Friday, 25 January 2013

Four Fruit Marmalade

Makes 8 – 10 lbs.

1.5 kg (3lbs) mixed citrus fruit
3.4 litres (6pints) water
2.7kg (6lbs) sugar

Prepare jars by washing and standing top down on a clean tea towel to dry.

I used oranges, clementines, lemons and a grapefruit - together they weighed just over 3lbs. 
Wash and peel all the fruit then squeeze the juice of the oranges and lemons through a seive.  Keep the pips and place the pith in a muslin bag.
Thinly slice the peel and roughly chop the grapefruit.

Put the peel, flesh, juice, water and muslin bag in a preserving pan. Simmer for one to one and a half hours until the peel is really soft.
Remove muslin bag and squeeze juices back into pan.
Add sugar and heat gently while stirring. Boil for about 15 – 20 mins the test for set. Remove any scum. Leave to stand for about 20 mins, stir to distribute the peel then pour into prepared jars.

We added whisky (about 3 fingers) to half of the batch. I don't drink alcohol but this really did make it taste lovely!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Lemon Drizzle Cake

This brings back memories of a summer's day.  I timed my visit to a friend's house to perfection - I arrived as the Lemon Drizzle Cake was being lifted out of the oven.  I love lemons but I'd never tasted a Drizzle Cake before.  I left with this recipe tucked in my pocket:

100g unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
3 large eggs
100ml milk
250g self-raising flour
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
zest of 3 lemons

For the drizzle:
Juice of 3 lemons
100ml water
170g caster sugar


Heat oven to 180°c.
Line and grease a loaf tin.
Beat the eggs, milk and sugar in a food processor until they are quite foamy.
Sift in the flour, salt and baking powder and mix well.
Add the lemon zest. Then melt the butter and stir it in to the batter.
Pour the mixture into the greased loaf tin.
Bake it for 50 minutes. Check it is thoroughly cooked by sticking a skewer into the middle (it should come out clean).  Leave cake in tin.
To make the drizzle, squeeze the lemon juice through a sieve into a heat-proof pouring jug.  (Wash and dry any lemon pips you find!)
Put the water and sugar into a pan over a medium heat. Bring the mixture up to the boil and boil it for 4 minutes. No longer or you could end up with tasteless toffee!
Pour the sugar mixture into the jug with the lemon juice and mix them together.
Pour as much of the lemon drizzle mixture onto the cake as you can and leave the cake to absorb for 20 minutes. If the cake becomes reluctant to absorb any more liquid, stop pouring.
Carefully remove the cake from the tin (there may be some of the drizzle left, unabsorbed in the bottom of the tin), transfer it to a wire rack and allow it to completely cool to room temperature
When the cake is cold, slice it and serve.

Once you are refreshed you can go and plant those lemon pips! .... you'll have lovely Christmas presents in five years' time.

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Apple and Pork in Cider

This is a really easy meal for after a busy working day.  It takes a few minutes to prepare and then looks after its self in the oven.

4 pork chops
4 desert apples cored and cut into wedges
Large onion sliced
A little oil
A few chopped sage leaves
Bottle of cider


Use the oil to fry the chops for a few minutes then remove from the pan and use the same oil to cook the onions, apples and sage.  Place in a casserole dish and cover with about 1/4 pint of cider. Cook in oven at 180 degrees for about half an hour or until pork is cooked.  Serve with mashed potatoes and the rest of the cider.
You can vary the recipe by adding a bit of cream to the gravy before serving or by using pears and pear cider.

Coffee and Walnut Cake

Just the name makes me hungry.  Coffee and Walnut Cake and Carrot Cake have the same effect on me.  I know they are loaded with calories but they bring images of cosy cafes .... and they sound so healthy! 

350g self raising flour
350g unsalted butter
350g caster sugar
6 eggs beaten
25g instant coffee dissolved in small amount of boiling water (1 - 2 teasps)
75g chopped walnuts

150g unsalted butter
200g icing sugar
30ml double cream
2 tbsp Camp coffee


Heat the oven to 170 degrees or Mark 3.
Line two 9 in sandwich tins.
Place butter and sugar in food processor to make it fluffy.  Add half the eggs and blend then the remaining eggs and blend.  Add the dissolved coffee and walnuts.  Mix well.
Add the flour bit at a time.
Divide mixture between tins and bake for 35 - 40 mins.  Check centre with a skewer.  Add more time if needed.

Cool the cakes and make the buttercream by blending the butter with half the icing sugar.  Then add Camp coffee and the cream.  Mix well.  Slowly add the remaining icing sugar to reach a soft, spreadable consistency - use a bit more double cream if it feels too thick.  It should be firm enough to spread on the top and side of the cake.
Spread buttercream on the flat bottom of one of the cakes then place second cake on top.  Spread rest of buttercream over the top and sides and decorate with walnut pieces.