Well, second time lucky uploading this recipe, my first attempt reigned triumphant for two days before mysteriously disappearing without trace....Lesson learnt? Always, always, always, back up in word! For those of you reading this perhaps for the second time, hopefully this one will be better than the last. Its also very late now, because i've been having a barrel of laughs in Sunny Portugal-more of that soon.
Firstly a quick round up of our trip with Mrs & Mrs Brown in the Champagne region of France, a great area hosting some of the best drinks in the world, Pol Rodger, Moet & Juliet Perrier to name but a few. The trip was filled with tours, picnics, meals out & dodgy banter. We did tours of Tattinger & Mercier which were fun & informative, although i spent most of the time anticipating the tasting afterwards. Mrs Brown & i proved that cycling & champagne do not always mix after an amusing double fall on Avenue de Champagne...
|Chicken & Fois Gras Terrine with Prune|
We had a fantastic meal out courtesy of Mrs Brown's research. La Table Anna a small & cosy restaurant in the center of Reims was outstanding. Reminiscent of your nan's sitting room in the 80's it's a totally unassuming place & the food is fantastic. After an amuse bouche of Courgette Soup with Goats Cheese Cream i chose the Chicken & Foie Gras Terrine with Prunes. I am a big fan of prunes used in savoury dishes & they went very well with richness of the foie gras. I avoided eating fois gras for years thinking the process quite cruel, but embarrassingly after my first taste all thoughts flew out the window & i now love it. I do appreciate the methods used offend some people.
My main wasn't any lighter but was even more delicious. Pigs Trotter stuffed with Cheese & served with mushrooms. This was also accompanied by a small pot of buttery mashed potato with believe it or not, a ducks liver in the middle. Possibly the richest dish i have ever had... The meat was amazing, very tender after being cooked slowly for hours. The Houseboy's snails were fantastic & the best I've ever tried, served in individual little pots with toasted tops, the were hot, earthy & very very garlicky.
On return to London we spent a fun Friday night celebrating Mrs Philips' birthday at Vinoteca, a busy a lively place in Farringdon. I started with Razor Clams served with Samphire, the dish was done well but i did keep thinking back to the wonderful ones i had in Scotland over Easter. The highlight was definitely the main - Gressingham Duck with Polenta & Blood Orange. The duck was perfectly cooked cooked, seared on the outside & pink in the middle. The polenta was an interesting addition, i never cook with it a home for some reason but i will certainly add it to my repertoire now. Mrs Rhodes once made a Chocolate Polenta Cake when i was growing up, but if my memory serves me correctly it didn't quite make it to the afternoon tea table. Pudding was a Triple Chocolate Mousse which nice but quite sweet, despite dark chocolate being used.
|The Bake Off Entries|
Sunday morning was spent baking a Lemon Drizzle Cake for a continuation of Mrs Philips' birthday celebrations in the form of afternoon tea. Mr Philips proposed a 'bake off' (Australians love a bit of competition) Mr Philips produced a stunning Bill Granger Chocolate & Mandarin Cake which was dense, moist & very good with whipped cream. Miss Challen's Toasted Coconut Cake finally convinced me that sweet coconut is actually delicious, Miss Lummis rustled up a traditional Teacake which had great flavour & perfect density. Miss Holford, the busiest socialite i know brought beautiful cupcakes, and lastly the Houseboys splendid Summer Fruits Tart pipped everyone to the post & was declared clear winner. (i hate it when he cooks something better than me)
|Toasted Coconut Cake|
This Lemon Cake is a really simple recipe with great results. It's actually originally a reader submission to Delia Smith's website, but i have made a few changes. You could also make this with limes for something a little different.
- 4oz butter
- 6oz caster sugar
- 6oz self raising flour
- 4 tbsp milk
- grated zest of 2 lemons
- 2 large eggs
- juice of 2 lemons
- 2-3oz caster sugar
Start by setting your oven to 160c, then lightly grease a 2lb tin (you can use a square or round tin of you wish) Add all the cake ingredients to a bowl & gently mix until well incorporated. Pour into the cake tin & cook for 35-45 minutes. Check it every so often to make sure that it cooking evenly & not browning too much, if you feel that it is, carefully lay a sheet of tin foil over the tin (don't seal round the edges) & this should prevent it happening. While the cake is baking mix the lemon juice & caster sugar together & gently heat until the sugar dissolves. Leave the cake to cool for 10mins before carefully pouring the drizzle over the cake. Leave to cool completely before turning out. In my experience it's better to keep this wrapped in greaseproof paper, as tin foil sticks to it. It should keep for 4/5 days if wrapped up carefully.
|The Baking Crew|