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Archive: Jun 2012

Mary Berry’s ultimate lemon tray bake

This is similar to the previous recipe I posted, but it’s what I call a “one bowl” cake.
Everything is done in one bowl with no whipping of the butter and sugar. If you don’t have much time and want a light, moist tray bake to serve with fresh berries and cream or ice cream, nothing beats this.
This also has the lemon/sugar syrup poured over at the end. It’s more of a tray bake than a cake.

This makes about 30 squares
Ingredients
225 grams butter, softened
225 grams caster (superfine) sugar
275 grams self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 large free range, organic eggs
4 tbsp milk
2 lemons, grated zest only (save the juice for the syrup)
For the crunchy topping
175 grams granulated sugar
2 lemons, juice only
(You can also add the grated rind of 1 large orange to this as an extra touch)
 
Method
Cut a rectangle of non stick baking parchment to fit the base and sides of a 11 by 9 by 1 1/2 inches roasting tin. (approximately, it doesn’t have to be those exact measurements)
Grease the tin with butter and line the tin.
Preheat the oven to 300F
Put all (except the crunchy topping ingredients) the ingredients for the tray bake in a large bowl and beat well for 2 minutes. An electric mixer is best for this.
Empty all the mixture into the prepared tin and level it off with the back of a spoon.
Bake in the middle of the oven for around 40 to 45 minutes until golden and the sponge springs back when lightly pressed.
Leave the cake to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes and remove from the tin using the parchment paper to help.
Carefully remove the paper and allow to cool on a rack.
For the crunchy topping, mix the ingredients together in a measuring jug or small bowl until the sugar dissolves and pour it evenly over the cake while it’s still just warm.
Cut into squares when completely cooled and serve.
 

 

Nigella’s lemon and almond polenta cake

Serves 16

Serves 16

Everyone needs this recipe in their life as it’s so moist, rich and lemony with the fresh lemon syrup poured over the cake after baking so it stays unctious!
(Sorry about the metric measurements)

1 cup (200 grams) soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing the cake tin
1 cup (200 grams) caster sugar or the very fine white sugar.
1 cup (200 grams) ground almonds
1/2 cup (100 grams) fine polenta or cornmeal
1 1/2 tsp baking powder (gluten free if you like)
3 large organic, free range eggs
zest of 2 lemons, save the juice for the syrup

For the syrup

Juice of 2 lemons
125 grams icing (powdered) sugar
1 x 9″ spring form cake tin

Line the base of your cake tin with parchment paper and grease the side with butter.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Beat the room soft butter and sugar together till pale and whipped. You can use a freestanding mixer or just a wooden spoon.

Mix together in a bowl, the almonds, polenta and baking powder and beat some of this into the butter/sugar mixture, followed by 1 egg then alternate dry ingredients and eggs, beating all the while.

Finally beat in the lemon zest and pour into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

it may seem a bit wobbly when you take it out but if you can put a skewer or dry piece of spaghetti through it and it comes out clean, it’s ready. Also the edges of the cake will have started to shrink away from the sides of the cake tin.
Remove the cake from the oven and put on a cooling rack  but leave it in the tin.

Make the syrup by boiling together the lemon juice and icing sugar in a smallish saucepan.
Once the icing sugar is dissolved into the juice, you’re done.

Prick the top of the cake all over with a cake tester or another dry piece of spaghetti, pour the warm syrup all over the cake and leave it to cool and soak in before taking it out of it’s tin.

Note
I love to serve this with a mixture of creme fraiche and lemon curd mixed together with some grated lemon rind added. 
There you have the ultimate lemon experience!!



 

Cauliflower cake

This is another Yotam Ottolenghi recipe. I would post the whole book (Plenty) if I could as all his recipes are divine and different.

Serves 4 to 6

This is lovely served as a light supper alongside a salad of sliced cucumber, dill, mint, a little sugar, cider vinegar and rapeseed oil.
Kept chilled the cake will taste even better the next day. I am constantly amazed at what one can do with the humble cauliflower. We eat it in so many different ways and I will eventually enter all the different recipes.
Again Ottolenghi’s recipes are in metric, so I have tried to convert them, but to be safe, have added the metric measurements too.

1 medium cauliflower (about 1 1/2 lbs)
1 large red onion, peeled
a couple of tbsp olive oil
1/2 to 1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
10 large organic, free range eggs
1 tbsp  chopped fresh basil (20 grams)
1 1/2  cups plain flour (180 grams)
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
2 to 2 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese (220 grams)
Salt and black pepper
melted butter for greasing
2 tbsp black sesame seeds, black onion seeds or white sesame seeds

Heat the oven to 350F.
Break the cauliflower into medium florets, put them in a pot with 1 tsp salt, cover with water and simmer for 15 minutes or until very soft.
Strain and leave in the colander for 10 minutes to get rid of all the water.

While the cauliflower is cooking, prepare the batter.
Cut a few 1/4 inch rings off one end of the onion and set aside. These will go on top of the cake. Coarsely chop the rest of the onion.
Heat the oil in a pan and on a low heat saute the chopped onion and rosemary for about 8 minutes until soft. Remove from the heat and leave to cool down.
Add the eggs and basil and whisk.

Sift the flour, baking powder and turmeric into a large bowl and add the parmesan cheese, 1 1/2 tsp salt,
and plenty of ground black pepper.
Add the egg mix and whisk to eliminate any lumps. Add the cauliflower and stir gently, trying to keep some of the cauliflower florets whole.

Line the bottom of a loose bottomed 9 inch diameter with baking parchment then brush the sides of the tin with melted butter and sprinkle the sesame seeds onto the sides of the tin so they stick to the sides.
Tip in the cauliflower mix and arrange the sliced onions on the top.

Bake the cake in the center of the oven for 45 minutes until golden brown and set. Serve just warm or at room temperature.

Note   This would be lovely served with my other eggplant cake (also on my blog) as a lovely lunch or supper party served with a salad. Very inexpensive too!

 

Butternut squash and tahini spread

This is a recipe from the incredible Yotam Ottolenghi who has several restaurants in London.

Serves 6 to 8

This squash spread is very moreish and will keep in a jar in the fridge for several days. In which case, when you want to serve it, bring it back to room temperature before piling on pita bread or crusty bread like hummus.
Date syrup is a wonderful sweetener and has a great depth of richness. If you can’t find it, don’t worry, you can do without it but it adds huge dimension to this dish  it is also available on Amazon and is not expensive.

1 very large butternut squash (2lbs roughly) peeled and cut into chunks
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
Just under 1/3 cup tahini paste (The recipe says 70g, so I am trying to convert it.)
Just under 1 cup of greek Yoghurt (The recipe says 120g)
2 small cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp mixed black and white sesame seeds (or just white if you don’t have black)
1 1/2 tsp date syrup
2 tbsp chopped cilantro (fresh coriander)

Hest the oven to 350F. Spread the squash out on a medium sized baking tray, pour over the olive oil and sprinkle on the cinnamon and salt.
Mix well, cover the tray lightly with aluminum foil and roast for about 70 mins, stirring once during the cooking. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
transfer the cooled squash to the bowl of a food processor along with the tahini, yoghurt and garlic.
Roughly pulse so that everything is combined into a coarse paste- you don’t want it too smooth.
You can also do this by hand using a fork or a masher.
To serve, spread the butternut in a wavy pattern over a flat plate and sprinkle with the sesame seeds, a drizzle of the date syrup and the chopped cilantro.

 

Asparagus Bread Pudding

This is also from a fellow blogger and again, combines my favorite “bread pudding” with lots of asparagus and cheese!
Serves 4

1/2 loaf of rustic, preferably day old Ciabatta or other dense Italian loaf of bread, crusts removed cut into 1/2 inch cubes, about 3 – 4 cups
3/4 cup whole milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
3 large eggs
1/4 to 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 lb asparagus, tough stems removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 -2 cloves garlic, minced
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1/2 to 3/4 cup Gruyere, Fontina or Emmenthaler cheese, grated
1/2 to 3/4 Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated
1/4 cup chopped mixed herbs,  thyme, oregano, chives and flat leaf parsley

Place the bread cubes in a large bowl and pour the milk over.
Set aside for about 35 minutes in order for the milk to thoroughly soak into the bread
Preheat the oven to 350F. Butter a square baking dish and set aside.
Combine the cream, eggs, salt and pepper in a bowl. and whisk together. Set the custard aside.
Drop the asparagus into a small saucepan of boiling water and cook until just tender, 1 to 2 minutes.
Rinse under cold running water and drain. Toss together with the garlic, shallots and herbs.
In a small bowl combine the Fontina and Parmesan cheeses.
To the bowl with the soaked bread cubes, add the asparagus/herb mixture.
Mix lightly to combine.
Place half of the bread in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
Sprinkle with half of the cheese mixture.
Top with the remaining bread mixture and top with the remaining cheese.
Pour the custard over the top.
Bake until golden, about 1 hour.
Check for doneness with a skewer or pairing knife.
The custard should be set and the tester should come out clean.

Exotic Lamb Pilaf with pomegranate seeds, cranberries and figs

This is a spectacular dish using ground lamb and incorporating the rich flavors of cranberries, pomegranates and figs.

Ingredients

2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
1 lb ground lamb
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 red chile, deseeded and finely sliced
1 tsp ground allspice
2 oz dried cranberries
2 oz dried figs, chopped if large
300 grams basmati rice
900 grams hot lamb stock. (For those in the US, Amazon.com sells Knorr lamb stock cubes and I use them a lot. They are wonderful!)

To serve

2 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley or mint or a mixture of both
40 grams shelled pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
60 grams Greek feta cheese, crumbled
1/2 pomegranate, seeds only
greek yoghurt, to serve

Directions

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan over medium high heat and sear the lamb for 5 minutes or so until lightly browned.
Add the onion, reduce the heat and fry until soft and golden.
Stir in the chile, allspice and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes then stir in the cranberries and figs.
Add the rice and stir briefly to mix the rice with the other ingredients.
Put in the lamb stock and season to taste.
Bring to the boil, stir once then immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
Now cover the pan tightly and cook for 20 minutes until the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
Don’t stir the rice during this time.

To serve

Gently fold the herbs through the pilaf with the pistachios and most of the feta.
Pile the pilaf onto 4 warm plates and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds and remaining feta.
Drizzle over a little olive oil and serve with Greek yoghurt on the side

 

 

The River Café’s Chocolate Nemesis

The River Cafe is in London and is where Jamie Oliver trained, plus many others. I am not a huge chocolate person, but this is a complete uncomplicated chocolate experience.
I am hoping you have a metric scale as this is a British recipe, hence the grams.

Ingredients

 675 grams really good dark chocolate , 70%
450 grams butter
10 whole eggs, at room temperature
675 grams caster sugar

Method

Melt the chocolate and butter together in a bain marie. (This means put it into a bowl over simmering water, but don’t let the bowl touch the water.)
Remove from the heat and allow to cool
Preheat the oven to 320F and line a 27 cm springform cake tin with foil.

Beat together the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer for 5 to 8 minutes until they’ve quadrupled in volume.
Fold the chocolate and butter mixture into the eggs and sugar and stir thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin. You might have a little too much batter but don’t worry.
Place the cake in a large roasting tin in the oven then pour enough boiling water in the roasting tin to come 3/4 up the side of the cake.
Cook in the preheated oven for over an hour, then turn the oven off and allow to completely cool before removing.
Serve with creme fraiche and raspberries.

Roasted eggplant salad with smoked almonds and goat cheese

Serves 4

2 large eggplants, about 2lbs
Kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin (I roast whole cumin seeds and grind them myself in a pestle and mortar. They last for ages and are far more pungent than the ordinary seeds)
4 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 cup flat parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup smoked almonds, roughly chopped
2 – 3 oz goat cheese, crumbled and divided
1/3 cup finely chopped scallions

Heat the oven to 400F

Cut the eggplant into 1 inch cubes and put into a bowl. Sprinkle lightly with kosher salt and set aside while making the marinade.
Whisk together the olive oil, cider vinegar, honey, smoked paprika and cumin.
Dab away with paper towel any water that has beaded up on the eggplant and toss with the marinade.
Stir in the garlic.
Spread the eggplant on a large baking sheet lined with parchment paper and slide onto a rack place in the center of the oven.
Roast at 400F for 40 minutes or until very tender or slightly browned. (You may need to stir every 15 minutes and check after 30 minutes that it isn’t burning)
Remove from the oven and cool slightly.

Whisk together the soy sauce and lemon juice.

Return the eggplant to the bowl and toss with the lemon juice mixture.
Stir in the parsley leaves, smoked almonds and most of the goat cheese, reserving a little.

Spread the finished salad on a lovely serving bowl or platter and sprinkle with the reserved goat cheese
crumbles and scallions

 

Cucumber and avocado salad with lime, mint and feta cheese

This comes from another great food blog ‘Kalyn’s Kitchen”

Serves 2 – 4

Ingredients

2 cups peeled and chopped  English cucumbers (3-4 medium sized ones or 2 large)
salt, for drawing water out of cucumber
1 – 2 ripe (but not too squishy) avocados, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1 – 2 tsp fresh lime juice, to toss with the avocado pieces
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint, measure after chopping
1/2 cup crumbled Greek (not French) feta, make sure you buy the solid block, not the crumbled.

Dressing Ingredients

 2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

Directions

Peel the cucumbers and scrape out the seeds, if they are large. Cut the cucumber into half inch pieces and put into a colander. Sprinkle with a generous amount of salt and let it sit for 30 minutes. make sure you put a bowl underneath as there will be a fair amount of liquid that the cucumbers give off.
After 30 minutes use paper towels to blot the moisture and salt from the cucumbers.

While the cucumber is draining peel the avocados and chop into 1/2 inch pieces. Put the avocado into a large salad bowl and gently toss with the 1 to 2 tsp fresh lime juice.
Wash the mint and chop finely.
Whisk together the olive oil and lime juice to make a dressing and measure out 1/2 cup of crumbled feta.

Add the drained cucumbers, mint and dressing to the avocado and combine.
Then gently stir in the crumbled feta into the salad ingredients.
Serve immediately.

This salad doesn’t do well sitting in the fridge for too long

 

Cranberry Liqueur

This is slightly adapted from “The Essential New York Times” recipe book by Amanda Hesser.

Yields 2 cups

2 cups cranberries
1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup water
12 oz vodka
2 cinnamon sticks

Combine the cranberries, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
Boil until cranberries are soft and start to pop, about 10 minutes.
Transfer to a blender or food processor and puree.
Pour into a jar and add the vodka and cinnamon sticks.
Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 week and up to 3 weeks.

Strain through a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth if you don’t want any straggling seeds.

Serve and/or refrigerate and it will last for up to 1 year!