behind this was to cleanse the palate.  This was swiftly followed by my salted caramel meringues with blackcurrant compote and crème fraiche (I have been playing around with how I make meringues and got fairly lucky with these they have a lovely caramel taste that are not too sweet because of the salt in the recipe –  they seem to go down fairly well, demonstrated by the fact that there were none left last night).  And last, but by no means least decadent French chocolate truffles (this recipe uses a lot of chocolate but it is absolutely worth it!).

Lemon drizzle cake is fairly popular in our house, subsequently I made a fairly large batch up so that people could take it with them as they drove home today as a bit of a treat.  Taking this into account you could quite easily halve the quantities for the cake batter and easily have enough to feed 9-10 people.

The other thing to note is that whilst chocolate truffles are very simple to make you need to put them in the fridge for at least 6-8hrs to harden off so make sure that you have the time available so they can chill enough to handle them.

Lemon drizzle cake with raspberry sauce

Ingredients:

For the cake:

  • 300g soft margarine
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 325g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • Zest of 2 lemons
Lemon Syrup:

  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 150g caster sugar

 

Icing:

  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 200g icing sugar

 

Raspberry sauce:

  • 200g raspberries
  • 2-3 tbsp sugar

Steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170C fan.
  2. Put all the ingredients for the cake in a bowl and mix together for 3-5 minutes using an electric whisk.
  3. Pour the batter into a lined tin (20cm x 30cm).
  4. Put in oven for 30-40 minutes – to test if the cake is cooked insert a skewer and see if it comes out clean.
  5. Remove from the oven and using a skewer prick holes right through the sponge.
  6. Make the syrup by putting the juice of the lemon and sugar in a pan and heating until all the sugar has been dissolved.
  7. Whilst the cake is warm pour over the syrup, leaving the cake to cool in the tin.
  8. Once the cake is completely cool, remove from the tin and make up the icing by mixing together the zest and icing sugar in a bowl adding a little of the lemon juice at a time until you have a smooth icing that pours nicely onto the cake.
  9. Finally make up the raspberry sauce by placing the raspberries and sugar in a pan and heating gently for roughly 5 minutes, adding more sugar if needed.
  10. Serve thin slices of the cake together with the raspberry sauce.

 

My salted caramel meringues with blackcurrant compote and crème fraiche

Ingredients:

Meringues

  • 4 egg whites
  • 7oz caster sugar
  • 1oz granulated brown sugar
  • 1tsp salt

Serve with

  • Crème Fraiche
Blackcurrant compote

  • 400g blackcurrants
  • 1tbsp water
  • 3-4 tbsp sugar

 

 

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 100C fan.
  2. In a large bowl whisk your egg whites until soft peak stage.
  3. Add in the salt and both the caster and brown sugar and whisk together thoroughly.
  4. Put mix into a piping bag and pipe out small meringues onto baking trays covered with baking paper.   The mix makes roughly 20-25 small meringues.
  5. Place in the oven and cook for 2 hours.
  6. Once cooked remove from oven and place on a cooling rack to cool completely.
  7. Whilst the meringues are cooling make the blackcurrant compote by placing the blackcurrants in a pan with the water and cook on a low heat for roughly 15-20 minutes or until the skin is soft.
  8. Strain the blackcurrants through a sieve into a bowl adding the sugar according to your taste.
  9. Finally serve – I like to do this in a make your own meringue sandwich set up with the compote in a small teapot for added fun…

French Chocolate Truffles

Ingredients:

Truffles

  • 300g plain chocolate (chopped)
  • 200ml cream
  • 1oz salted butter
  • 2 tbsp brandy

 

Topping suggestions

  • White chocolate (150g)
  • Dark chocolate (150g)
  • Chopped nuts (handful)
  • Biscuit crumbs (handful)

Steps:

  1. In a pan bring the cream up to the boil and then remove from the heat and add the chocolate stirring until it is completely melted.
  2. Once the chocolate has melted add the butter and the butter and stir until smooth.
  3. Pass the chocolate mixture through a sieve into a bowl, cover with cling film and place in the fridge for 6-8hrs.
  4. After the mix has chilled using either a melon baller or 2 teaspoons make your truffles.  (The mix makes 25-30).
  5. Then coat with the topping of your choice. (I did a mix of dark chocolate, white chocolate and nut truffles.)  If you intend to cover with chocolate, place your truffles in the deep freeze for an hour before you cover then, then melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water.  Once melted leave to cool a little before dipping your truffle into the chocolate.


(Apologies that this is not a very good photo the truffles started to be eaten as soon as they arrived on the table!)