Limoncello Icecream with Lemon Coconut cakes

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OO& L limoncello &  lemon coconut friands

We are in Italy hence it has to be lemons. My Limoncello recipe from here formed the basis of this delicious limoncello ice cream served with these Gluten Free Lemon and Coconut cakes. They are so easy – literally put everything in a bowl and beat. It can be made in a round or loaf tin and cut if you don’t have the little silicone molds I used.

Makes a 7″ round or 1lb loaf cake or about 12 mini cakes

Lemon Coconut Cake
4oz soft butter
5oz sugar
6oz gluten free self raising flour mix
1 Tsp baking powder
1 tsp xantham gum
2 large eggs
2oz coconut
Rind of a lemon
A few tablespoons of milk or almond milk if you dont like dairy milk

Oven at 170C

If using a round or loaf tin, lightly grease and line with paper
Add all the cake ingredients into a bowl and beat well for about 2 minutes until everything is smooth and well blended with no lumps.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 35 minutes for the full cake or about 12-15 minutes with the mini molds. It is cooked when it is shrunken slightly from the sides and springs back when pressed lightly.
Stir the juice of a lemon with 2oz of castor sugar and pour over the cake(s) while still warm. When cool, turn out and serve with the ice cream or even with a little glass of the Limoncello itself :). And you know what, if you don’t have any limoncello, the recipe works just as good without!.

Limoncello Ice Cream

1 Vanilla pod – split
1 pint cream
4fl oz milk
4oz sugar
6 egg yolks
60ml limoncello

Scrape the seeds out of the vanilla pod
Add cream, milk and vanilla pod and scraped out bean seeds into a pot with the sugar and warm gently until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk egg yolks in a bowl just enough to break them up.
Add about 1/3 of milk cream mix into the eggs whisking constantly. Add back into the saucepan containing the rest of the milk cream mix.
Cook this over a low heat stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it thickens slightly and coats the back of a spoon. Keep the heat low or it will curdle. Pass the mix through a strainer, add the vanilla pod back into it and leave it to cool. Refrigerate until the custard is well chilled, remove the vanilla pod, add the limoncello and churn the mix in your ice cream machine.

Summer in the City

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A quick trip to NYC to visit my sister in law was a real treat, summer had arrived there, our little one was safe in the care of her Auntie and we were free to wander the streets, enjoy great restaurants, explore the city, meet some mad locals, enjoy drinks at any hour of the day or night and generally feel like we were free and single again.

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Now home, summer has arrived here and eating outdoors is my greatest treat. The butcher in Fallon and Byrne has introduced me to Bavette which is a great cheaper meat option for cooking on the griddle or Barbie. Marinate overnight and carve against the grain this delicious cut of meat has become a favourite in our house. Serve with a Tomato Salad with Basil Pesto or my favourite Bloody Mary version and you have a super easy meal full of summer flavour.

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Herb Marinated Bavette / Flank Steak
1 bavette or flank enough for 4 (ask butcher to leave in 1 piece)
1 handful each of fresh rosemary and thyme chopped
100ml olive oil
3 cloves garlic chopped and mashed

Mix the herbs oil and garlic
Lay the meat in a shallow dish and pour over the marinade ingredients
Into the fridge, preferably over night
Cook to desired donenes, Cut into slices and serve with tomato salad

Bloody Mary Tomato Salad
1 cup finely chopped red onion
3 tablespoons Sherry vinegar, divided
2 cups small tomatoes of choice halved
1 cup chopped celery (young inner stalks)
2 tbsp capers
1 Tsp horseradish paste
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauces (I use Frank’s)
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 tsp brown sugar or coconut palm sugar
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix onion and 1 tablespoon vinegar in a large bowl. Let macerate 10 minutes, tossing often. Add tomatoes, celery, and capers.
Whisk remaining 2 tablespoon vinegar, horseradish, worcester, hot pepper sauce and fennel seeds. Slowly whisk in oil. Season Add to bowl with tomato mixture; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper and the brown sugar as required.

Simple Summer Veg

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This is the 3rd year that I have harbored dreams of growing our own, of being able to say ‘These veg?, oh yes they came from garden, dreams sadly almost dead , dashed thanks to the army of slugs which attack my little patch every evening, multiplying themselves by factors beyond my mathematical ability and seemingly immune to the pots of beer and slug pellets I try dispel them with. I’m inundated with suggestions but I do draw the line at the person who suggested I go out each evening with a garden scissors and snip the buggers – even I couldn’t bring myself to do that.

So, instead I shop and bypass the more wintery vegetables in favour of lighter summer styles which are in abundance right now – (someone has solved the slug problem and I just need to know their secret). These recipes are full of summer flavours, light and easy to eat whether with fish or meat. Perfect outdoors eating and quick to prepare so you can get out in the garden after work. The spice butter and pomegranate molasses are staples in my house and they are great to add a little interest to salads and vegetables. And so, while I don’t have any produce from my own garden,I did at least get the chilli from my plant on the windowsill which the slugs haven’t worked out yet how to reach.

Griddled Bok Choi with Spiced Butter
Serves 2-3 people
2 Heads of Bok Choi – wash and keep root intact
2 oz butter
1 tbsp Ras El Hanout spice mix or any dried spice mix you like to use
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt and pepper

Trip the top leaves from the bok choi, roll up like a cigar and shred, then set aside
Cut the remaining bok choi into 1/4′s keeping root intact so it does not fall apart
Mix the butter, oil and spice until it is soft and spreadable
Season the cut sides of the bok choi then spread with the spice butter
Heat griddle pan until very hot (Open all the windows)
Place the bok choi cut side down on the pan and cook until lovely and golden, with griddle marks then flip over and continue to cook on the other side until almost tender with a little
bite. Remove from the pan to a service plate.
Add the shredded leaves with a drizzle of oil and flash for a minute on the pan then remove to the serving plate.
A final dash of seasoning and serve.

Tomato and Green Bean salad with Pomegranate dressing

4 ripe tomatoes deseeded and finely diced
1 red onion finely diced
1 red chilli deseeded (if you wish) and finely diced
2 handful of green beans, blanched for 3 minutes and chopped into small pieces

Dressing
1 tsp sumac
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
Salt and Pepper

Combine all the dressing ingredients and mix well.
Add all the vegetables to a bowl and cover with the dressing and leave for about 15 minutes for the flavour to develop. Taste and adjust for seasoning then serve.

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Summer Drinks

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Summer is here, temperatures are soaring and plans for eating outdoors and summer cocktails are all being made. 2 weeks ago I collected a bag full of elderflower (when there was still plenty of rain about) and now I am delighted to have this in the fridge ready for any callers. Those wanting something stronger can try the other bottle, also equally good on a summer evening. Limoncello brings memories of a lunatic driver from Naples to Amalfi careering round hair pin bends and stopping at the side of the road in blistering heat to offer us granita to cool down.

There is still elderflower about if you fancy getting up in the morning to collect it otherwise try recipe #2.

Limoncello
1l bottle vodka
5 lemons (unwaxed and washed)
700gr sugar dissolved in 700ml water

Make sure you have big enough bottles to hold nearly 2 ltrs of liquid. I used old lemonade bottles which I sterilised.
Take the zest from all the lemons making sure not to include any white as it will add bitterness.
Put the zest in a large clean jar and pour over the vodka. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and leave for a week, shaking the jar each day.
When the vodka is ready add the syrup to it, leave for a further week shaking the jar regularly.

Elderflower Syrup – Delicious with sparkling water and loads of ice.

2kg white sugar, either granulated or caster
1.5 litres water
2 unwaxed lemons
About 20 fresh elderflower heads (stalks trimmed)
85g citric acid (from chemists – used for flavouring)

Put the sugar and water into a pot and gently heat until the sugar has dissolved. Give it a stir every now and again. Pare the zest from the lemons then slice the lemons into rounds. Add to the sugar and water.
Once the sugar has dissolved, bring the pan of syrup to the boil, then turn off the heat. Fill a washing up bowl with cold water. Give the flowers a gentle swish around to loosen any dirt or bugs. Lift flowers out, gently shake and transfer to the syrup. Add the citric acid, then stir well.
Cover the pan and leave to infuse for 24 hrs.
Line a colander with a clean tea towel, then sit it over a large bowl or pan. Ladle in the syrup – let it drip slowly through. Discard the bits left in the towel.
Use a funnel and a ladle to fill sterilised bottles (run them through the dishwasher).
This ready to drink straight away and will keep in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.

Spiced Halibut

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This is such a simple way to serve fish and any firm white fish will work equally well. Baking and basting the fish in melted butter adds a delicious richness to it and the heat from the Harissa is a perfect balance. I used Haddock and it stood up to the flavour very well. A simple supper dish which could be on the table in 30 minutes.

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Spiced Halibut
Serves 2
2 oz unsalted butter
2 tbsp harissa
juice of half a lemon
1 large halibut fillet, trimmed and boned and cut into 2 pieces

Oven at 180C

Melt the butter in small pan, stir in the harissa and lemon juice
Season the fish and place into an oven proof baking dish
Pour over the butter mix and place in the oven for about 20 mins depending on the thickness of your fish, basting it at intervals
Serve the fish topped with the butter juices and some green beans.
Delicious!

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