Tag Archives: Valentines Day treat

Lemon kisses

11 Sep

It’s Autumn. It has to be – it’s Sunday and we lit the fire mid morning and just hung around and read the papers.

The Sunday Times is our paper of choice; well it’s his paper of choice and I really don’t mind.  I love AA Gill‘s writing and generally read most of the main paper, the news review section and one or two of the features in the magazine.

So far today all I’ve managed is the main paper, until I got too cross about the article on obesity – GPs are offering people gastric band surgery, and the mayor of somewhere or other says that poor people can only afford junk food.  A gastric band should not and must not be seen as an easy solution to obesity – sensible eating and taking more exercise have to come first.  And anyone who believes that junk food is cheaper than fresh food should actually look at what they are eating, and what they could eat if they cooked from scratch.  Fresh veg is not an expensive option, and I don’t believe that junk food is cheaper than a pot of homemade soup.

I’ve been overweight all my life, despite eating relatively healthily (if you believe that relatively low fat, fresh food is healthy).  I live a pretty sedentary life and haven’t exercised for years, literally years.  I’m not proud of this.

I have never thought that a gastric band could be the answer, but have tried weight watchers and other calorie based diets in the past.  Nothing has felt easy for me and the weight has always crept back on.  It’s hard to keep it off when cooking and baking are such enjoyable and key activities in my life.

In July this year I saw a nutritionist.  She asked me thousands of questions, and ‘prescribed’ a low carb diet for me.  No carbs for breakfast, and low carbs for the rest of the day – concentrate on proteins and green veg; avoid white processed carbs, and avoid fruit juice.  In fact avoid most fruit, especially bananas.  I’ve not had a glass of fruit juice or a banana since.  And so far I’ve lost 11lbs and feel healthier than I have in years.  And I’ve never felt hungry, or struggled to know what to eat.

Now, I’m not suggesting that all obese people try this – but it works for me.  I have a metabolism that copes well with this regime.  From day one I haven’t craved a carb, and the best thing about this eating regime is that there are just whole aisles in the supermarket that I just walk past.  Why walk down the bread aisle if I’m not going to eat processed carbs?  In fact, apart from household stuff, I pretty much just go to the meat/fish/dairy and veg aisles and leave all the others.  I’m discovering some interesting new flavour combinations, and now know that I don’t need pasta or rice or potatoes or bread to bulk out a meal for me to feel satisfied.

One disadvantage is that it is not a cheap way of eating as protein rich meals tend to be more expensive than carb rich meals.  Swapping my porridge for scrambled eggs for breakfast may help my weight-loss, but does not help the bank balance.

However, I’m buying more sensibly and not throwing out as much food as I used to, so perhaps it’s balancing out.

Anyway, you might be wondering why this is called lemon kisses if it’s all just about obesity.  I warn you, lemon kisses are not going to help in any diet, whether you are low fat, low carb, low calorie.  It’s got them all.  But oh, they are so light and buttery.  And lemony.

Autumn Sundays aren’t just for getting cross at the papers. They also need to involve lots of good kitchen time – yesterday I made some sweet gherkin pickle (so easy and so delicious) and today is all about the baking.  And knitting.  More on the knitting soon.

But back to the lemon kisses.

I first made them back at the beginning of the year, and then promptly forgot where I’d put the recipe.  So, I googled today, and here they are, courtesy of the BBC Good Food website.  A batch is in the oven right now.

Lemon kisses

200g butter, at room temperature (or warmer if your kitchen is as cold as mine)

140g caster sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 lemon

280g plain flour

And for the filling and icing:

1/2 jar lemon curd (preferably home made – go on, it really is deliciously simple to make and who hasn’t got 30 minutes to make a jar of lemony loveliness?)

zest of 1 lemon

juice of 1 lemon

140g icing sugar

Oven 180C, GM6

  1. Mix the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, egg yolk and lemon zest with a wooden spoon in a large bowl
  2. Add the flour and mix together – you may struggle to get it all to bind with the spoon, so tip it out and lightly knead it together with your hands
  3. Roll out (I do it in two batches) on a lightly floured surface and cut into cute little biscuit shapes
  4. Place on baking trays and pop in the fridge for about 30 mins
  5. Bake for 8-12 minutes till golden. Cool on a wire rack
  6. When cool, spread half the biscuits with a little lemon curd, and sandwich each with a second biscuit
  7. Mix the lemon juice and icing sugar, and drizzle over the biscuits; sprinkle with lemon zest.  Leave to set on a wire rack
  8. Eat. In moderation.
One of my favourite easy puddings is a pretendie lemon ripple ice cream, made with a couple of scoops of nice vanilla ice cream (not too sweet a brand) and some lemon curd swirled through it as it’s served.  Serve with lemon kisses.  I guess you could go mad and do a lemony knickerbocker glory with ice cream, fresh cream, lemon curd and lemon kisses. Perhaps even some crumbled lemon kisses over the top of the glory as decoration? Over to you – just remember that eating a knickerbocker glory every day is probably not the best way to get a portion of your five a day.  You heard it here first.

Tablet

5 Jun

My brother wants a tablet recipe to bag up and sell at a fair… and so I have been tasked with giving him the best tablet recipe I know.

Hmmmmm… I used to have a good plain tablet recipe, but not sure where it is right now, possibly in the flat in Edinburgh.  But never mind, I have an array of Sue Lawrence cook books here, and she is the most reliable recipe writer I know.

So, I give you White chocolate and cardamom tablet

Sue Lawrence instructs you to follow these instructions to the letter.  I would urge you to do the same.  There’s nothing worse than attempting to make tablet and ending up with soft goo.  Or something that sets too hard and too quick and is impossible to cut into cute wee squares.  OK, there are actually some things worse, but you know what I mean.

125g / 4 1/2 oz unsalted butter

1kg / 2 1/4 lb golden granulated sugar

300ml / 1/2 pint full fat milk

a pinch of salt

200ml / 7fl oz condensed milk (this is half a regular can)

100g/ 3 1/2 oz  quality white chocolate, grated

7-8 cardamom pods, snipped open and seeds crushed (about 1tsp)

Butter a 23cm x 33cm Swiss-roll tin

  1. Place the butter in a large heavy based saucepan and melt slowly.
  2. Add the sugar, milk and salt and stir until the sugar is dissolved, still over a low-ish heat. Don’t be tempted to turn the heat too high, you don’t want it to boil before the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Bring to the boil and simmer over a fairly high heat for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, getting into all the corners.
  4. Add the condensed milk, chocolate and cardamom and simmer for 8-10 minutes over a medium high heat, stirring constantly.  Turn off your phone, or if you don’t , ignore it if it rings.
  5. After 8 minutes, remove the pan from the heat and test the contents for readiness: it should be at the ‘soft ball’ stage which means that when you drop a little of the mixture into a cup of very cold water, it will form a soft ball that you can pick up between your fingers.  If you are using a sugar thermometer, it should register 115C / 240F.
  6. Remove the mixture from the heat at once and beat with an electric beater (set at medium speed) for 4-5 minutes (or by hand for 10 minutes) until the mixture begins to stiffen a little and become ever so slightly grainy.
  7. Immediately pour it into the prepared tin and leave to cool.
  8. Mark the tablet into wee squares when it is almost cold.
  9. When it is completely cold, remove it from the tin and store in an airtight container or wrap in waxed paper.

I haven’t made this for years, but I love it.  The white chocolate and cardamom isn’t overwhelming but adds a slight sophistication to this ultimate Scottish home made treat.  Whoever saw a bag of tablet for sale that wasn’t ‘Homemade’?

 

 

 

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