Saturday, 26 February 2011

Lemon Carbonara

This Lemon Carbonara is an interesting variation on the original that packs a full of flavour punch. The recipe is one I found on Beth’s blog at “Jam and Clotted Cream”, a fellow blogger with a blog full of yummy recipes and certainly worth a visit.

This is a light refreshing, quick and easy dish which hubby enjoyed even though it is meat free. It is a recipe that will feature regularly in my kitchen, with the bonus of it being a low in fat and satisfying meal.

Lemon Carbonara

Serves 2
150g spaghetti
1 egg
2 tbsp low-fat Fromage frais or Creme Fraiche
Zest of 1 lemon
Handful of grated Parmesan
Small handful of chopped parsley
Salt and pepper

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the spaghetti - cook according to packet instructions.
Meanwhile in a bowl mix together the egg, lemon zest, low fat fromage frais or creme fraiche and Parmesan and season.
When the spaghetti is cooked, drain and return to pan then quickly toss through the lemon sauce. Sprinkle over the parsley and serve with extra Parmesan.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Lemon Blueberry Bread

It really feels good to have found my baking mojo again and hubby is certainly one happy chappy. Although I did quite a bit of baking over xmas, I have not done much since then. I bought some blueberries the other day that were half price and I’d forgotten all about them until this morning. Thankfully they were still edible so I decided to search out a recipe to make use of them.

I came across this Lemon Blueberry Bread online and decided it was the one! This bread is bursting with big juicy blueberries and the lemon infused sponge is light yet moist. The hot lemony glaze applied on removal from the oven adds an extra citrus layer to complete the flavour experience.

Lemon Blueberry Bread

1 ½ cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
¾ cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest (outer yellow skin of the lemon)
½ cup (120 ml) milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Lemon Glaze:
¼ cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the centre of the oven. Butter (or spray with a non stick vegetable spray) the bottom and sides of a loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inch) (23 x 13 x 8 cm).

In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until softened (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture (in three additions) and milk (in two additions) alternately, starting and ending with the flour. Mix only until combined.

Gently fold in the blueberries.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 55 to 65 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, bring the 1/4 cup (50 grams) of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of lemon juice to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves.

When the bread is done, remove from oven and place on a wire rack. Pierce the hot loaf all over with a wooden skewer or toothpick and then brush the top of the loaf with the hot lemon glaze. Cool the loaf in the pan for about 30 minutes then remove from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack. This bread is best served on the day it is made.

Makes 1 loaf.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Love Buns

Hi all, I am back from a bit of an extended break from the blogging world. I will not go into the why’s etc but I've just been busy with life and enjoying my beautiful grandson.

Its Valentines and what a perfect excuse for a bit of baking and blogging! I’ve been thoroughly spoiled by my hubby with roses, chocolates and some David Smallcombe sterling silver cuff bracelets I have been lusting after. He worked from home today so he wouldn’t be late home from the office to enjoy a lovely dinner together. My intention was to bake his favourite Custard Cream Heart cookies but everywhere was sold out of vegetable shortening. So I decided to bake these Love Buns to mark the occasion. I’ve baked these in the past and they have a very light and fluffy sponge. I never make the white frosting the recipe specifies. Personally I can’t stand it and I prefer to use buttercream, which tastes and looks so much more appealing. Of course I had to dye my buttercream pink and add some Valentine sprinkles. I hope everyone is having a wonderful Valentine’s Day and being spoiled rotten.

Love Buns

For the buns
125g soft butter
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g plain flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp real vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp milk

Buttercream Icing
150g (5oz) butter, softened
300g (11 oz) icing (confectioners) sugar, sifted
1 tbsp milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
Edible pink food colouring
Sprinkles for decoration of choice

Take everything out of the fridge to bring to room temperature - this makes a huge difference to the lightness of the love buns later - preheat the oven to 200oC/fan oven 180oC/gas mark 6.

Put all the ingredients for the buns, except for the milk, into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Pulse while adding the milk down the funnel, to make a smooth dropping consistency.

Divide the mixture into a 12-bun muffin tin lined with muffin papers or heart patterned cases, and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. They should have risen and be golden on top: you want a little peak if possible.

Let them cool a little in their tin on a rack, and then take them carefully out of the tin to cool in their papers, still on the wire rack.

To make the buttercream, beat the butter until soft. Add the icing sugar and stir until it’s just mixed in, then add the milk and vanilla and beat until light and fluffy. Add few drops of food colouring and beat.

Spread the icing on thickly with a palette knife on top of each cupcake or put the icing into a piping back and make a large swirl on top of each cupcake. Decorate each cupcake with your chosen sprinkles.

Ollie my grandson is now 3 months and a bundle of love and joy in my life!