07.08

Cider-with-Rosie-summer-vegetable-recipes-7

If there’s any one vegetable you can always count on to be plentiful when growing your own, it’s the courgette. Last year I had three plants growing in the tiny garden of our old house, and such a bountiful supply I promised myself that in 2018 I’d cut back to just two plants.

But in reality? I’ve somehow managed to end up with five, yes, FIVE plants of differing varieties, and we’re picking an average of two courgettes a day. Last weekend we picked NINE. It’s madness, madness I tell you!

So what to do with them all? Well, we’re cramming them into just about every savoury recipe going (from risottos and pastas, to fritters and salads), I’ve made batches of pickles and chutneys, but my current favourite way to use these sweet summer squashes up is to bake them into a loaf cake.

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The cake itself is the simplest thing to knock up (even with the help, or hindrance, of a toddler), and is absolutely delicious too.

It doesn’t taste exactly of courgettes, in the way that carrot cake doesn’t taste exactly of carrots, but it does have a certain undefinably ‘green’ flavour that works so well alongside the freshness of berries or some citrus zest. I’ve been topping it off a simple lemon glaze more often than not, but this time, thanks to a distinct lack of lemons available in the house, I had to get creative with a few of the first blackberries of the season instead.

Simply warmed through, crushed, and then mixed with a small mound of icing sugar, it made the most delicious topping for the cake. And oh so seasonal, too!

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The recipe is one I’ve adapted from BBC Good Food, though minimally it must be said. Mainly through laziness (I didn’t have self raising flour first time I made it and so replaced with plain flour and just doubled up the baking powder), and also I’ve removed the sultanas because does anyone really want sultanas in a sponge cake? I think not.

Makes one loaf cake.

Ingredients:
350g courgettes
250g light brown sugar
125ml sunflower oil
3 large eggs
1tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
300g plain flour
2tsps baking powder

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper.

- Grate the courgettes, then put them all into a tea towel and wring out as much of the moisture as you can.

- Add the courgettes to a large bowl, and add in the sugar, oil, eggs, lemon zest (if using), and vanilla extract. Mix together. Tip in the flour and baking powder, mix thoroughly, and then pour the batter into the lined cake tin.

- Bake for 50minutes-1 hour, and then allow to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.

- A simple and delicious glaze can be made by mixing icing sugar into fruit juice (lemon, orange, grapefruit, mashed berries…) until a smooth runny consistency is achieved. Allow the cake to cool completely before icing.

Cider-with-Rosie-summer-vegetable-recipes-6 Cider-with-Rosie-summer-vegetable-recipes-8

 

If you have a go and make it yourself, do tag me in a photo on Instagram! I’d love to know how you get on!

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Posted in CAKE, COUNTRYSIDE LIFE, EATING SEASONALLY, FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, KITCHEN GARDEN, RECIPE, SUMMER

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23.07

Cider-with-Rosie-Violet-9 Cider-with-Rosie-Violet-6 Cider-with-Rosie-Violet-4 Cider-with-Rosie-Violet-5 Cider-with-Rosie-Violet-3 Cider-with-Rosie-Violet-8 Cider-with-Rosie-Violet-1 Cider-with-Rosie-Violet-7 Cider-with-Rosie-Violet Cider-with-Rosie-Liberty's-1

On grey July days, when the weather just won’t play ball and you’re on the most exciting countdown of your life, there’s nothing else to do but have a ‘favourites’ day. Don your favourite top and your comfiest jeans and your old faithful Birkenstocks, leave your hair scruffy, and head into London armed with a camera and an appetite for sweet stuff.

Violet cafe is always a safe bet on favourite days. The cake is unfailingly fantastic, and the iced coffee’s pretty great too. Through a very arduous process of testing and trialling, we’ve found that the  spelt cake with cherries and the salted caramel rum cake (I can’t remember the full name, but you’ll know it when you see it), are without doubt outstanding. Oh, and the buttermilk banana loaf hits the spot too. As you an imagine, testing was hard work! ;)

Once cake’s been consumed (and a few other admin-stops have been made along the way), Liberty’s is the next and best place to visit on ‘favourite’ days. Fragrance testing in Diptyque, photo-snapping outside the flower department (don’t they always have the most incredible blooms?), colour-swatching in the cosmetics hall- it’s a total haven! And a bank balance-damaging haven it is too…

What does a ‘favourite’ day look like for you?

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Posted in CAKE, FLOWERS, LONDON

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21.05

Cider-with-Rosie-lemon-thyme-glazed-bundt-cake

If there’s one thing I’ve discovered during the past few years, it’s that the joy of ‘home grown’ is unlike anything else. There’s something special about how unhurried (not to mention patience-inducing) the process of growing is, and the results are all the more satisfying for it. It becomes part of the day’s routine- watering, waiting, nurturing, and tending to. Poking seeds into soil and repotting spindly herbs, then watching them grow wild. Being able to snip a few sprigs of fresh rosemary or sage straight from the garden to add to a dish, instead of having to turn to a few sad stalks taken from a plastic bag from the fridge.

Because of the abundance of herbs we’ve got growing in our little garden at the moment, I’ve been finding new ways of incorporating them into…just about everything. Mint leaves into lemonade and soft drinks and just plain old iced water. Fried sage on top of thinly sliced and fried pork loin steaks. Rosemary inside chicken (along with garlic and lemon, of course), then into the oven for roasting. My favourite combination though, of a herb plus any other flavour on earth, is that of thyme and lemon. I first tried it a year or so ago in the form of a heavily-frosted cupcake (I even blogged about it!) and have been obsessed with the idea of making my own lemon/thyme cake ever since.

Almost a full year on, and I think I’ve got it down. Glazed lemon cake is the taste of my childhood so will forever hold a special place in my heart, but the addition of thyme makes this version so much more grown up. It brings a faintly aromatic, grown-up punch of flavour to a perfectly simple cake, whilst a few tablespoons of yoghurt keep the cake itself (made from a tinkered-with basic sponge recipe) moist and tender-crumbed.

It’s so simple, so delicious, and tastes so perfectly summery, it’s practically a crime not to make one right away…

Bundt-cake-Cider-with-Rosie Cider-with-Rosie-food-photography Thyme-Cider-with-Rosie Lemon-glaze-recipe-Cider-with-Rosie-lifestyle-blog Cider-with-Rosie-making-lemon-glaze-cake Lemon-thyme-cake-recipe

The ingredients are listed first in ounces because I learnt how to make this base cake recipe using pounds and ounces in probably about 1993, and still can’t quite bring myself to measure it out in grams. I’ve listed them though, in case your scale won’t work with silly old-fashioned British measurements…

Ingredients ::
8oz (225g) soft unsalted butter
8oz (225g) caster sugar
8oz (225g) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 large eggs
4 tbsp plain natural yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Zest of 1 whole lemon, plus the juice of 1/2.
Leaves from 2 small sprigs of fresh thyme

Approx. 300g icing sugar
Approx. 4 lemons

- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celsius, and generously butter a bundt tin.

- Place the butter and sugar into a large bowl, and beat until light and fluffy. Whisk together the eggs, natural yoghurt and vanilla extract in a jug, and sift the flour and baking powder into a separate bowl. Grate the lemon zest and add the thyme leaves into the flour mixture.

- Add half the egg mixture to the butter and sugar then beat to combine, and then add in half the flour and beat again. Repeat until all the ingredients are combined, and beat until the batter is smooth and light. Beat it for about thirty seconds longer, fold through the lemon juice, and then stop.

- Pour out the batter into the tin, smooth over the top, and then place it into the oven to cook for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out.

- Sift out the icing sugar (approximately 300g, but it’s totally flexible!), and then squeeze in enough fresh lemon juice to bring the glaze to a consistency just slightly thicker than double cream.

- When the cake is cool to the touch, pour over the glaze (with a plate underneath the rack to catch excess!) and decorate the top with a few thyme leaves and, if you can find them, thyme flowers too.

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^^ There’s nothing like a good drizzle, is there? ^^

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I reckon if you made one this coming Saturday, it’d carry you through the whole bank holiday weekend on a wave of tea, cake, and crackly lemon glaze…

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Posted in BAKING, CAKE, FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, RECIPE, SPRING, SWEET

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02.04

Sticky-ginger-muffins-with-lemon-glaze-Cider-with-Rosie

Like countless other people, my first experiences in the kitchen were as a small child, and took place standing on a dining table chair pulled up to the kitchen worktop. I remember rubbing butter into flour for crumble toppings, beating air into cake batters until my arms ached (the ache always began after all of about ten seconds), and stirring eggs and milk into scone dough. Performing those tasks now, in my own kitchen, still stirs up decade old memories of the cheese scones my Grandma used to make (so unsurpassably delicious I’m desperate to find the recipe she worked from in one of her old cookery books) and a blackberry and apple crumble we cooked together after a day’s blackberry picking on the heathland near where Jason and I now live.

And there are certain ingredients, too, whose fragrance is as comforting and nostalgia-inducing to me as the perfume my Mum wore when I was a tot**. I’m sure I’ve written here before about how the scent of dried ginger brings back memories of baking ginger biscuits with my Grandma- wafer thin and packed with golden syrup (I’d always, always beg for a spoonful of syrup to enjoy whilst we baked, and she’d always, always say yes), that were at their best when slightly underdone and gloiriously chewy. I’ve since had a go at making them, working from dog-eared page of the recipe book I inherited from my Grandma (she’d written an index of her favourite recipes inside the back cover, which was a gift in and of itself), and the effects weren’t the same at all. I’ll have to keep trying…

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I forget quite how intrinsically linked my memories of food and cooking are to family, until I stop to taste test a batch of lemon glaze and am transported back to baking endless rounds of fairy cakes with my Mum (remember when we called them fairy cakes, and not cupcakes?), and can hear her voice in my ear saying ‘just a bit more lemon juice…maybe a bit more..and a tad more?’. Or how, each winter whilst making compote, the smell of the chunks of cooking apple softening in a pan with a tiny knob of butter and a pinch of cinnamon is so evocative I always stop and close my eyes for a moment to breathe it in. These culinary experiences- tasks, rituals, scents- traverse the years and the homes left behind and the loved ones who are now confined to memories instead of the present, and bring me right back home.

Recently, I was invited to share in Hive’s beautiful #ComingHome’ campaign. The campaign celebrates the sweet joy of returning home after a period of separation- whether that separation has been a mere week long (who doesn’t love walking through the front door after a week basking in the sunshine on some European island?), after the first long, tiresome term of university, or a gap that can only be bridged by the jogging of memories.

It was the beauty of the video I’ve included below that captured my heart. I’d encourage you to watch it- it’s so artfully put together, and I find the twists at the end of both this video and the other in the campaign, unexpectedly and wonderfully empowering.

For me this recipe, for dark and sticky ginger muffins with a tangy lemon glaze, is a ‘coming home’ experience in itself. The muffins’ key ingredients- warming ground ginger, sweet golden syrup, treacly stout, and a tart lemon glaze- are so prone to drawing out my nostalgic-side (which, let’s face it, doesn’t take much), they should perhaps come with a warning. They’re grown-up and spicy, sweet and rich- and both the act of cooking and eating them is an evocative enough experience that it requires a moment’s pause.

They are, for me, the very embodiment of ‘home’.

Golden-syrup-CiderwithRosie   Guinness-ciderwithrosie-food-photography Nigella-gingerbread-Cider-with-Rosie Ginger-muffin-batter-Cider-with-Rosie-food-photography Lemon-glaze-recipe Lemon-glaze-ginger-muffins

The recipe for these muffins belongs to Nigella. Repackaged (from sheet cake to mini-portions), tweaked (goodbye to ground cloves), and tinkered with (hello to that wonderful lemon topping) by me, but its roots are in Nigella’s Kitchen recipe book.

{Makes approx.16 muffins}
Ingredients ::
150g unsalted butter
300g golden syrup
200g dark muscovado sugar
250ml Guinness
2 1/2tsp ground ginger
2tsp ground cinnamon
300g plain flour
2tsp bicarbonate of soda
300ml sour cream
2 eggs

1 lemon
Icing sugar

- Preheat an oven to 170 degrees celsius, and line two muffin trays with liners.

- Melt the butter, golden syrup, sugar, and spices together in a large saucepan, then stir in the Guinness.

- Remove from the heat and slowly whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda, making sure there are no lumps. Mix together the eggs and sour cream in a separate jug, and slowly pour into the rest of the mixture, whisking as you go.

- Divide the mixture between the muffin cases (filling each about two thirds full), and place in to the preheated oven to cook. I found the muffins in tulip cases took 18mins, and the muffins in regular cases 15 minutes to cook.

- When cool, top with a glaze made from icing sugar stirred together with lemon juice until it reaches a smooth dropping consistancy. I drizzled the glaze over from a height, but feel free to coat the tops completely in glaze if you like things super sweet.

Sticky-ginger-muffins-with-lemon-glaze-Cider-with-Rosie-food-styling

Hive are running the loveliest competition right now, in which you can nominate a loved one to win a special and unique ‘coming home’ experience valued at £1500. To enter, visit Hive’s Facebook page and comment on the competition post they’ve shared, letting them know why the person you’re nominating has spent time away from their home (in any way, shape, or form), and why they deserve an unforgettable ‘coming home’ experience. I think it’s such a lovely idea! (Full T&Cs for the competition can be found here)

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* The post was sponsored by Hive, as part of their ‘#ComingHome’ campaign.

** It was YSL’s Rive Gauche, in case you wondered.

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Posted in BAKING, CAKE, FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, RECIPE, Sponsored, SWEET

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