Orange Cake and Lemonade

If the weather holds this weekend this cake is the perfect accompaniment to a sunny garden afternoon. A rich lemon mousse, sweet whipped cream and crushed raspberries drizzled with Framboise, sandwiched between two layers of orange scented sponge. The combination was arrived at by accident. Surplus filling, begging not to be wasted, from our Easter lemon tart (I had made a 20cm case rather than the 25cm indicated).

 Serve with fresh lemonade (recipe below), iced coffee served with a dollop of the coffee ice-cream, or posh tea (lady grey with a slice of lemon).

Keep Safe Keep Well. Continue reading

Beetroot and Cumin Soup with Dumplings

Deep ruby red, velvety smooth, a satisfying mingle of sweet and umami. What’s not to like about beetroot soup. The small, slightly al-dente, Ukrainian style dumplings add a lively zing of horseradish, making for a very satisfying meal.

Stock: Stock is the vital ingredient in soup. Its flavours can make or break the final result. Too strong or too salty and it overpowers. To pallid and it’s difficult to balance the flavours. We have been cooking from scratch this past month, wasting as little food as possible. Chickens and Hams have been poached, not roasted, and vegetable scraps simmered, flushing out the final remnants of goodness and taste. This has meant a plentiful supply of good stocks for casseroles and soups.

Ham stock was the stock of choice for this recipe. I think the slight saltiness balances well with the sweetness of the beetroot. Traditionally though a beetroot soup would have a beef stock base.   If you haven’t any home-made stocks chose a good quality ready-made, beef or chicken stock.   For a vegetarian base white miso offers an interesting  depth and a slightly salty flavour.

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Thyme and Pepper Crackers

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Once a week our intrepid designated-shopper ventures out, suitably gloved (trendy blue rubber), protectively scarfed, and armed with a very long list.

I haven’t been supermarket shopping for a month. Not since my trip to prepare for my homecoming brood. I returned that afternoon ashen and visibly shaken. Quite traumatised, in-fact, by the row-after-row of empty shelves that had accosted  me. The long-and-the-short is that my ‘captive tasters’, aka the brood, have banned me from shopping and chained me to the cooker! Don’t worry it’s the best place for me. Continue reading

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