Monday, 26 July 2010

︘ things that make you go mMm

a raid on my friend Nicola's allotment gave me some
gorgeous stems of rhubarb:
not so pink but smelling yum:
as there wasn't a huge amount I decided to make
a pot of jam:
now don't be scared:
it's easypeasy!

rhubarb, ginger & lemon jam

you will need:
equal amounts of trimmed rhubarb weight 
and jam sugar
*you need jam sugar as rhubarb is low in pectin,
the science bit that makes your jam set*
yes yes it looks like far too much sugar
but this is jam remember?!
a thumb of ginger ~ finely grated
one or two lemons ~ zest finely grated
*ginger and lemon to your taste

firstly sterilise your jars by cleaning them
thoroughly with hot soapy water:
rinse well then pour over boiling water and
put into a low oven to keep warm:
yes the lids too!

wash and dry your rhubarb then cut into 2cm pieces:
pile into a saucepan and add the sugar:
heat very gently and stir stir:
yep it looks dry and you think it's going to burn 
but stir and watch:
the rhubarb will release it's juices and the
sugar will start to melt:
now put two small plates into the freezer:
you will need these later:
when your jam starts to look more jam like ~
turn up the heat and let it roll and bubble for about 6 minutes:
keep stirring occasionally:
the rhubarb should be tender but still have shape:

add the ginger and lemon zest:
stir stir:

now take one of your plates from the freezer 
and drop a little of your jam onto it:
let it cool slightly then push with your finger to see if it's set 
enough for your liking:
if it isn't, then roll and bubble for a bit longer:
get your other plate and test again:

turn off the heat and add a small knob of butter:
this will take care of any bubbly bits on the top of your jam:
leave to cool slightly:
now pour into the warm jars:
some people like to put a waxed disc on the top, 
but as I only make small batches I don't bother:
ready to eat as soon as it's set:
summer in a jar:

Friday, 16 July 2010

※summer flavours

the brilliant thing about Summer = herbs:
there's nothing better than
being able to pop outside to pick some leaves 
to add to your dish:
I ❤ thyme as much as the bees do:
and this Nigel Slater recipe uses two of the
best Summer flavours:

thyme and lemon cake

you will need :
200g softened butter
200g caster sugar
100g plain flour
100g ground almonds
{if you have nut allergy then omit almonds and use 200g flour}
½ teaspoon baking powder
4 eggs
1 lemon ~ zest
1 teaspoon thyme leaves

for the top:
4 tablespoons caster sugar
2 lemons ~ juice
½ teaspoon thyme leaves

set your oven to 160°c/ gas 3:
line and grease a loaf tin:
cream together the sugar and butter until light and fluffy:
lightly beat the eggs and add to the mixture little by little:
{we put a smiley face on the eggs that need using up first}
grate the lemon zest into a bowl and add the thyme leaves:
pound together to release the flavours then add to the mix:
now sift in the flour and baking powder:
add the ground almonds and stir through:
pile into your tin and bake for
45 minutes or until a skewer comes out cleanly:

meanwhile ....
mix the sugar, lemon juice and thyme leaves together:
when your cake is ready and still hot 
pierce all over with a skewer and
drizzle on the sugar+lemon+thyme syrup:
leave to cool:

Monday, 5 July 2010

☼ summertime

when the sun is shining, there's nothing better than 
a light cake with a cup of lady grey tea:
my creative friend Jenny sent me this tasty recipe:
 I have swapped her vanilla for lemon:
and she is right ~ never fails and is always supermoist!
thanks for sharing Jenny:
hope you don't mind my tweak:

coco-lemon cake

you will need ....
170g self raising flour ~ sieved from way up high:
1 rounded teaspoon baking powder:
170g caster sugar:
170g softened butter:
30g desiccated coconut:
3 eggs:
the grated zest of a lemon:
{or half teaspoon of vanilla for Jens original recipe}
100ml milk:
preheat your oven to 170°c/ gas 3:
grease and line the bottom of two round cake tins:
put all the ingredients into a big bowl and whisk on full
power {or maximum elbow}
until well combined and the mixture
drops off the spoon easily:
divide between the two tins:
bake for 30 ~ 35 minutes, until brown and springy:
cool in the tins for a few minutes before turning out 
to cool on a rack:

meanwhile toast a few teaspoons of coconut
either in a dry frying pan or under the grill:
watch it though as it burns really easily:

coconut buttercream

you will need ....
100g icing sugar ~ sifted:
60g softened butter:
1 teaspoon desiccated coconut:
a spritz of lemon juice:
{or a drop of vanilla essence}

mix together well with a spoon:

now spread some raspberry or strawberry jam on one of your cakes:
then sandwich them together:
cover the top with the coconut buttercream:
sprinkle with toasted coconut: