Saturday, 30 April 2011

Lemon Victoria Sandwich with Lemon Curd and Limoncello Filling

After the very cold and dark winter that we have had, once the new year has begun Spring is what I always look forward to and long for.  For when everything starts to turn green again in the countryside, blossom appears on the trees, the clocks go forward and days become longer.  The cold, snow and dark nights start to seem a distant memory.  All starts to feel good again.

Sping Lambs under tree       Spring Lambs peeking

During the stunning weather we had over the Easter weekend, I took a walk through fields with newly born lambs running and jumping around in the sunshine.  Enjoying the warm air, the lush green grass they were what signified the joys of spring.

Spring Lambs       Lamb

Walking through woods carpeted with Bluebells, the air filled with their heavenly scent.  Fresh green leaves rustling in the summer like breeze, sunlight streaming through onto the woodland floor.  It seemed more like a mid-summers day, rather than a Spring weekend in April.

Bluebell Path       Bluebell Woods

It was peaceful, quiet and relaxing.  The only sounds that could be heard were bees going from flower to flower, and a pheasant calling out in the distance.

Bluebell Woods       Bluebell

Each Easter Julia Parsons hosts and Easter Cake Bake on her blog A Slice of Cherry Pie.  Last year I made Chocolate Fudge Easter Cakes, however with the weather being as warm and nice as it was, I was just not feeling doing a chocolate entry.  Looking through The Observer's website, I came across several recipes from Lorraine Pascale for Easter Cakes.  As soon as I saw this, I knew it was the one….

Lemon Victoria Sandwich with Lemon Curd and Limoncello Filling   (Lorraine Pascale)

Lemon Victoria Sandwich with Lemon Curd and Limoncello Filling

Serves 8-10

For the Sponge

:: Butter 220g, softened :: Caster Sugar 220g :: Eggs 4 :: Vanilla Pod seeds of ½ :: Vanilla Extract couple of drops :: Lemon zest of ½ – 1 :: Self-Raising Flour 220g :: Baking Powder small pinch :: Lemon juice of ½

For the Filling

:: Lemon Curd 5-6 tbsp, good quality :: Double Cream 300 ml :: Icing Sugar 30g :: Vanilla Pod seeds of ½ :: Vanilla Extract couple of drops :: Limoncello 1 tbsp, optional

Preheat oven to 180C/gas mark 4.  For the sponge, grease 2 x 20cm sandwich tins and line the bottom with greaseproof paper.  Put the softened butter and caster sugar in a bowl and beat together well.  Add 2 eggs, vanilla seeds and extract, lemon zest and half the flour and beat well.  Then add the other 2 eggs, the rest of the flour and the baking powder and beat.  If the mixture is stiff, add the lemon juice.

Divide the mixture between 2 tins and level off with the back of a spoon.  Place in the oven and bake for 30 mins or until the sides of the sponge have shrunk slightly from the sides of the tins, the sponge springs back slightly when pressed, and a skewer inserted into the middle of the sponge comes out clean.  Leave the sponges to cool in tins.

To assemble, once the sponges are completely cool, remove them from the tins and place on a serving dish.  Spread one sponge with the lemon curd then whip up the cream with the icing sugar and vanilla pod and extract (and fold in the limoncello if using), then dollop on top of the lemon curd.  Put the other sponge on top and sprinkle with some icing sugar.

Lemon Victoria Sandwich with Lemon Curd and Limoncello Filling     Lemon Victoria Sandwich with Lemon Curd and Limoncello Filling     Lemon Victoria Sandwich with Lemon Curd and Limoncello Filling

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Do you remember me?

It’s an honest question.  Do you?  For I know I have been bad, and that I haven’t been here for twelve months.  It doesn’t really seem that long, but it has been.  So I’m sorry I have not been here for some time to see you.  The past year has been very busy, both on the work and personal side.  Which sadly hasn’t given me the time.

Now I feel that the time is ready to come back and say hello, and to start again.  I’m excited and can’t wait to get back at it.  Here are a selection of photos showing what I have been up to the past twelve months.

It’s good to be back.

April 2010

It was off to Warwick Castle, with my niece and nephew training to be Knights….

Learning to be Knights at Warwick Castle   Warwick Castle

            Warwick Castle                              Learning to be Knights at Warwick Castle


The kid goats at Odds Farm Park in May were having fun and the sheep are friendly….

Kid goats at Odds Farm Park   Sheep at Odds Farm Park

A date at Whipsnade Zoo….

Bear at Whipsnade Zoo    Baby Elephant at Whipsnade Zoo

Smoke through Trees    Rhino at Whipsnade Zoo


One of my all time ambitions fulfilled – dinner at The Fat Duck (I so want to go back)….

The Fat Duck    Lime Grove - Green Tea and Lime Mousse getting ready to be poached in Liquid Nitrogen    Lime Grove - Nitro Poached Green Tea and Lime Mousse

Red Cabbage Gazpacho - Pommery Grain Mustard Ice Cream   Jelly of Quail, Crayfish Cream - Chicken Liver Parfait, Oak Moss and Truffle Toast

A thin film, that dissolved on your tounge and tasted of Oak Moss   Snail Porridge - Jabugo Ham, Shaved Fennel

Roast Foie Gras - Goosberry, Braised Konbu and Crab Biscuit   Mock Turtle Soup - "Mad Hatter Tea" - The gold pocket watch

Mock Turtle Soup - "Mad Hatter Tea" - Pork Cheek and selection of vegetables   Mock Turtle Soup - "Mad Hatter Tea" - Gold pocket watch placed to hot water to dissolve

Mock Turtle Soup - "Mad Hatter Tea" - Pour the dissolved stock into your bowl   The Fat Duck Wine List

"Sound of the Sea" - Shell with an Ipod in it, paying the sound of the sea                    The Sound of the Sea  

Salmon Poached in Liquorice - Artichoke, Vanilla Mayonnaise, Golden Trout Roe and Manni Olive Oil   Me at The Fat Duck

Powdered Anjou Pigeon - Blood Pudding, Potted Umbles, Spelt and Pickles   Potted Umbles

Hot & Iced Tea   Taffety Tart - Caramelized Apple, Fennel, Rose and Candied Lemon with Blackcurrant Sorbet

               The BFG - Black Forest Gateau - Before eating you had to spray the smell of the Black Forest in front of you                       Whisk(e)y Wine Gums

                                                   Like a Kid in a Sweet Shop

It was also my 30th Birthday BBQ….

 30th Birthday BBQ   30th Birthday BBQ


A trip to The Bridge with my nephew….

Stamford Bridge - The Pride of London!   My nephew with the Premier Leauge Trophy and FA Cup


A holiday to Northumberland in a beautiful coach house we rented….

Purdy waiting at the door   Bamburgh Castle   Purdy on Bamburgh Beach

Bamburgh Beach   Disney playing on Bamburgh Beach   Craster

Craster   126 Craster   Smokehouse at Craster



It’s not Halloween unless you have a pumpkin or two….

Pumpkin Carving   Spongebob Pumpkin


I got my hands on the book “A Slice of Cherry Pie” and baked the delicious Christmas Cookies from page 188….

 A Slice of Cherry Pie Cookbook   Christmas Cookies from A Slice of Cherry Pie

We had a “little” bit of snow….

Snowing in the garden   DSC_0100

And it was Christmas….

                Christmas Day                                      Christmas Day

March 2011

It was a touch foggy up at The Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge in the North Yorkshire Moors….

Foggy at Blakey Ridge    Foogy at Blakey Ridge

But bright at the Tropical World at Roundhay Park in Leeds….

Butterfly   Butterfly

Exotic Duck   Terrapin

Lizard   Birds at Tropical World

Colourful Duck Feathers   Butterfly

Baby meerkats playing   Exotic Duck

Exotic Duck   Skull

Crocus' at Roundhay Park   Butterfly   Seagulls

Always fun at the beach, this ones at Bridlington….

Kasabian in the sea   Kasabian running on the beach

Mia looking at the Sea    Paul on the beach     Kasabian


Off to Cotswold Wildlife Park, not been there since I was at school and on a trip….

Ring Tailed Lemur   Lion

Wolf through the trees    Red Panda    DSC_0036

Penguin    Macaw    Duck

Daffodils   Rhino

                  Spring Flowers                    Red Panda