So I realised it’s been nearly three years since I posted on here. I’m sure you can all figure out why! Life has changed dramatically for most of us one way and another. For me what started in March 2020 as ‘getting stuck’ in Frankfurt …
I seem to be posting quite a few sweet treats at the moment but we have been eating these lovely things over quite a decent amount of time to try and keep some semblance of a waistline! This cake is extremely moist and tasty a really lush treat with your afternoon cuppa. You will need:
- 250g butter
- 220g sugar
- 3 lemons (grated rind and juice
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 250g ground almonds
- 150g polenta
- 50g pine nuts
- glug of milk
- 150g honey
- grease and line a 10inch cake tin
- pre heat the oven to 180c (160 fan assisted) gas 4
Measure out the butter and sugar. Grate the lemon rind and add it into the sugar massaging it in well to start to release some of the oils and flavour. Juice the lemons and save the juice for later. Start by creaming the butter and sugar together until it gets lighter in colour and really creamy. Then add in the eggs one at a time beating well. If the mixture begins to curdle add a small spoon of almonds to help.
Next measure out the almonds and polenta mixing in well to the butter, sugar and egg mixture. At this stage add some milk to loosen the mixture if its quite firm. It should plop nicely off the spoon.
Spoon mixture into your greased and lined tin and smooth out the top. Place in the pre heated oven and cook for one hour. After the first 20 mins sprinkle over the pine nuts (this makes sure they don’t burn).
While the cake is in the oven measure out the honey and gently warm it through either 30sec in the microwave or over a pan of hot water. Whisk in the lemon juice and leave to one side until the cake is ready.
Take the cake out of the oven after an hour or when a skewer comes out clean when poked into the cake. While it is still hot slowly spoon over the honey syrup mixture letting it soak into the cake. Finally leave too cool.
Enjoy with a large cup of your favourite brew. It is also very tasty with a large blob of mascarpone or clotted cream on the side. Hope you enjoy!
So ready for a few more recipe ideas? How about some quick flat breads (gluten free of course) and a couple of ideas of what to eat them with? They are great just on their own fresh from the pan but can become a dinner in a number of ways. For the flat breads you need gram flour, garlic, some fresh herbs of choice, salt & pepper and some butter.
Put some gram flour (ground chickpeas) in a bowl, about a cup full will make a couple of medium sized flat breads, and add some crushed garlic to suit your garlic ohmmetre and then a handful of chopped fresh herbs, again to your taste. I often use parsley or coriander but have a play. Season the mix and then slowly add some cold water until it forms a sticky dough. Don’t panic if you put too much water in just add a bit more flour. To cook the flat bread you need a heavy flat bottomed pan preferably. I have a tawa (an Indian version for making chapatis) but any flat pan will do. The dough is sticky so you can’t roll it out. Instead flour your hands and grab a ball to gently begin to flatten in your floury hands. Drop it onto the hot pan and quickly press out from the centre to the edge all the way around to make it bigger and flatter then just leave, no fiddling for three or four minutes! The dough as it cooks will become stiff and then easy to turn over. Flip over when it becomes stiff and it should have some evidence of browning on the bottom. Let it cook for a couple more minutes on the other side until it begins to brown. Remove from the heat and if you are not watching the calories smother with butter while its hot and fold in half to seal in the heat and moisture. A little tip, if you are making quite a few of these at once use a clean tea towel to wrap the warm cooked ones in to keep them soft and warm until they are all done. This flat bread doesn’t keep well as it will just go hard so try to make what you need and eat straight away. The dough will keep in the fridge uncooked so better to keep it that way for a couple of days then cook fresh each time you want to eat some.
Now for some accompaniment suggestions! These flat breads are fab as a snack on their own or with some tasty chutney or pickle or just some natural yogurt mixed with a little tahini and lemon juice. But if you are after something more substantial a warming soup would be good I have a romenesco and almond recipe here. I often eat them with a simple salad of chopped tomato, cucumber, red onion and parsley seasoned and drizzled with lemon juice and olive oil the addition of black olives is also good. As you can see from the picture above I would add a soft poached egg to that combination for some extra loveliness. If you want to make the flat breads themselves a little more substantial you can grate a courgette into the mix to bulk it out and it gives you some more vegetable points in your meal.
Above they are served with a spicy vegetable curry and a soft poached egg. Finally I also like them made with a bit less garlic and parsley then served with fresh asparagus and a poached egg. We are entering asparagus season right now in Europe so this is very suitable for this moment in time. Obviously there are a whole host of other things you could serve with these just use your imagination and enjoy!
A few weeks ago I had a quick visit to Liverpool. I’m not really sure why but had never been before, so it was one of the cities on my list to become aquainted with. I stayed for one night in the Ibis Styles which is very central and most things are walkable from there. The decor of the hotel leaves you in no doubt as to which city you are in!
The first thing I do anywhere I visit is to have a general wander around and get my bearings. I discovered that I was very near to the Cavern Club at number 10 Matthew Street where the Beatles used to be found on a Saturday night in the early sixties. It’s full of the sound of live music and nice food smells enticing you into one of the many food places. On from there you reach the shopping area which is substancial with anything you might want to look at and on up past the Bombed out church on Leece Street which at dusk is particularly beautiful and poignant. The statue depicting the christmas truce at the frontline on 25 December 1914 where soldiers came together to play football, amoungst other things, is very powerful. On up the hill from there the smells of a lovely greek resturant sucked me in for dinner. Grilla at 22 Hardman Street is friendly and serves delicious food. On a Wednesday they offer 30% off mixed souvlaki for two!
The next day was a prompt start to get down to the docks for a tour up to the top of the Liver building. A fascinating experience especially with the 360 degree film extravaganza up in the clock tower and of course the views across Liverpool from the very top!
Then a stroll along the to the Albert Docks only five minutes away where I particularly wanted to visit Tate Liverpool. You pass by the museum of Liverpool on the way but I didn’t have time to go inside on this trip.
Into Tate Liverpool proudly standing at one side of the gentrified docks with stunning reflections across the water. I spent time in the regular collections which are free with a wide range of work, some of my favourite bits included Lowery, early Picasso, Peter Black, Robert Delauny, Bridget Riley, Gwyther Irwin, Bruce McLean and Piero Manzoni and of course a nice cup of earl grey and a suprisingly good gluten free fruit slice!
On from there was a bit of a stroll up to the Catherdal which is the longest in the world, I think I’m right in saying, and most definitely the biggest in Britain. It is worth having a wander through the Georgian Quater to see the lovely old buildings but more imortantly take a pitstop at one of the many eateries for a tasty something to eat. I ended up in The Blackburn House Cafe enjoying a delicious middle eastern lamb and pepper casserole.
On the way up the hill you will pass the HUGE chinese gate which was a total suprise to me, what an amazing and colourful structure!
After a good while absorbing the peaceful atmosphere and spectacular architecture of the Cathedral it was a walk back down the hill into town and to search out Bluecoat Liverpools centre for contemporary arts. Situated in a Grade One listed building in the middle of the shopping area it supports many artists and makers as well as an interesting programme of events and exhibitions. There is a lovely shop and cafe and the courtyard really is a bit of a tranquil haven in the centre of town! A nice place to end a busy day and rest before getting the train home.