Lemon Bars

I always wanted to be in the Olympics. During the Olympics the Cul de Sac where I live became a mini Olympic village as I would have mini Olympics with the neighbours. We had everything from high jump (three bamboo sticks made into a H shape using clothes pegs to support the horizontal bar, it would get higher as the competition went on) to soccer. The lack of essential  equipment, such as horses for dressage, never bothered us. We compromised instead or synchronized swimming we had synchronized swinging and I would challenge  anybody who doubted the competitiveness our mini Olympics. At the  end of each day medals wore awarded to those who deserved them this often resulted in great upset from other competitors.  For the Sydney Olympics I watched and re-watched Sonia take silver, shouting “Go on Sonia, Go on…..”at the re-runs. As I was only five it never dawned on me that it was the same race. I dreamed and still do of being in the Olympics only problem is I am only a month younger than Missy Franklin and I show little talent in any Olympic discipline. So I will have to put my dreams of being the next Katie Taylor (and who doesn’t want to be Katie Taylor) to bed. The main, and all important, reason being I don’t  box.  I can make really good lemon bars though, bet you the four time world champion, oylmpic gold medalist and former International soccer player can’t make a tea time treat as good as these.

I cut them when they were still hot so they crumbled, they still tasted good

Lemon Bars adapted from Leon Baking & Puddings

285g of plain flour plus 35g

80g of icing sugar

t teaspoon of salt

225g of unsalted butter

2 tablespoon of water

4 eggs

300g of sugar

120ml of lemon juice

1/2 tsp of lemon zest

1 teaspoon of baking powder

Heat the oven to 16oC

Method

First make the shortbread base. Put the 280g of flour icing sugar and cold butter in the food processer and mix until crumbly. You could do this with the back of the fork or pastry cutter (or so the Leon book tells me) Mix until it forms a ball. Add the water if necessary. Press the dough into a 30×20 cm baking tin.  Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until lightly golden and set but it will still be soft as it hardens while it cools. Meanwhile beat the eggs add the sugar lemon juice and zest. Sift in the flour and baking powder. Spread on the cool shortbread and return to the oven for 20-25 minutes or until it is just set. Cool completely in the tin before cutting into squares. Take them out of the tin to serve. When taking them out the first one will usually fall apart as it is hard to get to I just use this one as the testing one and eat it.

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Bircher Muesli


Anybody who knows me knows I love breakfast. It is my favourite meal of the day. It is the only meal where it is acceptable to eat anything from Cake to sausages. Given my attatchment to the morning meal you can only imagine my excitement when I recently breakfasted at McNean house I had heard a lot about the breakfast and it didn’t fall short. One thing that I truly enjoyed was the Bircher Muesli. I am not a huge Muesli fan as I have voiced before but the Bircher muesli is a whole different ball game. I had heard about this type of muesli where the oats are soaked in milk and yogurt the night before but dared not make it for fear it would be soggy. Infact it wasn’t soggy at all it was extremly tasty and with just under 200 calories per serving it’s the perfect kick start to my detox weekend. Bircher muesli was first created by a 20th century physician to feed patients, althought it has been adapted to suite our modern taste, the idea remains the same.

Bircher-Style Muesli

adapted from the Jamie Magazine issue 26 February 12

This recipe is made the night before you wish to serve it. You can chop and change this recipe to suite your own personal change. I added fresh berries before eating it, instead of the dried fruit. Bananas, Kiwis, peaches and cubes of mango would aslo be rally nice in it.

makes 5 small servings

1 apple

1/2 a pear

1/2 a lemon

40ml of orange or apple juice

1/2 a small handful of dried fruit (optional)

1/2 a small handfull of nuts and seeds (optional) I used pumpkin, sunflower, almonds and pine nuts

250g of plain yogurt

50g of dessicated coconut

1 tbsp of honey

100ml of milk

Prepare the muesli a night in advance. Grate the apple and pear skin and all. Transfer to a bowl squeeze in the lemon juice add the orange juice. Roughly chop the dried fruit and nuts, add to the bowl. Add the yogurt and oats. Mix well to coat all the oats in the juice and yogurt. Stir in the honey. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge overnight. The next morning loosen with the milk . Serve in bowls with your cchoice of topping – honey, fresh or dried fruit, toasted nuts ect.  It will last 2 days covered in cling film in the fridge

When life gives you lemons make Lemon Cake

Although it’s only March the weather has me in a summery mood and this lemon cake (requested by Sister Number one as her Birthday cake) seems like the perfect summer cake. Usually i make a plain Madeira mixture and add lemon zest and juice but a Jamie Oliver recipe caught my eye. “My Nans Lemon Drizzle Cake”. He adds poppy seeds which I love but Sister number one wanted plain lemon cake. Jamie also makes a lemon syrup which he pours over the cake before icing I omitted this.This cake has the addition of Almonds which makes it denser yet moister than regular Lemon cake. I divided the mixture in two tins and sandwiched them together with lemon curd for the photo. Then I made marzipan roses to top the cake.

Lemon Cake

adapted from Jamie Oliver “Cook with Jamie”

makes one 20cm cake

114g of unsalted butter

115g of caster sugar

4 large eggs

180g of almonds

zest and juice of one lemon

125g of self raising flour

for the icing

225g of Icing sugar

juice of one lemon

Preheat the oven to 160C

Grease a 20cm round spring form cake tin.

Using and electric whisk beat the butter and until creamy. Add the eggs one at a time. Fold in the almonds, lemon juice, zest and flour. Spoon into the tin and cook for 40 minutes or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.  Allow cake to cool completely on a rack before icing. Mix the sugar and lemon juice together. Put on a serving plate and pour the icing into the middle of the cake. Then let it flow all over the cake to get the drizzle effect down the side. Gravity will eventually take over and give you this drizzle effect so don’t give it a helping hand or you will end up with too much drizzle.