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November, 2013

  1. We have mail!

    November 2, 2013 by sarah

    I have now added an email address if you would like to contact me directly. It is

    And a facebook page


  2. Eggs and Lemons Part Deux – Lemon and Poppyseed Cake

    November 2, 2013 by sarah

    With the excess eggs and lemons, I also made a lemon poppyseed cake. This came out a bit denser than I like for a sponge though I understand Maderia sponges are supposed to be like this. Next time I will try adding a little (maybe half a teaspoon) of baking powder and see if it lightens the mixture up a touch.

    Lemon and Poppyseed cake
    From ‘How To Be A Domestic Goddess’ by Nigella Lawson
    240 softened unsalted butter
    200g caster sugar
    grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
    2 tablespoon of poppyseeds
    3 large eggs (or 4 medium), beaten
    210g self-raising flour
    90g plain flour
    Line and butter a 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin.
    Cream the butter and sugar, then add the lemon zest. Add the eggs one at a time with a tablesppon of flour for each. Then fold in the rest of the flour and the poppyseeds and finally the lemon juice. Sprinkle with caster sugar.
    Bake at 170 (150 fan) for an hour or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool in the tin before turning out.
    Unfortunately I had to cook this at the same time as the pastry for the lemon meringue tart, which meant it was at too high temperature and it burnt slightly round the edges. Also my fan oven isn’t very even and I forgot to turn the cake. Will not do that again!
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  3. What to do with eggs and lemons? Lemon Meringue Tart

    November 2, 2013 by sarah

    This week I found an egg mountain in my fridge. Well not so much a mountain as I am not sure if you could stack eggs high enough to make a mountain, but a whole box of my girls’ eggs hiding at the back of the fridge. They are starting their annual moult which is when egg production slumps so these eggs are very precious and deserving of a fitting baking project.

    I am not a fruit pie girl. I suppose it stems from my innate fear of pastry, which I am slowly over coming, and lack of tummy space for a desert after dinner but why should pie be restricted to a particular time of day. In fact, I have enjoyed it for breakfast for several days and though I am sure it would not be good for one to do this on a regular basis, it does have a naughty twinkle-in-the-eye element! And it contains eggs and fruit, what is more healthy than that!

    Lemon Meringue Tart
    Recipe from ‘The Great British Book of Baking’ (BBC Books)
    For the sweet shortcrust pastry
    • 175g plain flour
    • 115g unsalted butter, chilled and diced
    • 1 tablespoon caster sugar
    • a good pinch of salt
    • 1 medium egg yolk, with 2 tablespoons ice-cold water
    For the lemon filling
    • 3 medium unwaxed lemons
    • 40g cornflour
    • 300ml water
    • 3 medium egg yolks
    • 85g caster sugar
    • 50g unsalted butter, diced
    For the meringue topping
    • 4 medium egg whites
    • 200g caster sugar
    A 22cm loose-based deep flan tin.
    Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the dry ingredients until it looks like bread crumbs. Using a round-tipped knife, mix in the egg yolk mixture. Knead for a minimal time to bring together. Wrap this in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.
    Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and then use to line the flan tin. Prick the base with a fork and put in the freezer for 15 minutes while the oven heats to fan 170. I like to leave a little extra pastry all around the edge to account for shrinkage and then trim this off after the first part of the blind bake as you remove the baking beans.
    Line the pastry case with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans. Heston (de Blummental) likes to use copper coins for this but I’ve never tried this way as I have the beans. Bake for 15 minutes, remove from the oven and trim the edge and return to the oven for another 5 minutes, take out and leave to cool. Do NOT over cook the pastry as it will turn burnt and bitter and it will be getting further baking anyway.
    Make the filling by grating the zest of the lemons into a heatproof bowl, adding the lemon juice and cornflour, stirring until a smooth paste is formed. In a pan bring the water to a boil then pour it over the lemon mixture, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. When thoroughly combined, tip all the mixture back into the pan and put on the heat, stirring constantly until it boils and thickens. Reduce the heat to a simmer and keep stirring for another minute. Remove from the heat and quickly beat in the egg yolks then the sugar and butter. Leave to cool.
    Make the meringue topping by whisking the egg whites until soft peaks and then add the sugar a tablespoon at a time until it is well dissolved and the resulting mixture is glossy and stiff.
    Fill the pie by spreading the lemon mixture over the pastry case then topping with the meringue, making sure the meringue goes all the way to pastry edges. Stand the tart on a hot baking tray and bake for 15-20 minutes. Leave to cool to room temperature before unmoulding and serving but eat the same day other wise the meringue will weep and liquid will come out of your tart/pie. From searching online, this is a common problem and there doesn’t seem to be any sure way of avoiding it except by eating the pie straight away. No excuse needed!
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