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:

 

The tastiest thing this Christmas …

was a Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart. It looked tasty on paper, the ingredients were a great combination – chocolate, cream, sugar, butter and digestives – but I wasn’t expecting the final result to be quite so delicious. I even prepared our visiting parents for the fact that I thought desert had gone a ‘bit wrong’.

Here are the pictures, the recipe follows. There was total silence around the table whilst this was being eaten, someone even asked if they could lick their plate clean!

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And so to the recipe:

For the crust:

250g digestive biscuits, crushed

125g butter, melted

For the caramel:

225g caster sugar

100g chilled butter

100ml double cream

1 heaped tsp Maldon sea salt

For the topping:

100g caster sugar

2 eggs

2 extra egg yolks

250g dark chocolate

150g butter

Ice cream, to serve

1. Heat your oven to 180*C. Lightly grease a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin.

2. Place the crushed biscuits in a bowl, add the butter and mix well. Press the biscuit mixture in to the greased tin, chill the tin in the fridge for 30 minutes or the freezer for 10. Remove the tin from the fridge and bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until the base feels dry. Leave to cool.

3. For the caramel, bring the sugar and 100ml water to the boil in a pan over a medium heat, stir to dissolve the sugar. Add the butter, return to the boil and simmer, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes or until the mixture is a toffee colour. Pour in the cream and the salt and boil for another 2-3 minutes until slightly thickened. Cool for a few minutes before pouring over the biscuit base.

4. To make the chocolate topping, whisk the sugar, eggs and egg yolks for 4 minutes, or until thick and pale. Gently melt the chocolate and butter together in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water), leave to cool for a minute and then add to the sugar  and egg mixture, whisking until smooth and glossy.

5. Spread the chocolate mixture over the caramel and bake for about 20 minutes or until it is almost set but still a bit wobbly. Allow to cool in the tin, refrigerate if you prefer your caramel firm rather than gooey (either way is great!)

And that’s it – a recipe that will definitely be going in to the family file, one which I will no doubt use again and again, whenever I get the chance.