Citrus Almond Cake (8)

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This is a cake full of surprises. It has no frosting or filling and looks rather understated except for the sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar over the top. But it is moist as can be and oozes with citrus flavor due to the orange, lemon, lime syrup which as been slowly poured over it. It can be served as a dessert but a slice would be wonderful for afternoon tea. Can be served warm or cold.

Tip – because top of cake is moist the confectioner’s sugar should be sprinkled over at last minute

Syrup
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
Juice of 1 lime, 1 lemon (Mayer type, if possible) and 1 orange

Bring water and sugar mixture to a boil.
Add juice.
Boil, stirring frequently, for around 15 minutes to reduce until it is slightly syrupy (it will not go thickly syrupy)

Cake
Canola oil for greasing a 9 inch cake tin and circle of parchment paper used to line the bottom of the cake tin.
4 x eggs – separated
Zest of 1 lime, 1 lemon (Mayer type, if possible) and 1 orange
1/2 cup of sugar – split into 2 x 1/4 cups as it is used for 2 different purposes
1 1/2 cups ground almonds
1 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt

Mix egg yolks, 1/4 cup of sugar and zest together in a food processor.
Add ground almonds, baking powder and salt to egg mixture.
Beat egg whites until stiff, then add 1/4 cup of sugar a little at a time.
Fold egg whites mixture into ground almond mixture a spoonful at a time.
Put mixture into cake tin and cook at 350 degrees for 35 minutes (check cake at 15 minutes and cover loosely with aluminum foil if it is going too brown).
Turn cake out onto a rack to cool a little bit.
When still warm place cake on a flat plate, prick all over with a fork to make holes for the syrup to enter the cake, then spoon the syrup over the cake until it is saturated taking care to moisten the sides too. Serve any leftover syrup as a sauce.

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Poached Chicken and Zucchini Parcels (2)

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Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

I my use spiraliser to make the zucchini into spaghetti-like spirals but am noticing that they are appearing in more and more supermarkets. The chicken breast is cut into think slices or even small chunks and placed on a sheet of aluminum foil and topped with the zucchini and the lemony sauce then steamed in the oven.

1 chicken breast – sliced

8 oz zucchini – spiralised

Place a piece of aluminum in an ovenproof dish, top with the chicken and zucchini and pour the sauce over (see below). Close the foil so you have a parcel. Place in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes.

Lemony Sauce

1 clove garlic – grated

1 tbsp. parsley – finely chopped

2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice

Zest of 1/4 of a lemon

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place all ingredients in a small bowl in the order they are listed above and whisk together then pour over the chicken and zucchini.

Lemon Curd and Raspberry Pavlova with Raspberry Puree (6 – 8)

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Divine is how one person described this dessert! I created this after mentioning to a friend that I had made a pavlova filled with whipped cream and covered in mixed berries for guests but that I hadn’t been able to eat it. She suggested substituting lemon curd for the cream and an idea began to form – lemon and raspberries go well together so how about topping the lemon curd with fresh raspberries? And then, the final piece of the puzzle, how about drizzling raspberry puree over the top?

Before starting to cook place a dinner plate on parchment paper and draw a circle around the plate and then cut out the circle. Oil a cookie sheet, place parchment circle on top and brush with oil to prevent sticking.

Place a packet of frozen raspberries to thaw in a bowl of tepid water.

Meringues are easy enough to make. The cooking process is around 2 hours (1 hour cooking on a low heat of 160 degrees fahrenheit and 1 hour still in the oven but with the heat turned off) and should not be rushed but once the meringue is in the oven you can make the lemon curd as, once made, it needs to cool and then spend an hour in the fridge.

Normally lemon curd is made with butter but I have come across a vegan butter – Earth Balance brand – and this butter has opened up all sorts of new possibilities for recipes and from reading the label it seems healthy enough too. If you want a less tart lemon curd use Meyer lemons.

MERINGUE

Pre-heat oven to 300 degrees F

4 egg whites (save 3 egg yolks for lemon curd recipe)

8 oz caster sugar

1 tsp. vanilla essence

1 tsp. white vinegar

1 tsp. cornstarch

Whisk egg whites until stiff (a good test to see if they are stiff enough is to turn the bowl over in the air and they should not fall out!).

Add the sugar a little at a time and then add the next 3 ingredients one after the other.

Spoon meringue mixture onto parchment paper, then shape it with your fingers until the edges of the circle are higher than the middle (like a pie shape).

Place in the pre-heated oven for an hour, then turn off the oven and leave meringue in there for another hour.

LEMON CURD

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup caster sugar

Juice of 2 large lemons

2 tsp. lemon zest

3 oz vegan butter – cut into small pieces

Whisk the egg yolks before adding the lemon juice and zest, then place in a pan over low to medium heat (you do not want scrambled eggs!).

Add the butter bit by bit, stirring all the time. You will notice the mixture gradually thickening and you want it to get to the point where you can see the trace of where the spoon has been and at the same time you will see that the mixture is just beginning to form little bubbles. At this point remove the pan from the heat and pour lemon curd into a glass bowl set over a bowl of iced water so the curd doesn’t continue cooking. When cool, place in the fridge for an hour or so to thicken some more.

RASPBERRIES AND RASPBERRY PUREE

1 punnet of raspberries

1 x 10 oz bag of frozen raspberries

1 – 2 tsp. confectioner’s sugar, if needed

Once the lemon curd is spooned into the meringue, sprinkle fresh raspberries over the curd then drizzle with the raspberry puree. This can be done an hour ahead of serving.

Place the thawed raspberries in a sieve and drain. Then put a bowl under the sieve and  stir with a spoon until only raspberry seeds are left in the sieve and the puree is on the bowl.

Taste the puree and if needed add confectioner’s sugar

Drizzle puree over the dessert.

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Tomato and Avocado Salad with Lemon Basil Vinaigrette (4)

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Growing up in England in the 60’s and 70’s the idea of a salad was a far cry from the salads of of today. The English salad was a handy dish because it was cold. It was sometimes served on Sunday evenings after the woman of the house had slaved over preparing Sunday lunch for the family often when the man of the house decided a few pints at the local pub was in order and he returned home only in time to take his place at the head of the table and demonstrate his carving skills. On Sunday evening a no-fuss meal of salad might be provided and of course it was a good way of using up the cold, left-over meat from lunch. A salad could also be left for the man of the house to eat if his wife had to be out in the evening. Said man didn’t have to heat  anything up as he was left a plate with some lettuce and slices of tomato, hard-boiled egg, cucumber and beetroot from a jar and a couple of slices of cold meat. The dressing was Heinz Salad Cream – still to be found today and, indeed, when there was talk of this product being discontinued a nostalgic furore ensued – today Heinz is still making Salad Cream!

When I came across mention of this vinaigrette the combination of flavors instantly appealed and the dressing didn’t let me down when I tossed tomato slices and chunks of avocado in it.

2 x beef tomatoes – sliced and each slice cut into quarters

1 x avocado – diced

For the dressing:

3 tbsp. olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

Juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon

1 largish garlic clove – grated

1 tbsp. of chopped basil

Place the dressing ingredients in a largish bowl and whisk together so that they emulsify.

Add tomatoes and avocado and toss well together.

 

Citrus Honey Chicken (4)

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Chicken often needs a sauce or herbs or a good gravy to make it less bland and because I poached the chicken in the citrus juices it was also very moist. At the end of cooking some of the juices were added to a honey and soy sauce mixture and then poured over the chicken.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2 chicken breasts

1 tbsp. olive oil

Juice of 1 orange

Juice of half a lemon

Juice of half a lime

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. gluten free soy sauce

1 tbsp. honey

Tear off a piece of aluminum foil big enough to wrap the chicken breasts in and put it in a roasting pan. Place chicken breasts on top and pour over the oil followed by the various juices then season well. Wrap the chicken breasts well in the foil ensuring that none of the juice escapes.

Cook for 45 minutes, basting every 15 minutes.

When cooked remove the chicken, cut into slices and place on a warm plate.

For the sauce mix the honey and soy sauce together then add 2 tbsp. of the citrus juice that the chicken was cooked in.

 

Lemon Marinade for Chicken (serves 4)

Lemon Marinade for Chicken (Serves 4)

Being a Brit having people over for a BBQ is a bit hit and miss (and therefore marinating meat/veg). We recently spent a weekend with friends and the chicken was marinated in a lemon garlic sauce. I came home and re-created it and it was SO delicious and so simple – only involving a Ziploc bag and a couple of ingredients. I marinated the chicken for 4 hours but longer may be even tastier.

I used 2 chicken breasts which, when cooked I sliced over a Mexican Salad (see next recipe) and this is why I say it served 4.

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 3 mayer lemons
Zest of 1 mayer lemon
salt and freshly ground lemon
4 cloves of garlic – roughly chopped

Place all ingredients in a food processor and blend until emulsified.
Place chicken breasts in a Ziploc bag and add olive oil/lemon mixture and give the bag a shake periodically.
After 4 hours or more, take chicken breasts out of bag and grill in oven/on BBQ, etc.
Make sure to discard marinade as it has had raw chicken in it.