Why “Valentine” ? This recipe was inspired by one that Valentine Warner did on “What to eat now” – a seasonal ingredient cooking programme that I particularly enjoyed. Courgettes are one of those veg that go a tad prolific in season – you pick a load for dinner and by morning you could be having the next lot for breakfast. This version of the recipe is quick & easy – great for a veg side dish, a salad for summer buffet, and combines quickly with other veggie dishes too.
This recipe is based on one from “Supper with Rosie,” my current favourite cookbook. In turn, her recipe was inspired by Cranks, which was my first ever favourite cookbook in the 1980s. So, strong Drizzle Cake Foundations, and Rosie’s addition of lemon icing as well as drizzling is definitely A Good Thing!
I’m more likely to have lemons in stock than limes, so in this version I’ve dropped the lime. If you have a lime, it subs for one of the lemons in the cake / drizzle ingredients.
Lemon Drizzle Cake (Serves 10-12)
For the cake
125g butter at room temperature
2 small lemons
225g caster sugar
3 large eggs
200g self raising flour
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
4 teaspoons natural yoghurt (or cream)
For the drizzle
Juice of lemons zested for the cake
3 teaspoons caster (fine) sugar
For the icing
180g icing sugar
Sprinkling of poppy seeds
First, check you have the right size loaf tin! The quantities here need a 30cm loaf tin, a 2lb tin – it’s a big ‘un!
Grease and line your tin, get the oven up to 180C.
Using an electric hand whisk, whisk up the butter until light and fluffy. Add the caster sugar and whisk again. Add the 3 eggs and whisk again until light and fluffy. That’s your whisking bit done.
Grate in the zest of 2 lemons, and put the naked lemons aside to juice later. Add the poppy seeds and yoghurt (or cream if you don’t happen to have yoghurt in stock) and mix in lightly. Add the self raising flour. Fold in lightly with a spatula.
Transfer the mixture immediately to your loaf tin, and bake in the oven at 180C for 45 minutes (Aga roasting oven with cold shelf for 35 minutes, then check and finish in simmering oven if need be).
Once the cake is cooked, (e.g. a skewer stuck into the cake comes out clean etc. etc.), leave it in its tin on a cooling rack whilst you rustle up the first drizzle:
Juice the two zested lemons, and put juice plus three teaspoons of caster sugar into a saucepan. Warm over a low heat until the sugar is melted, then pour over your warm cake. If you have an URGENT need for Lemon Drizzle Cake, probably best to stab the cake a fair bit with skewer first so that the drizzle can get into the cake quickly. If you have planned in advance, feel smug – and just pour the drizzle over the cake to seep in gradually.
This is one of those cakes that does actually taste better the next day … but let’s face it, waiting till the next day is not always going to happen, is it??!
Leave the drizzled cake to cool, and when cool turn it out on to your serving plate.
To make the icing, add the zest and most of the juice of one lemon to your icing sugar. Mix well to get read of any lumpy bits, and get the consistency right: Ideally, runny enough to ooze over your cake, but not so runny that it floods off the cake on to your plate – add a little more lemon juice if need be. Once satisfied, pour the lemon icing rustically over your cake, sprinkle with poppy seeds, and if you still can resist, leave it for an hour or so for the icing to set a bit.
For walks, I make this cake the night before so the syrup has overnight to soak the cake. I add the icing first thing in the morning, and it’s safe enough to slice and pack into a container by the time we’re off walking.
Time for your self
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When I first tested this recipe out I was stunned. So simple, soooooooooo gorgeous! It’s a bish-bash-bosh sort of way to elevate chicken to a higher level of chickenness. Think you can’t cook? You can manage this!
Lemon & Parsley Chicken (serves 4)
4 portions of chicken – breast or leg portions
200ml olive oil
4 tbl fresh parsley
Juice of 2 lemons
Salt & Pepper
Start with making the dressing – the flavours sort themselves out beautifully whilst the chicken cooks.
Measure out the olive oil, add the raisins, chopped fresh parsley and lemon juice plus a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Put it to one side to do the magic infusiony thing (NB Don’t add the pine nuts yet, they come later).
Now pop your chicken in a roasting tin, sprinkle over a little salt and pepper and roast for about 40-60 minutes at 180 C (Aga roasting oven). Check it’s cooked properly by puncturing the skin with a fork – you should see clear juice come out.
Just before you take the chicken out of the oven, toast the pine nuts in a clean, dry frying pan (no oil). Keep your eye on the pan, these little blighters cook quick and taste gorgeous when toasted, not incinerated. So keep the pan moving and tip the pine nuts into your lemon dressing as soon as they start to go golden.
Serve your chicken with the dressing drizzled over. Good with new potatoes and bit of greens. Yum!
Welsh Mountain Retreat Holidays Some time out, where someone takes care of you for a change.
Oh hello…. Count me in!