Category Archives: lemon

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!)

BBQ marinades and recipes

It is so hot outside – the heat-wave is well and truly here!  Right now I think it is about 41C outside, subsequently, having a BBQ for lunch was really the only option.   All the family are here this week, which means big quantities of food are needed.  Having raided the deep-freeze last night for various types of meat, this morning all I had to do was make some marinades.  Deciding what marinade for the chicken would be was a no-brainer – honey and mustard is a classic marinade we have used on chicken legs for years, because the honey caramelises so nicely on a BBQ.  The more important question was what to marinade the spare ribs in?  I woke up this morning thinking some sort of Chinese plum sauce might be nice, but unfortunately we didn’t have any already made up, so I decided to try and make it.  The result was a sticky plum sauce that worked really nicely.   To balance out the vast quantity of meat I decided that vegetable skewers might not be a bad idea.  Aside from the plum sauce that took about an hour to make (but now that’s done I have 7 big jars of the stuff ready for use later in the year) the rest of the preparation for the BBQ took no time at all.

I am pleased to say that there was hardly any scraps left over from the BBQ other than a few bits of salad, so all in all a job well done by all members of the family.

ImageChinese Plum Sauce

Ingredients

  • 3kg of plums – stoned and halved (I used Prune d’Agen)
  • 4 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 900g white sugar
  • 300ml cider vinegar
  • 200ml soya sauce
  • 1tsp salt
  • 1tsp pepper
  • 2” fresh ginger – peeled and grated
  • ½tsp cloves – crushed into a powder
  • 2 small dried chillies – chopped finely

Steps:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a large sauce pan and mix well together, place on a medium heat and bring up to the boil.
  2. Leave on a rolling boil for roughly 40 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent the fruit catching on the bottom of the pan.
  3. After boiling for 40 minutes – remove from the heat and allow to cool a little before blending the mixture with either a handheld blender or a liquidizer.
  4. Place back in the pan and bring back up to the boil.
  5. Leave the sauce to boil for roughly 5 minutes before placing in sterilized jars.

ImageSpare Ribs in Chinese Plum Sauce (fed 8 people very well / if a little too well)

Ingredients:

  • 2kg Spare ribs
  • 400ml Chinese plum sauce

Steps:

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C fan.
  2. Place ribs on an oven tray and pour over half the plum sauce, making sure that each rib has got the sauce on each side.
  3. Cover with tin-foil and place in the oven for 40 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and set to one side until your BBQ is hot.
  5. Once your BBQ is ready, place the ribs meat side down and place some of the remaining sauce on the back of the ribs, let the ribs cook for about 3-4 minutes or until nicely caramelised, then turn over and do the same again.
  6. Just before you are ready to serve turn the ribs one last time and cook for just a minute.

Image

Chicken in Honey and Mustard

Ingredients:

  • 10-12 Chicken legs
  • 3tbsp runny honey
  • 3tbsp whole grain mustard

Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 190C.
  2. Mix together the honey and mustard in a bowl.
  3. Place the chicken on an oven proof dish and pour over the mixture, making sure that all of the legs are coated.
  4. Cover with tin foil and place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.
  5. Remove the tin foil and cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the chicken is cooked or the juices run clear.
  6. Once your BBQ is hot place the chicken legs on the BBQ for 4-5 minutes on both sides to give it that nice BBQ flavour.

ImageVegetable Skewers

Ingredients:

  • 1 Aubergine
  • 1 ½ Red Peppers
  • 1 Green Pepper
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 4 Courgettes
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 1 tsp dried coriander leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper for seasoning

Steps:

  1. Cut all the vegetables into bit sized chunks and place in a large dish.
  2. Squeeze over the juice of the lemon, scatter over the coriander leaves and garlic and finally pour over the olive oil.  Mix everything together well and then make up your skewers ordering the vegetables as you please.
  3. Once your BBQ is hot place on your skewers, turning them regularly so that they don’t burn and cook for roughly 15 minutes.