Blueberry and Lemon Cake
This cake makes a delicious dessert cake with its cheese cake style topping or with a cup of tea as a treat.
150g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
190g caster sugar
1 lemon, zest and 2tbsp juice
1tsp vanilla paste or extract
3 large eggs, beaten
100g self-raising flour
100g ground almonds
200g full fat cream cheese
4 tbsp best lemon curd
Preheat the oven to 170C, grease and line a 20cm spring form or loose bottom tin, with baking parchment. Put the butter and caster sugar in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric hand mixer or wooden spoon until light and fluffy. Beat in the lemon zest, juice and vanilla. Add the beaten eggs in small amounts, scraping down the sides of the bowl. The mix may split a little but it will come back together. Add the flour and stir in using a large metal spoon followed by the ground almonds. Fold in 150g blueberries, keeping the rest for the top. Pour into the prepared tin and cook for 40 to 50 minutes or until risen, firm to touch and springs back when lightly pressed. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then take out of the tin and cool on a wire rack.
Put the cream cheese into a bowl and beat lightly. Add the lemon curd beat until completely mixed together. Chill the cream cheese topping in the fridge until ready to serve the cake. Spread over the cake and top with the blueberries.
Hollandaise can be a tricky but this is an easy version and good if you are in a hurry.
200ml crème fraiche, full fat
1 tsp cornflour
2 large egg yolks
2tsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp lemon juice
30g butter, softened
Prepare the asparagus by snapping off the woody ends. If you want the chef style look, run a speedy peeler over the ends to make them very tender and pretty. Steam the asparagus according to preference.
Meanwhile, spoon the crème fraiche into a small saucepan, then add the rest of the ingredients except the butter. Whisk them all together with a whisk, then over a medium heat, bring the whole lot up to simmering point, whisking continuously, until the sauce has thickened. Now remove it from the heat, taste and add seasoning, more vinegar or lemon juice if needed. Whisk in the butter and serve with the steamed asparagus. The sauce can be reheated, if made in advance.
Summer Berry Shortcakes
These little shortcakes are very like a scone mix but using an American shortcake recipe. They are best eaten on the day but can be gently warmed if you have any left.
325g plain flour
1tbsp baking powder
4tbsp caster sugar
125g unsalted butter chilled
1 large egg
125ml single cream
1 tbsp milk
Berry jam of choice
Whipped cream, clotted cream or mascarpone
Fresh strawberries, raspberries or blueberries
Preheat the oven to 190C and line a flat baking tray with baking parchment. Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and 3tbsp of caster sugar in a large mixing bowl. Cut the chilled butter into tiny pieces and add to the dry ingredients. Using your fingertips rub the butter into the flour mix, until the mixture resembles fine bread crumbs. Mix the egg and cream together, using a fork. Pour into the flour mixture, a little at a time, mixing with the fork until you have soft dough. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and roll to a thickness of about 2cm. Using a 2cm cutter, cut out rounds and place on the lined baking tray, re-rolling scraps , you should get about 6. Brush the tops with the milk and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on a wire rack and when cooled, cut in half, spread with chosen jam, top with your choice of cream and berries. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
200g of extra fine beans
100g of asparagus tips
150g of sugar snap peas
1 tsp grated lemon rind
Preparation and cooking time:
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the beans and cook for 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for a further 3 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Once cooked, drain the vegetables and place back in the pan. Add the grated lemon rind and the butter, and stir over a low heat until the butter has melted. Ensure the vegetables are evenly coated in the butter sauce, then serve.
This recipe works brilliantly as a starter, or as an addition to spring lamb.
200g of asparagus
100g of cherry tomatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
Preparation and cooking time:
Place the asparagus on a baking tray and scatter around cherry tomatoes. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over the vegetables and add salt and black pepper as desired. Cook in a preheated oven at 200 degrees / gas mark 7, for 10-12 minutes. Serve straight from the oven, and sparingly drizzle balsamic vinegar to decorate. Finally, top with parmesan shavings.
6 apricots, washed, halved and stoned
3 peaches, washed, halved and stoned
3 nectarines, washed, halved and stoned
3 tbsp soft, light brown sugar
2 tbsp sweet wine, such as Sauternes
50g pistachios, roughly chopped
250g mascarpone cream
2tbsp vanilla sugar
Heat the oven to 180C, 160C fan oven, mark 4. Place the fruits cut side down in a large oven proof dish. Sprinkle over the sugar and wine, dot with the butter and scatter over the pistachios. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, basting the fruit after 10 minutes. Meanwhile, make the mascarpone cream by mixing the mascarpone and sugar together.
Serve the fruit hot with a little of the syrup produced during cooking spooned over the top and a spoonful of the mascarpone cream.
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp Cajun seasoning
4 10’’ flour tortillas
1 Cos lettuce, torn
0.5 cucumber, roughly chopped
1 red onion, finely sliced
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Avocado, cut into chunks
1 red chilli, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
100ml soured cream
Coriander leaves to garnish
Salt & black pepper
1. Cut each chicken breast in half lengthways and flatten with a rolling pin between two sheets of cling film, until they are 5mm. Rub the chicken in the Cajun seasoning covering and leave to marinade for 10-20minutes.
2. Place the tortilla in an oiled oven proof bowl, place the same size bowl inside and bake in a hot oven for 5 minutes, remove the internal bowl and return to the oven for a further 2-3 minutes until brown and crisp. Remove tortilla from the bowl and allow to cool. Repeat with the remaining tortilla.
3. Heat a chargrill pan and brush with oil. Chargrill the chicken until cooked through. Slice the chicken into thick strips.
4. Put the olive oil, vinegar and garlic in a jug, season with salt and black pepper and whisk together.
5. In a large bowl toss the salad leaves, chopped chilli, cucumber, onion, tomatoes and avocado. Add the dressing and toss together.
6. Fill the tortilla bowls with the salad and top with strips of chicken.
7. Garnish with coriander leaves and several dollops of soured cream.
700g ripe tomatoes – Buy tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 large sweet potato – Buy Sweet Potatoes
425ml boiling water
1tbsp tomato puree
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Basil leaves to garnish
Salt & black pepper
Preheat the oven 190C, 375F, gas mark 5
1. Skin the tomatoes and cut each in half. Arrange the tomatoes cut side up in a roasting tray. Top with a drizzle extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic and season with salt and pepper.
2. Put the tomatoes into the preheated oven and cook for approximately 50minutes, until soft and slightly frazzled.
3. Meanwhile peel and chop the sweet potato into medium sized pieces. Place in a saucepan with the boiling water, tomato puree and some salt and pepper; simmer for 20 minutes, or until soft.
4. When the tomatoes are ready, remove from the oven and place into a food processor or blender, blend. Add the sweet potato with the tomato liquid and blend again.
5. To serve put the soup into a saucepan and heat gently, if too thick add water until the desired texture is achieved. Season to taste.
6. Serve the soup garnished with basil leaves and serve with crusty bread or crisp breads.