A late leisurely breakfast or brunch is such a treat at the weekend. In fact, brunch has become my favourite meal. It seems I’m not the only one. It’s been rising in popularity over the last few years and is now said to be the nation’s best loved repast. This recipe for Mexican Huevos Rancheros with smashed avocado is a great brunch standby. It’s simple to make, pushes the boat out a little and kicks ass.
It really is too hot to think about food at the moment. I know we’ve not had much of a summer yet, but I don’t take too well to the heat; now it’s arrived all I want to do is lie in a hammock under a shady tree and drink iced tea – peach and rhubarb iced tea to be exact.
It’s always useful to have some simple but delicious and portable food up one’s sleeve for this time of year. Our British summers can be quite changeable and embarking on a picnic or al fresco dining is often a last minute affair. Higgidy quiches are ideal for these occasions, as is this orange ginger carrot salad, which fits the bill perfectly. Scroll down to the bottom of the post for the recipe.
When I was challenged by Iceland to make a two course meal for under £10, I went one better and created a three course offering instead. Broccoli cauliflower cheese was the main event. This was served with sweet potato fries for colour, contrast and carbs. We started with colourful corn on the cob smothered with zesty chilli lime butter and we finished with a very indulgent chocolate ice-cream. National Vegetarian Week seems like a very good time to showcase it.
The courgettes, otherwise known as zucchini, continue to flourish in the way only courgettes know how to. Having enjoyed the spiced courgette fritters I made recently and with plenty more courgettes developing, I couldn’t resist this chickpea pancake version when I spotted it in the February 2005 issue of Delicious.
As soon as I saw the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, I knew immediately I wanted to make this Pistachio & Lime Cake for my friend’s upcoming birthday. This is one of Lynn Hill’s own and it is the one that graces the front cover of the book.
A while back, I won a book voucher from the wonderful Dom over at Belleau Kitchen. It took me a while to make a decision, but I finally bought a copy of Delia’s Cakes; it’s a rather sober choice for me, but I’ve never really had any dealings with Delia, so I thought I’d give her book a try. It’s very nicely laid out with cool pastel colours (also not my usual style) and clear, rather plain photographs. She also gives instructions as to which part of the oven to place the bakes in. This is an essential but often overlooked part of baking, but rarely do recipe books mention it – big bonus point. There are lots of recipes I’m keen to try but I started out with one fairly standard recipe and one that was a little more unusual, both were citrus recipes and as I still have several limes to use up I did a citrussy swap.
The Cow Lady and Gingham Chicken were hosting a cake and coffee morning for Red Nose Day at their shop Jelly Pebbles. I was unable to attend (chocolate course!), but did manage to get a cake baked for the occasion. Lemon drizzle always seems to go down well and I thought Delia was bound to have a recipe for this classic which I wanted to convert into a lime drizzle. She did and so I did.
A couple of friends were acting in an am-dram production of Calendar Girls so I thought a box of biscuits would be a nice post performance pick-me-up. Again I turned to my new book and spotted a recipe for chocolate orange biscuits that Delia seemed quite keen on. With all my recent chocolate and lime experience (chocolate key lime pie, ginger and lime cake, lime and coconut loaf) I couldn’t see why the combination wouldn’t work in biscuit form.
This is how I made:
Chocolate Lime Biscuits
- Creamed 125g unsalted butter and 175g caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Grated in the zest of three limes and creamed some more.
- Sifted in 225g flour (half wholemeal and half white) and 2 level tsp baking powder. Stirred it in as best I could
- Squeezed in the juice of half a lime (about 1 tbsp) and stirred.
- Mixed in 75g chopped 70% dark chocolate.
- Brought the mixture together with my hands and rolled out on a floured surface to about 1 cm in thickness.
- Cut out heart shapes. Re-rolled the trimmings and repeated the process creating about 30 biscuits in total.
- Baked on a lined baking sheet, one batch at a time at 180C.
- The first batch I set for 15 minutes (Delia quoted 20). Sadly they came out looking somewhat scorched, so the 2nd batch I set for ten minutes.
- Removed onto a wire rack and dusted the tops with caster sugar.
Happy St Patrick’s Day to all Irish readers.
With so many limes in need of using up, a key lime pie was definitely going to be on the menu. As a key lime pie newbie it was just a question of whose recipe I was going to use. New to key lime pie? Yes, really. I don’t know how I’ve managed it, but in all my years of cooking I have not only never made one, but I’ve never eaten one either. There was a recipe in my new book Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen which I was keen to try; there was a fabulous sounding one in Tea with Bea using 13 limes; I had a cheesecake version from Eric Lanlard in Home Bake and two versions from Nigella in How to Be a Domestic Goddess. Not one of them had a chocolate version – well really! With all my limes, it would have been a good opportunity to make Bea’s version, but in the end the Forever Nigella challenge won me over and it was one of Nigella’s recipes I adapted.
This is how I made:
Chocolate Key Lime Pie and Chocolate Key Lime Tarts
- Melted 50g unsalted butter and 100g 70% dark chocolate (Green & Blacks) in a small pan over low heat.
- Whizzed 300g digestive biscuits in the food processor until they were fine crumbs.
- Added the chocolate mixture and whizzed some more until all incorporated.
- Pressed the mixture into the bottom of a 22 cm ” flan mould and into four 9 cm tartlet cases.
- Left in my cold kitchen to set for an hour or so.
- Whisked 300 ml double cream with electric beaters until thickened.
- Grated in the zest of 4 well scrubbed limes and beat a bit more.
- Added a 397 ml tin of condensed milk and beat a little more.
- Added the juice of the 4 limes and beat for about a minute until the mixture was thick and formed firm peaks.
- Spooned onto the biscuit base and decorated with strips of lime zest and dark chocolate shavings.
The theme for Forever Nigella this month is Nostalgic Nigella. Well, I may have never made or eaten a key lime pie before, but I have heard about these American beauties for many years. Having spent my first year of life in New York, they somehow make me feel nostalgic for the American childhood I never had, I bet key lime pie would have been a staple in our brownstone apartment. Hosted this month by the The Botanical Baker, it’s home is with Maison Cupcake.
To celebrate the publication of the Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook, this month’s Cornwall CCC meeting was held on the launch date itself, February 14th, at Waterstones in Truro. The theme for this month’s bake was, rather aptly, books. Visions of elaborate book shaped cakes sent me into an immediate panic when first hearing this, but then sense prevailed and a simple solution occurred to me: I would bake one of the recipes from the CCC cookbook. As I had an abundance of limes to use and needed ginger for this month’s We Should Cocoa, I chose Dark ‘n’ Stormy Cake by Rob Martin from the Leeds CCC. There was one problem, it contained no chocolate – but when did that ever stop me? The sponge was a genoise, flavoured with ginger. It reminded me of the Lime and White Chocolate Genoise that I made a couple of years ago, based on Lorraine Pascale’s Mojito Genoise from Baking Made Easy. I decided to make the sponge according to Rob’s instructions, but substituted a lime syrup rather than his rum one and replaced the lime cream cheese frosting with whipped chocolate ganache. I then drizzled home made lime and ginger curd over the top.
This is how I made:
Ginger and Lime Cake with Whipped Chocolate Ganache and Lime Curd
- Melted 90g unsalted butter in a pan over low heat and left to cool a little.
- Chopped 100g crystallised ginger finely.
- Whisked 6 duck eggs with 180g golden caster sugar using electric beaters on high speed for a good ten minutes until the mixture was thick, pale and had tripled in volume.
- Sifted in 180g plain flour, 1 tsp baking powder and 1 tsp ground ginger.
- Folded this in as gently as possible.
- Poured the butter in down one side of the bowl and folded this in as gently as possible.
- Gently stirred in the crystallised ginger.
- Divided the mixture between two 8″ cake moulds and baked at 180C for 23 minutes when the cakes were firm on top and skewer inserted in the middle came out clean.
- Grated the rind of two well scrubbed limes into a small pan, followed by the juice.
- Added 75g golden caster sugar and stirred over a low heat until the sugar had dissolved.
- Poured the syrup over the cakes as soon as they were out of the oven, then left in their moulds to cool.
- Made a pot of ginger tea by cutting a 1″ piece of root ginger into slithers and pouring boiling water over the top. Left to steep for a good 15 minutes.
- Melted 100g Cornish dark chocolate (55%) in a bowl over hot water with 50ml of ginger tea.
- Heated 200ml double cream until just about boiling.
- Added the cream, a third at a time to the chocolate stirring hard after each addition until all was incorporated and smooth.
- Placed in the fridge for three hours.
- Whisked with electric beaters on slow speed until soft peaks formed.
- Turned the cakes out of their moulds.
- Spread about a third of the mixture on the bottom of one of the cakes, then placed the bottom half of the other on top.
- Covered the top and sides of the cake with the remaining ganache.
- Drizzled 3 or 4 tablespoonfuls of lime and ginger curd over the top in a criss cross pattern.
|As if by magic the book opened at my recipe 😉|
Both cake makers and passing Waterstones customers partook of the delights on offer and many a smile was generated. Some strong willed individuals, looked but didn’t try – it was Lent, after all. It was also Valentine’s Day, so just right to spread some cakey-bakey love around. Literary allusions were much more obvious in some of the other cakes as you can see from the following photos.
|Cake Expectations by our warm hearted organiser Ellie Michell|
|Ceci C’est Un Gateau by Jilly Ballantyne|
|Chocolate & Beetroot Cake inspired by Chocolat by Sally & Emma|
|Pistachio Cake by Emily Scott – the best pistachio cake I’ve ever eaten.|
|Chocolate Cobweb Cake by Emma Skilton|
|Buttermilk Chocolate Cake by Sarah Milligan – her own recipe from the CCC Cookbook|
Having received a basket of Brazilian limes back along, I needed to start using them. This really wasn’t an issue as I do have a particular penchant for limes. One of the first things I made was based on the recipe for Lime and Coconut Cake from one of my favourite baking books, Cakes by Pam Corbin. Coconut and lime are a natural pairing and I think the flavours work to remind us over here in dear old Blighty that there is a tropical paradise somewhere. Adding a note of cardamom just seemed like a good idea at the time, although I was debating using ginger instead. Of course I had to get a little white chocolate in and I did. Pam’s recipe is a gluten free one, but as I didn’t need to do that, I went for low gluten rather than no gluten.
This is how I made:
Lime, Coconut and Cardamom Loaf Cake
- Creamed 175g unsalted butter (left on the heater for half an hour to soften) with 175g cardamom (caster) sugar until pale and airy.
- Grated in the zest of three well scrubbed limes and creamed some more.
- Beat in 3 duck eggs, one by one.
- Sifted in 125g flour (75g wholemeal spelt, 25g coconut flour, 25g white) with 1 tsp baking powder.
- Stirred this into the mixture as gently as possible.
- Added 50g desiccated coconut and mixed gently again.
- Added 50g chopped white chocolate.
- Spooned into a 2 lb loaf mould (which I put inside a loaf tin to stop it bowing out) and baked at 180C for 45 minutes.
- Whilst cake was cooking, juiced the 3 limes and added 60g cardamom sugar. Left to dissolve, stirring occasionally.
- As soon as the cake was out of the oven, spooned the lime juice over the cake, then left in the mould to cool.
The cake was utterly scrumptious, zesty and moist with a lovely chewy texture from the coconut and little caramel bites from the white chocolate; it was definitely a notch up from a standard lemon drizzle. Because it was so moist, it tasted just as good several days down the line as it did when it was freshly baked.
I’m sending this cake over to Javelin Warrior’s Cookin w/ Luv for his Made with Love Mondays, a weekly challenge where anything can be made, but it needs to be made from scratch.