Tag Archives: butter

Recipe: Strawberry, Lemon and Apricot Cake

You know when you are doubling a recipe, and you think that because you do this all the time you will be totally fine doing this in your head, and then you randomly go and forget to double some ingredients and then, for some mysterious reason, somehow quadruple other ingredients, and this doesn’t even count the fact that you had, in any case, done that usual thing where you take out the icky walnuts and replace them with something random and also don’t measure the lemon zest properly, because seriously, who measures lemon zest?, and also you added extra strawberries because STRAWBERRIES, and…

Yeah, that’s what happened here.  I was wondering why the batter was turning out so oddly, and then, as I was carrying the cakes to work last Thursday morning a little part of my brain went “wait, 15 times 16 is 240, not 480, and definitely not 500, which is what I actually used because I couldn’t be stuffed measuring the butter properly so late at night…”

Oops.  But, as it turns out, doubling the butter just turns the cake from a tea-cake texture into more of a pound cake one, and the whole thing was absolutely delicious, and best of all, I actually get to write up the recipe in my blog, because I assure you, the recipe as I adapted it, both deliberately and inadvertently, is definitely not the recipe in Nicole Routhier’s Fruit Cookbook.  Not by a long way.

So there you go.

Incidentally, this is also why there are very few photos and they are all of the cake in pieces.  I really didn’t think it was going to work.  Sorry.


Your Shopping List

2 cups of plain flour
1 tsp bicarb of soda
2/3 cup chopped dried apricots
2 large eggs
 1/2 cup caster sugar + 1/3 cup for the syrup
250 g unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
zest and juice of two lemons
500 g strawberries, hulled and cut into 1 cm pieces, or thereabouts.

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Adventures with Ingredients: Kadaifi Pastry, Sweet Cheese, and Kunafa bi Jibin

sideI’m on leave at the moment, and also engaged in a terrifying cookbook cull, which is causing me to madly read as many cookbooks as possible in order to feel less guilty about my terrible cookbook habit (it has, at least, reduced from the 3-book-a-week habit I had in the late 90s, but it’s still pretty severe, not least because I’ve graduated from little tiny Women’s Weekly cookbooks to more expensive and exotic tomes.

One of these is The Arab Table, by May Bsisu.  It’s a book that fascinates me and also fills me with fear – every single recipe seems to go for pages and is *unspeakably* complicated.  The idea of cooking a full meal from this book is terrifying.  (The recipes are all very traditional, and, to be fair, their length is largely due to Bsisu’s conscientious descriptions of exactly how to do things.)

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Recipe: Microwave Lemon Curd, with bonus meringue

Just a short post today, because today has been loooong… and it hasn’t even had any cooking in it.  Of course, it might have felt less loooong if I hadn’t decided last night that the best solution to ‘where can we all go for dessert?’ was ‘I can make cupcakes!  Vegan, gluten-free cupcakes!  Also my house is full of confectionery!  Let’s go to my place!’.  Needless to say, we were all bouncing off the walls for a while after that, and I really was not my best at choir this morning.

Anyway, I made lemon curd a few weeks ago, to go with the dozens and dozens of scones, and took photos of it, but never wrote it up.  So now is definitely the time.  Besides, lemon curd is one of those things that is really, really tricky until you figure out how easy it is.  All that rubbish about ‘until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon’ doesn’t help much either.  I don’t know about you, but I never did figure out just how thick that was.  So here’s my microwave method, which I promise you will work – just don’t do what I do and wander off to do something else in the middle and forget to take it out of the microwave and stir it.

Your Shopping List

4 egg yolks (you realise, of course, that now you will have to make meringues out of those egg-whites?  See below for a recipe – in the meantime, just save them in a clean, metal or glass bowl.)
75g caster sugar
40g butter
60ml lemon juice (about one juicy lemon)

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Recipe: Flavoured Butters

A tale of three butters

You all knew, didn’t you, that once I had seen Not Quite Nigella’s post on buttermaking, it would only be a matter of time before I had to start fiddling with it?  In fact, by the time I got up this morning, I had so many ideas that there was a pretty high risk I’d end the day swimming in butter.

I also thought it would be fun to see if I could make some interesting flavoured vegan butters, using coconut cream, which I had been informed could be whipped, and I had plans for a lemongrass and chilli coconut butter, and a lime and  rum coconut butter, and even a saffron one, as saffron has a yellow colour and buttery flavour that might make for an excellent dairy-free butter. Alas, my information turned out to be inaccurate, or possibly the coconut cream just wasn’t very good – what is certain is that after fifteen minutes of beating, my coconut cream was not even as thick as whipped cream, and I gave up.  I suspect the fat content is not  high enough – the best I could find was about 30% fat, as opposed to the 50% fat cream you use for dairy butters.  I’m not going to give up though – I’m thinking I’ll try using coconut oil sometime to make a buttery spread, and of course it wouldn’t be hard to infuse coconut oil with  flavours and then let it re-solidify until spreadable.

In the end, I made three successful butters, an Indian-inspired Spiced Butter, Saffron Butter, Raspberry and Lavender Butter. I also made a thing that is definitely not butter but has quite a nice flavour, if only I could figure out what to do with it.  It’s sort of a sweet-spiced buttercream.  And I will definitely be doing this again – it’s kitchen alchemy of the most exciting kind!

Your Shopping List for Indian-inspired Spiced Butter

300ml double cream (50% fat or more – Gippsland does a lovely one)
1/4 tsp each of cumin seeds, cardamom seeds and coriander seeds
1/8 tsp dried chilli
1/8 tsp powdered ginger
a good pinch sea salt, or to taste
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