Tuesday, 7 August 2007

The Lunch Bunch

Mad dash this morning - as I said earlier, I invited some friends to lunch today, possibly unwisely as I had very little food in the house. We're starting a new fruit-and-veg box scheme on Thursday, so I'm waiting to see what's in there before I go to the butchers and stuff.

However, all being equal, I managed to cobble together a pretty respectable lunch; Simple Tomato Soup with some homemade granary rolls and a Lemon Cake for pudding. It went down very well, especially with the children, who both adore the tomato soup. I was very proud of myself for pulling together such a good lunch just from the stores I had in the house (and I was glad I'd picked up some eggs from the village shop yesterday). It was even quite nice getting up before the children stirred, to put the bread machine on to make dough for the rolls. Early morning penking in the kitchen is just the thing to make me feel fabulous, before the day starts and reality kicks in.

This lemon cake is a variation on a Victoria sponge, filled with lemon curd and some gorgeously thick crème fraîche from Rachel's Organic Dairy in Aberystwyth. It does have to be really good, thick crème fraîche, the runnier supermarket half-fat type won't work here. The lemon curd was a half-jarful left over in the fridge. As alway, I used the KitchenAid to make the cake,. but you could equally bung it all in the processor, or even (gasp!) do it by hand.

Lemon Cake

8oz caster sugar
8oz softened butter
8oz self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
200g crème fraîche (see above)
200g lemon curd

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Stir the flour and baking powder together, then add the beaten eggs, one at a time, with a spoonful of flour before each addition. Divide the batter between two greased and base-lined sandwich tins (mine, as always, are by Silverwood™) and spread it out, levelling the top. Bake at 180°c for 20 minutes until cooked through, then remove the cakes from the tins and leave on a wire rack to cool completely. Choose your 'best' layer for the upper layer of the cake, then spread crème fraîche over the bottom half, dollop over the lemon curd and swirl it gently through the cream. Add the top sponge and dust with a little icing sugar.

For supper this evening, I cooked Chicken with Rosemary and Red Onion. I took the chicken legs out of the freezer last night, then thickly sliced a red onion and cut some sprigs of rosemary from the garden. Tossed in a little olive oil, they formed a nice base of flavours for the seasoned (no salt, for the baby's sake) chicken pieces to rest on as they roasted for 40 minutes at 200°c. I did some plain brown rice in the rice machine and cooked some frozen broccoli florets.

We had some more lemon cake for pudding. Yum!

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