Lemon Cupcakes

Had a very busy weekend but decided to do more baking; not having much butter though it limited what I could make this afternoon so I made a small batch of lemon cupcakes. They are simple, quick to make and being small in size cool fast so they can be decorated much quicker.

Lemon Cupcakes
Makes 12 cupcakes

Ingredients

For the Cupcakes
– 4oz Butter
– 4oz Caster Sugar
– 2 Eggs
– Zest of 1 Lemon
– 4oz Self Raising Flour
– 2tbsp Milk

For the Icing
– 2 Cups Icing Sugar
– Juice of 2 Lemons
– Sweets to decorate

Method

Preheat the oven to 170degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together until creamy. Add the lemon zest and mix through.
Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until well combined.
Sift in the flour and stir through and finally add the milk and give it a good final mix until it’s well combined.

Spoon the mixture into paper cases, should make exactly 12.
Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20mins.

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When cooked through remove from the oven.

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Cool completely on a wire rack.

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Begin preparing the icing, sift the icing into a bowl and then add the lemon juice and mix well until you achieve a thick icing. It should be quite stiff, if it’s too runny add more icing sugar or if it’s too stiff add a little more lemon juice or a little cold water.

Spoon the icing onto each cupcake and top with a sweet of your choice. I use the lemon and orange sweets – you can buy them from your local supermarket from the baking aisle.

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Eat and enjoy!

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Serving suggestion – great with a nice pot of tea. 🙂

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Brilliant Brunch

I really enjoy meeting up with friends and visiting cafés and restaurants. I adore a good natter over a good coffee and good food – what could be better?!

As it turned out we had a lazy morning ( well day really) and headed out for brunch. It didn’t disappoint.

There’s a local bar/café which served food in the day and evening but also has a bar so at weekends is popular for it’s social night life. Although I’ve been in for drinks with friends I’ve never really been in the day for a bite to eat.

I ordered the Eggs Florentine; that is a poached egg with hollandaise sauce, on a toasted muffin with spinach. As opposed to Eggs Benedict which is served with ham instead of spinach.

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It was beautifully presented and was a welcome treat. Included in the price was either tea, coffee or juice which I thought was very reasonable too.

I’ve since visited and enjoyed the Greek Salad…very good value for money, as I do find salads can be over priced for what you get. However this was not overpriced and you got plenty!

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My Review

RATING: 8/10
ADDRESS: 2 Breck Road, Poulton-le-Fylde, England.
COMMENT: Friendly service, lovely menu and provides a good café by day and a good transition to bar by night.

Paella and Tapas Meal

Having travelled to the Canary Islands I have fallen in love with Spanish food. Although I’ve never been to mainland Spain (on my long list of places to visit) I thoroughly enjoyed the seafood dishes and of course, tapas. A friend found a guitar in a corner of the restaurant and just started playing a tune – even though it had a string missing! Hehe. What an atmosphere. We had an absolute scream. The staff were great and it really made the place come alive.

I thoroughly enjoyed the ambience and lovely, warm welcome on arrival. Not a huge restaurant but big enough for a large party to be catered for. The decor was very Spanish, with terracotta colours and a two fab art designs of a black bull and a flamenco dancer…a real feast for the eyes.

We ordered tapas including, calamari, chorizo, king prawns in a garlic sauce and homemade bread with allioli. We enjoyed sangria to wash it all down…..yummy!

The star of the show though was the paella! It was absolutely fabulous, piping hot served straight from the pan. (The best bits were the chunks of rice stuck to the bottom of the pan, crispy and packed with flavour.) It contained meat, chicken, and fish, so it had the best of both worlds and it was such a crowd pleaser.

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Lovely meal with my family. 🙂

We were so full afterwards, didn’t have room for dessert. Churros is a must next time, dipped in chocolate sauce.

Highly recommend this place and it had definitely inspired me to get creative in the kitchen. I’ll be on the look out for a Spanish cookery book – to add to my ever growing collection. Well you never can have too many books.
Even better hopefully go back to the Canary Islands or even visit mainland Spain someday.

My Review
RATING: 9/10
ADDRESS: Espanol Restaurant, 4 Queens Square, Poulton-le-Fylde, England.
COMMENT: Muy buena comida.

Visit more reviews here.

Jamie Oliver’s Cypriot Chicken

What a glorious day it is today; perfect weather to be cooking up summery food; no more pies and puddings.

I was flicking through my ever growing selection of cookery books and found this delightful recipe for Cypriot Chicken by Jamie Oliver taken from his 30 Minute Meals book. It was surprisingly quite simple. Although I’d never made it before, it turned out lovely.

Jamie Oliver pan fried his chicken completely but just to ensure it was cooked through I finished mine off in the oven. Plus my chicken breasts were larger than his so they took longer to cook.

It was really tasty and had the flavours of being on holiday. Yummy! A really summery dish for a gloriously sunny day – give this one a try.

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Cypriot Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients

Small Bunch of Flat Leaf Parsley
Small Bunch of Fresh Basil
1 Jar of Sun-dried Tomatoes in Oil
Garlic
Feta Cheese
Lemon Zest
4 Chicken Breasts
Fresh Rosemary

Method

I chopped the herbs, sun dried tomatoes, garlic, feta and lemon zest.

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Then I mixed them all together and stuffed into the chicken.

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I pan fried them in a hot pan to gain some colour and finished in a hot oven, to ensure they were cooked through.

I served it with Nigella Lawson’s New Orleans Coleslaw from her Nigella Express cook book. Find the recipe here.

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It was such a cracking meal, a real summery dish…more to come. Roll on summer!!!! 🙂
Have a good weekend everyone.

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Cappuccino Pavlova

I love meringue but have never been brave enough to try it myself. Always frightened it won’t thicken up. I’ve found that you shouldn’t be afraid of it, it’s easier to under whisk than over whisk. I was watching cookery programmes, no surprise there; I’m absolutely hooked on them, and Nigella Lawson made a fabulous Pavlova but with a difference. She made it coffee flavoured and it actually looked like a cappuccino. So pretty and she made it look so easy I thought…I’ll give it a go.

I love the coffee flavour and silky pale beige colour it has, like silk it’s a real favourite of mine. Fantastico Nigella!

Cappuccino Pavlova
By Nigella Lawson, Nigellissima

Ingredients

-250g Caster Sugar
-4tsp Instant Espresso
-4 Egg Whites
-2tsp cornflour
-1tsp White Wine Vinegar
-300ml Double Cream
-1tbsp Cocoa Powder, for dusting

METHOD

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350°F. Line a flat oven sheet with baking parchment and, using a 23cm/9inch cake tin, draw a circle on it.
Mix the sugar with the instant espresso powder in a small bowl and set aside.

In a clean, grease-free metal bowl whisk the egg whites until they are holding soft peaks. Keep whisking while you add the sugar-coffee mixture a tablespoon at a time.

When you have a firm, ecru-coloured meringue, fold in the cornflour and vinegar using a grease-free metal spoon.

Dollop the meringue mixture inside the drawn circle. Smooth and shape it with a spatula so that it looks rather like the crown of a boater: it must be flat on top.

Put it in the oven and immediately turn down to 150°C/gas mark 3/300°F and cook for an hour. Switch off the oven and leave inside until cool.

Once the base is cool, lift it carefully in its paper and place it top-side down on a flat plate and peel off the paper.
Whip the double cream until thick but soft and spread delicately over the top of the meringue. With a teaspoon, push the cocoa through a fine sieve or tea strainer to decorate the top, cappuccino-style.

Find the Recipe here; Nigella.com

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Market Day

Walking through my local town on a glorious day, stumbled across the farmers market. What a treat! Lovely seeing local produce available fresh for us to buy.

There were stalls for fruit and vegetables; the colours were beautiful. Fantastic how they use brown paper bags for your purchases. No plastic bags in sight! Marvellous.
Rows and rows of pretty flowers wrapped daintily in bright paper.
Hot food stalls including; doughnuts, Indian Delights, ice cream, cakes, freshly baked bread, need I go on.

The smells were unbelievable. Combined with live music courtesy of a local man playing a saxophone in the town square, was a dreamy afternoon.

I waltzed along to a man playing the saxophone, the smell of baked bread and cakes, scented flowers and the chatter of local people. A truly delightful day; look forward to the next market day.

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Flapjacks

Flapjacks

These always remind me of being a child, my mum would make a huge tray of them. Brings back lovely memories of helping my mum in the kitchen as a child and enjoying licking cake bowls. 😊

Flapjacks

Ingredients
12oz Butter
4oz Brown Sugar
2tbsp Golden Syrup
16oz Rolled Oats

Method
Preheat the oven to 160degrees. Lightly grease a 20cm square baking dish.

On a low heat, in a large pan melt the butter, sugar and syrup together until the sugar is completely dissolved. Keep stirring it so it doesn’t catch on the bottom. When it is melted take off the heat.

Measure out the oats and add to the pan and mix thoroughly so all the oats are well coated.

Place in the prepared baking dish. Spread out evenly and level out so it is equal depth to ensure even cooking.

Bake for 20mins until lightly coloured on top.
Allow to cool completely before portioning and serving.

For a variation you can melt some chocolate on top too. Enjoy!

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The recipe taken from my mums cookery book; I doubled it to make a larger tray!! Love hand written cookery books, a real family treasure. 😊