Lemon Meringue Freezer Cake - Forman & Field Jubilee Bake Off

A few weeks ago, along with several other bloggers I was invited to whip up a jubilee inspired treat by the lovely people at Forman & Field.  Of course I accepted, any excuse to bake a delicious cake.  As the weeks flew by and I got sucked into Pet Lambs busiest period of the year the cake off totally slipped my mind.  Oh crumbs, I thought, all of those elaborate bakes I was planning just seemed like too much at the minute, so I started to think simple.  I came up with a variation of the Lemon Ice Box Cake I made way back in 2009, I simplified it to the point it can be whipped up by anyone in ten minutes using ingredients readily available from your local shop.  

Despite the easy of preparation this cake is a real show stopper.  So fresh and light I can just imagine enjoying this cake in the garden, sipping on Pimms with your closest friends.  And if you're planning a jubilee party, like me, your neighbors need never know just how simple this cake is. Just place it upon the table and await your praise!

Lemon Meringue Freezer Cake

1 home made vanilla loaf cake or a shop bought Madeira slice.
1 jar good quality lemon curd
1tsp vanilla extract
600ml half fat creme fresh
6 shop bought meringue nests

Line the bottom and sides of a 20cm spring form cake tin with baking paper.  Slice the Madeira cake into slices around 1" thick and use to cover the bottom of the tin, pushing any scraps into the gaps.

In a large bowl mix the creme fresh with the vanilla before crumbling the meringue nests into the bowl, stir to combine.  Spread half of the cream mixture over the cake base and top with spoonfuls of lemon curd, getting the curd right into any nooks and crannies.  Cover with the remaining cream and smooth the top with a spoon.  Cover the time in cling film and freeze overnight,

Remove the frozen cake and quickly dip the cake into a sink half filled with hot water.  Release the tin, place onto a cake stand and decorate with summer berries.  Enjoy in the garden with wine or Pimms.

Ma'amite Popcorn

I'm a sucker for pretty packaging and with the Queens Diamond Jubilee approaching I seem to be spoilt for choice.  Stunning patriotic style branding is just everywhere at the moment and I'm not sure how much more my kitchen cupboards can take.  My absolute favorites are the gorgeous Hope & Glory Golden Syrup tin (which I already have plans for) and the adorable Ma'amite Marmite jar.  

I do admit, I have a bit of a Marmite addiction.  Nigellas Marmite spaghetti is a staple in our home when the cupboards are bare and Marmite and cheese on toast is a breakfast favorite.  I'm always looking for ways to incorporate the delicious yeast spread into my diet so when someone mentioned they saw Marmite popcorn on sale at a craft fair I couldn't rest until I gave it a go. 

Marmite Popcorn

50g popping corn
a good glug olive oil
a knob of salted butter
1 - 2 tbsp Marmite, depending on how strong you like it

Pour a good glug of olive oil into a medium pan and place over a high heat.  Drop a few pop corn kernels into the oil and wait for them to pop.  Once they start to pop pour the remaining kernels into the pan and cover with a lid.  Shaking every few seconds wait for the popping to slow down and remove from the heat.  Place popcorn in a large bowl and set aside.

Rise and dry your pan (save those dishes) and place a good knob of salted butter and the Marmite in the bottom.  Place over a medium heat and stir with a wooden spoon until melted.  Pour the Marmite mixture over your popcorn and toss until each kernel is coated with the sticky sauce.  Enjoy immediately.

Nutella & Raspberry Fondants for World Baking Day

Did you know that this Sunday May 20th is World Baking Day? I sure did, but I just couldn't rest without letting the rest of the world in on the excitement.  If you want to get in on the fun the rules are very simple, all you have to do is bake a cake, take it somewhere silly and snap a photo.  Upload your crazy cakey picture to Twitter and add the tag #caking or simply submit it here and away you go!

Want some inspiration? How about these uh-mazing Nutella and raspberry fondants, they really are something else!  Serve hot for a superb warm and gooey centre or cold the following day, these little cuties will knock your socks clean off!

Nutella & Raspberry Fondants
(Adapted from Eat Little Bird)

100g plain flour
100g cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
185g unsalted butter, melted
4 large eggs
1 punnet fresh raspberries
1 jar Nutella

Preheat oven to 180C and liberally butter the cavities of a deep muffin tin.

Mix the sugar and eggs together until light and fluffy before folding through the flour and cocoa powder.  Add the melted butter and mix till combined.  

Pour a tablespoon of the batter into each muffin cavity, just enough to cover the base of the tin.  Place a heaped teaspoon of Nutella into each hole before covering with more batter.  Press three raspberries into the top of each fondant and bake for 10 minutes.  You want the sides of each cake to be cooked but the top and middle to be gooey and liquid.

Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before lifting out with a butter knife.  Enjoy warm with lashings of cream.


Chocolate and Salted Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Since Christmas I've been leaving a little trail of nudges and hints leading towards my Birthday.  I've been both subtle and even a little obvious in my mission but it worked. When my months of hints were finally recognised I, at long last, found myself the owner of the amazing ice cream attachment for my Kitchenaid Stand Mixer.  I was half expecting the weather to be a little more cheerful in this, the month of May but sadly the rain has kept the sunshine away.  Despite it not really being quite the weather for ice cream I just couldn't wait to give my new toy a whirl.

Since Kris is the major sweet tooth in our home I let him pick the the flavour of the maiden batch, surprisingly he chose chocolate and salted peanut butter.  By the size of the bowl he devoured I can hand on heart say this this is a great recipe.  Much more chocolatey than store bought ice creams and when you hit a nugget of peanut butter you're in heaven!

Chocolate and Salted Peanut Butter Ice Cream
(adapted from Joy the Baker)

300ml whole milk
200g sugar
75g cocoa powder
pinch of salt
3 Tablespoons corn flour
60ml double cream
150g plain chocolate chips
100g smooth salted peanut butter 

In a sauce pan over medium heat, stir together the whole milk, sugar, cocoa powder, corn flour and salt. Heat until the milk start to steam, but before it starts to boil.  Boil until thickened slightly. Remove from the heat.

In a small sauce pan, heat the double cream until boiling, remove from the heat and stir through the chocolate chips till melted and smooth.  Stir the cream and chocolate mixture into the cooling chocolate ice cream base. Place in a bowl, covered with plastic wrap or a lid, and put in the fridge until cool.

Once cool, follow the manufacturers instructions on the ice cream maker to churn ice cream. Once the mixture has chilled and thickened in the ice cream maker, slowly drizzle in half the peanut butter. Don’t over mix. You want a nice ribbon of peanut butter running through the ice cream.
Transfer the ice cream into a freezer safe container and fold in the remaining peanut butter. Cover and freeze until solid.

Afternoon Tea @ Garden Kitchen

When Paula posted a review of new Newcastle eatery Garden Kitchen I felt I just had to pop down and try it for myself.  I'd wandered past a few times but never really gave it too much attention, I was too focused on pretty baking tins from Lakeland to slow my pace.  Then, last week, while at work in the studio a customer came down for a photo shoot with his family, that customer just happened to be the head chef at said restaurant.  We got to chatting about afternoon tea and he mentioned that Garden Kitchen do an interesting twist on the concept, an afternoon picnic.  Well, that was the last straw, I had to try it out for myself.

When our food came the delicious treats were presented on the most adorable little picnic table, so damned adorable I may have made a ever so tiny squeak of delight.  Upon our little bench was a selection of delicious sandwiches including egg mayo (which I usually despise but I gobbled the lot) and bacon, cheese and tomato.  As tasty as the sandwiches were it was the sweet treats really stole the show for me. A tiny peppermint crème brûlée served in an espresso cup, a Pimms jelly, salted caramel chocolate pot and a banana and passionfruit eton mess served in a jam jar.  The only downside to this wonderfully presented picnic was the restaurant had run out of sugar syrup for the home made lemonade so Kris and I settled for tea, but that's certainly no hardship for me.

If you ever find yourself in Newcastle and are suffering from what I like to call shopping fatigue I urge you to try out the Garden Kitchen.  Recharge those batteries in style.
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