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Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

We have a very prolific lemon tree, and at the moment, it’s completely laden with fruit…

So I adapted a tried and tested recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Simple to work as a tray bake. It made a large batch to share for our weekend neighbourhood bake!

  • 300g unsalted butter, softened
  • 380g castor sugar
  • 4 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 60ml lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (I used homemade)
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 220g ground almonds
  • 400g frozen mixed berries, defrosted on a plate
  • 140g icing sugar, SIFTED (it’s important to sift it!)

Step 1: line a 23cm x 33cm baking pan with parchment paper, and preheat the oven to 175C with fan.

Step 2: beat together the butter, sugar, zest,  30ml of lemon juice and vanilla extract until smooth, then gradually beat in the eggs. The batter might split, don’t panic. Scrape down the sides.

Step 3: combine the flour, almonds and salt in a bowl and whisk together until combined. Add this to the batter in three batches, beating well after each one.

Step 4: spread half the batter over the base of the prepared pan and scatter over half the defrosted berries. Dollop on the remaining batter and spread it out evenly with a spatula. Bake for 15 minutes.

Step 5: remove the tray from the oven and scatter over the remaining berries and return to the oven for a further 15 minutes.

Step 6: remove the tray from the oven again and cover it loosely with foil. Return the tray to the oven to bake for a further 20 minutes. Test by inserting a skewer into the centre (not through a berry) – if it comes out cleanly, then it’s ready. Allow to cool briefly in the pan, then remove and allow to cool completely on a wire rack…

Step 7: make icing by mixing the SIFTED icing sugar (yes, I know I go on about it, but if you don’t sift you’ll get lumpy icing that can’t be fixed) with the remaining lemon juice to form a smooth icing. Spread it evenly over the top of the cooled cake and allow to set.

This recipe is basically a double batch of Ottolenghi’s Blueberry, Almond and Lemon loaf cake, slightly adapted for sharing. The original recipe has the blueberries folded into the batter, but my defrosted berries were too soft for that to work well, so I added them in between two layers of cake batter instead.

We particularly love this recipe because it doesn’t have extra added dairy – so many berry cake recipes include yoghurt, sour cream or buttermilk – and because it uses lots of lemons. Having said that, we had enough juice from one lemon for the whole cake (the original recipe would have had us using four). Do try this one, it’s delicious! ♥

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Having two freezers and three pantries takes the concept of a “thrown together” dinner to a whole new level. Add in a reasonably productive veg patch full of leafy greens, and we’re good to go!

Last week, I went excavating in the freezer and found half a kilo of pork mince, some homegrown basil pesto that we’d made in 2018, frozen Parmesan, and a box of fresh rye bread crumbs (not dried). Rather than feeding leftover bread to the chickens and worms, I’ve started blitzing them up in the food processor and stashing the crumbs in the freezer.

The fridge turned up a week-old fennel bulb, in pretty near perfect condition thanks to its beeswax wrap, a carton of Jane’s eggs, a bottle of Lou’s home-made passata, and a jar of Graeme’s dark chilli paste (seriously, my neighbours are the best). In the pantry, we had a tin of Italian tomatoes and a packet of spaghetti. Dinner was sorted!

I made meatballs using the pork mince, breadcrumbs, grated onion and an egg, then bake them in a covered dish on a bed of sliced fennel and onion, topped with the passata, a little chilli paste, and the tinned tomatoes. It was baked with the lid on for 25 minutes, then with the lid off for a further 10 minutes. Pete thickened the sauce a little before serving it on spaghetti. We’ll often cook dinner together, each preparing a different stage of the meal, and it really is the best thing.

The pasta was topped with some parsley from the garden and a spoonful of the pesto. It was seriously so good. And it was wonderful to be able to eat such a simple meal that brought with it such a sense of connection and economy and community. I realised after we’d stuffed ourselves that dishes like this really are the taste of home. ♥

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Being in lockdown has been a difficult time for everybody, but it’s also given us an opportunity to reconnect at a deeper level with our wonderful neighbours.

Over the past few months, I’ve been doing a weekend neighbourhood bake and I’m keen to keep it up, even though we’re all starting to get busy again. Each family only gets a small portion, as there are so many people to share with, but it’s a lovely excuse to check in with my neighbours on a Saturday morning to see how everyone is travelling.

Last weekend I baked chocolate chip cookies in a slab. These are the lazy version of Pete’s favourite and boast a wicked 3:2 chocolate to flour ratio. I wrap each cookie square individually, as the oozy chocolate makes quite a mess. It helps to have a mountain of rescued-from-landfill food safe paper from Reverse Garbage

Each packet contained just four cookies, but I’ve learnt that a token of affection doesn’t need to be huge. On the contrary, I’m always happier to give something small – that way no-one feels like they need to reciprocate. There was enough to share with eight households, plus extra for Pete and Small Man. Happy days! ❤️

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Pizza

Remember my cheat’s focaccia dough?

I’ve discovered it also makes a wickedly good pizza dough. The quantity of dough in the original recipe makes four generous pizza bases…

It’s not traditional, but it was both delicious and easy to shape. And it’s a good way to use up surplus sourdough starter! ♥

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Kimchi Sundubu Jiggae

I adore Korean Kimchi Sundube Jiggae (Kimchi Stew with Pork and Tofu), especially when I get to make it from fridge leftovers!

The one we made last week used up about-to-expire tofu, a pork fillet that we’d defrosted but not used the night before, some seriously ripe kimchi, and the last of our spring onions.

Best of all, I was able to cook it in my ttukbaegi clay pot…

The recipe I use comes from Maangchi’s website – there’s a video as well. Definitely worth a try if you like hot Korean comfort food! ♥

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