Tag Archives: lemon

Recipe: Lemon and Ruby Cakepops

You probably thought I was done with rainbow-wedding-cake related posts, didn’t you?  Nope.  Not a chance.  I’m actually writing this a month before you are reading it (and a good thing, too, because right at this very moment I am almost certainly collapsed into an incoherent heap after running a conference all week) and if I dared look into my fridge right now, I would see, in addition to these cake pops, a large box full of chocolate cake crumbs, a big ball of white chocolate ganache the size of my clasped hands, a bowl of lavender whipped ganache, and half a carton of cream – ooh, and I’ve just realised what I should make next, but I’m not going to tell you what that is because that would be cheating.

In short, you would not believe how many leftovers that wedding cake generated, so having spent the last few Sundays reviewing the individual cake recipes, we are now starting on the Leftovers Chronicles.

(And yes, I’m milking this for as long as I can, because I do want to start blogging regularly again… but I don’t trust this current burst of energy and ideas to last, so I want to try to blog well ahead of time while I can so that if it all goes to hell for a month or two, there won’t be such a long gap between posts…)

Anyway, cake pops.  Cake pops are traditionally made from cake crumbs and icing mixed together and dipped in chocolate or candy melts.  I usually find them horrifically sweet, to be honest.  But I also didn’t have many other ideas for what to do with epic amounts of cake off-cuts.  So I thought I’d see what happened if I mixed them with the lemon curd that I also had leftover, and the results were actually pretty good, and not too sweet at all. 

As for the ruby chocolate… yes, of course I pre-ordered some from the first shipment in Australia.  If you haven’t tried it yet, it’s quite an interesting taste – I think it’s like white chocolate, but with an acidic bite to it.  It is not, to be honest, my favourite kind of chocolate, but it does go very well with lemon, which most other kinds of chocolate do not.  If you can’t get your hands on ruby chocolate – which is not cheap, in any case – white chocolate would work just fine, but the overall result would just be a little sweeter.

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Angelique’s Banana Bread

This is a gluten-free banana cake I put together for a friend of mine.  It’s a nice, easy cake to put together, and good for afternoon tea, as it’s solid, but not too sweet.

I must admit, I had my doubts about this cake initially.  You see, I used quinoa flour, and I used a different brand from usual (McKenzies, if you’re wondering), and it turns out that this particular brand has quite a strong taste.  I could still detect it in the final, baked recipe, which was annoying.  But in fact, it grew on me pretty fast, and I actually rather like it.  Though not enough to use the same brand next time.

Looking around, it turns out that quite a lot of people don’t like quinoa flour.  If this is you, don’t despair – more rice flour would work.  Alternatively, I note several food writers suggest ‘heat treating’ or toasting quinoa flour before use – apparently the trick is to spread out your quinoa flour on a baking sheet and bake it at 100°C for two hours.  I’ll be doing this next time – quinoa is a useful flour because of its high-protein ways, and this is an advantage worth keeping.


Your Shopping List

2 over-ripe bananas
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 cup (approximately one drained tin) crushed pineapple
1/3 cup tightly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup orange juice
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp gingerbread spice mix, mixed spice, or ginger
1 cup rice flour
1 cup quinoa flour
1 cup almond meal
2 tsp baking powder

For the icing:
250 g light cream cheese, softened
zest of 1 lemon
2 1/2 cups icing sugar


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Christmas Leftovers Recipe: Moroccan Chicken and Pumpkin Filo Triangles

I make a variation of this recipe basically every time I do a roast or slow-cooked chicken.  With only two of us in the household, we don’t use much chicken on the first meal, and while I love roast chicken, Andrew doesn’t like it much at all, so the leftovers always go into a pie.

This is another cricket lunchbox menu – I’m pleased to say that when I told my brother what was in our lunch hamper yesterday, the man in front of us turned around and said ‘That sounds absolutely amazing’, which made me feel very smug indeed.  Because it really was a very good lunch, if I say so myself – chicken pastries, zucchini pesto muffins, spinach salad with apricots and blueberries (from the Green Kitchen App, which I enthusiastically recommend to your attention if you don’t have it already), apricot and peach schnapps shortbread, and crispy filo cigars full of fruit mince with double cream to dip them into.  Yum.


(Though apparently my presence at the cricket causes concussions and batting collapses – yesterday wasn’t a good day for the batsmen on either side, and last year, I presided over Sri Lanka’s total collapse, with bonus concussions, on day three of the Boxing Day test.  My brother wants me to come in to the MCG this afternoon to jinx the Brits, and I’m just trying to decide whether I can face the weather in the name of scientific enquiry.)

Anyway.  These are full of lovely moist chicken, and sweetly spiced pumpkin and chickpeas, all leftover from Christmas Eve Lunch, though you could make this from scratch if you wanted to.  And you might want to, because they are really delicious, warm or cold.

Your Leftovers & Shopping List

Leftover slow-cooked or roasted chicken (about half a chicken)

Leftover roasted carrots, roasted pumpkins and chickpeas, spiced with chilli, ginger, garlic and star anise; or use plain roasted pumpkins, one tin of chickpeas, and chop up one chilli, two garlic cloves and about 2cm of fresh ginger, and sauté briefly until they lose their rawness.  You want this veggie mixture to be between half the weight of the chicken and one and a quarter times the weight – essentially, you don’t want the pastries to taste just of chicken or just of pumpkin, but it’s fine if one side dominates a bit.

2 tsp preserved lemon, finely chopped

1 packet filo pastry, and I strongly recommend you buy it from the fridge section, not the freezer section, because it is much, much easier to work with

olive oil spray

Now what will you do with it?

If the chicken is still on the bone, remove it from the bones, and remove the skin and any other bits that aren’t really edible (use these bits to make stock).  Shred it into a large bowl.

Chop up the pumpkin and carrots, and add to the bowl with the chickpeas and preserved lemon (and spices, if you did them separately).  Again, you shouldn’t need to season this, because you presumably seasoned your chicken and roast veg when you cooked them the first time.


Spray one sheet of filo pastry with olive oil, and put a spoonful of the chicken and pumpkin mix onto the lower half, towards the right hand end.  Essentially, imagine the first fold, which will be folding the pastry in half lengthwise, and the second fold, which will be a triangle folding from the right hand corner up to the first fold, and aim to have your filling in the bit which will be covered by the second fold.

That was totally unintelligible so here is a picture.


Once you have a triangle, flip it over along its vertical side onto the next bit of pastry, then flip it down over its diagonal onto the next bit, then across, and so forth until you are out of pastry.


Put the resulting triangle onto a tray lined with baking paper, and spray it with more olive oil.

Repeat with the rest of the mixture and the filo pastry. (If you have excess filo pastry, I highly recommend making fruit mince cigars with the rest of it – but that’s a recipe for next Christmas, when I will actually pay attention to what I am doing so that I can write it down.)


Bake at 180°C for about half an hour, turning partway through the cooking time, until the filo is golden and crisp on each side.  Serve hot or at room temperature – the filo will go soft if you have to refrigerate it, but it will still taste lovely.


This is obviously not a vegetarian meal, though it is dairy and egg free, and also nut free, for a change.  It’s also fairly low GI, due to the chickpeas, and would be lower if you used sweet potato to replace part or all of the pumkpin.

It’s hard to think of a likely variation, since this is all leftovers-based, but you could, of course, make a larger pie, in which case I would layer the chicken with the pumpkin separately, and perhaps add ricotta or spinach layers or both.  Diana Henry has a beautiful recipe along those lines.


One year ago: A menu for the cricket
Two years ago: Easy pasta dinner

Recipe: Passionfruit Cupcakes with Lemon Coconut Butter

I wasn’t going to bake anything for the Movember morning tea.  I mean, really – I’ve donated to all the Mo Bros on my floor, and surely, surely in the name of men’s health the boys can take a turn at baking?*

Well, it turns out that some of them can, but not enough for our purposes.  And when it comes down to it, faced with a conflict between ‘really, why should the women be baking for all the men’s health days *and* all the women’s health days too?’ and ‘but what if there isn’t enough food?’, well, there really can be only one answer in the land of Cate.

Besides, I bet none of the boys were going to bring anything that was vegan.  And I have friends who are vegan.  So there.

Anyway, having not intended to bake, I then certainly didn’t intend to post a recipe, largely because I really wasn’t in a cooking mood (yes, it’s true I baked a fruitcake today, and made a hot lunch, and made dinner for tonight *and* started dinner for tomorrow, but most of this was about the fact that our heating has been broken and baking keeps the house warm), and also because I didn’t plan to do anything fancy. Aside from using the passionfruit powder I ordered from TasteBom and have been looking for a use for.

Also, when I did start making these cupcakes, I swapped them around in the oven too early, so most of them sank in the middle. 

Also, the icing came out beige.  And when I went to fix it, it wound up mustard-coloured. Which probably is a masculine colour, at least.  Most of the ugly ones seem to be, if you believe the clothing shops.

And yet… the crumbs of cake that were stuck to the tin were *amazing*.  Properly tangy and full of passionfruit flavour.  And then, the ugly, ugly icing is rich and lemony and smooth with a coconut creaminess to it… and altogether, my ugly duckling cupcakes… taste like swans?  Only vegan.  And not kind of tough and unpleasant-tasting, which I gather swan meat is.  And that right there, folks, is why some people shouldn’t be licensed to use metaphors.  Especially the clichéd kind, though I don’t think anyone can claim it was still a cliché by the time I was done with it.  Unappetising, yes.  Cliché, no.

Have I put you off yet?  I hope not.  These really are delicious cupcakes.  And you can’t see how ugly they are once they are in your mouth…

(Even that came out sounding vaguely unappetising.  I think I’d better stop with the describing and just give you the recipe)

(Also, unsurprisingly, there are very few photos, and they aren’t that good – this is because I wasn’t documenting as I went, and the light in the kitchen is bad…)

photo 2

* I strongly suspect that the appeal of Movember has nothing to do with men’s health and everything to do with growing the most gross moustache one can.  And I say this as someone who is actually mildly in favour of facial hair.  But some of the shrubbery currently to be seen in our lab should really not be encouraged.

Your Shopping List

1 1/3 cups caster sugar
2/3 cup canola oil
400 ml (1 standard tin) light coconut milk
3 lemons
40 g freeze-dried passionfruit powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

2 – 2 1/3 cups raw icing sugar

90 g virgin coconut oil, melted (you want the virgin stuff because it has a strong coconut taste – the refined version is too neutral here)

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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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Recipe: Spring Vegetables with Lemon Gnocchi and Mint

I love this time of year at the farmers’ market.  After living in the land of brassicas and root vegetables for months, suddenly we are gifted with sweet baby carrots, new peas, herbs, greens of all kinds, and, of course, asparagus.  Add a packet of beautiful gnocchi from Take Me Home and some ghee from the Butter Factory, and you have a meal I could eat every day for a month.  Or at least, that’s how it feels right now.

This may look kind of messy, but it really is a thing of beauty when you taste it – bursting with the sweet flavours of new vegetables, with a zing from the lemon in the gnocchi, and a touch of freshness from the mint.  Perfection.


Your Shopping List
185 g peas (fresh if possible, frozen if that’s what you can get)
25 g ghee (or olive oil, if you are veganly inclined)
4 spring onions
10 baby carrots (about 175 g)
2 cloves garlic
10 asparagus spears (about 240 g before you snap off the ends)
3 tiny zucchini (about 180 g)
500 g lemon gnocchi (or plain gnocchi, and the zest of one lemon)
lavender salt (or plain salt plus some lavender or tarragon), black pepper
250 g cherry tomatoes
350 g fresh spinach (a medium-sized bunch)
a good handful of mint


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Recipe: Raw Baklava Truffle Balls, and a trek along Melbourne’s South-Eastern coastline

truffles2It hurts to write this.  No, literally, it *really* hurts to write this, mostly because in a feat of macho stupidity, I walked more than 23 kilometers yesterday, and now even sitting at my computer hurts.  My whole body is complaining about *everything* just now…

I’ve mentioned before that my workplace is doing the Global Corporate Walking Challenge, in which teams of seven wear pedometers for four months, obsessively record every step or other bit of activity, and log this into a website which informs us just how far we’ve walked (we spent all of last week in virtual Yellowstone National Park.  The park itself is probably gorgeous and fascinating, but trust me, the virtual version is not an exciting place to spend a week). 

This week, we have been challenged to walk 100,000 steps each over seven days, so we decided to give ourselves a head start yesterday by walking from Cheltenham station to the coast, and then along the coast all the way back to St Kilda.  There’s a Coastal Art Trail that runs from Beaumaris Bay around to Eltham, with plaques and illustrated information boards showing the points at which local artists painted famous landscapes along the coast.  We figured that Eltham was all very well, but St Kilda has cake *and* trams to take us home again, and it’s only a few more kilometers…

Of course, any long walk deserves suitable energy snacks (which take priority in my packing over a spare pair of shoes – possibly not my best ever decision).  I decided to make not one but three kinds – a sort of rice bubble, sour cherry and almond butter slice of my own invention (OK, but nothing stunning), Amber Shea Crawley‘s lemon and coconut curd, formed into little balls of lemony evil (delicious, but they would *not* set), as well as her raw chocolate truffles, given a jaffa-ish tang with the addition of freeze-dried mandarins and tangerine oil.

But none of these were really enough, in my rather bizarre worldview in which five people seriously need four kinds of energy snacks for one day-long trek, so I had to make something else.  Something that wasn’t chocolatey or citrussy.  Then my eye fell on Amber Shea Crawley’s raw baklava slice recipe, and I was inspired!  Amber’s baklava slice is a very classic set of baklava flavours, and I love the idea of brushing it with agave nectar to simulate the honey syrup, but I wanted something that would roll into a ball and wouldn’t be unduly sticky. Also, I’m a Sydney Road girl, and I have Opinions about baklava.  My favourite kind is, I suspect, from the Turkish or Iranian end of the world, rather than the Greek, being full of cardamom and cinnamon, studded with cloves and drenched in a syrup infused with lemon juice, rosewater and honey.

Could this work in a raw truffle, without making it all too wet to stick together?  As it happens, it really can, and I’m extremely pleased with the way these little baklava balls turned out – they really do taste like the baklava I make, minus the filo pastry.  Healthy baklava!  And I’m finding I don’t even miss the pastry that much.

(Oh God, I shouldn’t have written that down, because now I am possessed by a craving for the baklava they make down at Zaatar… which I DO NOT need, since my house is still full of truffle balls of various flavours…)

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Recipe: Yoghurt and Almond Cake with Lemon and Rhubarb

I’ve been haunted by this cake all week.  It’s been calling to me from my fridge (where the beautiful new yoghurt sits), from my fruit-stand (where the tiny, perfumed lemons are placed), from my vegetable box, where half a bunch of rhubarb is awaiting its destiny.  I can almost taste it in my mind – the perfumed sourness of the lemons and rhubarb, the mellowness of the almond and the syrup and the yoghurt, the softness of the drenched cake…

… the warmth and cosiness of my bed, which is much more appealing than baking in my current tired and rather depressed state…


But who could be depressed while contemplating this beauty of a cake?

I can’t claim that this cake sprang, fully-formed and Athena-like from my brow, but it has certainly evolved into quite a precise recipe without much effort on my part.  As I write this, the syrup is simmering on the stove and the cake is still in the oven, but I *know* this cake now, I’ve thought about it in between meetings and grants and before going to sleep.  I’ve even dreamed about it.  I know it’s going to be good.

PS – Oh, it really, really is.  Wow.  It’s like a lemon delicious pudding in moist, glorious cake form, with rhubarb.  It almost makes up for Australian politics.  Almost.  It’s definitely one of my best cakes, anyway.

Your Shopping List

200 g self-raising flour
110 g ground almonds (conveniently packet-sized, see what I did there?)
100 g caster sugar + 3 tsp (for the tin)
50 g brown sugar
a pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder
375 g rhubarb
2 large eggs
250 g plain thick yoghurt (Greek is good, but any well-set yoghurt will do)
150 ml olive oil
3 small lemons
80 g white sugar

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Recipe: Tangy Lemon Yoghurt Cake with Rosemary and Raspberries

closeToday was Mothers’ Day, and we therefore planned to have afternoon tea at my brother’s house.  My sister-in-law was doing something decadently chocolatolicious, so I figured I’d complement this with a nice, tangy lemon and yoghurt cake. 

Then, of course, they had raspberries at the market, and I’m now out of vegetable oil, so I had to use extra virgin olive oil instead, and as I was getting that out, my eye fell on the dried rosemary. My mother’s name is Rosemary, rosemary goes well with lemon, the rest was inevitable…

Speaking of inevitable, I made this cake in a rose-shaped Bundt tin.  Getting it out was a nightmare wrapped in a disaster inside a very, very bad idea.  Do not do what I did!  Use a plain Bundt tin, or a plain ring tin, or, in a pinch, a perfectly ordinary round tin (just bearing in mind that it may take a little longer to cook through, because there will be nothing conducting heat in the middle).  Trust me, your life will be much easier.  And this cake is such a lovely, simple thing – why traumatise yourself by having it come out of the tin with bits missing?

Your Shopping List

80 ml extra virgin olive oil
2 eggs
zest and juice of two lemons (save the juice of one for the icing)
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
280 g Greek yoghurt
250 g caster, white or icing sugar (basically whatever you can find in the pantry, but I don’t think brown would be ideal), plus 200 g icing sugar for the icing
200 g self-raising flour
100 g almond meal
1 tsp baking powder
125 g fresh raspberries


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Recipe: Strawberry, Lemon and Walnut Balls

Just a quick post today – I have a whole bunch of things in the works to write about, but I somehow wound up spending a lot of the afternoon making the aforementioned elaborate pasta bake for friends who are coming to dinner this evening and have no idea of the overcatering in store for them (and these are friends who have been at my Shakespeare Feasts, I might add).  Since they will be arriving pretty shortly, and I still need to make the orange and fennel salad and the olive toasts and the balsamic strawberries, and also to clear the table, today is clearly the day for more raw truffles.

I made these raw truffles for Rhiannon and Reed’s recent wedding.  They were actually a last-minute, made-up-on-the-spot recipe, after a different one failed dismally, so I don’t really know for sure what I put into them.  It was all a bit of a haze.  They were rather imperfect – walnuts do seem to release a lot of oil in my food processor – but very popular, and I was asked for the recipe.  This is my best-guess reconstruction, still imperfect, but nonetheless tasty.

Your Shopping List

100 g walnuts
zest of one lemon, and a teaspoon or two of juice
100 g dried strawberries, preferably reasonably fresh ones, because if they are too dessicated they will never stick together
a tablespoon of agave nectar or honey (may not be needed, depending on the stickiness of strawberries)

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