Category Archives: Desserts

New year, new cake?

Hello – well it does seem a long time since I last posted on my blog. I find the beginning of the year a bit of a struggle. After over indulging at Christmas (who doesn’t? do you know anyone?) I always feel I need to be restrained in January. Lots of pounding the treadmill (which is just not the same as running in the great outdoors, but I don’t enjoy running in the dark, gloomy half light of January or February so I make do with the gym; needs must). Lots of cooking with a ton of veggies. “Being good” perhaps you could call it. But BOY does it get boring after a while! So as we’re more than half way through February surely, SURELY it’s time to EAT MORE CAKE?! The rest of the year I don’t have this dilemma; I bake. I test. I lick the spoon. I eat cake. I share my cakes. And I run/keep fit and do my best to burn off some of the calories. It’s a nice life. So please, please can the winter be over so I can get back to normal? It’s not that I haven’t done ANY baking, that would be unthinkable. I’ve made brandy snaps (SO easy, SO nice, SO  retro, SO difficult to photograph!!), I’ve made coffee and walnut cake, I’ve made orange and almond cake – and that was actually wheat and fat free – take that January!! I’ve made chocolate sponge to soak in coffee and alcohol to turn into chocolate tiramisu. And I made Mr Tea a chocolate cinnamon cupcake, with chocolate fudge frosting and hand made plump red hearts (just a small cake you understand, what with Valentine’s Day falling in blooming self righteous February). But I want to bake MORE! I want to share more cake, I want to take tea sitting in my lovely little summer house, with Mr Tea or some other family and friends. It’s TIME – make it happen, somebody, please!!!

And as I’ve been focusing so much on thinking about baking lately (nothing new there) – I’ve also noticed just how many other people are getting into baking. People I wouldn’t normally expect to see sharing a cake or two have been bringing them to meetings. Even at a meeting at the Food Standards Agency recently, sshhh, don’t tell anyone – they baked and ate chocolate brownies!! Another running/baking colleague and I might even run for Sport Relief in March – and bake cakes to eat and sell afterwards – it’s a new trend, bake-share-run – you heard it here first! We even discussed having a Sport Relief Bake Off in our department – but we’d need a bank of ovens, oh and the time to bake all morning rather than doing any work…..

So the baking trend is not only continuing but reaching out to new bakers young and old in 2012. I commented on nostalgia and the need for us to have civilised, sophisticated tea parties in the article that Nene Valley Living Magazine published in January (you’ll find it online).

So bring on the warmer weather, spring flowers, green not brown roadsides and verges, bird song and more opportunities to bake and share cake!

Why not treat your Mum, Daughter, Son, Grandchildren, Wife, Friend, or Yourself! Sunday, 18th March 2012 – Peterborough

Join me and my co-host Tilly at a beautiful vintage barn venue in Peterborough for full afternoon tea on Mothers’ Day. Enjoy finger sandwiches made with Hambleton Bakery bread, savoury and sweet scones (everyone loves them!), and a selection of cakes and bakes. All served on pretty bone china, with starched white table linen and fresh flowers, with lots of loose leaf tea (or coffee if you’d prefer), friendly chatter and time to browse the pretty surroundings. Just what you need to drag you out of the winter slush and gloom!

Email mslemonydrizzle@sky.com to book and pay £20 per guest in advance via PayPal.

Lots of love, care and cake

Lemony Drizzle x

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Top-Secret-Tea-Parties/159296277491762

 

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My lemon curd experiment

I know I mentioned some weeks ago that I’d made some lemon curd…so finally I have a few minutes before bedtime to post the details….I’m still thinking about it, as it was particularly yummy and, as I’d been challenged to come up with a dessert that would go into a pudding basin mould, I thought I’d combine my lemon curd attempt with making a suitable pud for a BBQ I was invited to over the August Bank Holiday weekend (oh what a distant memory now – though it’s actually warmer now than it was that day!!).

It’s pretty straight forward to make lemon curd – even Delia says so 🙂

I used a tip I read, to stir with a whisk rather than a wooden spoon, so whether that helped the creaminess factor I don’t know. It took a lot longer to thicken than my recipe stated, but it got there eventually, though the pictures show it wasn’t looking very promising at first!! To make 2 decent jars of the lemony good stuff, simply put the zest and juice of 4 lemons (unwaxed are nicest), 200g caster sugar, 100g butter into a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once the butter has melted add 4 lightly beaten eggs and stir occasionally with a whisk until the mixture thickens – this took around 20 minutes. Cool then pour into clean jars. Keep in the fridge or eat immediately if you’re greedy! Would keep for a week or two though.

So after admiring the sunshiny loveliness of the curd I used it to make a frozen lemon, cream and meringue bombe. You need some meringue pieces – to save time on this occasion I used shop bought meringue nests, which I broke into pieces – I wasn’t at all impressed with the quality of the meringue so it really is worth making your own – it’s not hard so have a go! I whisked a vast quantity of icing sugar with whipping cream and the juice of about half a lemon – this thickened up into a cloud of sweetened lactic gorgeousness (had a few sneaky spoonfuls to try it out at this point….). So…. simply put a layer of the cream mixture, followed by dollops of lemon curd and meringue pieces and keep repeating until you fill your cling film lined pudding basin (or loaf tin, if you want to make a terrine). Now.. on top of this I laid a thin layer of madeira sponge which I’d soaked in a big glug of sherry – so the sponge fitted the diameter of the pudding basin… hope you’re following this! Pop it into the freezer overnight.

To turn out, I sat the bowl in a washing up bowl of hot water for a couple of minutes then turned onto a serving plate. Garnished the top with some lovely raspberries…. a good sprinkling of icing sugar would have been nice too. It was very yummy indeed…. the sherry had infused the whole bombe…it wasn’t overly sweet…just lemony and lovely for sharing with family and friends. Give it a try! If you want more exact quantities just leave me a comment and I’ll dig out the details!