Nigella Lawson’s Perfect Every Time Lemon Drizzle Cake

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time:  45 minutes

I made this Lemon Drizzle Cake for the first time to take to a gathering. I can say, it lived up to the name…perfect even at first attempt. Hubby loved the cake. He wasn’t overly excited at first but came around and told me the cake was good. Our friends loved it too.

I made slight adjustments to the quantities for the ingredients. The recipe is taken from Nigella’s book ‘How To Be a Domestic Goddess’.

Delicious Lemon Loaf Cake

Delicious Lemon Loaf Cake

Ingredients:

Adapted from Nigella Lawson – How To Be A Domestic Goddess
Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake
125g unsalted butter – softened
175g caster sugar ~ I used 160g
2 large eggs
zest of 1 lemon ~ I used zest of 2 lemons
175g self raising flour
pinch of salt
4 tablespoons milk
23x13x7cm loaf tin buttered and lined

For the syrup:
juice of 1 and a half lemons
100g icing sugar ~ I used 80g

For the glaze:
juice of 1/2 a lemon
150g icing sugar ~ 3 tablespoons of icing sugar

Serves 12

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Grease and line the bottom and the sides of the loaf tin.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy using the electric mixer or wooden spoon. This should take 2-3 minutes with electric mixer.
  3. Add lemon zest and eggs. Add egg one at a time. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour into the mixture.
  4. Add the flour and salt. At this point, use spatula or wooden spoon to mix the batter. Mix just enough until flour is well combined. Do not over-mix.
  5. Add milk and stir well to mix.
  6. Pour batter into the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.
  7. For the syrup, put the lemon juice and icing sugar in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. As soon as the cake is out from the oven, puncture all over with skewer/cocktail stick and pour over the syrup.
  8. Leave cake to cool completely before removing it from the tin ~ about an hour.
  9. For the glaze, combine icing sugar and lemon juice until smooth and white. Once the cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze over the cake.

Serve with a dollop of crème fraîche and a cup of tea.

Note:
– Beat butter and sugar well to get lots of air into the mixture.
– Sieve the self-raising flour twice to ensure no lumps.

Victoria Sponge Cake

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time:  25 minutes

A simple to make cake – minimal ingredients, full satisfaction. In my personal encounter of cake baking, this is so far the easiest, simplest and quickest cake to make.

Traditional Victoria Sponge Cake Sandwich with cream and jam

Delicious Victoria Sponge Cake with cream and strawberry jam

Ingredients:

225g self-raising flour
225g unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
4 large free range eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
284ml double/light cream, lightly whipped
6 tablespoons of strawberry jam
½ teaspoon icing sugar

Serves 8

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180oC. Grease and line the bottom of two 8” (20cm) tins.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy using the electric mixer or wooden spoon. This should take 2-3 minutes with electric mixer.
  3. Add egg one at a time. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour into the mixture.
  4. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  5. Pour the flour and baking powder mixture. At this point, use spatula or wooden spoon to mix the batter. Mix just enough until flour is well combined. Do not over-mix.
  6. Divide the mixture between the two tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. Do not be tempted to open the door, but after 20 minutes do look through the door to check.
  7. Cakes are done when they spring back when pressed gently and are pale golden in color. Let them cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Then gently remove them from the tins and cool completely on a cooling rack.
  8. To assemble the cake, place on cake on a plate and spread it with the jam and whipped cream. Then carefully put the second cake on top.
  9. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Serve as a dessert or a tasty tea-time treat with a cuppa!!!

Victoria Sponge Cake Sandwich with cream and jam

Tea-time treat: Victoria Sponge Cake

Note:
– Beat butter and sugar well to get lots of air into the mixture.
– Sieve the baking powder together with the self-raising flour.
– Add lemon zest for hint of lemon.

Sweet & Sour Duck

Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time:  15 minutes

Another simple, quick and healthy dish inspired by Ching He Huang. This dish ready in minutes and the taste is just sensational and refreshing. A different take to the famous duck-orange mishmash.

Duck, orange and pepper

Refreshing Sweet & Sour Duck

Ingredients:

2 duck breasts, skin removed
1 tablespoon Shaoshing rice wine or water
2 tablespoons potato flour or cornflour
200ml vegetable oil, plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
5cm fresh root ginger, peeled and finely sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 1cm chunks
Juice of 2 small oranges
Juice of 1 lime
1 tablespoon light soy sauce
Sea salt
Ground white pepper
A few fresh orange segments to garnish
½ teaspoon Szechuan pepper, dry toasted and finely ground


Serves 3

Method:

  1. Cut the duck breasts into thin slices of 2cm. Marinate duck breast slices with Shaoshing rice wine, salt, white pepper and corn flour. Mix well and keep aside for 2 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a wok on high heat. Drop the duck breast slices, one at a time and shallow fry until browned and slightly crispy on the outside. This should take about 2 minutes.
  3. Remove duck breast slices using slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towel.
  4. Remove the oil from wok for later use. Leave about 1 tablespoon of the cooking oil in the wok. Heat wok on high heat until it starts to smoke.
  5. Fry the sliced ginger for a few seconds followed by the red pepper.
  6. Return the duck breast to the wok. Pour the orange juice, lime juice and soy sauce and toss well for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the orange segments and toss for another 10 seconds. Ready to serve. Sprinkle with ground Szechuan pepper.

This dish is nice served with plain basmati rice or egg fried rice.

Chantal’s New York Cheesecake

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour (make a day ahead)

A simple, yet full of flavour cheesecake.

Ingredients:

12 digestive biscuits, crushed
30g butter, melted
900g cream cheese
225g caster sugar
180ml milk
4 eggs
230g sour cream
15ml vanilla extract
30g all-purpose flour
1 lemon, juiced and zested

Serves 12

Method:

  1. Preheat oven at 175oC (350 oF). Grease and line a 9 inch springform pan with parchment paper.
  2. Put the digestive biscuits in a food processor and pulse until they are become crumbs.
  3. Pour the melted butter gently into the biscuit crumbs and mix until well combined. Press onto bottom of springform pan.
  4. In a large bowl, mix cream cheese with sugar until smooth using a hang mixer.
  5. Using a wooden spoon/spatula, blend in milk and then mix in the eggs, one at a time, mixing just enough to incorporate.
  6. Mix in sour cream, vanilla extract and all-purpose flour until smooth.
  7. Add juice and zest of 1 lemon. Pour filling into prepared crust.
  8. Bake in preheated oven using the bain-marie method for 1 hour. Turn off the oven; let the cake cool in the oven for 5 – 6 hours (to prevent cracking). Chill in the fridge until ready to be served.

Serve the chilled cheesecake with strawberry, raspberry or blueberry sauce or any sauce that you fancy.

Note:
– Overbeating the filling can cause the cheesecake to crack and have the ‘wrong’ texture. Only mix the cream cheese with sugar until smooth using a hand mixer and then continue with wooden spoon for the remaining steps.
– I sieve the filling after step 6 above. This ensures that the filling is lump free…yes I am that anal crazy :)
– Use bain-marie method to bake the cheesecake. This helps to regulate the temperature and bakes the cake better. Cover the springform pan with 2-3 layers of heavy duty foil to avoid water from seeping through the cake base. Place the cake pan into a larger pan and pour hot boiling water to about 1 inch high.
– Leave the cake in the oven for few hours. This will help the cake to set and avoid any cracking.
– Refrigerate the cake overnight.

Beef and Pak Choy Fried Noodles

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time:  10 minutes

Simple, quick, delicious, healthy… No excuse for not cooking it often.

Beef, pak choi, pak choy, shiitake mushroom, egg noodles

Beef, mushroom and pak choi fried noodles

Ingredients:

500g sirloin beef steaks, fat removed
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Shaohsing rice wine/beef stock
2 bunches of pak choy leaves, washed, stems and leaves separated and sliced
50g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
Sea salt
Splash of water
3 packs instant egg noodles, cooked and drained
For the marinade:
6 garlic cloves, minced
5cm ginger, thinly sliced
2 medium green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chilli powder
2 tablespoons light soy sauce
½ teaspoon dark muscovado sugar
Ground black pepper

Serves 2

Method:

  1. Slice beef to 5cm strips.
  2. In a small bowl, mix all the marinade ingredients. Put the sliced beef in the marinade and leave for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a wok/frying pan until it starts to smoke.
  4. Put the marinated beef in the hot wok and leave it for a few seconds before stirring. Then stir well for 1 minute until the beef starts to brown.
  5. Pour the Shaohsing rice wine/beef stock and let it simmer for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add mushrooms and pak choy stems and let it simmer for another 1-2 minutes until mushrooms soften.
  7. Add the pak choy leaves. Add a bit of water at this point if you want a bit more gravy in this dish.
  8. Check the seasoning.
  9. Stir in the cooked egg noodle into the mixture and serve at once.

You can also serve this dish with boiled basmati rice if you don’t like noodles.

Note:
– This is a stir fry, so make sure you get all the ingredients ready before you start cooking.
– You can also substitute pak choy with choi sum.

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