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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Brussels Sprouts with Leeks and a Hint of Ginger and Citrus (4)

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Vegetables are so versatile. Why just have sprouts on their own when they can be teamed with leeks and ginger, for instance?. The sprouts are pan fried with the ginger then leeks, lime juice, lime zest, a few drops of yuzu and vegetable broth are added.

Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit with an intense flavor, so only a few drops are needed. It can be used in sweet and savory dishes and also salad dressings. It is becoming more popular on menus. I buy my yuzu juice online as I haven’t found it locally.

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp. ginger – peeled and grated

1 pound of Brussels sprouts – halved or quartered depending on size of sprout

3 medium size leeks – use only the whiteish parts, wash thoroughly and slice thinly

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Zest of 1/2 a lime

A few drops of Yuzu juice

2 tbsp. vegetable broth

Place the seasoned olive oil in a skillet and when oil is sizzling add the ginger, turn the heat down and cook for a minute or so until you can smell the ginger.

Add sprouts and cook until they are nicely browned. This will take 10 minutes or so. Turning them over frequently.

Add leeks, lime zest, lime juice, yuzu juice and vegetable broth and cook until leeks are softish – 3 to 5 minutes.

Lentils and Beans with Lime and Cilantro (4)

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Pulses in all guises are some of my most favorite foods and the bonus is that they are good for you. This really is so quick to make and would be perfect to take to work for lunch. I served it alongside chicken (poached in lemon juice and olive oil) but it stands alone too for a satisfying vegan/vegetarian dish.

1 can of lentils (approx. 15 oz.) – drained and rinsed

1 can of cannellini beans (approx. 15 oz.) – drained and rinsed

1 heaped tbsp. cilantro – finely chopped

Juice of half a lime

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Lime Garlic Shrimp

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A treat of a dish as wild caught, domestic, raw, peeled and de-veined shrimp are costly.  I avoid eating farmed shrimp regardless of where they are farmed but especially if they are farmed in parts of Asia as the liberal use of medications and chemicals is extremely off-putting. A pound of shrimp will yield some 20 individual shrimp and I served them cold as an hors d’oeuvres on a cocktail stick lightly sprinkled with cayenne pepper.

1 pound of shrimp – as described above

Juice and pulp of 1 lime

Zest of half a lime – finely grated

2 large cloves of garlic – finely grated

2 tbsp. olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Place shrimp in a bowl

Whisk together juice and pulp of lime, lime zest,grated garlic, olive oil and salt and pepper until emulsified.

Pour over shrimp and stir so all the shrimp are covered in the lime mixture.

Leave to marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat a skillet on the stove top and when hot add the shrimp and liquid and cook until shrimp are firm and pinkish – about 5 – 10 minutes.

Set aside and leave to cool, then drain in a sieve and wipe dry with paper towel.

Sprinkle lightly with cayenne pepper.

 

Lime, Cilantro and Avocado Rice (4)

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Rice with lime and cilantro is a nice dish that goes really well with chicken and fish, especially if they are blackened. Adding in mashed avocado makes all the difference.

1 cup brown rice

1 3/4 cups boiling water

Zest of 1/2 lime

Juice of 1 lime

2 tbsp. chopped cilantro

2 ripe avocados- mashed

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place rice in a pan and pour over boiling water. Bring to boil them simmer for 30 minutes.

Rinse rice in a sieve and let cool.

Place rice in a serving dish and add lime zest and juice, cilantro and mashed avocado.

Season with salt and pepper.

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.

 

Jo’s Pad Thai (serves 4)

Jo’s Pad Thai (serves 4)

My Pad Thai may not be truly authentic but it tastes good. Chopping takes a little time and would be a great thing to do with another person – husband, son or daughter or a friend (I often cook with a friend of mine when she makes dinner). The added ingredient here is my newly discovered Tamarind Paste – Neera’s Tamarind Paste, found in Whole Foods; a different brand can be found in Waitrose in the UK. I used a gluten-free soy sauce, but it does contain soy, so may not be appropriate for some of you. On top of that I added fish sauce, lime juice, ginger and extra virgin olive oil. I purposely only used one chicken breast as am trying to reduce the amount of meat we eat and increase the veg. Ideal pan is a skillet with a glass lid. Cooking time is around 15 minutes.

A 1 inch piece of ginger – peeled and finely grated

1 tbsp. fish sauce

1 tbsp. gluten-free soy sauce

1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tsp. tamarind paste (not concentrate) – dissolved in 1 tbsp. of hot water

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

Place all of the above in a bowl and mix together.

1/2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 large bunch of scallions/spring onions – finely sliced

2 large garlic cloves – finely chopped

1 chicken breast – finely sliced and cut into small pieces (so they cook quickly)

1/2 a red pepper – cut into fine strips

1 large carrot – cut into matchsticks

4 oz. thin French green beans – cut in two

4 good size broccoli florets – cut into smaller florets

4 oz. baby bella mushrooms – sliced

Heat oil in skillet and when sizzling add scallions/spring onions and garlic and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add chicken and sear.

Add all veg. and pour over the sauce.

Cook for 10 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked through.