Let Them Eat Cake …

The title refers to my family eating yet another cake to celebrate my parents’ 70th birthdays  rather than the much disputed quote allegedly made by Marie Antoinette! The cake took a ridiculous 8 hours to make – baking, making the decorations, making the lemon curd to sandwich it all together and then the final arrangement of the decorations. The heat that we have been experiencing here in the UK did not really help with the latter but I got there in the end:

 

It was seemingly enjoyed by all, it was particularly lovely to be able to share it with my Canadian cousin and his family.

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Food for a Birthday Celebration …

It was my husband’s birthday during the week and we had a celebratory meal with our boys and our parents yesterday. It was a real luxury to have the day to prepare so I really made the most of it.

Our main course was a delicious chicken and herbed rice dish, served with raw green chilli as an optional extra. To follow we had a choice of three cakes. First off were the lemon slices, these were a very simple tray bake that had been sliced and then drizzled with a lemon icing.

Next, there was a Fruit Loaf, the recipe being from Paul Hollywood and was a real success. The fruits kept it moist and the lemon icing gave sweetness.

Fruit Loaf

It was no bad thing that both the Lemon Slices and the Fruit Loaf weren’t too sweet as our Rocky Road Cupcakes more than balanced them out:

Rocky Road CupcakeUnderneath was a Chocolate Cupcake, on top was a frosting that was a combination of melted marshmallow, cream, butter and icing sugar. The ‘Rocky Road’ was melted chocolate which had a variety of sweet things sprinkled and dribbled over it. Whilst these cupcakes required more time and effort than normal, they were definitely worth it!

Lemon flavoured Viennese Whirls and eating Muffins with a Spoon!

Baking today was both tasty and gooey!

I made some Lemon Viennese Whirls, the shortbreads had lemon zest added and the icing in the middle was made with lemon juice. The result was delicious:

I also made some Blueberry Muffins and was so careful not to over bake them that whilst the top half was suitably ‘muffin-y’, the lower half had to be eaten with a spoon!!

They did taste good though – I’ll warm some through for breakfast tomorrow, hopefully they’ll be fully cooked then!

Blueberry Muffins:

Fantastic French Food …

Book reviews are not something I normally do, however, the book I bought this morning warrants me making an exception!

I have been avidly watching ‘The Little Paris Kitchen‘ recently and it is a series of programmes that really do make you salivate. The food that Rachel Khoo creates in her tiny kitchen is so amazing that when I saw her book to accompany the series I couldn’t resist.

The book itself is a joy to look at, the photos are stunning and there are also lots of little foodie watercolours! The recipes are as she presented them on the Tv and she doesn’t use a vast range of ingredients that us mere mortals wouldn’t have in our cupboards. I was therefore able to use 2 of her recipes for our dinner this evening.

For our main course, we had ‘Nids de tartiflette‘ or Cheese and Potato Nests. These were baked in a muffin tray and tasted amazing:

I had a couple of fairly strong cheeses in the fridge (brie and gruyère), which were chopped and grated before being stirred in to a hot onion, garlic, potato, bacon and white wine mixture. This was then portioned in to the buttered muffin tray before being cooked for about 15 minutes in the oven. I then steamed some broccoli to accompany them:

 

For dessert, we had ‘Quatre-quarts aux agrumes‘ or Citrus Fruit Cake. Whilst this was a little more complicated to make than your run of the mill lemon sponge or lemon drizzle cake, it was so incredibly light and ‘melt-in-the-mouth‘ that I think it has become our family’s new favourite lemon cake.

This photo really doesn’t do it justice:

The complexity in the preparation comes from having to prepare the ingredients separately – the butter must be melted then cooled, the egg yolks must be mixed with half the sugar whilst the egg whites are mixed with the other half – nothing really tricky, just a bit more of an effort, definitely well worth it though.

If you want to see some of Rachel’s recipes, they can be found here:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/programmes/b01dy7yt

 

Lemon and Chocolate Swirls …

It being the long Easter weekend, I wanted to make something suitably ‘spring-like’ whilst giving a nod to the chocolate fest that is Easter. These incredibly easy but super-tasty biscuits ticked all the right boxes:

Here’s the recipe:

175g butter

300g caster sugar

1 egg, beaten

350g plain flour

65g dark or milk chocolate, melted and slightly cooled

zest of 1 lemon

makes about 30 biscuits

Cream the butter and the sugar until they are light and fluffy, slowly add the beaten egg mixing well. Add the flour and mix until a soft dough is formed. Divide the dough in 2, add the lemon zest to one half and the melted chocolate to the other half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough to rectangles. Place the lemon dough on top of the chocolate dough and roll as tightly as possible to form a long cylinder. Slice the dough in to discs and place on prepared baking trays. Bake in a pre-heated oven (170ºC) for about 10 minutes or until the lemon part of the biscuits just start to turn golden.

Leave to cool on the baking tray for 5 minutes or so then cool the biscuits on a wire rack. For that extra chocolate-y touch, drizzle some extra melted chocolate over the top!

Enjoy!

Simply Stunning Salmon …

These salmon steaks look delicious even before they have been cooked. They didn’t need much to make them perfect, simply a thin sliver of butter, a slice of lemon, a basil leaf and some seasoning. They were then wrapped in foil and steamed in the oven for about 15 minutes. Together with some boiled new potatoes and some steamed broccoli they made a tasty tea: