Lemon pudding cake with berries

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To keep up with the spirit of seasonal cooking,  a lemon pudding cake with raspberries… Only one word to describe this: yum. Too bad soon enough berries will be gone from the supermarket…

Lemon pudding cake with berries  (adapted from Bill Granger‘s Easy)

Ingredients

  • Enough berries to cover the bottom of a tray (about 250g)
  • 75g of plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch sea salt
  • 300mL buttermilk
  • 125g unsalted butter (melted and cooled down)
  • 3 eggs separated
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

Method

Preheat the stove to 180oC

Grease a 750mL to 1L baking dish. Make sure this dish fit fits larger tray, so you can have a bain marie. Scatter the berries over the base of the greased dish, making sure the whole surface is covered

Combine in a large bowl the flour, baking powder and pinch of salt.

In another bowl, lightly whisk together the melted butter,  the buttermilk, the yolks, the sugar and the lemon zest.

Stir into the flour mixtures

Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks forms

With a metal spoon, fold in the batter half of the egg whites until well incorporated. Then, fold in the remaining half.

Spread the batter over the berries in the baking dish.

Put the baking dish in the large baking tray. Poor boiling water in the larger dish until it reaches halfway up the sides, creating a main marie.

Transfer to the stove for about 45m to 1h, until it starts to get fluffy and golden (it should be cakey on the top and soft in the middle).

Let it cool for a bit and serve.


Sweet and sour chicken

sweet and sour chicken

This has become one of my favourite dishes to take work for lunch. It is easy to make, healthy and very convenient to eat. It is also comforting…  It is probably miles away from the real thing, but it still tastes good enough to pass every foodie standard of deliciousness.

Sweet and sour chicken (adapted from Dave Myers and Si King’s The Hairy Dieters: How to Love Food and Lose Weight)

Ingredients

  • 1 x 425g/15oz can pineapple chunks in natural juice
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp soft light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup
  • ½ tsp dried chilli flakes
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 medium onion, cut into 12 wedges
  • 2 peppers, red, green, orange or yellow, deseeded and cut into chunks of about 3cm/1¼in
  • 100g of Brazil nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 25g/1oz piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • freshly ground black pepper

Method

To make the sauce, drain the pineapple in a sieve over a bowl and keep all the juice – you should have about 150ml/5fl oz. Put the cornflour in a large bowl and stir in three tablespoons of the pineapple juice to make a smooth paste. Add the remaining juice and 150ml/5fl oz water, then stir in the soy sauce, vinegar, sugar, ketchup and chilli flakes until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

Cut each chicken breast into eight or nine even pieces. Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a large non-stick frying pan or wok and stir-fry the onion and peppers for two minutes over a high heat. Drain the water chestnuts and cut them in half horizontally.

Add the remaining oil and the chicken to the pan and stir-fry for two minutes until coloured on all sides. Add the garlic, ginger, pineapple chunks and water chestnuts and stir-fry for 30–60 seconds.

Give the cornflour and pineapple mixture a good stir and add it to the pan with the chicken and vegetables. Stir well, season with some ground black pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 4–6 minutes until the sauce is thickened and glossy and the chicken is tender and cooked throughout, turning the chicken and vegetables a few times. Serve with a small portion of rice.


Quince poached in pomegranate juice and clotted cream

quitten pomegranatte clotted cream 

I can remember those cooking marathons my Mother used to endure around Christmas time, when all the cooking would be put to an halt to produce countless pots of marmelada. Do not confuse with marmalada... Marmelada is a very sugary quincy purée, which is a staple in every Portuguese kitchen. It seems to be something the Romans learnt from the Greeks, and which staid with us  until today,wikipedia dixit.

In any case, I would have thought to use the actual fruits for a dessert until I saw this recipe. And, I am glad I have tried it. Once you start with it, you just want to come back for more.

Quince poached in pomegranate juice (adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s column in The Guardian)

Ingredients 

  • 2 large quinces, peeled and quartered
  • 800ml pomegranate juice
  • 70g caster sugar
  • 1 vanilla pod, cut in half lengthways and seeds scraped out
  • The shaved peel of 1 large orange, plus 50ml juice
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 65g pomegranate seeds
  • 120g clotted cream
  • 2 tsp fresh mint leaves (optional)

Method

Core the eight quince quarters. Discard four cores and tie the others into a bundle with an old tea towel or muslin. Put the cored quince quarters into a heavy-based pan and add the wrapped-up cores, pomegranate juice, sugar, vanilla pod and seeds, orange peel and juice, and star anise. Bring to a boil, turn down to a gentle simmer, cover and cook for 15-25 minutes, until the quince is soft.

Remove the quince quarters with a slotted spoon and set aside. Simmer the sauce for 20 minutes or so, until it’s thick, syrupy and reduced to about 75ml. Just before serving, squeeze all the thick juices out of the core bundle into the sauce, then discard along with the orange peel, star anise and vanilla. Return the quince to the syrup and gently warm through. Place two quarters of quince on each plate, pour over some syrup and serve with clotted cream and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds and shredded mint (if using)


Apfelschorle

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Very sunny and hot Sunday afternoon in Basel. “Do you have something large, with a lot of ice and kind of sweet?”, I ask the waiter. “You might want an Apfelschorle“, he answers. He was right – it was just what I needed.