Boozy lemon and almond drizzle cake

Boozy len and almond cake, hells yeah.

Boozy lemon and almond cake, Hells yeah.

I’m not going to waste any superlatives describing this cake, it rocks in all the best ways, end off.

Limoncello lemon drizzle cake

Ingredients:

For the cake: (makes 2 loaf tins)

  • 250g butter
  • 250g caster sugar
  • zest of 3 unwaxed lemons
  • 5 eggs
  • 150g self raising flour
  • 150g ground almonds
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

For the drizzle:

  • juice of 3 lemons
  • 150g caster sugar

For the icing:

  • 80g icing sugar
  • 60ml limoncello
  • lemon zest to sprinkle (optional)
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poked with a skewer, drizzled and cooling in their tins

Method:

  1. heat fan oven to 180C. Line 2 loaf tins.
  2. cream together the butter and sugar, beat in the eggs, one at a time, waiting until each egg is thoroughly incorporated. Beat in the zest and poppy seeds.
  3. Stir in the ground almonds and baking powder followed by the flour. Do not over mix.
  4. Bake for approximately 50 minutes.
  5. Combine the lemon juice and caster sugar in a small saucepan and heat on a medium heat. Once the cakes are cooked poke them all over the top with a skewer then pour over the drizzle and leave to cool completely in the tins.
  6. Once cool make the icing by mixing together the icing sugar and limoncello. Remove the cold cakes from the tins and drizzle with the icing and sprinkle some more lemon zest over the top.
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World Gin Day: Hibiscus and Rose Gin recipe

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I’m currently in the hills of Andalucia in Southern Spain. I’ve been here for 9 days so far looking after my friend’s villa and animals whilst she is over in the UK. I’m in food Heaven. The abundance of incredible ingredients that grow all around the villa is inspiring, this is a country where you drive over oranges, lemons and olives as you go about your business and the local supermarket has a seafood counter with more shellfish and fish than you could shake a filleting knife at, 5 different types of shrimp alone has me jumping with excitement.

 

Whilst at the supermarket the other day I picked up a bottle of Spanish gin for just €6, worth a try I figured. Well it’s really rather wonderful, heavy with aromatics of angelica and coriander and surprisingly smooth for such a price I took it back to the villa. Here at Sheila’s gorgeous home she has both rose and hibiscus plants growing so naturally I thought these would make a wonderful addition to the newly acquired gin.

If you’ve never made your own gin before you’ll be surprised how easy it is! Last year I wrote a super easy guide for fMetro on how to make your own gin (do give it a read).

Hibiscus and Rose Gin <

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1 bottle gin
1 tablespoon juniper berries
8 green cardamom pods lightly squashed
2 handfuls dried rose petals
10 hibiscus flowers
1 teaspoon pink peppercorns

Simply drink some gin to make space in the bottle then add the aromatics and put in a dark place to preserve the colour ( it will go bright pink). Leave for a week then strain off the aromatics and pop in the freezer.

*Wordpress on IPad and iPhone is a bloody nightmare so apologies for poor layout and grammar but it won’t let me correct anything grrrr*

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Hazy Breakfast Martini

Get your brunch off to the best of starts with one of these.

Get your brunch off to the best of starts with one of these.

Well it’s been quite some time since my last post as I had to take some time out, I’ve had knee surgery and since coming out of hospital 14 days ago I’ve been so foggy with painkillers and pain that the thought of writing a post was as daunting as writing a novel. I’m  still laid up in bed wearing a knee brace but on Sunday my friend Andy came round, so excited was I to see someone who didn’t work for the NHS that I created this beauty of a cocktail to celebrate.

This gem of a tipple will kick the ass of your hangover out the back door and pep you up a treat, where the traditional Breakfast Martini uses marmalade and gin I’m using a whisky marmalade and vanilla vodka, basically because I’m stuck indoors and can’t get out to buy anything but it turns out it’s WAY nicer to boot.

Ultimate Hazy Breakfast Martini (serves 2)

  • 1 large heaped tablespoon whisky marmalade
  • 70ml vanilla vodka
  • 50ml Cointreau
  • 25ml freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Put a few cubes if ice into 2 martini glasses and top with water to chill down.
  2. Put the marmalade and vodka into a cocktail shaker and stir until dissolved.
  3. Add the Cointreau and lemon juice and fill shaker with ice cubes. Seal and shake until the outside of the metal shaker is frosted then discard the iced water from the martini glasses and strain the cocktail between them. In about 5 minutes you will feel pretty awesome.

Bonfire Daiquiris!

Smoky boozy goodness

I love Bonfire Night. When I lived in High Wycombe a group of us used to put on a fire show for thousands of people in Beaconsfield before the huge firework display kicked off. There would be about 20 of us with fire poi, chains, staffs, balls, fire breathing, oh it was ace fun! Last weekend though I spent it in the kitchens, I could hear the thumping boom of the fireworks over the roar of the industrial grill fan and smell the bonfires in the air but I missed the display. Tonight however, I will be making up for all that by making this ace cocktail, standing in my tiny garden and writing my name in the air excitedly with a sparkler – see who needs big firework displays when you can do that instead ehy 🙂

Bonfire Daiquiri

  • 35ml smoked tea rum
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • juice of half a lime
  • cloudy apple juice

 To make the smoked tea rum:

  • 250ml golden rum
  • 12 strands good quality Lapsang Souchong tea (St Martin’s Coffee in Leicester sell a wonderful one)

Simply pop the strands into the rum and leave to infuse for a minimum of 2 days. The smokiness will become more intense over time and the rum will become darker.

 Now to make the cocktail:

Just put everything in a cocktail shaker with plenty of ice (or clean jam jar with lid), shake and strain into an ice filled tumbler. I’m calling tonight…Bonfire Of The Daiquiris! Ta-daaa! BOOM 🙂

Toffee Rum

Back in my hedonistic days as the assistant manager of the Bath Hobgoblin pub my drink of choice was “double dark rum, diet coke and a straw”(shouted quickly and loudly over the sound of loud rock music).  For some reason the straw was important, I forget why now, it was probably to help not spill it all over myself as I was generally quite drunk back then.  White rum has never been my thing either, although the guys at the Eldorado Rum stand at last years BBC Good Food Show let me sample one that I really liked (perhaps the exception to my rule).  Anyway, golden rum is my thing these days, its caramel flavours just bring out the best in a lime (and me).  I’ve spent a lot of time in the Philippines where Tanduay rum is king.  It used to be 30 pesos for a bottle of rum and 60 pesos for a can of coke (a beer was 15 pesos) so a rum and coke was 70% rum, 20% ice (also too expensive) and 10% coke.  Even better the Tanduay rum bottles had a lid lottery so when you opened your big bottle of rum you would see on the inside of the lid what your prize would be, it was usually another bottle of rum!

Whenever I visit a food festival there are always lots of people selling toffee vodka, and it’s lovely (most of the time) but for me vodka has always been a spirit that you use to make other drinks/infusions with.  Despite it being the straight drink of choice for every character in Eastenders (seriously WHY?) I would never choose to sip away on a plain vodka, and yet I use it in so many of my concoctions.  Actually there was a brief phase when I was about 13-14 and living in Hong Kong where a karaoke bar used to do 2-4-1 double vodkas with lime cordial for $10 which we drank A LOT of which is probably why I’m not a fan of the spirit now.

So I figured I could easily combine my love for golden rum with toffee as the natural caramel flavours can only enhance the toffee right?

Ingredients:

  • 70cl Golden Rum (I used Appletion Estate)
  • 600g hard toffees (such as Werthers Original)

Just put your rum and toffees in a sterilised jar and leave for about 24 hours (stir every now and then to help the hard toffee dissolve).  I used about 350ml rum and 1 x 200g bag of WO but it could have taken 2 bags easily for a sweeter version.

So there you go, it’s really easy and if you smash up the toffees before adding the rum then it will probably be ready in about 2 hours. Hell yeah!

Raspberry Gin

I make a lot of booze infusions, they are stupidly easy to make but very hard to leave long enough to infuse! I make new stuff each year and see how they develop over time. Some only take a few days, some will mature for a couple of years happily. This beautiful Raspberry Gin is at its best right now as the flavour has remained the same for the last 2 months (I have a teaspoon of each booze each month to see how they are getting on).

Recipe

Take 1 sterilised Kilner type jar and put as much white sugar in as you fancy or none at all.  I didn’t want it to be too sweet so as a general rule I put enough sugar in the bottom of the Kilner  so it comes up about 1 1/2 inches from the bottom.  Then add as many raspberries as you fancy inside, I half filled my jar but you could fill it up if you fancy.  Add a few peelings of orange zest (avoiding the pith) and add to jar. Then all you need to do is fill it up with Gin.  For the first week or so gently turn the jar to help the sugar dissolve, once it has you can stop doing this.  Make sure you keep the jar in a cool dark place, light will remove the beautiful pink hue in the alcohol and always a good idea to put its Made On date on it so you know how long it takes until its at its best.  This recipe works for pretty much whatever you fancy.  I have: Blueberry Gin, Summer Fruit Vodka, Pear and Vanilla Vodka, Cherry & Mandarin Gin but to name a few.  Have a go, mix & match, play about with whatever fruits/booze you like in whatever quantities you like until you find what works for you. You don’t have to use Kilner style jars, I have old Hendricks Gin bottles, Whisky bottles etc filled with booze concoctions steeping away.  If you use bottles though you will have to sacrifice the fruit as once it swells you won’t be able to get it out again.