Monday, 27 February 2012

Lemon Sugar

Sometimes I only need the juice of a lemon. The zest can removed and preserved. I cut thin strips of zest from 2 lemons and left them in a low oven to dry out. They can be kept in the fridge to dry out until you have the oven on for something else then placed in the oven to lightly roast either while the oven is warming up or after you have switched it off. I then blitzed the dried rind with some sugar and filled the small jar in the photo above. The smell is wonderful and it make a convenient addition when baking cakes or biscuits.
The other jar was made using a mixture of orange and mandarin peel.

I started out trying a recipe for Roasted Lemon Zest that I saw here on Chocolate & Zuccini I couldn't get the roasted rinds to powder in the pestle and mortar nor in my blender. When I added the sugar the blender managed fine. I don't know whether I roasted the rinds too much or not enough. I will experiment further as I would like to have a non sugar version as well for savoury dishes.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Have your Cake and Eat it

Cupcakes for Valentine's Day.
I used the recipe I devised for the International Picnic Day here
I put the mixture into heart shaped silicone cupcake cases.
The icing was made from some of the juice from the thawing raspberries mixed with icing sugar

Last Friday I went to a cookery demonstration at Fortnum and Masons in London.
They have a demonstration kitchen on the first floor and on the menu for Friday it was cupcakes.
When I arrived Harry from Petis Pois Cakes was grating the secret weapon while her
colleague removed the zest from a couple of oranges. These joined the other ingredients in the mixer to make a slackish orange yellow mixture.

While this batch was cooking some lemon icing was spooned over the 'one I made earlier' batch
and each cake topped with a marzipan pea. We then got down to the real work of tasting and demolished that batch. These cakes contained no butter or marg but due to the secret ingredient where moist and fluffy and tasted good. They were also gluten free. To find out more follow the link above or look out for Harry and Ashley's new recipe book 'Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache'

Then we were offered samples from the range to see if we could identify the secret ingredients.............. I couldn't.
One of these was a red velvet cake made specially for Fortnums for Valentine's Day.

OK so the secret ingredient for the cakes is one of your 5 a day and for the ones demonstrated it was butternut squash, 200g mixed with 100g rice flour, 100g ground almonds, 2 eggs, zest of 2 oranges, some sugar, baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt. I don't know how much sugar was used but it was less than usual as the butternut squash contributes some of the sweetness.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Dinner at the Gallo D'Oro

Il Galllo d'Oro restaurant is the fine dining restaurant at the Cliff Bay Hotel at Funchal, Madeira. The chef is Benoit Sinthon and the restaurant is the only one on the island with a Michelin star.
Overall I thought the meal was very good. Bravo to Benoit and his team.

I was a bit surprised how close together some of the tables are and facing one another. However on this occasion the company was good (you know who you are !)

We were offered a selection of good breads accompanied by butter and tapenade. This was followed by the chef's delightful and tasty appetiser shown below. Beautiful enough to wear to a wedding, perched on the head at a jaunty angle, the lacy creation shelters a cone of foie gras mousse with a cherry in the middle and some tiny figs. At the side there was 'cherry caviar' which I guessed was made by the process of spherification. The lacy piece was described as cuttlefish crunchy. Both fish courses were cooked superbly.

Red mullet fillets with tomato caviar and tapenade

Clementine sorbet....... this had a beautiful intense mandarin flavour

Sea bream with polenta and a mini ragout of mussels and langoustines

Lemon and lime tart with suzette sauce.