Thursday, 25 June 2015

Lovely Layered Lemon Cake

Its been a few weeks of no baking, so it was time to come back with a bang! This was a fusion of a Delia lemon cake, but super charged with lashings of lemony cream! It vanished embarrassingly fast between 4 adults! I took mere scraps for my cake fiend friend at work! I have been also told I am most welcome to make again anytime soon...though as it is I've had to borrow a larger sized dress to attend a work summerball shortly, maybe I shouldn't make it quite so soon perhaps!

I followed a lemon cake I found online from Delia initially - though I misread slightly and added all the lemon's juice to the sponge - a happy accident really as I would do exactly the same second time around!  Also I cheated and bought a jar of lemon curd, no less than a classy jar of value lemon curd - it worked perfectly! Weirdly Delia's recipe on her site and the BBC one vary - after much puzzling it seems I used the bbc one! I have written it out to save confusion!

Serves 8:


175g self raising flour
175g soft butter
175g caster sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 lemon, juiced and zested

Line two sandwich pans and grease the sides. (I love cake release!) Pre-heat oven to 180o

Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar into a mixing bowl of a mixer (or use electric hand whisk), add the butter, lemon juice and zest, then the eggs, then beat until creamy, and light.

Spoon even amounts into prepared trays and bake for 30-35 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through. Cool for 5 minutes in the tin then transfer to a cooling rack until cold.

Slice both cakes horizontally (don't worry, icing holds a multitude of sins!)

Spread three of the layers with a generous lashing of lemon curd.


300ml whipping cream
1/3 jar lemon curd

Whip the cream till starting to thicken, then beat in 3 heaped tbsp lemon curd until thickened and stands in fairly firm peaks. 

Spread over a third of the prepared lemon cream mixture for the three prepared layers, topping with the final sponge. 

Lastly make up the glace with:

4 heaped tbsp sifted icing sugar
one lemon, juiced and zested
Sprinkles optional of choice - I used these super cute mini lemon meringues!

Sift the icing sugar into  a bowl, stir in enough lemon juice to form a smooth consistency. Spoon over the top of the sponge, scatter over the zest and decorate as desired.

Allow to set before slicing.

Trust me - you want to bake this cake - you will win friends! Though this is bad as it also means you don't get to eat as much of it...! Its so light, and lemony, and oh oh oh, and can I really fit one more slice in?

Monday, 22 June 2015

Meal Planning Monday

Where did this week go?! After a few up and down weeks last week we stuck pretty much on plan with only minor changes - Wednesday's Chinese took place on Thursday instead, as we went to see the new Jurassic World movie - so dinner mostly involved twiglets and iced fanta! Very healthy!! Fortunately the rest of our meals, well apart from the Chinese were all very lean and less sinful! A new dish for us was Nigella's Meatzza - it reminded me a little of meatloaf, in effect its seasoned beef, topped with mozzarella and tomato - it was tasty and super easy to make!

Finally a bit of fog has lifted and I feel like cooking, and eating again! The new probiotics seem to be worth their hype and price tag, and I am enjoying being back in the kitchen scheming up the next meal! We also made Kedgeree for the first time on Saturday morning using a Jamie Oliver recipe - it was delicious! I used more eggs as we were a little short on the fish part, plus we were all egg fiends so 2 between 3 of us was not an option!! Delicious!

This week is a little flexible - my boyfriend has started a new job and doing battle with the M3 all this week so its all things that can keep warm without going icky! Tonights quorn melts look quite tasty, I bought them yellow stickered, so crossed fingers they taste good too!

Quorn melts, courgettes, potato waffles
Tuna pasta bake, broccoli and peas
Chicken fajitas, red rice
Ham and cabbage melt
Curry n Rice

What are you all having this week? Anything new or interesting?

Monday, 15 June 2015

Monday Meal Plan

I'm back! Well sort of, mentally at least and that's a start! The last few months to be honest have been hideous with family, friend and work woes weighing us down, finally we can see the wood for the trees and I am starting to get my appetite back! My IBS has been rearing its stressy head too but I am hoping to tame it with a new course of pre and pro-biotics I spent a small fortune on recently! Lets hope it works!

We sat down and did the meal plan last night - lets see if we can still to it this week!! Last weeks plans all ended up changing to work circumstances but at least it was a try! What are you planning this week? Anything new or an old favourite perhaps?

Meal Plan:

Tuna, avocado and cheesy melts with sesame, honey and soy roasted broccoli:

Nigella's Meatzza with roasted courgettes and new potatoes

Chinese OR pasta bake

Venison burgers with potato wedges and peas

Chicken wraps

Monday, 8 June 2015

Monday Meal Plan

Sorry I have been awol... I was away on holiday then picked up some bug that left me not wanting to eat anything yet alone think about it! Very unlike me! Fortunately my appetite is starting to pick up again and white the meal plan is not finalised but I was determined to create something as we have been so disorganised! 

Monday - jambalaya with chorizo or salami in taco bowls (Though it became a spinach tortellini salami surprise as the chorizo was furry!)

Tuesday - pork in mustard sauce and new potatoes (forgot the cream, did pork katsu curry and rice!

Wednesday - sweet chilli salmon, peas and udon noodles

Thursday - possibly at a friends.. Or pizza! 

Friday - chicken curry n rice

I hope to bring you some recipes soon! My phone is also away for repair so I can't Instagram anything I feel so lost! The photo below was our Friday night dinner - huge pork chops stuffed with cheese then panko breadcrumbed and then briefly fried before transferred to the oven to cook through - delicious!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Sweet Potato Brownies

Yes, I did cross the naughty but nice brownie border and introduced them to vegetables. Surprisingly they made great buddies, resulting in that slightly gooey, soft yet dense brownie feeling but with a surprisingly stingy amount of chocolate! Therefore I can pretend they are very slightly healthier than your regular brownies... oh and for the record, no they do not taste like vegetable matter! I also used some extra virgin coconut oil, which really also you can pretend is a full blown health food in its own right... (I will leave you to draw your own conclusions, I have never pretended to be a nutrition expert!)

On the night I baked these brownies I hadn't actually intended to bake but halfway through grating what seemed like a never ending sized monster sweet potato to make our veggie burgers, I thought hmmm...lets bake something... there are after all only so many sweet potato burgers one can eat for dinner! I had baked once before with sweet potato, with not so great results but this time was a winner! Now I won't lie you must enjoy the flavour of coconut as due to the coconut oil it does give off the aroma - but if you enjoy that, then you will love these brownies!!

Next time I think I will try steaming and then mashing the sweet potato, as to be honest grating is my least favourite kitchen chore! Let me know if you try it the mashed way!

Makes one square pan:


220g sweet potato, grated
2 large eggs
130g coconut oil
150g self-raising wholemeal flour
100g light brown sugar
30g cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g dark chocolate
25g white chocolate chunks
100g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp coconut nectar
1/2 tsp sea salt


1) Place the grated sweet potato in a bowl, cover with cling film and steam in the microwave for  minutes.

2) In a saucepan melt the coconut oil and sugars, and simmer on a medium heat for 5 minutes, then add the coconut nectar - it should sizzle a little add the dark chocolate and put to one side, stirring until melted. Pre-heat oven to 180o. 

3) In a bowl sift the flour, salt and cocoa together. Lightly beat the vanilla with eggs, and mix gently into the flour mix. Fold in the sweet potato, then the prepared chocolate sugar mix until just combined.

4) Line the pan with parchment paper, pour in the brownie batter and scatter over the white chocolate chunks.

5) Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes or so, or until cooked but still slightly springy to touch and a skewer comes out relatively clean.

Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before lifting onto a wire rack.

Cuts into 8 or so pieces depending on appetite!

My boyfriend gave them 10/10 and that was before he knew there was sweet potato in them!

As my brownies used a sneaky vegetable in the form of sweet potato I have sent them over to this months Fuss Free Flavours and Utterly Scrummy's Extra Veg linky, held at Veggie Desserts this month:

If you fancy some extra veg check out these fabulous recipes from some great bloggers:

Butternut Squash & Spelt Cake from Fab Food 4 All
Carrot Cake Muffins and Apple & Custard Lasagne from Foodie Quine
Sweet Potato and Ginger Cookies from Rough Measures
Courgette Muffins from Recipes from a Pantry

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Rhubarb, Ginger and Star Anise Jam

As with most of my jams, this particular beast was made on an unplanned whim, after finding a packet of gloriously pink Yorkshire rhubarb reduced to a pound, then being super busy over the weekend it kinda got forgotten… and then I picked up 4 bramley apples a few days later for a mere 25p I just knew it had to be jam time! My previous batch of Rhubarb jam, involving ginger was really quite delicious and well received but I fancied a twist this time and a few weeks ago I bought, also on a fairly random whim a bag of Star Anise, which are gorgeously scented dark little star like spices, think Chinese 5 spice, then as the name suggests, Aniseed but not quite into liquorice territory.

Its a fairly thick jam - possibly a little too thick in after thought but that is some of my inexperience of using preserving sugar! I am still ploughing through some of the 4kg I bought of it last year reduced to clear!

Makes 3 medium sized jars
Special Equipment - preferably a jam thermometer


560g preserving sugar
300g diced rhubarb
One large bramley apple
2 balls stem ginger
2 star anise

Peel and dice the apple into small chunks. Dice the rhubarb into 1 cm chunks. Finely chop the ginger.

Place everything in a large, heavy based saucepan, cover and bring to a gentle boil, then simmer for 30 minutes or until it reaches a temperature of 105o, stirring occasionally.

Remove from the heat, dig out the star anise and blend too make a smoother jam, if required.

Pour into sterilised jars and seal. I use wax paper discs but its honestly not the end of the world if you don't have any. Keep refrigerated on opening.

Overall it was a mixed result - me and the boyfriend really liked the flavour, though the star anise was confusing to my dad and not for him, though that in itself was a bonus as it made me feel less guilty as I didn't have a jar to spare for him, as one was promised to my boss (returned in her jar which had her marmalade in to me last time) and as you will notice on one of the jars - its already promised to my auntie!

Just in the nick of time I am sending my jam into The Great British Rhubarb Round-Up from Farmersgirl Kitchen and Lavender & Lovage:

01 09 10