Lemon Victoria Sponge Cake

DSC_0024

Last summer, the mum of one of my good friends gifted me some fabulous homemade treats. Among these were some apricot & raspberry jam (all gone..) and some delicious lemon curd. I decided to use up the last of this in a slight lemony twist on a classic victoria sponge. I love lemon cakes in all forms so this was going to go down well. I used a tried and tested sponge recipe, just adding the zest of 1 lemon to mix to give it some zing. The filling is purely the lemon curd, spread about 5mm thick all over. The icing is just basic icing and sugar and water with a sprinkling of lemon zest. You could use partly lemon juice instead of water for the icing but I didn’t want to make it toooo tangy on this occasion.

DSC_0017

Ingredients

For the sponge:

  • zest 1 lemon
  • 200g plain flour
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tbsp milk
  • 3 large eggs, lightly beaten

For the filling and icing:

  • 3 tbsp lemon curd (shop bought/make your own)
  • 10 tbsp icing sugar
  • tepid water

DSC_0007

Method

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, either by hand on in a electric or freestanding mixer
  2. Add in the eggs slowly, mixing all the time on a slow speed
  3. Sift together the flour and baking powder, then add to the batter and fold through slowly
  4. Add in the lemon zest and mix through
  5. Grease and flour 2 springform cake tins (or use cake release spray to cheat like me) and divide the mix between the two tins
  6. Bake at 180 degrees for about 20mins until the cakes are lightly golden and a skewer through the centre of the cake comes out clean
  7. Allow to cool in the tins for a fe minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack and allow to cool completely
  8. When cool, cover the top of the bottom layer with the lemon curd, smoothing out evenly.
  9. Place the top layer on top, then mix the icing
  10. Add about 3 tbsp water to the icing sugar and whisk. Continue to add water drop by drop until you reach a consistency that will coat the back of a spoon.
  11. Pour the icing over the top of the cake and allow to coat the cake naturally, dripping down the sides is allowed!! Sprinkle with a bit more lemon zest if you want too. Serve!

Happy eating 🙂

DSC_0012

DSC_0013

DSC_0016

DSC_0020

DSC_0023

 

If you liked this you might like this Great British Sponge Cake from Planet Veggie, this Not so Naked Fruity Cake from Munchies and Munchkins, this Coconut Blueberry & Raspberry Cake from Baking Queen 74 or Tin & Thyme’s delicious sounding Fig and Chocolate Victoria Sponge

Follow me: TwitterPinterestFacebookBloglovinInstagram

Review: The Apple Tree, Barton Marina

IMG_4443

The Apple tree is a gorgeous coffee shop located on the waterfront at Barton Marina, between Lichfield and Burton-upon-Trent in Staffordshire. Amongst other it boasts the accolades of the UK’s best Hot Chocolate, and listed in the Guardians top 10 coffee shops in the UK.

They run a menu for breakfast and lunches as well as extensive drinks, cakes and also an afternoon tea. We popped in last summer, on a gloriously sunny day, when both no coat AND sunglasses were called for. The location really is lovely in the sun, especially if you can grab one of their outside tables.

The coffee shop also boasts a small delicatessen which is great for a quick browse after your stop, but if that’s not enough, next door there is a really fab Farm Shop – The Butcher The Bake The Ice Cream Maker.

We were there for lunch and there were lots of hearty and delicious looking options to choose from, from the standard paninis and jacket potatoes to more complex dishes. The difference between these offerings and your standard coffee shop fayre is that everything is made fresh on the premises, and you can really tell which is great.

My husband went for a ‘Bargemans’ ( think Ploughman’s …..) and I went for one for their homemade patés – the venison, with crusty bread. As it happened we pretty much shared both the dishes as I was totally lusting after the Chicken and Ham ‘Pork Pie’ on his plate and had to give him something in return! The Bargemans also came with some lovely local roasted ham and cheese, some pickled balsamic onions, and both dishes had a little pot of one of the nicest piccalillis I have tasted.

IMG_4445

IMG_4444

The meal was rustic, served on boards but was one hell of a tasty lunch. Having a peek at a few other dishes that were going out, the jacket potatoes were loaded to the brim with fillings, and that days soup had the most wonderful aroma.

The Apple tree is definitely one to try out if you’re in the area, and Barton Marina has a lovely few little shops as well as it’s foodie offerings to make a lovely afternoon out.

http://www.bartonmarina.co.uk/

http://www.theappletreefinefood.com

Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own

Chilli Bean Burritos & Corn Salsa

PMDSC_0058

My husband and I are really quite carnivorous, but recently are really looking to start eating less meat, especially on weeknights. This Bean Chilli recipe was born out of wanting to use up some store cupboard items at the end of the week before the next shopping trip. I used flageolet and kidney beans for this chilli, but you could use a mixture of whatever beans you had in the cupboard (haricot, butter beans, or chickpeas would work too). We like quite a kick to our food, but you could also tone down the spice by adding a little less cayenne pepper or omitting the tabasco. The salsa adds a tangy sharpness that cuts through the chilli making it a more rounded meal.

Serves 2

For the Chilli:

  • 400g mixed beans
  • 1 stick celery – finely diced
  • 1/2 red onion – finely diced
  • 1/2 white onion – finely diced
  • 1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper finely diced
  • 400g tomato passata
  • 2 tbsp tomato pureé
  • 3 cloves garlic – crushed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp tabasco
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 large handful coriander, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • 4 large tortilla wraps

For the Salsa:

  • 200g tinned or fresh cooked sweetcorn
  • 4 spring onions, finely chopped
  • 1 stick celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 green chilli – de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small handful coriander, finely chopped
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 1 tsp caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Start by heating the olive oil for the chilli in a large heavy based pan. When hot add the celery and onions and sweat off on a medium heat for about 6 minutes
  2.  Add in the chilli, pepper and garlic and continue to cook for another 2 minutesDSC_0001
  3. Add in the ground spices (cayenne, cumin and chilli powder) and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
  4. Next mix in the beans and the tomato pureé and mix thoroughly before adding in the passata and tabasco. Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer for about 15-20 minutes until the sauce has thickened.
  5.  While the chilli is simmering make the salsa. Combine all the chopped ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Add the lime, sugar and olive oil and mix thoroughly, adding a little salt and pepper to your taste.
  6. Warm through the tortillas according to the packet instructions
  7. Just before you are ready to serve, mix the lime juice and fresh coriander into the chilli and season.DSC_0003
  8.  Serve the chilli bean mix in the tortilla burrito style, topping with some spoons of the salsa and maybe a little creme fraiche to finish.

Happy eating 🙂

DSC_0055

DSC_0053

DSC_0059

DSC_0057

 

Review: Five Guys, Bull Ring

five-guys-burger-and

‘Five Guys Burgers & Fries’ has now been at its home in the Bull Ring in Birmingham for just over 8 months. Up until now we’ve not been. I’d heard a LOT of mixed opinions coming out about it, and decided it was time to see for ourselves. Five Guys has over 1000 locations globally, so thats gotta be good right?

I’d heard stories of queues out the door, waiting ages to order, then even longer to collect food and if I’m honest this is the biggest thing that put me off. I don’t like queuing for food at the best of times. Lucikly on a Tuesday lunchtime, the queue was minimal – waiting only a minute or two to get to the till, then probably about a 6-7 minute wait for food. Not bad, but I still wouldn’t want to contemplate it at the weekend.

I’d also heard horror stories of boxes of peanuts sat a top of the bins..again there was none of this, but I couldn’t bring myself to try the nuts none the less.

On to the food – in basic terms, you choose either a burger/cheeseburger/baconcheeseburger or the hot dog equivalent which all have set prices, then you can have any combination of toppings from the list at no other cost. Chips and drinks are priced as extra.

I had a cheeseburger with grilled onions, ketchup and jalepenos. Lee had a bacon cheeseburger ‘all the way’ which is all of the main toppings (mayo, lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, ketchup, mustard, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms.) Other additions can include relish, peppers, hot sauce and BBQ sauce. We shared some chips and had a soft drink each.

I was drawn in by the self serve Coca-cola drinks machines – literally any soft drink you can think of, the choices were overwhelming! (I don’t do well with choice and ran away with a rather uninteresting sprite zero!) After getting the drinks we watched our food being prepared in the open kitchen – it looked like a (quite) well oiled machine.

IMG_5672

The food all gets ‘thrown’ in a brown paper bag. This meant that half the chips ended up in the bottom of the bag which was reminiscent of macdonalds, but at least they were better than Macdonalds chips!

IMG_5674

The burgers themselves, I have to admit were good. And in my husbands opinion very good. I like the traditional sesame seed buns – a bit soggy given the foil wrapping, but actually we both quite liked this. You get two patties too which is good. The burgers were dirty, messy and full of flavour and actually we couldn’t fault them. Not the best burgers ever, but pretty good.

IMG_5673

I thought the prices were a bit too much for essentially a self serve, food in a bag place.  Our 2 burgers, 1 chips and 2 drinks was £26.

All in all though, I think I was expecting worse than I found it from all the opinions I’d heard, but I wouldn’t hurry back (although I think Lee would!)

 

Cocktails in Manchester

We recently spent a couple of days in Manchester to celebrate my birthday, 21 again (plus a decade or so, but who’s counting?) Being based at a city centre hotel meant we were free to eat, and more importantly drink, as much as we wanted, even at lunchtime! (#naughty)! So we went on a bit of a cocktail tour of Manchester! These were some of our favourite places and drinks, well worth a look if you’re planning a trip or night out

  1. The Alchemist

Based in the Spinningfields area, modern and trendy this may well have been our favourite haunt. Their Christmas decor was lovely, and the cocktails imaginative and inventive.

IMG_5744

Smoky Old Fashioned & Passionfruit Meringue Martini

 

IMG_5746

PASSION FRUIT MERINGUE MARTINI Passoã, lychee liqueur, lemon juice and lime juice topped with meringue foam and flamed

 

IMG_5747

Lots of pretty lights

IMG_5750

The Alchemist

IMG_5748

SOLERO Passoã, Green Mark vodka, lemon and lime juice, orange and apple juice with a touch of mango syrup all garnished with white chocolate foam and a VESPER MARTINI . A very complicated blend of French vermouth,Reyka vodka and Broker’s gin. Not shaken as he suggests but definitely a challenge for 007.

IMG_5753

SWEET MANHATTEN Classic and serious Wild Turkey 81 bourbon, Antica sweet vermouth and bitters. and a SUMMER OF LOVE Reyka vodka, Chenin Blanc, grenadine, black grapes and pink grapefruit liqueur

IMG_5755

Cheers!

  1. Mr Coopers House & Garden

Based in the Midland Hotel, this is another Simon Rogan Restaurant, with a quirky edge to it! The cocktails were delicious and carried through that quirky feel to them, a bit like Gingers Bar in Birmingham

IMG_5815

Garden of Tea-den White Grape, Green Tea, Lime, Apple Cider, Applejack

IMG_5817

In The Summertime Pineapple, Cardamom, Orange Blossom, Cacao, Rum

 

We also tried the Rum & Raisen Old Fashioned – Cacao, Pedro Ximinez, Chocolate Bitters, Rum and the Cinema Swill – Buttered Popcorn, Fig, Bitters, Bourbon, which were perfect as a digestif.

  1. Revolucion De Cuba

Just a quick one here for a PassionFruit Mojito – gorgeous.

IMG_5786

PassionFruit Mojito

  1. Manchester House

After eating here we headed up to their lounge bar way up on a high floor with terrific views of Manchester. As it was mid afternoon when we got up there the bar was quite quiet and it was a great way to spend a relaxing hour. A Mango Mojito was had, as well as a Porn Star Martini and a Zombie.

IMG_5802

ZOMBIE Gosling’s overproof dark rum, Diplomatico Reserva gold rum and Diplomatico white rum combined with lemon, lime and pineapple juices, brown sugar, passion fruit syrup and Angostura bitters

IMG_5803

PORNSTAR MARTINI Grey Goose vodka, passion fruit liqueur, lemon juice, pineapple juice, vanilla syrup and fresh passion fruit, served with a caramelised passion fruit and a shot of Champagne on the side

More than enough cocktails for a 48 hour period I think!

Roz  🙂