Thursday, 28 July 2011

Speedy Sides: Edition 1

This is the first edition of one of my new features Speedy Sides (racked my brains to think of that title didn't I?). The name speaks for itself, each edition will be a super quick and easy dish which will work great as a perfect side,with, or as an addition to a main meal (Depending on whether you eat for England or enjoy mini meals).

  • 700g New potatoes
  • 100g Radishes
  • 100g Half fat creme fresh (or you can use full fat if your already bikini ready!)
  • Small bunch spring onions
  • 1 Tsp Paprika
  • Zest and large squirt of juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 Clove of garlic
  • 2 Tbsp Tarragon
                      Total Prep time: 10 Minutes            
  • In a large pan bring your potatoes to boil in salted water. Boil for 10 minutes or until they start to feel soft went you give them a poke with a knife.
  • Drain then off and leave to cool down.
  • Slice up your radishes and spring onions as finely as you can, don't worry if your knife skills aren't Jamie Oliver esq the chopping can be as rough as you like as long as its fine. Pop them in a bowl with your creme fresh.
  • Finely chop your tarragon, add to a small bowl with the lemon zest, garlic (crushed), paprika and a big old squeeze of lemon juice. Give the lot a quick mix.
  • Once the spuds are cool slice them into halves and add to the radish and onion mix, pour over the gremolata and give it all a good stir.
  • Done!Fab for BBQ's, trying to pretend your a bit posh, and with fish.
Adapted from a recipe from Sainsbury's magazine.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Ludicrously Lovely Lemon Syrup Cake

We all know by now that I am a total lemon slut. I love anything with/near/like lemon and as a result I perhaps post more lemon recipes than any other. I had promised that I wouldn't do anymore lemon containing recipes for a while, but after I converted this one from the The Hummingbird Bakery book I knew it was far too yummy not to post it on here (despite it being a doppelganger of one I posted last year) 
The original recipe contains poppy seeds, but since I neither like poppy seeds nor had any in my house at the time the recipe is without them, but if you fancy popping them in I'll give the measurements for them. 
Handily my mother had squirreled away a bagel shaped baking tin which the recipe uses but feel free to use any shaped tin of the same dimensions. I often get asked what products I use so in the brackets are the types of ingredients and the brands that I use (where applicable).

  • 90g Butter (take it out the fridge 10minutes before you start baking to let it soften)
  • 250g Caster sugar
  • 3 Large egg whites (Free Range)
  • 170ml Milk-whole or semi skimmed
  • Grated zest of two small lemons
  • 240g Plain Flour (Doves Farm)
  • 2 Tsp's Gluten-free baking powder  (Dr Oetkar)
  • 1/2 Tsp Xanthan gum (Doves Farm)
  • 1/2 Table salt
  • 20g Poppy seeds if you choose to add them
Lemon Syrup
  • Zest and juice of one large lemon
  • 50g Caster Sugar
I used a lemon glaze but if the thought of all that sugar is setting your teeth on edge rest assured the lemon syrup is plenty to keep the sponge from drying out. Below are the amounts for the glaze.

Lemon Glaze
  • Juice from one large lemon
  • 250g Icing sugar
  • Ring mould (24cm) or the equivalent
  • Food mixer
  • Whisk (hand or electric)
  • Saucepan
  • Pop the oven on at Gas mark 3 and get down to greasing and flouring your baking tin. It's far too much of a ball ache to line with baking parchment especially if your using a ring tin.
  • In you food mixer throw in the butter, sugar, lemon zest and the poppy seeds if your including them. Give it all a big whizz together until its well mixed.
  • Add the milk a wee bit at a time with the mixer still running, until the whole lot is well mixed. At this point it may slightly split, but don't panic this will be remedied soon.
  • In a large bowl sift in your flour, baking powder, xanthan gum and salt and give it all a big stir.
  • Next add the flour mix into the butter, add a few heaped tablespoons at a time, making sure its all well mixed and combined. Keep mixing until the mixture goes from split to fluffy. (Told you not to panic!)
  • In another bowl separate your egg whites and if your pathetic like me whisk with an electric whisk, if your made of hardier stuff have a go with a hand whisk. You need the whites to be stiff peaks and shiny.
  • Stiffened and peaked, spoon the whites into the cake mix (I like to tip the cake mix into a separate bowl or the paddle gets in the way and hinders the white folding process) and fold them into the mixture, you don't want to fanny around to much folding them in but don't overdo it either because you don't want the mixture over mixed.
  • Pour or spoon the combined mixture into your tin, give the sides of the tin a bang with the heel of your hand and this should level out the mixture. 
  • Pop it in the oven for around 30-40 minutes.
  • While the sponge is baking away you can get on with other things like making the glaze and syrup. 
  • First the syrup. Put all the syrup ingredients into a small saucepan with 100ml's of water and over a low heat bring to the boil. Your looking to reduce the mixture by half, so once its reached boiling point turn the heat up a bit more. Your aiming for a thin syrup consistency, (too thick and it won't pour well). Set aside until the cake is baked.
  • The sponge will rise but will stay pale maybe going slightly golden on top. Use the poke test and insert a knife or skewer in, if it comes away clean your good to go, with mixture on, it needs a few more minutes. The sponge should be firm and bounce back when you prod it.
  • Leaving the sponge in the tin for a moment, pour the syrup all over the top of the cake. Leave the cake to cool for a few minutes or so and then turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Or at least until you won't risk third degree burns to your throat eating it.
  • To distract yourself from the maddening smell and to resist diving head first into the cake get on with making the glaze.
  • In a small bowl mix the icing sugar and lemon juice until its lump free, smooth and pourable. If you find it's too thick to pour add a little bit of water, if it's too thin add more icing sugar, you know the drill. 
  • Cool and ready for glazing, pop the cake on a stand or plate and drizzle with the glaze. You can throw a few poppy seeds over it for decoration at this point if you fancy.
  • Of a generous nature? Cut into slices and serve to friends and family. Greedy? Run for the hills with your lemon delight and don't look back. I said don't look back!

    Friday, 22 July 2011

    The Mentalist.

    The last few weeks have been a smidgen fraught although fraught makes it sound more like I was having trouble finding a dress in my size in the Topshop sales.
    My poor old moggie Max was put down which was really more upsetting than I ever thought it would be. And after all the ball aches and mess around's and appointment changes RE my barium meal I finally had the ruddy thing done, but it took an age (my tum decided that was the day it would have a 'slow bowel transit'-couldn't have done that at my graduation could ya un-coperative bowel) and by the time I'd left the radiology unit day had turned into night and I felt like David in Flight of the Navigator when he wakes up in the boat in the dark and finds out he's been transported to the future.

    This is probably far to much information than anyone reading this blog wants to hear, but I very recently stopped taking 'the pill' after 8 long years, due to The Other Bowel Problems rendering it quite useless, and being 'with child' is one more ball than I think I can juggle at the moment (although I don't juggle as such,just pass two balls back and forth between two hands).
    For years I thought the pill was the only thing keeping my wild emotions sedate enough that I didn't kill anyone. But it turns out sans pill I am not as violently angry as I believed myself to be, belligerent yes.Pathologically violent,no.Well,maybe sometimes.

    Although it turns out I'm even more tearful than I first realised. And highly strung.And emotional.
    During a shopping trip to Brighton I cried in the middle of a restaurant. Steve was mortified. The waitress turned tail quick march when she spied me blubbering and the couple at the table next to us, at first thinking Steve was proposing in some restaurant with low lighting engagement scenario, quickly realised this was not that case and hide their acute embarrassment behind a bottle of Pinot Grigio. Poor Steve couldn't do the same as he'd only ordered juice and sat looking ready to bash his brains out with the pepper grinder.
    My  lovely buddy Skye (go read her blog,shes the most darling person I've ever met perhaps ever) had told me about The Angel Food Bakery in Brighton so Steve and I took a stroll down The Laines trying to dodge the hoards of exchange students who had chosen that day to descend upon Brighton despite the miserable weather.
    Sadly no dice at the bakery as they'd sold out but do follow the link if you fancy pre ordering your own cupcakes (the non g/f ones looked yum-tastic so I've high hopes for the g/f versions).
    I don't want to cast aspersions on lovely European people, but my god some of the exchange students were rude, I was practically thrown out of the way by one very rude mare in Starbucks who very nearly ended up with my skinny caramel latte in her lap.The only thing stopping me was that I had queued since the year dot for the ruddy thing in a line longer than the equator.

    Anyway folks, I'm looking for some gluten-free recipe for future Twice As Nice posts and also for my Your Recipes tab so if you have some yummy yummy in my (or your) tummy recipes knocking around the place email me at it doesnt matter if they're non gluten-free as I can convert them easy enough (depending on what it is, I'm not Jamie Oliver).

    Anyway my lovers, I hope your all fine and dandy, and 'hello!' to my new Katie-Boo Babes-I'd like to tell you that my posts aren't always so nutty, but that'd be a bare faced lie. Enjoy!
    I'll be back at the weekend with the first edition of Twice as Nice,which I have long promised and have only just got round to doing. See you all then!

    First try at homemade gluten-free duffnuts (donuts)

    My lovely old moggie Max (right)

    Taking refuge in my cluttered but cosy bed-byes on poorly days.My mother constantly wonders how theres room enough for me
    Yummy quinoa salad, recipe here

    My gorgeous new Diana F+ that my gorgeous boyfriend bought me. Smug?Me?Yup thats right!