Honestly this is ridiculously easy and so impressive. It’s a good one for showing off if you’ve got friends coming to stay, think of their faces when you whip out homemade lemon curd in the morning to go on sourdough toast!
It’s also great as a filling in a victoria sponge.
75g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
125ml lemon juice
Zest of one lemon
3 large eggs
Melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat, then add the lemon zest, lemon juice, sugar and eggs.
Keep the saucepan at a medium heat, and while heating, whisk the ingredients continuously. After about 5 minutes it will turn into a custard. When it’s suitably thick, you’re lemon curd is ready.
Once cooled, pour into a sterlised jar and store in the fridge.
5 Scrumptious Breakfast Recipes For Those Lazy Weekend Mornings
Hi! Debbie here. This is my third guest post for Katya’s Cake Hole and today I’m sharing some of my favourite weekend breakfast recipes. Most of these recipes take a little longer to pull together than your standard weekday breakfast but they make for the perfect brunch on a lazy weekend morning.
For those of us that are 9-5, Monday to Friday, the weekends are a treasured time. Making sure they are well spent, and sometimes a little over indulgent is particularly important to me. Having some great go-to weekend breakfasts/brunches always helps to start weekend days in the right way.
Some of these recipes are sweet, some are savoury. Some are healthy, others not so much. So there’s an option to suit most tastes and plenty of choice for those fabulously lazy days.
Click on each of the links below to view the recipe and with each I’ve attached a pdf version for you to print off if you choose.
Can I just say I LOVE READY STEADY COOKING! Everyone should do it. It’s fun, it’s creative and I got an enormous sense of satisfaction (combined with intense smugness) as the packets in my cupboards dissolved away and I ate a steady stream of amazing food.
So this was week two of Ready Steady Cook, and for those who haven’t been following, as part of my environmental challenge I committed to using up as many leftover ingredients in my cupboards as possible. I only initially signed up to this for a week, but I was enjoying myself so much, I decided to see how much more of my stocks I could use up if I continued.
On Wednesday night we used up all our paella rice, some chicken and broad beans from the freezer and a bit of pepper from our weekly veg box. We only needed to buy a tin of tomatoes. The recipe was super simple and we found it on the tesco website (we used chicken in place of chickpeas). And it was spot on.
Thursday night was a roast veg platter with carrot top pesto and red carmague rice. Admittedly all the veg were from our veg box, so hardly leftovers, but I loved that we used the carrot tops in the pesto, I thought that was genius and very environmental. I was also delighted that we used up the camargue rice that had literally been in the cupboard for five years. And it tasted perfectly fine.
Finally, perhaps my proudest result this week – my choc chip cookies. I was desperate to use up a packet of semolina as it seemed like a pretty redundant ingredient. So I googled around and found a Mary Berry cookie recipe. I had all the ingredients in my cupboards and took great joy in using up some very random bits of chocolate that had been knocking around in the fridge for months. The biscuits were superb – the semolina providing a wonderful extra crunchiness.
I will definitely take some valuable lessons from these two weeks of cooking so resourcefully – it’s boosted my confidence to realise that you can make very delicious food without going to the shop and stocking up on expensive ingredients. Experimental and brilliant cooking is possible with limited supplies. I hope to continue cooking more frugally and more sustainably from now on.
Next week, as part of my environmental challenge I will be foraging and making some recipes with whatever I find. I’m thinking nettle risotto, wild garlic pesto and elderflower gin. I will fill you in on how I get on next week.
I was pleased about reviewing this book. I could be confident that the recipes cooked wouldn’t result in me bulging out of my trousers as can be the case when I’m testing recipes. All the dishes looked around the 500 calorie mark which calorie wise would fill me up without jeopardising my waistline.
We really really enjoyed cooking from this book. It’s beautiful to look at and the photos are so tempting – it was fun picking dinners and largely fun cooking them too. I would say that it’s more of a weekend cookbook – although the recipes are easy they are a little fiddly and you might not be in the mood for that after a long day at work. My other caveat is that the recipe descriptions occasionally gloss over a process without giving full instructions. For example – when making samosas you are told to put your filling onto the filo pastry and ‘make samosa shapes’. Well it ain’t that easy! Even after watching a few videos on YouTube I was still struggling! So we had samosa lumps. Oh yes, my very final piece of advice is use more spices than Jamie Oliver suggests. Our curries would have been a bit bland if we hadn’t.
I can honestly say every recipe we cooked was a blinder, so sorting the 8 we cooked into ‘favourites’ and ‘runner ups’ is going to be hard, but here we go.
Harissa roasted aubergine, pomegranate and pistachios – this dish was MAGICAL! Firstly it looked magical with the jewelled effect of the pomegranate seeds, but the taste was exquisite, the smoky aubergine with the sweetness and tartness of the pomegranate was something else.
Skinny carbonara, smoky bacon, peas, almond and basil. You can’t argue with a guilt free carbonara. I’d go as far as to say this was better than the heavy overly creamy classic. The pea puree, bacon and almond provided all the flavour you needed without the heaviness of the traditional cream. And you still get a creamy kick from the yoghurt and egg that are thrown in at the end.
Beef, onion and sweet potato samosas – I was delighted that we actually made samosas (however lumpy they were!) – what an achievement. And the spicy meat mix was so tasty.
Delicious squash daal and special fried eggs – I loved this – the egg was fried in garlic, chillies, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and curry leaves – and I agree – the egg really was special – it was alive with flavour.
The Runners Up
Truthfully, nothing really deserves to be a runner up, I should really have done 8 favourites!
Mighty mushroom curry – a superbly creamy and spicy curry – absolutely no sorrow here about having no meat – the flavour and wholesomeness of the dish was quite enough.
Seared golden chicken, mint sauce and spring veg fest. This was gorgeous and fresh and I loved the creamy saltiness of the feta that was sprinkled on at the end. My only complaint is where are the carbs? I was still hungry after.
Crumbed pesto fish, roasted cherry vines, spuds and greens – just plain excellent – fish and veg can be a pretty bland and virtuous dish. Not this one! The crunchy breadcrumbed pesto took all the worthiness of this dish away and twisted it into something exciting.
Bombay chicken and cauli, rice and spinach – this was very tasty and cauliflower roasted in cumin and black mustard seeds was a revelation.
Writing this up has made me extremely sad that this review is over and that I have to move onto another cookbook – Jamie Oliver Everyday Super Food I will return to you I promise! I’ve been flicking through and there are too many recipes I still want cook. Every recipe we tried was inspiring, colourful, beautiful, delicious and healthy. You can’t really ask for more.
I relished the chance to get cracking with my immersion into John Whaites’ Perfect Plates. I did a Rustic French cooking course in May at his new cookery school and he was a bubbly delight of a man and obviously an excellent and passionate cook. I expected his book to be as full of personality and great ideas as John himself and I wasn’t disappointed.
So the premise of the book is that all the recipes contain just five ingredients – another reason to like the book – that sounded nice and simple. The rules are that basic ingredients like oil and seasoning don’t count as an ingredient.
I really enjoyed cooking from this book. It was a little bit of a shock after Anna Jones’ guilt free very healthy cooking to embrace heavier, carbier dishes, but – who cares they tasted good.
It’s difficult to pick out favourites as everything we cooked was impressive but here we go:
Braised Fennel with Halloumi and Grapefruit – I’d just got back from holiday so needed something to brighten my day and blast away my blues. A simple assembly job here creating a joyful colourful dish singing with flavours. The sour of the grapefruit and the salty halloumi hit the spot.
Lamb, Cherry and Yellow Split Pea Tagine – Jamie kindly cooked this slow cooked dish while I was out on a ramblers hike in Yorkshire. I returned shattered and hungry and very happy to devour this tender tasty stew.
Mushroom and Sage Gnocchi – This felt like utter decadence. Fried gnocchi with mushrooms with crispy fried sage. Buttery naughtiness!
Ham and Fennel Pasta – After pre-holiday dieting being able to eat ham with pasta and cream felt like a heavenly treat. And those ingredients are lovely together – the subtle fragrance of the fennel with the strong meaty ham and cream in the background work so well.
The Very Very Goods
Four-hour Tomato Pasta Sauce – I wanted to use up the glut of homegrown tomatoes we had post holiday. Luckily we had a lot as you need 1.5kg of them! Apart from having to blanch and skin all the tomatoes this was such an easy dish – just a long wait until serving. It was sweet and delicious.
Roasted Radicchio and Figs with Stilton and Balsamic Onions – Despite the fact we couldn’t find any radicchio and had to use chinese leaf instead, didn’t stop it from being excellent. It was a bung everything in the oven and roast type of dish and the flavours were beautiful – roasted fig and melted stilton is wonderful.
Tahini and Honey Chicken and Paprika Potatoes – Put all five ingredients in the oven and roast and hey presto you have beautiful nutty sweet chicken and potato dinner.
Roasted Courgettes and Tomatoes with Mozzarella and Basil – Another throw it in the oven dish – lovely and lazy and satisfyingly melty and tasty.
I think this book is great for time poor people who like to eat restaurant quality food. It’s easy to follow the instructions, the recipes are generally simple and quick apart from a few slow cook recipes which are still straight-foward they just have a long time in the oven. And when you only have to buy five ingredients per dish it makes shopping a breeze. I thought it was a good range of dishes too and they were all dinner party worthy – so a great way to impress friends with minimum effort! It’s fun, colourful, easy-going and light-hearted just like John.
John Whaite’s brand new cookery school is based in Wrightington, Lancashire. It’s in the countryside between Wigan and Chorley. John has refurbished the 400 year old barn that’s part of his mum’s house. And it’s beautiful – rustic, but modern.
I tipped up in my car at 9.45am and was welcomed personally by John who came out of the barn to greet me and invite me in. The day started with coffee and croissants and a little chat with the group I’d be baking with. There were ten of us.
Today we would be learning about rustic french cooking – and we’d be walking home with a tarte tatin, coffee eclairs and a savarin (a giant rum ba ba). It was all sounding good to me – apart from the awkward issue of transporting this stuff home. I was on a night out in Manchester afterwards. Oh well!
The day kicked off with savarin pastry and my first ever experience of a Kitchen Aid. Those things are cool! Savarin is a yeasted ring cake that we would be soaking in a rum based syrup and filling with cream and summer fruits. We beat our yeasty mixture together and left it to rise.
In honesty the rest of the lesson was a whirlwind of activity that’s kind of merged into one for me! The three bakes were approached simultaneously. As soon as we’d done a choux pastry for the eclairs, we’d be cutting out the puff pastry for tarte tatin, and when we’d done that we’d be creating the craquelin (a frozen rectangular of pastry to strengthen the eclair) and the next minute we’d be beating up a creme patisserie, then we’d be creating a caramel syrup for the apples in the tarte tatin.
It was a fast paced, intensive, hands on, educational day and BAGS of fun. John was a joy. He clearly adores sharing his passion and knowledge about cooking. His teaching style was relaxed, informative and incredibly playful – he loves entertaining a crowd. And I think getting ten pastry novices through three complicated dishes and keeping us all feeling chilled and competent is quite something!
It was quite surreal when at 3pm I had three fabulous pastries to my name! I wasn’t quite sure how I’d done it!
The day ended with us drinking prosecco and tucking into a delicious lunch prepared by John. And what a highlight that was. Getting to hang out al fresco on a beautifully sunny day stuffing our faces with delicious salads, quiche, cheeses and meats and a homemade onion fougasse bread. We definitely deserved a sit down after the frenetic day we’d had. It was also a great opportunity to chat with my fellow ‘chefs’. I think cooking together is quite a bonding experience, so we all felt at ease with each other at this point.
For me the day from beginning to end was a delight. John runs the classes with his bubbly sister Jane who slaved away over our washing up all day long. She was quite the dynamo! And John’s partner Paul was on hand all day to help with lunch, prosecco pouring and photography. It felt like a real family affair – and all three of them went out of their way to make us feel at home and fussed over. I feel like I learnt a lot, but actually most importantly I had a ball with a bunch of great people in a really beautiful location.
Here’s a link to John’s Cookery School – check it out!
Saturday cocktails started a little too early this weekend. I just shouldn’t drink at 5.30pm on an empty stomach. Anyway we kicked off in Tarriff and Dale. Love this place! It’s a bit of a Northern Quarter cliche with it’s exposed brick walls and worn floor boards – but it’s done so well. I went for an Amaretto Sour. Yum yum!
After a second cocktail, we thought it was time to get some food in our bellies and strolled off to find Rudy’s Pizzeria in Ancoats. We got a little bit lost but fortunately the overwhelming smell of pizza literally led us to its door. Rudy’s was rammed and they wouldn’t have a table for another hour and a half (argh booze and empty stomach disaster!) but we were so enamoured with the place that we decided to stick out. They took my mobile so we could take a wander. Nearby was a lovely and rather delightfully empty bar called the Cutting Room. In fact this whole area of Ancoats was a very pleasant discovery for us. Rudy’s and the Cutting Room are in a pristine and beautifully arranged square by Halle St Peter’s (the deconsecrated church where the Halle Orchestra rehearse). I spotted some posh benches in the square and made a note to myself for summer picnics.
Luckily for my increasingly sozzled head, we only had to wait an hour for Rudy’s to call us. And in we went. Rudy’s is quite different to any pizzeria I’ve ever been in – it’s big and airy and feels a little industrial with lots of wooden benches to sit on. The huge pizza oven is slap bang in the front of the restaurant with lots of cool looking dudes in baseball caps making the pizzas.
We were given our super cool perspex orange neon menus as we sat down. Nice touch!
Time to order! Jamie and I traditionally don’t order the same dish, but on this occasion I desperately regret not double ordering. He went for the Ancozzese – a white pizza (ie no tomoto sauce) with wild broccoli and tuscan sausage. I went for an inferior (but still extremely good) Calabrese – a spicy sausage pizza.
I spent the meal trying to beg bits of pizza off Jamie! The dough is made on site following the cultural tradition and artistry of Naples pizza. And it really is delicious. I loved the atmosphere in Rudy’s – it’s felt New Yorky, off the beaten track, buzzy and chilled all at the same time. There were fab subtle designery touches around the place from the neon menus to the pastel geometric shapes painted on the walls. This place is quite literally effortlessly cool. And the staff were lovely and just very normal and friendly and funny. Do give it a whirl.
This saturday amidst some weird rain/hail blizzard, Jamie and I headed up to pretty Marple Bridge for a bit of sunshine food. Yes, yet again I’m talking about tapas! I think I might be obsessed. This time we were testing out Libby’s. By day a bakery and cafe, by night a tapas bar.
Due to it’s popularity we could only book at table at 5.30pm. We tipped up bang on time and the place was empty. I was disappointed. I don’t mind eating early but not in a deserted place! However, my worries were washed away (not by the crazy rain) but by the swarm of people that literally filled out the place within the next ten minutes. This is clearly the place to be in Marple Bridge.
The menu instantly got us excited! A nice combo of traditional tapas with some interesting twists thrown in. We ordered and waited. As I’ve waxed lyrical before on this blog – there is something very pleasing in ordering food, forgetting about it and the dishes appearing at different stages of the evening. I like the suspense and surprise.
First up manchego frito with apple and pear chutney. Deep fried cheese basically, but a bit classier! This was wolfed down by us. Crunchy coating, gooey cheese, tangy chutney. Winner!
Then came the succession of other courses: wild mushroom and tarragon gnocchi – this came in a rich creamy sauce – the mushroom had a lovely intense flavour and the tarragon lifted the whole dish. Next up – chilli and garlic king prawns – everything you’d expect a fine spanish version of this dish taste of – sweet, warming, tomatoey and delicious (shame about the prawn shells). And then the true favourite – slow braised beef cheeks – super sweet, flavourful and melt in the mouth. I’ll gloss over the duck lasagne which didn’t live up to the rest of the fab dishes – just a bit non descript. And finally parsnip and sweet potato pancakes – which were quite like bhajis! They tasted of curry – that is not a criticism though – these were crispy, spicy and sensational.
And to top the night off, once we paid the bill our waitress offered us some free bread on the way out. There was a big shelf of loaves in the corridor that hadn’t been sold during the day. We greedily helped ourselves to an enormous loaf of sourdough (I’ve been eating it today – so good!).
If you get the chance, do check Libby’s out. It’s a delightful buzzy little venue, the staff are superb and the food (duck lasagne aside) is exceptional.