Archives for category: Lemon

I can’t believe we are in the home stretch to 2013. 2012 has passed way too fast for my liking. Looking back through the photos which have documented this year, I haven’t been baking or blogging about baking nearly enough.

And though this has been a recurring sentiment, I’m getting back in the proverbial (blogging) saddle. Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat. There’s going to be a whole lot of baking, eating, sharing and best of all a big trip to the motherland.

Stay with me, dear readers… but in the meantime, here’s a taste of what went on in the downtime:

Victoria Sponge

Victoria Sponge in honor of the Diamond Jubilee. Recipe from Primrose Bakery Baking Book, although I used fresh strawberries in place of jam and Earl Grey/Lemon whipping cream. This was my first go at the traditional British cake. I was happy with the way it turned out and will most likely bake it again when tradition calls.

Hepburns

My baking book of the year is definitely ‘Baked In America‘ – maybe it’s because I’m American, but mostly because this is one AMAZING baking book. Recipes from this book are featured many times throughout the blog in 2012 and will continue to be featured in the future. One day I’ll finally make it to Chiswick to Outsider Tart and hopefully meet my baking heroes – the two Davids.

The brownies above are called Hepburns (Kate, rather than Audrey) and probably the best brownie recipe around. They make ideal treats for any occasion – school fetes, birthdays or general parties.

Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake brownies

Brownie tower

These Chocolate Cherry Cheesecake Brownies were made especially for my mother in law’s un-birthday party. As her party food was served buffet-style, I wanted to make a special desserty treat that attendees could eat as little or as much as they like. So these brownies were cut into 1.5 in squares and served on cake stands mixed with the Hepburns featured above.

Orange polenta cake

Another series of books which have inspired breakfasts, dinners and baking alike are the Leon books. The Orange Polenta Cake is from Leon – Baking & Puddings, book three, as featured in the ‘Teatime’ section. This cake is an ideal accompaniment to Earl Grey tea and also gluten-free!

Trish's Two Cents

Martin has been working on building a set of speakers over at his dad’s house. I like to take a baked treat when we go over. One weekend in September, Trish’s Two-Cents from Baked In America caught my eye and I had to give it a go. This is the best ‘pound-cake’ type cake I have ever had. It is definitely going to be in regular rotation for when cakes are called for.

Pumpkin pie

And last, but not least, in the baking recap is Pumpkin Pie. This is a recipe traditionally served at Thanksgiving, in fact was featured in my Thanksgiving blog post from 2011, but I am not celebrating Thanksgiving this year so it was moved to Bonfire Night. While this recipe is from the back of a Libbys can, it is home-made with love and reminds me of autumnal days past.

Watch this space for Christmas treats to come soon…

Five years ago, Martin was making our favourite meal of grilled chicken tacos* while I watched Mission Impossible reruns on the TV. I heard a pop from inside my belly and our lives were never the same.

baba grizzlin

Watching him grow over the past five years has been an incredible journey. He gets more and more clever each day. Sometimes it’s my own mission impossible and I can’t keep up!

Clever boy

So, today is a very special day. My baby grizzlin is no longer ‘baby grizzlin’, he’s ‘boy grizzlin’ turning five. Happy birthday, Grady Joe!

Birthday boy

Lego Ninjago birthday boy

Lemon cake with marshmallow frosting

Tonight, we celebrate with hot dogs (sausages), chicken nuggets and lemon cake with marshmallow frosting!

Also, happy birthday to my Papa Joe, whom I miss very very much. Since they share the same birthday, I made sure they shared the name.

PapaJoeErica

*Martin did get to have the chicken tacos in the end since I was sent back home, but I never did find out what happened at the end of that episode of Mission Impossible… :)

In one of my last ditch attempt to hang on to summer, I decided to add more lemon in my life with the Italian Citron Tart featured in the Two Greedy Italians cookbook. I saw it created on the show earlier in the summer and was intrigued. I love citrus, especially lemon, ricotta, mascarpone, etc… All combined in a tart, I had to give it a go.

Ricotta Cheese

I don’t usually cook or bake with candied peel, but this stuff was the real deal. Huge chunks of lemon, citron and orange candied till translucent.

Citron

I got to put my new hand mixer to the test whisking egg whites. Kenwood Kmix, you are a dream.

Whisking egg white

The tart looks as it should before it hits the oven.

tart before the oven

Hmmm… this looks more like a souffle than a tart. I’m not sure if my oven temp was too high, but I don’t remember the tart looking like this when Antonio Carluccio made it.

souffle or tart

It tasted nice, but the texture was a bit mealy.

slice of tart

We enjoyed it, but as it wasn’t really suitable for freezing, I’m not sure this will stay in regular rotation.

tart

It was a fun challenge and I might give it a go again for a big party or something. But I’ll re-watch the Two Greedy Italians Amalfi episode to see where I may have gone wrong.

Today it has officially felt like Summer has ended. By the calendar we still have 2 weeks, but with the remnants of Hurricane Irene passing through the weather is cold and blustery. I thought a batch of lemon cupcakes would help brighten up the day for mini G upon his return from school.

Lemon Zest

Lemon cake is his favourite, so this will be a nice surprise. I consulted the Primrose Cupcake book and used their Lemon Cupcake recipe with a few minor modifications:

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
225g caster sugar
2 large eggs (mine were fresh from a friend’s chickens)
150g self-raising flour
125g plain flour
90ml semi-skimmed milk
30ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
1tsp (roughly one lemon’s worth) grated lemon zest
1tbsp natural plain yogurt

Preheat oven to 160 ˚C (fan)/180˚C/350˚F/gas mark 4
Line a 12 hole muffin tray with regular size cupcake cases.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well.

In a jug, combine the milk, lemon juice and yogurt. Alternate adding the flours and milk to creamed butter mix as follows – add one-third of the flour and mix well. Add half the milk mixture and mix well. Add another third of flour and mix well. Add the reaminder of the milk and mix well. Finish by adding the last third of flour and the lemon zest and beat well.

If the mixture looks like it is curdling slightly, don’t panic – simply add another spoonful of plain flour and beat well.

New handmixer

Spoon out the mixture evenly between the cases and bake in the oven for 25 minutes. Use a cake skewer in the centre of one the cupcakes to check they are cooked through. They will appear quite a light golden brown colour even when cooked.

Leave in the tin for 10 minutes and the place carefully on a wire rack to cool completely.

Fresh out of the oven

Mini G prefers his cakes plain, so I’ve left the frosting, but these cupcakes go well with either vanilla or lemon buttercream.

Ray of sunshine

Lemon adds a bit of sunshine on a very blustery day.

In my quest to eat healthy and get fit, I have been eating a lot of Total Greek yoghurt for breakfast. One of my favourite things to eat is an adaptation of the recipe for Magical Breakfast Cream from Mireille Guliano’s French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook.  

MBC ingredients

In my recipe, I use Total 0% Greek Yoghurt, fresh lemon juice, honey, ground almond and ground bran flakes.  According to MyFitnessPal it only has 268 calories.   A very healthy breakfast after a morning walk.

Lemon

The lemon is a great morning pick me up.

Honey

The honey sweetens it and adds a bit more luxuriousness.

Bran Flakes

And the bran flakes add crunch. This is one of my favourite breakfasts.

Additionally to mix things up, I’ve enjoyed Total Greek’s 0% Yoghurt with Strawberry with a bowl of Bran Flakes on the side this week.

Total Greek with Strawberries

Total Greek Yoghurt in the morning is a perfect way to start the day.

* I am reviewing Total Greek Yoghurt in a series of posts over the next week. I am not being paid to do so, but have been sent the yoghurt free of charge from Total. These views are my own. *

Part 2 of the Annabel Karmel’s New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner 20th Anniversary edition continues, this time with one of my favorite things to bake – Cupcakes!

Annabel Animal Cupcakes

This cupcake recipe is a bit different to the one I normally use, but it works well for decorating.

Getting ingredients ready

The cake is not too dense and Annabel’s recipe uses lemon zest, which is a nice addition. She recommends 2 tsp, but zest is hard to measure so I would use the zest of one small lemon or ½ of a large lemon.

Batter

Popular with the kids

The cakes come out flat on top, which makes it easy to spread icing sugar glaze and add candied treats to create animal faces.

fresh out of the oven

This style of cupcake decorating is not my forte and was quite a challenge. Getting the icing sugar consistency just so took a while and a lot of extra icing sugar, but I got there in the end.

Pig Cupcakes

Mini G’s favourite was the pig, so that’s what I did. I think he looks one cool cochon.

Happy child

Mini G seems to agree too!

Last Sunday, we celebrated Grandma-in-law’s 91st birthday. It was a pot luck affair and luckily, I was in charge of the cake. I wanted something seasonal. light and fun so I turned to the ladies at Primrose Bakery. Although, it is their ‘Cupcake’ book, there are some cake recipes in the back. The lemon sponge recipe would be a winner.

Lemon

Cake preparation

They suggest using a buttercream frosting, but I thought vanilla whipped cream would be the perfect companion. A light cake called for a light frosting. Plus after all of the other food, I didn’t want the guests leaving feeling heavy from the cake.

Whipped cream filling

Whipped cream, while easy to prepare, is a bit less forgiving when it comes to applying it to the cake. If you attempt your own whipped cream frosting, I suggest making a bit extra to help cover up any mistakes or crumbs that make their way into the mixture.

Lemon cake with whipped cream frosting

I originally wanted to make it sort of a strawberry lemon shortcake cake, but strawberries have just come in to season. I might just try that out mid June when they are at their prime.

Cake ready for transport

It was a winner with everyone from the young to the young at heart.

Cakes for kids

*photo courtesy of David Johnson

Happy 91st birthday, Nan!

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