Saturday, 27 September 2014

Lemon Curd Cake

If you are going to have some form of lemon cake, make it taste like lemon! This one pulls no punched with a triple hit of lemon.

Lemon Curd Cake

200g caster sugar
200g butter or margarine
3 large eggs
Zest and juice of one lemon
2 large tablespoons curd
200g self raising flour (I used Dove's gluten free flour)
For the drizzle:
3 tbsp caster sugar
Juice of one lemon

Icing sugar to decorate

1 - Preheat the oven to 180C/GM4. Grease a large loaf tin.
2 - In a large bowl, cream the sugar and butter with a whisk, electric whisk or wooden spoon until light and fluffy.
3 - Beat in the eggs one by one followed by the zest and juice of the lemon and the lemon curd.
4 - Sieve in the flour and gently fold until well combined.
5 - Pour into the loaf tin then place on the middle shelf and bake for 35-40 minutes.
6 - Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin.
7 - Heat up the lemon juice and sugar in a pan until combined. Whilst the cake is cooling, prick the cake with a knitting needle or something similar and gently drizzle on the lemon and sugar.
8 - Once cooled, remove from the tin and drizzle over icing sugar for decoration.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Ratatouille with Mussels and Lemon Balm


In a little twist to the usual ratatouille - vegetables in a tomato sauce - this has a few handfuls of fresh and plump Northumbrian mussels and a good dose of lemon balm rather than basil. Lemon balm is a herb that is rarely used in modern day cookery but grows so well in any domestic garden. But with its surprising citrus fragrance and earthy taste, it is a natural herb to accompany shellfish. It is also brilliant in a lemon ice cream. Enjoy.

Ratatouille with Mussels and Lemon Balm
Feeds 4

1 aubergine, cut into small chunks
2 courgettes, halved and sliced into chunks
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and sliced into chunks
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 clove of garlic, sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tins of plum tomatoes
1 tbsp balsamic or red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
6 handfuls of live mussels, cleaned
A handful of lemon balm or basil leaves, finely sliced

1 - Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the aubergine and cook, tossing regularly, until beginning to turn golden. Remove and set aside.
2 - Heat up the remaining tbsp olive oil and add the peppers and courgette. Cook, tossing regularly until beginning to soften and turn golden. Remove and set aside.
3 - Heat up the olive oil in a separate pan and add the onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes then tip in the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, stir in the vinegar and cook for 10 minutes until beginning to reduce and deepen in colour.
4 - Tap any open mussels onto a hard surface. If they do not close, throw away. Put the mussels into the tomato sauce, put on the lid and cook for 5 minutes. If the mussels have not opened properly, throw away.
5 - Stir in the vegetables and heat through. Taste for seasoning. Sprinkle on the lemon balm and serve with rice or crusty bread.