Tag Archives: lemon

Lemon Raspberry Yogurt Cake

1 Aug

Delicious summer cake

Summer seems to have gotten away with us slightly. I still owe you a Morocco post, Roxie has now skipped off on her own vacation, and I have not done nearly enough cooking with all of the beautiful summer produce.

I attempted to "pick my own" raspberries for this, but seemed to have missed the good ones. (I bought extra)

This cake was my first attempt, post-Morocco, to rectify that. It is quick, it is delicious, and it is extremely versatile. Throw in whatever berry you want, switch out the lemon… I think a lime/raspberry combination would also be delicious. I had way fewer raspberries than called for and it still worked out fine, just more lemony than raspberry-y. Basically, this is a great cake to make the most out of summer fruit without too much effort.

I couldn't find a whisk (or many baking supplies at all) in our English kitchen

Lemon Raspberry Yogurt Cake (Adapted, as always, from Smitten Kitchen)

Equipment: Mixing bowls, whisk, zester/grater, loaf tin or other cake pan (adjust baking time if using different sized pan)
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt
1 cup regular sugar plus 1 tbsp caster/superfine sugar, if you have it
3 extra-large eggs
Zest of 2 lemons
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen and thawed
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
Method: Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a standard loaf tin, then line with greaseproof paper and grease and flour the paper.
Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into a bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup of the sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla, and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Toss the berries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and carefully fold into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about fifty minutes, checking that a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Towards the end of the cooking time, make a glaze. If using granulated sugar, cook together the lemon juice and 1 tbsp of sugar until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is clear. If using caster/superfine sugar, you can get away without cooking it if you’re lazy like me. (You can also get away with this if using granulated, and will have a nice crunchy glaze.)
When the cake is done, remove and allow to cool for ten minutes in the pan before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake while it is still warm, with something underneath to catch the drippings. Little holes made with a toothpick in the cake help to draw the syrup in better. Cool and serve!


Farmer’s Market Bounty: Simple Asparagus Dishes

16 Apr

Sweet potato fries and asparagus

I got a little over-excited at the farmer’s market last weekend. I’m just so excited that we are finally seeing a couple new vegetables after a very long winter, that I had to buy a ton even though I knew I already had a lot of food in the house. I’ve been most excited about seeing asparagus everywhere (though as soon as the rhubarb comes in I’m sure I’ll be buying that up by the truckload), but I’d gotten bored of steaming it so I decided to do a couple other, equally simple, dishes with it this week.
The first was my justification for buying a pint of fingerling sweet potatoes, purely because they were adorable. I figured they would be perfect for baked sweet potato fries– hardly any cutting to do! And since roasted asparagus is delicious, I plonked some asparagus on to the pan for the last ten minutes of baking. Perhaps not a complete meal, but a delicious one.

Fingerling sweet potatoes from farmer's market versus massive sweet potato from Whole Foods

The next night I realized I still had a ton of asparagus, and my swiss chard was quickly looking very sad indeed. So I sauteed up the vegetables, added some lemon and spaghetti, and made a delicious pasta. Hooray for spring!
Baked Sweet Potato Fries and Asparagus
Baking sheet, sharp knife
As many sweet potatoes as you want
As much asparagus as you want
About 1 tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper, chili powder, and cinnamon, to taste
Method: Preheat the oven to 450F. Peel the sweet potatoes if you want, but I don’t find it necessary. Cut the sweet potatoes into some sort of fry-shape (with the fingerlings, I just quartered them lengthwise). Toss in olive oil, and sprinkle over any seasonings you want (I used those listed above). Spread out into a single layer on the baking sheet, and put in the oven for about 15 minutes. While baking, break off the tough ends of the asparagus, and toss in bowl you tossed the sweet potatoes in, adding more oil if you want.
After 15 minutes, the sweet potatoes should be fairly tender. Stir them around a bit, and throw the asparagus on top, trying to spread it out evenly again but don’t worry if it doesn’t fit in one layer. Put back in the oven for about 10 minutes, at which point the asparagus should be done, and the sweet potatoes crispy in places. Devour in one sitting.

So many good things in one pan

Spaghetti with Swiss Chard and Asparagus
Equipment: Pot, frying pan, knife
One bunch swiss chard (it will shrink a lot)
Half a bunch asparagus (or more)
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
Juice 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp butter
Salt and pepper
Method: Put a large pot of salted water on to boil. While waiting to boil, roughly chop the swiss chard. Break off the tough ends of the asparagus (if you bend the stalk, it will naturally snap where it is tough). Discard or save for another use (such as in broth). Cut the stalks and heads into roughly one-inch pieces. Peel the cloves of garlic, and smash with the broad side of a knife. When water boils, add enough spaghetti for about two people. While it is cooking, heat olive oil in frying pan over medium heat. Put garlic in oil, and cook until it softens at edges, about a minute. Add asparagus and swiss chard. Season with salt and pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until swiss chard is wilted and asparagus is cooked, but with some bite, about 6 minutes. Remove from heat if it is done before spaghetti.
When it is cooked al dente, drain spaghetti and toss into frying pan along with 1 tbsp butter and juice of half a lemon. Return pan to heat, and toss with vegetables until butter is melted. Taste, and add more lemon juice or seasonings if desired. Eat immediately. Serves two.

Pies, Pies, Pies

24 Nov

The Ginger Spices with their finished pies

One of the things I love most about coming home is that my friends at home bake just as much as I do. Instead of getting together to watch movies or whatever it is most teenagers do, in High School we would usually make cookies or a cake or something whenever we were hanging out. So of course, when I found out

Megan brought her own ingredients. And zester.

that my friend Megan was going to be home on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as well, I proposed a pie bake-off. This basically meant that Roxie, Megan, and I all gathered in our kitchen to simultaneously make pies, which predictably turned out rather crazy. We ran out of sugar, and I think we’ll need to pick up some more butter before the real Thanksgiving cooking begins. There was pie crust being rolled out on every surface and manic pleas for another clean mixing bowl, but somehow we got three pies in the oven safely and they all look delicious. Unfortunately, we can’t actually judge the bake-off until after tomorrow—but seeing as both families are only having four or five people at their dinner, and three pies each, I’m sure we’ll have some leftovers to trade.

Gina: "Wait, I have to look serious while I'm peeling"

Roxie was planning on trying to make a pecan pie this year, but our mother bought a pecan chocolate pie the other day so, alas, she will have to conquer that next year.  Instead she made a Nantucket cranberry pie, which is not so much of a traditional pie as it is lots of sugar piled over cranberries with cake batter on top.  Whatever it is, she already ate too much of the batter because it tasted so good and now reports that she feels slightly sick.

Roxie putting the finishing touches on her pie.

I am making an apple cream pie with a pecan crumble topping and many decadent things like heavy cream as well as sugar, eggs, etc, and Megan is making a lemon meringue pie.  I made the all-butter crust Roxie posted here previously for both of these pies, although after making it I started worrying about the fact that Megan’s Aunt Heather is a baker and will be very judgmental about my crust. I also made it in a food processor instead of by hand, but it looked like it came out pretty well. We par-baked Megan’s pie crust while she was furiously making the lemon curd, which was scary but seemed to work.  We covered it with foil and put beans in the crust for the first 20 minutes, and then took off the foil and let it brown for another 10 minutes.  Although it puffed up a bit, I am confident by the look of the end product that everything has worked out fine.

Megan furiously stirs the lemon curd

Amazingly, even though the kitchen looked like a tornado of sugar and flour for a couple of hours, it is all cleaned up now in preparation for the storm of cooking our family will be doing tomorrow.  We will be posting some pictures of the madness tomorrow, as well as a possible Father Spice guest post.  Happy cooking (and eating) everyone!

Here are the recipes we used:
Megan’s Lemon Meringue Pie

Roxie’s Nantucket Cranberry Pie (She used hazelnuts instead of pecans to avoid pecan-overload)

Gina’s Apple Pie