Lemon Drizzle 61 Revisited

 

Last Saturday it was my friend, and flatmate, Lauren’s birthday. About two months ago I had asked her what her favourite cake was; I thought I’d give it a while so she wouldn’t suspect anything and without hesitation she answered “Lemon drizzle!” So, early on Saturday morning I snuck out of the flat, bought eggs, almost forgot to buy lemons, and rushed back to bake. Sadly, she woke up before the cake was all done, but she was not allowed into the kitchen until it was all ready.

I found this recipe on the BBC GoodFood website but I decided to revise it slightly, using plain flour and baking powder and making it a little extra lemony for Lauren, whose famous motto about lemons is “the more, the better”. This recipe is easy to remember, as butter, sugar and flour are all the same quantity, and the final result is very lemony but not sour, as there is quite a lot of sugar in the drizzle.

One thing I’ve learnt is that, even though recipes suggest you to heat the oven first thing, that’s not a great idea. Anyone who tells you that a cake preparation will only take 10 minutes is living in denial. What about the weighing? How about the chopping, melting, washing and grating? Liars. By the time you are ready to stick that cake into the oven, you’ll have wasted a good 20 minutes of gas – feel free to call me stingy. It doesn’t take that long to heat the oven, mine is old and dreams of holidays in the sun, but it takes less than 10 minutes to heat up. Just turn it on when you know you’re 5 to 10 minutes away from being done with the preparation.

Without further ado, I give you… Lemon Drizzle 61 Revisited.

What you’ll need:

For the cake

  • 225 gr unsalted butter
  • 225 gr caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 225 gr plain flour
  • 12.5 gr (2 and ½ spoons) baking powder
  • Finely grated zest of 2 lemons

For the drizzle

  • Strained juice of two lemons
  • 115 gr caster sugar

Preparation:

Wash the lemons very thoroughly, dry them and grate the zest finely. Set it aside. In the meantime soften the butter until very soft, but not hot! Combine the butter with the sugar and beat them with an electric whisk until they have become a soft, pale cream. Add the eggs one by one and keep beating the mixture until everything is well combined. Now preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160C/gas 4. In a different bowl mix together the flour and baking powder, making sure the powder is well distributed. Now sift that into the cake mixture and add the zest, mixing all thoroughly. Get yourself a loaf tin, grease it with butter and coat it with flour. Pour the mixture into the tin and then flatten it evenly with the back of a spoon. Bake for about 45 minutes (try the wooden toothpick trick – if it comes out clean, the cake is ready). While the cake is in the oven, get working on the drizzle. Squeeze the two lemons and sieve the juice into a bowl with the sugar. Mix well. When the cake is ready, prick it all over with the same toothpick and then pour the drizzle over the entire surface area, letting it sink into the holes. Let it cool and then, with a flat, butter knife detach the sides of the cake from the tin, being careful not to scratch the metal if you are using a non-stick tin. Remove the cake from it, place on a plate, slice and eat eat eat!

Advertisements

Mushroom Pork Escalopes with Sweet Red Cabbage and Diced Roast Potatoes

On a Saturday morning not too long ago I decided I would make escalopes for a nice late lunch. So off I went to the supermarket. I set off to buy veal for this recipe, but when I got to Tesco I quickly realised they had no veal, looked for lean pork steaks, and couldn’t find those either, so resorted to buying small lean pork medallions and flattening them at home. Pork meat works just as perfectly as veal in this recipe so that’s fine. I was actually quite excited about getting medallions in the end as that meant I’d get to use the very, very, very old meat pounder I nicked from my Grandma’s kitchen over Christmas. Here it is:

vintage meat pounder

If you don’t have one, you could always use a small metal pot or saucepan.

What you’ll need:

For the roast potatoes

  • 3 medium-sized Maris Piper or King Edward potatoes
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Mixed herbs
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme

 For the sweet red cabbage

  • 1 red onion
  • 1 tbs oil
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ red cabbage
  • 2 tbs raisins
  • 2–3 tbs balsamic vinegar (ideally aceto balsamico di Modena)
  • About 100 ml water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tbs butter
  • Salt
  • Black pepper

For the escalopes

  • 6 small lean pork medallions
  • 5 tbs flour
  • 2 tbs oil
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 2/3 of a mushroom stock cube
  • 100 gr mushrooms
  • ½ to 1 glass of hot water
  • 1 glass white wine
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh lemon thyme

Preparation:

Preheat oven to gas mark 7/425°F (220°C). Wash, peel and chop the potatoes into fairly small cubes (about 2 in). Place them into a roasting tin and add the oil, herbs, lemon thyme and a generous sprinkle of salt. Place the tin in the oven and cook them for at least ½ hour, or until they are all golden, soft inside and crunchy outside.

While the tatties cook away, peel off the outer leaves of the cabbage. Now slice the half cabbage thinly (between ½ and 1 cm thick) and set aside. Slice the red onion and place in a pan where you’ve been heating the oil. Gently fry the onion until it’s soft and add cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook for another minute to let the spices release all their flavour, then add the cabbage, raisins, bay leaves, vinegar and water. Cover and bring up to the boil, then turn the heat down and let simmer until the cabbage is soft, which should take about 40–45 minutes. If the contents of the pan become dry and the cabbage is not yet soft, just keep adding water little by little to keep it simmering. When the cabbage is about five minutes from being ready, add the butter, salt and pepper and stir well to mix all the flavours.

While the cabbage simmers, it’s time to get started on that pork. Flatten the medallions to a thickness of between 0.5 and 1 cm thick. Flour them and place them in a large frying pan with the hot oil where you’ve been lightly frying the garlic. Sear them and cut the mushrooms into small pieces (if they are small enough you can slice them vertically so they’ll retain the mushroom shape and look pretty). Crumble the stock cube and add it to the pan with the mushrooms, the lemon thyme and a little bit of water. Let cook for five minutes or so and then turn the heat right up. Pour the wine in and let evaporate. Turn the heat back to medium and cook until the mushrooms are soft and the pork is done (which shouldn’t take longer than ten minutes, as the meat is rather thin).

Plate up and go.

 

My Very First Thanksgiving

Being an Italian living in London, I never really had a chance or official reason to celebrate Thanksgiving. I never quite knew what it involved, exactly. This year, however, thanks to my change of jobs in May, I had the luck to meet a new friend, Sara, who is from Ohio and super keen on anything Thanksgiving-related. I had no more excuses! So on Saturday 26 November I went to her house in the morning and we cooked all day long to put together an American feast for six.  We scoured through the internet to find the best Thanksgiving recipes and I think we definitely found some brilliant ones. All the pictures were taken by Sara.

Here is the menu we had on the day, click on the dish name to find the recipe:

I absolutely loved Thanksgiving and really hope we will repeat it next year.