This week we’ve had a couple of nights where it feels quite cool – it seems as though the time has come to say goodbye to summer and all those lovely berry desserts.
The coming of fall, although a beautiful but short season here in Ontario, will mean that winter is just around the corner. Now being a summer person, that is not my favourite time of year. It means there is often a very reluctant dog (our yellow labrador) and us to venture out on walks. The bright sunny, even snowy days, are a delight – it’s the ice and wind I could do without!
So – where I was going – it seems that it’s now time to start bringing out the fall recipes with that bit of comfort food about them. The first one we had again for supper last evening – a Lemon Surprise Pudding – which has just been added to the blog. I hope that you will want to try it.
This Lemon Surprise Pudding makes a lovely, citrus dessert. The mixture creates a thick, very lemony sauce that is covered with a really light and airy sponge.
Chicken goujons are a great hit with young family members, with or without the mustard sauce. (They can always leave the creamy mustard sauce for the grown-ups!)
The lemon and thyme marinade makes the chicken really juicy and tender before it is covered in breadcrumbs and sautéed. Served with a creamy sauce which has a blend of mustards and a little horseradish for an extra kick.
3 large chicken breasts cut into strips, about 400g (14 oz)
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1½ tbsp flour, seasoned
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup fresh fine white breadcrumbs (2 slices bread)
oil for frying (not olive oil)
For the sauce
140ml (5 fl oz) crème fraîche (⅔ cup)
1½ tsp Dijon or English mustard
1½ tsp whole-grain mustard
½ tsp horseradish sauce
Can be served with sautéd potatoes (see recipe below) and fine green beans
For the goujons
Place the chicken strips in a shallow dish. Sprinkle over the thyme and lemon juice then add 5 teaspoons of the olive oil. Cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.
Spread the seasoned flour on a plate.
Lightly beat the egg in a shallow bowl and add 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
Spread the breadcrumbs over a second plate.
Now drain the chicken and pat dry.
Toss the chicken strips in the seasoned flour, then dip them into the egg and finally roll in the breadcrumbs until well coated.
Place on a plate and chill for 15 minutes.
Heat a little oil in a large frying pan/skillet. You want just enough to prevent the chicken from sticking. Add the chicken and fry over a medium–low heat for 10 minutes, turning frequently, until crisp and golden all over.
Roll them on kitchen paper to absorb any oil before serving.
For the sauce
Stir all the ingredients together until combined and serve separately.
Place potatoes in a pan with cold, salted water to cover. Bring to the boil and simmer for 7 minutes. Now drain and leave for a few minutes until they are cool enough to handle. Dice into 1 inch chunks.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Season potatoes and add to pan. Cook, turning frequently, until browned, crisp and cooked through, about 10–15 minutes.
Summer has now arrived and we can look forward to a few months of hot sunny weather. This is certainly my time of year and I have just made one of my favourite desserts – creamy iced lemon pots.
I tend to make them for the summer because they are very refreshing and very creamy.
Very easy to make too. Four ingredients – cream, milk, the zest and juice of 2 lemons, and sugar. Basically, it is all mixed together and frozen. I make up a batch which will fill 8 glass ramekin dishes and, because they are frozen, you can just take as many out of the freezer as you need at a time. They are a great little standby when you want something quick for a dessert.
Perfect for a hot summer’s day. These little pots are so refreshing and so creamy.
Very easy to make. Basically mixing together cream, milk, the zest and juice of two lemons and sugar then freezing.
This recipe makes 8 pots so you can take as many out of the freezer as you need and leave the rest for another day – a super little standby.
300ml (10 fl oz) double/whipping or heavy cream (1¼ cups)
340g (12 oz) caster/white sugar (1¾ cups)
600ml (20 fl oz) full fat/whole milk (2½ cups)
150ml (5 fl oz) whipping cream or heavy cream (⅔ cup)
You will also need a 1.5 litre (2½ pint) plastic container with lid and 8 glass ramekin dishes.
Whisk the cream in a large bowl until it forms soft peaks.
Zest the lemons and add to the cream. Now squeeze out the juice (they should yield 6 tablespoons of juice) and add to the cream along with the sugar and milk. Whisk on the lowest setting until thoroughly mixed and then pour into the plastic container, cover with the lid and freeze for at least six hours until firm.
The mixture will now have begun to freeze, so break it up into chunks, put in a blender and then liquidize until smooth and creamy.
Pour into the ramekin dishes, cover them and freeze overnight.
Before serving, remove the ramekin dishes to thaw for 10 minutes. Meanwhile whip the cream and then put a small spoonful on the top of each lemon pot. Cut four thin slices from the remaining lemon and cut these into two. Twist each piece and place on top of the cream for decoration.
These will keep in the freezer for up to a month. Just remove from the freezer for the 10 minutes while preparing the decoration.
4 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), whites only (reserve the yolks for the filling)
¼ tsp cream of tartar
225g (8 oz) caster/white sugar (1 cup + 2 tbsp)
For the filling
4 egg yolks
100g (3½ oz) granulated/white sugar (½ cup)
225ml (8 fl oz) whipping/double cream or heavy cream (1 cup)
For the topping
120ml (4 fl oz) whipping/double cream or heavy cream (½ cup)
2 tbsp icing/powdered sugar
280g (10 oz) strawberries, washed and hulled (1 punnet or about 2 cups)
You will also need a 23cm (9 inch) round glass dish.
For the meringue
Preheat the oven to 130°C(250°F) (gas ½)
Whip the egg whites until stiff. Sprinkle over the cream of tartar then gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the meringue is smooth and glossy.
Very lightly grease the glass dish then spoon in the meringue making a nest about 2.5cm (1 inch) deep with a rim about 5cm (2 inches) deep.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes and then leave to cool.
For the filling
Zest half the lemon and squeeze the juice from the whole lemon and set to one side.
Beat the egg yolks and sugar together in a glass bowl sitting over a pan of just simmering water. (Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water.) Stir in the lemon juice and zest. Continue to cook for about 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened, stirring frequently. Remove the bowl from the pan and leave to cool.
Now, whip the cream until soft peaks just start to form (you don’t want it to become stiff). Then fold into the cooled lemon sauce until incorporated. Pour into the meringue nest, level the top, and chill for 2 hours.
For the topping
Whip the cream and sugar together until stiff and spread over the lemon filling.
Decorate with the strawberries. If they are small, leave them whole but if they are large, slice them.
This lemon meringue pie is a true family favourite and was one of the first pies I ever baked. The filling is very easy to make from scratch. It gives a mixture that is both creamy and full of zingy lemon flavour to complement the sweetness of the meringue on top.
You will also need an 18cm (7 inch) round deep pie plate with rim
For the pastry
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub the fat into the flour until the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs. This can be done by hand or in a food processor.
Sprinkle the water evenly over the surface (if it is not evenly sprinkled it can cause blistering when the pastry is cooked). Start bringing the dough together using a pallet knife and, once it starts clumping, finish off by hand, until the dough is smooth and leaves the bowl clean. Pop in a plastic food bag and refrigerate to rest for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5) and place a baking tray/sheet in the oven to warm up at the same time.
Roll out the pastry onto a floured surface to a thickness of 6mm (¼ inch) and 2.5cm (1 inch) larger than the pie plate. Now cut a 1.25cm (½ inch) strip from around the edge of the pastry. Dampen the rim of the pie plate with water and then use the strip to cover the rim, pressing it down. Next dampen the strip of pastry. Then line the pie plate with the remaining pastry, gently pressing it down into the pie plate and around the rim to make sure no air is trapped but being careful not to stretch the pastry. Remove any excess pastry from around the edge of the rim and prick the base of the pastry with a fork.
Place the pie plate on the baking tray/sheet in the oven and bake blind for 15 minutes.
Then carefully remove the paper and baking beans, and return the pastry to the oven for a further 5–10 minutes until it is cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 150°C (300°F) (gas 2).
For the filling
While the pastry is cooking, the filling can be prepared. Mix the cornflour with the water in a saucepan. Then stir in the zest and juice of the lemons. Bring slowly to the boil, stirring, until the mixture thickens.
Now reduce the temperature to medium and add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved. Remove from the heat, cool the mixture for a couple of minutes, then beat in the egg yolks. Set aside.
For the meringue
Whisk the egg whites until stiff. Then gradually add the sugar, a tablespoon at a time, whisking well between each addition, until the mixture is stiff and glossy.
The pastry case can either be left in the pie plate or carefully removed. Place the pie plate or the pastry case only on the warmed baking tray. Now pour the lemon filling into the pastry case and then pile the meringue on top, making sure it completely covers the filling. Finally pull the meringue up into peaks using the tip of a knife.
Bake in the oven for 45 minutes. The meringue will be crisp and lightly browned on the outside but still soft on the inside.
It can be served warm or cold. If it is to be served warm, let it rest for 20 minutes after taking it out of the oven before slicing into portions.
Sole fillets are a delicate fish and here they are cooked with a cream cheese, parsley and lemon stuffing, which adds to the flavour of the fish without overpowering it. Cooks in just 20 minutes for a delicious meal.
3 pkg (250g each) cream cheese, at room temperature
140g (5 oz) granulated sugar (¾ cup)
1tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp flour
3 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.)
120ml (4 fl oz) double cream/whipping or heavy cream (½ cup)
1 tbsp icing/powdered sugar
½ lemon, thinly sliced
½ lime, thinly sliced
9 inch springform pan, base lined
Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F) gas 3
If using digestive biscuits, place the biscuits in a plastic storage bag and crush, using a rolling pin, until the biscuits have become small crumbs.
Melt the butter in a pan over a low heat and, as soon as it has melted, remove from the heat. Add the crumbs and stir until well coated. Tip into the springform pan and press down making sure they make an even base right into the corners.
Zest half the lemon and all of the lime and put to one side. Juice the lemon and put in a small bowl.
Place the cream cheese into a large bowl with the sugar. For this stage it is easier to use a free standing mixer or a hand–held electric whisk. Beat until the cheese has softened and blended with the sugar.
Add the juice from the lime along with 2 tablespoons of reserved lemon juice and the vanilla extract. Mix to combine. Blend in the flour.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition until just blended.
Stir in the lemon and lime zest.
Pour over the crust and bake for 35–40 minutes or until the centre is just set.
Turn off the oven. Remove the pan and run a palette knife around the rim of the pan to loosen the cake.
If time allows, return to the oven and leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven. Cooling the mixture slowly prevents any potential for cracking.
Once cool, remove from the pan and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Whisk the cream until soft peaks form then gradually add the icing/powdered sugar, whisking until the cream becomes stiff. Spoon dollops of cream in the centre of the cheesecake.
Cut the lemon and lime slices in half and use them to decorate the top of the cream.
a little icing sugar/powdered sugar, sifted, for dusting
For the cream filling
250g mascarpone (straight from the fridge)
200g fromage frais (straight from the fridge)
1 tbsp caster sugar/white sugar
For the icing
55g (2 oz) icing sugar/powdered sugar (½ cup)
A 23 × 32.5 × 1cm (9 × 13 × ½ inch) deep baking tin/pan lined with baking parchment and lightly greased.
For the lemon curd
For this you will need a heatproof bowl that can be sat over a pan of just simmering water. The bowl must not be able to touch the water.
While the water is heating up in the pan, prepare the ingredients. Zest one of the lemons and put this aside for using in the sponge. Zest 1½ of the remaining 2 lemons and place in the bowl. Juice all 3 lemons and add this to the bowl (the 3 lemons should produce 9 tablespoons of juice). Also add the eggs and sugar. Whisk all the ingredients together and then place the bowl over the pan of simmering water.
Add the butter a little at a time to the bowl, whisking between each addition until well blended.
Whisk the curd occasionally to keep the mixture smooth and cook until it has thickened, about 15 minutes.
Remove the bowl from the pan and let the mixture cool. Then cover the curd with clingfilm to prevent it forming a skin and refrigerate so it has a chance to become well chilled.
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Put all the ingredients except the icing sugar/powdered sugar in a large bowl and whisk for 1 minute. Use either an electric hand mixer or a food mixer.
Heat a little water and add 1 tablespoon to the mixture and whisk briefly, just enough to mix in.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin and smooth it out to an even layer. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes but do not open the oven door before 8 minutes has elapsed or the sponge could sink. The sponge is cooked when if feels springy in the centre if lightly touched with the forefinger.
Remove the cake from the oven and leave it for 5 minutes to cool in the tin.
Meanwhile, cut a piece of baking parchment 40cm (16 in) long and lay it flat. Heavily dust all over with icing sugar/powdered sugar. Turn the sponge out onto the sugared paper and carefully remove the lining paper. Now dampen a tea towel and lay over the sponge and leave for 3 minutes. This will make it easier to roll the sponge but it needs to still feel slightly warm.
To roll up the sponge, lift the paper from one of the shorter sides and fold it over the edge of the sponge. Carefully roll up the sponge and the paper together as tightly as possible. Gently lift onto a wire rack to cool completely.
For the cream filling
Whisk together the mascarpone, fromage frais and sugar until soft and creamy.
Unroll the sponge and evenly spread all-over with two-thirds of the lemon curd and two-thirds of the cream filling. Now gently roll up the sponge again but this time more loosely and carefully lift onto a serving plate.
For the icing and decoration
Using a zester, remove the zest from the lemon to get long, curly strands and put on a small plate. Sprinkle over about half a tablespoon of lemon juice and stir to coat the zest strands.
Now to make the icing, sift the icing sugar/powdered sugar into a small bowl and stir in about one tablespoon of lemon juice, enough to make a thin glaze. Using a spoon, and starting at one end, quickly drizzle the glaze across the roulade back and forth, working down the roulade to the other end.
Tip the zest onto a piece of kitchen paper to absorb any excess lemon juice and then scatter the zest over the top of the roulade.
Stir the remaining lemon curd and cream filling together and spoon into a small serving bowl.
The roulade is then ready to be sliced and served with a spoonful of the lemon cream.
The roulade can be made and refrigerated, lightly covered, a few hours in advance and removed 30–60 minutes before slicing and serving.
I am indebted to Mary Berry of The Great British Bakeoff for this recipe. It is very light, and the lemon makes it a refreshing end to a holiday meal with family and friends.
This is a lovely dessert that really does taste heavenly and looks very impressive too. The one thing I like about it is that you can prepare a lot in advance. The candied lemon peel can easily be made the day before and the lemon curd a few days before. The meringue is best made on the day you wish to serve it but that takes very little time to prepare. Then all there is to do is to mix the whipped cream into the lemon curd and assemble everything.
2 lemons at room temperature (to add to the 2 reserved from making the candied lemon zest)
225g (8 oz) butter (1 cup, or 2 sticks)
480ml (16 fl oz) double/whipping cream (2 cups)
30 chocolate mini eggs
Piping bag, fitted with a rose nozzle
For the candied lemon zest
(Can be made up to 24 hours ahead)
Peel the zest from two lemons and cut into thin strips. Reserve the lemons for their juice for the lemon curd.
Put the sugar in a pan with 60ml (2 fl oz) (¼ cup) water and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Then add the zest and boil until syrupy, about 2–3 minutes. Drain on parchment paper, then roll in the extra sugar until they are well coated. Leave to dry in a warm place for at least two hours, or over night.
For the meringue
Preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F) (gas mark 3)
Draw a 25cm (10 inch) circle on a sheet of baking parchment. With the drawn side down, place on a baking tray.
Add the egg whites to a bowl and whisk until stiff but before they get to peak stage. Use an electric hand-whisk or a free-standing mixer. Then gradually add the sugar a spoonful at a time while still whisking on the maximum speed until the mixture is stiff and shiny, and stands in peaks.
Blend the vinegar and cornflour/cornstarch together in a small bowl until smooth. Gently stir this into the meringue mixture.
Take half of the meringue and spread onto the baking parchment within the lines of the drawn circle. With the remaining half of meringue fill the piping bag and carefully pipe 10 separate nests equally around the edge of the meringue base.
Place on the middle shelf of the oven, turn the heat down to 150°C (300°F) (gas mark 2) and bake for 1½–2 hours. The pavlova will be a pale cream colour and will come off the paper easily when ready. Begin to check after an hour until it has reached this stage. Turn off the oven and leave the pavlova in the oven to become cold.
For the lemon curd
(The lemon curd can also be made ahead of time and once cooled can be refrigerated, covered with cling film, until needed. It will keep in a refrigerator for up to seven days.)
Squeeze the juice from all 4 lemons. (4 medium lemons should yield 12 tablespoons (¾ cup))
Place a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Add the egg yolks, sugar and lemon juice to the bowl and whisk until the sugar has dissolved.
Gradually add the butter to the pan, stirring until the butter has melted and combined.
Continue stirring until it the mixture starts to thicken. Patience is needed for this as this stage can take up to 20 minutes before it starts to thicken. It will thicken suddenly, so don’t give up! Remove from the heat and leave to cool. It will thicken further as it cools.
Once the lemon curd has cooled completely, pour the cream into a large bowl and whisk until really thick. Then add it to the lemon curd, gently swirling it through. Spoon a little into each of the nests. Then fill the middle of the pavlova with the remainder (you may not need it all).
Finally, place three chocolate mini-eggs in each of the nests and then sprinkle the candied zest in the middle of the pavlova creating a mound.
Lay one portion of pork on a board, cover with cling film and, using a rolling pin, gently hit the pork to flatten it to an even thickness about 1.25cm/½ inch. Peel away the cling film and transfer the pork to a plate covered with kitchen paper to dry. Repeat with the remaining three portions of pork.
Put the flour, egg, and breadcrumbs on three separate lipped plates. Coat each steak first in flour, gently shaking off any excess, then dip in the egg and finally coat with the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan then add the pork steaks and over a medium–low heat cook for 5 minutes. Turn and cook the other side for a further 5 minutes until golden and cooked through.