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.

Meatball Marinara

An unnamed high street food provider has a version of this on their menu. Meatball marinara: hot meatballs, tomato sauce and cheese stuffed ...