Man Flu Is Pretty Bad After All and Lemons in the form of Cake to the Rescue!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

The last couple of weeks our house has been under the weather.  First my husband had it so I naturally dismissed it as a case of man flu...then I was felled too.  Runny noses, aches and shivers, coughs and a throat that felt like I swallowed a bag of razor blades.  I feel like all I’ve been eating is soup and the different flavours started to become indistinguishable.  Now I’m emerging the other side my taste buds and appetite are both making a small come back.  So even though I have many excellent soup recipes in my arsenal I don’t want to think about soup for a bit.  I’d much rather talk about this cake instead.

I mentioned this cake a while back and I’ve made it often this year.  For some reason I’ve never quite gotten round to posting the recipe which comes from the ever inspiring blog Sprouted Kitchen.  It’s moist, has a wonderful kick of lemon and lasts for several days if you can resist eating it all in one go.  Please don’t skip the lemon glaze.  It is a very easy extra step and really gives the cake a strong zap of lemon flavour and adds a nice crunch to the outside. 

I’m writing the recipe up here even though I didn’t change much so that you have the flours by weight should you choose to bake that way.  Enjoy.  It will brighten up the greyest of winter days!
2 large eggs
120ml olive oil
60ml plain natural yoghurt
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 tablespoons lemon juice
120g total demerara sugar
120g ground almonds
100g brown rice flour
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Lemon Glaze
1/3 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons demerara sugar
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4, 180°C, 350°F
Line a 9” loaf tin with parchment paper and set aside.
In a bowl mix together the eggs, oil, yoghurt, lemon zest and juice. 
In a large bowl combine the flour, almonds, sugar, ground flaxseed, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Combine the dry ingredients with the wet and mix well.  Pour the mixture in to your prepared loaf pan and bake for 40 – 50 minutes.
While the cake is baking make the glaze.  Combine the lemon juice and sugar in a saucepan and cook over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved.  When the cake is ready remove from the oven and allow to cool for ten minutes before inverting the cake on to a cooling rack.  Prick holes in the top of the cake and pour over the lemon glaze.  Allow the cake to continue to cool completely as it absorbs the lemon glaze.

Butternut Squash, Pecan, Goat’s Cheese and Honey Toasts

Saturday, 7 December 2013

I suppose I have to admit that winter is upon us.  The leaves are dropping from the trees in rapid succession, some of them are already bare, others are hanging on to their golden nuggets until those blustery winter winds finally win the battle and send them heading to the ground.  Soon we’ll be hanging Christmas decorations (most of you probably already have) and before we know it welcoming in a new year.  I’m not quite ready to let go of autumn yet so I’ve been taking quite a few photos of our weekend walks before winter is well and truly here and I forget all about those sometimes golden, sometimes grey skies.

I am also enjoying all things butternut squash.  You have been warned.  Last weekend when I was hunting around for something to eat for lunch I reached for the River Cottage Veg book which always seems to yield something tasty and easy that I can throw together.  The recipe uses sourdough as the bread of choice, which I am sure would be the way to go, however since I’ve yet to try making gluten free sourdough, sub whatever gluten free bread you have.  It will still taste fantastic, I promise.  Here the slightly sweet, caramelized flavour of the roasted squash is balanced out by melted goat’s cheese, toasted pecans and it’s all finished off with a drizzle of honey.  I threw in some kale too, but you should expect that of me by now.

Recipe adapted from River Cottage Veg Everyday! by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Serves 2
A handful of toasted pecans (or nut of choice)
1 tablespoon olive oil
200-250g butternut squash, peeled and cut into bite size cubes
2 leaves of cavolo nero kale (optional) stems removed and chopped
1 teaspoon dried rosemary or thyme
50g goat’s cheese (I used hard goat’s cheese, you could also use cheddar)
2 thick slices of gluten free bread, toasted
A trickle of clear honey
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 200°C, 400°F
Line a baking sheet with parchment.  Lay the squash out in a single layer, sprinkle with rosemary and drizzle with olive oil.  Roast for about 30 – 40 minutes until the squash is tender and beginning to caramelize around the edges.  If you are using the kale I add this to the pan five minutes before the squash is ready.  You just want the kale wilted in the heat of the oven.

When the squash is nearly ready light the grill and lightly toast the bread.  Remove from the grill and top with the squash, kale, goat’s cheese, pecans and finish with a drizzle of honey.  Return to the grill and cook until the cheese is melted and bubbling.