12 Dec 2013

Sticky citrus and almond cake

However old you might be, when you're the youngest of 5, you always remain the baby in the eyes of your family.
Worse, whether you do it unconsciously or not, you tend to play up that role. You might behave like a kid for a little bit longer than your other siblings, you might chose a different lifestyle to them,...I call it  "The youngest child syndrome"

Crucially, it means that you might have loads of responsibility at work or that you have finally moved in with your partner but you're never seen as a real adult until you've hosted a family dinner, let alone the full Christmas celebrations.

Now I'm 31 and I've kind of been leading that 'adult-with-responsibilities' life for a while, but in a couple of weeks I will become a real adult: I'm hosting Christmas at my place.

Needless to say, I'm in complete panic mode. I've started to pull together a list of things I need to prepare but scarily I don't have much time now, as my family rocks up in less than a week.
And of course, like any kid, as much as it thrills me to be hosting Christmas, I procrastinate as much as possible when it comes to the actual preparations. There's all that other exiting Christmas stuff to enjoy first!

Sticky citrus cake

That's the way I like fruity cakes: sticky with caramel!
This cake is a divine matching between tangy orange, and sticky golden syrup. It's moist, fresh, absolutely scrumptious. I've made it so many times, it's one of my all time favourites.


4 medium oranges

6 tbsp golden syrup, plus extra to serve, optional

200g butter, at room temperature, plus extra for greasing

200g soft brown sugar

200g self-raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

100g ground almonds

4 large eggs

Make the sticky citrus cake 

1.    Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Finely grate the zest from 2 oranges into a large bowl. Cut the peel and pith from all the oranges with a serrated knife, and slice quite thickly.

2.    Drizzle the golden syrup evenly over the base of a greased 23cm round cake tin or a silicone cake mould. There is no need to line the tin and it shouldn’t have a loose bottom otherwise the syrup will bubble through. Arrange the best orange slices on top of the syrup and finely chop any that don’t fit.

3.    Put all the remaining ingredients in the bowl with the zest and chopped orange. Beat with an electric hand mixer until smooth. Spoon on top of the oranges, spread lightly and make a deep hollow in the centre of the mix with the back of a spoon – this will ensure that the cake rises evenly.

4.    Bake for 35-45 mins until firm when pressed. Allow to cool down before turning out. Drizzle with golden syrup if you like.

recipe stick orange cake

9 Dec 2013

And here comes the festive season, Oh Oh Oh

I love the run up to Christmas in London.

The lights, the carols, Winter Wonderland, Fortnum and Mason shop windows, the whole British attitude towards Christmas, and of course, those Christmas markets!
A couple of Saturdays ago we headed South to visit the Albion Street Scandinavian Christmas market before retreating to a pub to drink a glass of mulled wine as it was getting dark.

A lovely Saturday in the city, and some funny Scandinavian food shots as a souvenir.

Life is so much more beautiful when waffles are heart shaped, isn't it?

Yum Yummy roe! ;-)

Eat liver paté and you'll become strong, Child!

3 Dec 2013

The Ultimate New York Cheesecake Recipe

When you're the youngest kid in a family, you share your parents' fate, to see your brothers and sisters growing up and spreading their wings, with pride and a little sadness.
The first holidays they spend away with their friends, the day they leave home to go to University, the day they move in with their partner...and their first Christmas with their in-laws.
Like your parents, you find out that you can never really get prepared for any of this, and that even though it's life and you're happy for them, every Christmas eve without them breaks your heart a little. 

This year is one of these Christmases, when most of my siblings (yes, I've got many of them) will be with their in-laws. So this time, the rest of the family have decided to make the most of it and shake up those Christmas traditions by getting away from our big empty family home. 
So, tada!, this year my parents and one of my sisters will come and spend Christmas in London, at mine!

...and slowly...this is when the pressure sinks in. Will I be able to pull if off?
More on that later.

NYW cheesecake recipe

The Ultimate New York Cheesecake Recipe

This is a simple and delicious New York Cheesecake recipe adapted from my favourite cheesecake recipes book : Women's weekly cheesecakes book
Fresh, rich, it has everything to please!
You can either make a crushed biscuit base like in this recipe, or use a sweet shortcrust pastry for the base (which I did this time). Both work, so just go with your mood! 


1 shortcrust pastry
750g mix of cream cheese and quark (I used 600g cream cheese and 150g quark)
100ml sour cream
200g caster sugar
grated zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
juice of 1 lemon + 1 tsp of orange juice (from the pressed orange)
3 eggs

For the sour cream topping, mix together

150ml sour cream
2 tbsp of caster sugar

Make the New York Cheesecake

Preheat the oven at 160deg C/Gas 2

1/ Bake blind the shortcrust pastry with baking beans for 10min at 180deg C
(Grease and line the base of a 23cm spring form cake tin with baking parchment and the pastry, you cover the pastry with baking parchment and baking beans or uncooked rice, and you bake for 10min. Remove the paper and beans, and leave to cool)

2/ Make the filling : with an electric whisk or food processor, mix the cheese and sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time. Add the sour cream, juices and zests of lemons and orange, and mix until well combined.

3/ Pour the cheesecake mixture over the base and cook for 40 min to an hour until the cheesecake is cooked on the outside and still slightly wobbly in the center. Spread over the sour cream topping, leave to bake for 10 more minutes, turn off the oven, and leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven with the door ajar.

4/ Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or ideally overnight. 
recipe NYC cheesecake