28 Jun 2013

Shall we go and get that crab sandwich from Whitstable?

Outside Brighton, there are many lovely little towns by the sea quite near London, well worth being discovered. 

I've been dreaming for months about Whitstable's crab sandwiches, little wood houses by the beach, small fishing harbour and cute shops, so last week-end, we decided to take a break from London and get some fresh air in Whitstable. 

Only 1.5 hours away by train from London, it makes up for a fantastic day out in the countryside.

19 Jun 2013

Oh nooo, not a fruity dessert! Yes, and it's even healthy.

In the dessert category, "yummy" means "naughty" to me.
And by naughty, I mean rich.
If you ask my very fussy tastebuds, they'll tell you that going for the lighter option is cheating.

Fruit mousses? Yuck
Sorbets? No way (what I like about ice-cream is the creamy bit)
Cakes made with light butter? You can't be serious
I love fruit and dessert, but not fruity dessert.

Of course, I've got nothing against lighter options in principle (and I could benefit from dropping one or two dress sizes), but I'm not ready to compromise on taste for this.
A dessert or a snack should be a pleasure.

Sometimes, (however often by mistake)  I do find a fruity dessert recipe that's both light and indulgent enough to be called a Treat

And here is my latest invention!

My light lime posset 
and mango compote

A posset is usually very thick and creamy, because it's made with double cream. 
Although I love the thick version of it, I wanted a lighter alternative there, so I used single cream instead. As a result, the posset is lighter, with a more moussy texture. 
So feel free to go for single or double cream depending on the texture you're after. 
If you go for single cream, just plan to leave the possets to set in the fridge ideally for a whole night rather that just a few hours.

The mango compote goes wonderfully well with the lime posset, making it a fancy homemade tropical dessert, yet so easy and quick to make!

Preparation time: 15min + 1 night setting time in the fridge

Ingredients for 4 possets (the size of a yoghurt):

For the lime posset: 
1 pot of single (or double) cream
Zest and juice of 2 limes
Sugar: to taste (approx 50g) : I used sweet freedom syrup which I love for lighter desserts

For the mango compote: 
1 ripe mango
sugar or sweet freedom syrup: to taste. 
a drizzle of lime juice 


1/ Make the compote: cut the mango in 1cm cube and place in a small pan with a good drizzle of sweet freedom syrup and lime juice. Cook on a low heat with a lid on for approx 10min until softened but not mashed.
Split the mango compote between the yoghurt pots and leave to cool in the fridge while you make the posset.

2/ Make the posset: in a small pan, heat the cream with the sugar / sweetener on medium heat. Turn off the heat as soon as it's boiling. Add the lime zest and juice, mix well, and leave to cool for 5 minutes. Slowly pour the posset mixture over the compote in the pots, and leave to set in the fridge preferably overnight.

The possets will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.

News from my Toolbox: I finally got around buying myself a proper zester, and got one from Microplane, on the advice of a friend who is a professional baker. It is absolutely amazing, and it's never been easier to zest and grate!

10 Jun 2013

Blueberry and soured cream cake with lemon cheesecake frosting

Spring is here (finally)!
and suddenly life is completely different in London. 
Parks get packed with half naked people having pic nics with disposable barbecues
Pimm's is back on pub drinks menus and the usual pint gets replaced by a jug of Pimms
Barbecue meat takes most of the shelfing space in the supermarkets
People fight for a corner of a table in beer gardens
Music festivals' line ups are the favourite topic of discussion
Fruity cakes take over chocolate cakes in my kitchen
Everybody smiles just a little bit more

Happy Spring!

easy blueberry cake recipe

Blueberry and soured cream cake 
with lemon cheesecake frosting


175g soft butter  
175g golden caster sugar
 3 large eggs 
225g self-raising flour 
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp vanilla extract 
142ml carton soured cream - 4 tbsp used in the cake and the rest in the frosting
3 x 125g punnets blueberries

For the frosting: 
The rest of the sour cream
350ml double cream
2 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tbsp of icing sugar

Make the cake: 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C and butter and line the base of a loose-based 22cm round cake tin with non-stick baking paper or use a silicone cake tin. 

2. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder and vanilla in a bowl. Beat with a wooden spoon for 2-3 minutes, or with a hand electric beater for 1-2 minutes, until lighter in colour and well mixed. 

3. Beat in 4 tbsp soured cream, then stir in half the blueberries with a large spoon.Tip the mixture into the tin and spread it level. 

4. Bake for 40-50 minutes until it is risen, feels firm to the touch and springs back when lightly pressed. Cool for at least 10 minutes, then take out of the tin and peel off the paper or lining. Leave to finish cooling on a wire rack. 

5. To make the frosting, beat the double cream with an electric hand mixer until it forms soft peaks. Add the icing sugar, lemon juice, soured cream until creamy. 

6. To finish the cake, 2 options: 
Either spread over the top of the cooled cake (don't be impatient as the frosting will melt if the cake is too warm) and scatter with the remaining blueberries. 
Or cut the cake in two layers, put half of the frosting and blueberry inside, and the other hald on the top.

6. Bring it to room temperature for about half an hour before serving. 

The cake will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.