OMG! Lemon drizzle cake

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I made this lemon drizzle cake following one of Nigella Lawson’s recipes.  Only after devouring it I wish this recipe was mine.  But it is way too good not to share.  I was also lucky to get feedback on how it had turned out by my fellow mummies and daddies at my baby’s music class where I took some to sample! All I can say is that I went into the class room with a whole cake and I came out with nothing but crumbs in my cake tin!  So I guess it was alright lol!

These ingredients are so already sitting in your fridge, pantry, cupboard! please I urge you to reach out for them now and bake this superb cake! Hope you are all enjoying the weekend!   Also I was inspired to write about this particular cake by my teenage cousin who this morning baked a lemon drizzle cake for his family.  I hope my sons will love baking too and I will get treated like that in the future!

INGREDIENTS

125g unsalted butter
175g caster sugar
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon
175g self raising flour
pinch of salt
4 tbsp milk
23x13x7cm loaf tin buttered and lined

For the syrup
juice of 1 ½ lemons
100 g icing sugar

For the glaze
juice of ½ a lemon
150g icing sugar

METHOD

1. Preheat your oven to 180ºc/ 350ºf/gas mark 4. Butter and line your loaf tin.
Cream together butter, sugar, eggs and lemon zest, beating them in well. Slowly fold in the flour and the salt, mixing thoroughly and then add the milk. Spoon the batter into your prepared tin and bake for 45 mins or until a skewer comes out clean

2. To make the syrup ~ Put the lemon juice and icing sugar into a small saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves completely

3. As soon as the cake is out of the oven, puncture the cake all over with a skewer and pour over the syrup, this way the syrup will seep into the cake. Leave the cake to cool completely before removing it from the tin

4. To make the glaze ~ Combine the lemon juice and icing sugar until it is a smooth white paste, add a little more icing sugar if needed. Make sure your cake is completely cool before drizzling with the glaze

Recipe taken from “The extraordinary art of cake”

Masala scrambled eggs

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I woke up this morning and really fancied some eggs and in some ways because I am soo Indian I decided to “Masalafy” them. Add to that onion, tomato, coriander and not forgetting the chilli. (I can’t get enough of chilli at the moment!)
plus seasoning and you have a spicy scrambled egg dish, laced with more flavour than you can get in the morning! What a great way to start the day! I’m ready bring it on!

INGREDIENTS

2 large eggs beaten lightly
1 tomato chopped
1/2 small onion chopped
Handful of chopped fresh coriander
Green chilli chopped to taste
1/2 tbsp mild olive oil
1 tsp butter
1/4 tsp paprika
Pinch of garam masala
1/2 tsp ground coriander and cumin powder
Salt to taste

METHOD

1. Heat the oil and butter in a non stick frying pan. Sprinkle in the paprika on a low flame and mix in the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes until soft

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2. Throw in the tomato and chilli plus all seasoning and dry spices, combine well and add the fresh coriander

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3. Pour in the beaten eggs, keep the pan on a low flame and stir fry to get scrambled egg consistency. The tomato will release its juice so you may need to take the heat up a little to help evaporate the juice, taste the salt at this stage and add more if needed

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4. Serve on two pieces of warm toast with lashings of butter and now devour!

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Coffee and walnut cupcakes

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Following on from the coffee theme of the Mocha melts I made these for my best friends when they came over for a visit and a girly catch up.  They went down a treat and some were sent off with them for their husbands before I received complaints that they missed out.  I absolutely adore baking for friends and family, any excuse at any occasion or event or I just call them round when there is something to sample!  Coming up soon is chocolate fondants!  Come round all there will be plenty for everyone!

INGREDIENTS

110g self raising flour
110g caster sugar
110g butter spread soft
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
2 tbsp instant coffee granules diluted in 1 1/2 tbsp boiling water
50 g chopped walnuts

For topping
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp instant coffee granules diluted in 2 tbsp boiling water
12 walnut halves for decoration

METHOD

1. Preheat oven to 170ºc/325ºf/gas mark 3. Line a muffin pan with 12 cupcake cases

2. Mix flour and sugar in a large bowl or food processor, add the butter spread, eggs, baking powder and beat until pale and fluffy.

3. Add the coffee mixture into the batter, slowly fold in the chopped walnuts and spoon the batter into the cases. Bake in the oven on the middle shelf for about 20 minutes until firm to the touch, set aside to cool

4. To make the icing, combine the icing sugar, coffee mixture and stir well. If you find the coffee flavour too strong adjust according to taste by adding more sugar and a little more boiling water for desired flavour and consistency. Using a spoon, ice the cakes and top off with a walnut halve on each

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This wonderful recipe is from Baking Magic (K.Shirazi & S.Blake)

Mocha melts

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I do like a good cup of mocha coffee and wanted to capture this taste in a melting cookie. A bite size soft crumbly, melt in your mouth moment hit of caffeine followed by a hint of cocoa to give you the emotional comfort of chocolate! A very light biscuit that can be easily had as an after dinner sweet. I was really happy as I feel that it has captured mocha in it’s essence!

INGREDIENTS

200g unsalted butter room temp
1 tbsp instant coffee granules
1 tbsp water
140g plain flour
60g icing sugar
110g corn starch
10g cocoa powder unsweetened

For the frosting

140g icing sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
Milk for thinning
Cocoa powder for dusting

METHOD

1. Mix the coffee granules with the water and combine, cream the coffee mixture and butter together well

2. Add the flour, icing sugar, cornstarch and cocoa, mix until a soft dough forms.
Put the dough in the fridge for an hour to firm up

3. Preheat oven to 180ºc/350ºf/gas mark 4. Take a little of the cookie dough and roll into bite size balls, lay them on a lined baking tray, repeat for the all of the dough

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4. Bake for 11 minutes and set aside to cool on the tray for a few minutes and then delicately remove and place on a cooling rack
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5. Mix all the icing ingredients and using the milk to thin out to a frosting consistency. Frost each cookie then dust with a little cocoa powder

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(Inspired by a recipe on “the view from great island”)

Easy chocolate fudge cake

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This is the belated Valentine chocolate cake I made for my husband following on from the last blog of strawberry heart cookies. It is a Rachel Manley recipe and boy is it goooood! So moist, fudgy, decadent, divine…I could keep going on but why not try baking it and seeing for yourself. Please let me know what you think. A quick note when it states 250 ml boiling water don’t be alarmed this is the part of the recipe that really makes this fudge cake special once made! Enjoy with a little single cream, yummmmm!!!

INGREDIENTS

For the cake
225g plain flour
350g caster sugar
85g cocoa powder
1½ tsp baking powder
1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 free-range eggs
250ml milk
125ml vegetable/sunflower oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
250ml/9fl oz boiling water

For the chocolate icing
200g plain chocolate
200ml double cream

METHOD

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line two 20cm/8in sandwich tins.

2. For the cake, place all of the cake ingredients, except the boiling water, into a large mixing bowl. Using a wooden spoon, or electric whisk, beat the mixture until smooth and well combined

3. Slowly add the boiling water to the mixture until smooth. The cake mixture will now be very liquid!

4. Divide the cake batter between the sandwich tins and bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, or until the top is firm to the touch and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean

5. Remove the cakes from the oven and allow to cool completely, still in their tins, before icing

6. For the chocolate icing ~ heat the chocolate and cream in a saucepan over a low flame until the chocolate melts. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the mixture until smooth, glossy and thickened. Set aside to cool for 1-2 hours, or until thick enough to spread over the cake

7. Carefully remove the cakes from the tins

8. Spread a little chocolate icing over the top of one of the chocolate cakes, then carefully top with the other cake

9. Transfer the cake to a serving plate and ice the cake all over with the chocolate icing, using a palette knife

Recipe by Rachel Manley (BBC Good Food)

Strawberry heart cookies

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I found this excellent recipe last February and made them for my toddler for his first Valentine’s day.  The cookies retain the heart shape so well and the jam sits very cosily in its given place.  A crumbly cookie with sticky soft strawberry jam.  I should have waited to post this for Valentines but couldn’t wait to share the love!

By the time my husband came home that Valentine’s evening all the cookies had been consumed by me and my little one!  That I ended up baking a chocolate fudge cake for him the next day for his belated sweet valentine treat! The recipe of that particular chocolate cake will be shared very soon!

Recipe for these moreish heart cookies can be found at http://www.stephsbitebybite.com/2012/01/31/pb-and-j-heartprint-cookies/

Organic green bean & potato curry

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I was lucky to get my hands on some organic green beans, so fresh and naturally sweet it really transformed this north Indian curry that I make often. I left the beans a little al dente to keep the goodness in. The onion gently flavours the beans and potato makes it that bit more satisfying. I love it on it’s own with a little natural yoghurt!

My little one also likes green beans as he is very fascinated with a programme called Mr Bloom’s nursery on a childrens’ tv channel here! Such a fantastic programme and really promotes eating vegetables. I often find him having raided my fridge, playing with all sorts of veg!

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INGREDIENTS

250g organic green beans trimmed sliced into thirds
2 small potatoes peeled and diced
1 small onion sliced crescent shape
1tbsp sunflower oil
1/4 mustard seeds
1/4 cumin seeds
Pinch of asafoetida
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp ground coriander & cumin powder
1/3 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
150ml water
100 ml tomato pureed passata
squeeze of lemon
handful of chopped coriander

METHOD

1. Heat oil in a medium non stick saucepan. Put in the mustard, cumin seeds and asafoetida, once seeds start to sizzle throw in the onion, beans and potato

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2. Put in the dry spices and seasoning, pour in the water and stir well. Bring to the boil and then on a low to medium flame cook and cover for 10 minutes, check and stir cook again for 5-10 minutes.

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3. Once beans and potatoes are tender, stir in the tomato passata, lemon and cover again to cook for a further 10 minutes. Top off with the chopped coriander and serve with rice or chapatis

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Almond and chocolate biscotti

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Biscotti also known as biscotti di Prato and cantuccini. Twice baked Italian biscuits from the Italian city of Prato. Wonderful dunked in a strong coffee or cappuccino and they keep for some time, so can be enjoyed for longer. So many variations can be made and I shall be making up some more flavours soon, maybe with a twist! so stay tuned!

INGREDIENTS

100g almonds chopped roughly
100g Chocolate chips or gravel size chocolate chunks
250g plain flour
2 1/2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extra
3 large eggs lightly beaten

METHOD

1.  Preheat oven to 180ºc/350ºf/gas mark 4.  In a large mixing bowl, throw in all the ingredients (apart from the eggs) mix well. Slowly stir in the beaten eggs and form into a dough using your hands.  If dough is a little wet add a bit more flour, but dough should be very soft

2.  Divide dough into two, and shape into two flat loaf shapes of about 3 cm thickness and 15-18 cm length.  Place both loaves on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper and bake for 20 minutes.  Leave the loaves to cool completely but leave oven on for second bake

3. Once cooled cut the loaves into 5mm slices and rebake again for a further 10 minutes this will crisp up the biscotti.  Cool on a wire rack.  Serve with a chocolate fondant or coffee or both! Indulge!

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Adapted from Baking magic, Kate Shirazi with Susannah Blake

Chocolate salted pretzels

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I know this is a ridiculously simple idea and everyone has done them before, but I was just silly excited as my little one helped make them for his baby brother’s birthday party.  I’ve restricted him from chocolate until now and this was his first experience with melted chocolate…boy did he have fun.  We had chocolate on the table, on the fridge on my cupboards! The cleaning wipes were following him around everywhere lol!

Salt and chocolate combination, can’t get any better.  I couldn’t find ready made ones so I made them instead!

INGREDIENTS

Medium bag of salted pretzels
150g plain chocolate
3 tbsp milk or more depending upon consistency
2 tsp golden syrup

METHOD

1. Melt chocolate in microwave on for 2 minutes on a medium heat, zap it a little more if needed.  But use the residual heat from the chocolate to let it melt naturally also.  Stir in the milk and golden syrup until nice and glossy

2.  Dip pretzels in the melted chocolate and lay on a plate with grease proof paper and set aside to cool, to speed up the process place in the fridge.  Once set, get munching!!!

Leek & potato lasagne

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I wanted to create a vegetarian lasagne which didn’t have it’s standard vegetables in it or veggie mince. I wanted something a little more filling and satisfying so I thought what better than potatoes. Leeks always go so well with potatoes so this was my obvious taste combination. I was very happy with the result and as my husband put it ~ it’s very nice! Hope you Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

2 leeks sliced thinly rounds
10 small new potatoes finely sliced
1 yellow bell pepper sliced thins
1/2 white onion sliced
1/2 chilli finely chopped
2 cloves garlic crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp dried oregano
100-150g tomato passata
1/4 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
9 lasagne pasta sheets
150-200g Cheddar cheese grated
20g feta cheese
2 tomatoes sliced

White sauce
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
150ml milk or more depending upon consistency
salt to taste
pinch of black pepper

METHOD

1, Heat the olive oil and butter in a non stick large saucepan. Throw in the leeks, onion, pepper, garlic, chilli and oregano, cover and cook on a medium to low heat for 10 minutes. Add the thin potato slices (ideally done in a food processor or slicer) sprinkle in the paprika and salt and mix thoroughly, cover and cook again on a low flame for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally

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2, Once the potato is a little tender, pour in the tomato passata, enough to coat all your leek/potato mixture, combine well and cook for a further 10-15 minutes

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3, Meanwhile boil some water and pour into a large bowl with a little olive oil. Place the uncooked lasagne sheets into the water to aid cooking process whilst in the oven later

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4, To make the white sauce. In a separate small saucepan mix the flour and butter together on a low flame, slowly add milk and whisk continuously, stir in salt and pepper. The sauce will start to thicken and it is at this point you need to take off the heat and set aside

5, Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas mark 4. Use a large rectangle lasagne dish, layer three pasta sheets on the bottom of the dish. Spoon out half of the leek/potato mix, cover with a further three pasta sheets and the rest of the leek mix and finally cover with the last three pasta sheets

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6, Layer the sliced tomatoes onto the last pasta sheet layer and pour the white sauce over the tomatoes. Crumble the feta onto this white sauce and top off with the grated cheese.

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7, Place in the oven for 30-40 minutes until the cheese becomes golden brown, slice into portions and serve with a crisp salad

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