Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing

Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing, ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’, Nigella Lawson

Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing, ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’, Nigella Lawson

Another recipe from Nigella’s ‘How to be A Domestic Goddess’ and another winner! I am a big fan of traditional gingerbread (ie the cake version, not the biscuit version) and this recipe somehow reminded me of the Northern gingerbread I grew up loving! It’s made me think of digging out a recipe for Parkin that I used to eat on Bonfire Night each year! The addition of the lemon icing really works well here by freshening up the cake, which has quite a deep/earthy flavour on its own. This was a simple recipe to follow, and would be really nice for a bake sale or similar!

KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 8.5/10

Fresh Gingerbread with Lemon Icing (makes 20 squares)

Ingredients:

For the gingerbread

  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 125g dark muscovado sugar
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 200g black treacle
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to mix
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in 2 tbsp warm water
  • 300g plain flour
  • Roasting tin, approx 30 x 20 x 5cm, greased and lined with Bake-O-Glide, foil or parchment

For the icing

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 175g icing sugar, sieved
  • 1 tbsp warm water

Method:

Preheat the oven to 170C/gas mark 3.

In a saucepan, melt the butter along with the sugar, golden syrup, treacle, ginger and cinnamon. Off the heat, add the milk, eggs and bicarbonate of soda in its water.

Measure the flour out into a bowl and pour in the liquid ingredients, beating until well mixed (it will be a very liquid batter). Pour it into the tin and bake for ¾ – 1hr until risen and firm. Be careful not to overcook it, as it is nicer a little stickier, and anyway will carry on cooking as it cools.

When it is cool, get on with icing. Whisk the lemon juice into the icing sugar first, then gradually add the water. You want a good, thick icing, so go cautiously and be prepared not to add all the water. Spread over the cooled gingerbread with a palette knife and leave to set before cutting.

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Cherry-Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes, 'How to Be a Domestic Goddess', Nigella Lawson

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes, ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’, Nigella Lawson

Two wonderful things have happened recently (in addition to buying the house!), and I’m a very lucky and happy bunny. I was bought a Kitchen Aid, and I was also bought Nigella’s ‘How to Be a Domestic Goddess’ book. So I’m re-finding my baking mojo. One of the loveliest things I’ve made recently are out of the Nigella’s book (buy it here – it’s ace) – Cherry-Chocolate Cupcakes. Easy to make, easy to eat! They’re a bit like a reverse cupcake, in that the cake itself is quite sweet, but this is perfectly offset by quite a bitter icing.

You’ll notice a sneaky third score below. Guest judge, Chris, who was given the honour of Paul finally sharing my baking with someone other than himself!

KB 9/10. PR 9/10. CF 8.5/10

Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes (makes 12)

Ingredients:

For the cupcakes:

  • 125g soft unsalted butter
  • 100g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 300g morello cherry jam (get a good quality one, but if it’s a bit of a sweeter, cheaper version, reduce the sugar in the batter mix a little)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 150g self raising flour

12 bun muffin tin and papers

For the icing:

  • 100g dark chocolate
  • 100ml double cream
  • 12 natural-coloured glace cherries

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4

Put the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan on the heat to melt. When nearly completely melted, stir in the chocolate. Leave for a moment to begin softening, then take the pan off the heat and stir with a wooden spoon until the butter and chocolate are smooth and melted. Now add the cherry jam, sugar, salt and eggs. Stir with a wooden spoon and when all is pretty well amalgamated stir in the flour.

Scrape and pour into the muffin papers in their tin and bake for 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes before turning out.

When the cupcakes are cool, break the chocolate for the icing into little pieces and add them to the cream in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, remove from the heat and then whisk, by hand or electronically, till thick and smooth. Ice the cupcakes, smoothing the tops with the back of a spoon, and stand a cherry in the centre of each.


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Nigella’s Tiramisini

Tiramisini, Nigellissima

Tiramisini, Nigellissima

I’ve been wanting to try this recipe from Nigella’s new book Nigellissima for a while and yesterday was the day! I really liked this recipe – it took absolutely no time to make at all, and the portion size is just right for me. I do like Tiramisu but only in small doses as I find it can become pretty sickly. Nigella says that this recipe is easier to make for smaller numbers and it doesn’t need to sit overnight in the fridge – just 20 mins will do it. And I have to agree – it’d be a great dessert to whip up if you have a couple of friends over for dinner.

If you want to see Nigella make this herself, the video is here

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8.75/10 (he’s becoming ridiculous with his ratings…)

Tiramisini (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 100ml espresso, or strong instant coffee
  • 2 tbsp coffee liqueur
  • 4 savoiardi biscuits (fine sponge fingers)
  • 2 egg whites
  • 250g mascarpone
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp Marsala
  • Approx 1 tsp good-quality cocoa powder
  • 4 x small (approx 125ml) martini glasses

Method

Make your espresso and pour into a heatproof jug, adding the coffee liqueur. Leave it to cool.

Break each sponge finger into about 4 and drop the pieces into the martini glasses, then pour the cooled espresso mixture over them. Tamp down gently, making sure the biscuits are soaked all over.

Using an electric hand-held whisk for ease, beat the egg whites into soft peaks and set aside.

Scrape the mascarpone into another bowl, adding the honey. Beat with a whisk (no need to clean it out first) and, when smooth, beat in the Marsala.

Fold in the egg whites, a third at a time, then dollop this mixture over the soused sponge fingers in each glass, using a spoon to whirl it into a swirly peak.

Let them stand in the fridge for at least 20 mins and up to 24 hours, then dust with cocoa, pushing it through a fine-mesh strainer, just before serving.

Nom nom nom.


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Chorizo & Chickpea Stew

Chorizo & Chickpea Stew, Nigella Lawson

Chorizo & Chickpea Stew, Nigella Lawson

Sometimes you just want something warm and comforting to eat. And, given how cold it’s been recently in old London town, Sunday night was one of those times. And what’s more warm and comforting than something involving sausage and beans. Fair enough, Nigella’s Chorizo and Chickpea Stew is a fancy sausage and beans, but it’s still broadly the same!

This recipe is, yet again, from her wonderful Kitchen book. Full recipe and image credit can be found on the BBC site here.

I did enjoy this recipe, but I would make some changes next time I make it. The flavours are classic and work brilliantly, but I did want to add a bit of spice so I added a small amount of Hot Chilli powder. I think I’d actually increase the heat even more – the chorizo is spicy, but there’s a lot of sauce and the addition of some chilli flakes might pep it up even further! The other thing I would do is switch out one of the tins of cherry tomatoes for a regular tin of chopped tomatoes. The sauce remained quite watery (despite me adding less water than the recipe prescribed), so I think I’d use chopped tomatoes to bulk this up a little. But I would definitely recommend keeping one of the tins as cherry tomatoes, as they keep their shape during the cooking and add a really nice texture and flavour to the stew.

Finally, it’s worth noting that for two of us, I halved the bulgur wheat it states in the recipe below and there was still loads left!

KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7/10.

Chorizo and Chickpea Stew (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 50g spaghettini or vermicelli, torn into 3cm lengths
  • 500g bulgur wheat
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sea sat flakes (or 1 tsp regular salt)
  • 1 litre water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 350g chorizo, cut into coins then halved
  • 4 tbsp amontillado sherry
  • 100g dried apricots , snipped into pieces with scissors (optional – I hate them so didn’t include)
  • 2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 x 400g cans cherry tomatoes, drained, plus 1.5 cans tap water
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Coriander (optional – I didn’t have any, so didn’t include)

Method

Warm the olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan on a medium heat. Fry the pasta bits in the oil for a minute, stirring, until they look like slightly scorched straws, then add the bulgur wheat and stir for another minute or two.

Stir in the cinnamon and the salt, then pour the water into the pan. Add the bay leaves and bring to a boil, then turn down to the lowest heat, add a lid, and leave for 15 minutes, or until all the water has been absorbed.

Meanwhile, put another thick-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat, add the chorizo pieces and fry until they start to release orange oil. Then add the sherry and let it bubble away.

Add the apricots (if using) along with the chickpeas (or beans) and canned tomatoes. Half-fill each empty tomato can with water and swill it out into the pan. Put on a high heat to bubble for about 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve with the bulgur wheat and, if there’s any to hand, some chopped coriander.


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Date Steak – Nigella’s Name, Not Mine!

Date Steak

Date Steak

I’m not going to lie – there’s going to be a LOT of posts about Nigella on this blog. But especially since I picked her Kitchen book back up recently to find the recipe for the Coffee and Walnut Cake I write about here. I forgot just how many recipes I want to try in that book, so I’m slowly working my way through a shortlist. Last week I made Date Steak again – I first cooked this last year, but completely forgot about it and how much Paul and I enjoyed eating it! It’s a really simple, tasty way of cooking steak and it always hits the spot. It’s a bit like a BBQ sauce, but that probably doesn’t do it justice! Regardless, carnivores will like this – Katie Promise!

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8.5/10.

Date Steak (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree (or sun-dried tomato paste)
  • 1 tbsp garlic oil
  • 2 sirloin steaks (approx 300g each)

Method

Put the sugar, vinegar, mustard, soy sauce, redcurrant jelly, ginger and tomato puree into a small pan and whisk together over a gentle heat.

Bring to the boil and then turn down the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 5 mins until the sauce has thickened slightly. Take off the heat and set aside while you cook the steaks.

Either fry or griddle the steaks. I griddle, so rub the meat with oil before placing on a smoking hot griddle pan (if you’re frying, add the oil to a heavy-based pan and heat up, before adding the steak).

Cook the steaks for about 3 mins a side if you like your meat warmed through, but still rare. Obviously the exact time depends on the thickness of the steak and how cooked you like your steak – so use your brain and a finger to prod at the steak to check ‘cooked-throughness’ (this is a technical term).

Take the steaks off the heat and double wrap in foil. Let them rest for 5 mins.

Open the foil and add the juices that will have collected in the foil to the sauce. Whisk through to mix.

Put the steaks on two warmed plates, topping with the sauce.

I served with a jacket potato and green beans, but this steak and sauce will work with practically anything.


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Nigella’s Yogurt Pot Cake

Nigella's Yogurt Pot Cake, Nigellissima

Nigella’s Yogurt Pot Cake, Nigellissima

I really enjoyed watching the latest Nigella series on TV – Nigellisma. Not just because I love the way she talks about food and that she always borders on the wholly-inappropriate-for-pre-watershed-telly, but because she ends up inspiring me to cook something that I would never have looked at twice from the book. Step up, Nigella’s Yogurt Pot Cake. The concept of this cake is that you take a regular-sized yogurt pot (150ml) and use it as an easy way to measure all the other ingredients. Unfortunately, trying to find a regular sized pot of yogurt in the East End of London proved too much – most of the yogurt pots were so large they had handles. Like paint pots. Seriously, how much yogurt does one family need? But anyway, Nigella thankfully preempted this potential problem and listed proper measurements too.

For the yogurt pot as a measurement version, check out the video on the BBC website hereAnd buy the book here

As I said, I would have flicked past this recipe had I not seen this being made during the series, and I’m so glad I tried it. Nigella suggests baking this in a 22cm savarin or ring mould, which I don’t have. But she also suggests a regular 22cm springform tin works fine, which is what I used. I’ve not had any experience of baking with yogurt and oil, so I’m not 100% sure if my cake came out ‘right’ or not, although I would say it was lovely. It didn’t rise to great heights, and wasn’t hugely crumbly, but it did taste wonderfully light with the lemon and vanilla working well together. It reminded me of a denser madeira cake. I’d like to think that’s what the cake is meant to turn out like, and not that I should have whipped the egg whites more before adding!

KB rating 7.5/10. PR rating 7/10

Yogurt Pot Cake (Cuts into about 16 slices)

Ingredients

  • 150g plain yogurt
  • 150ml flavourless vegetable oil (plus some for greasing)
  • 3 eggs
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 2 capfuls (1.5 tsp) vanilla extract
  • Zest of half an unwaxed lemon
  • 175g plain flour
  • 75g cornflour
  • 1 tsp icing sugar (to serve)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4, and grease your ring mould or springform tin using vegetable oil.

Separate the eggs and put the whites into one bowl and the yolks in another. Whisk the whites until they are firm peaks. Set aside.

Scrape the yogurt onto the egg yolks, and use the yogurt pot to measure the other ingredients (or use the measurements provided above). So add 2 pots (just) of sugar and whisk with the egg yolks and yogurt until airy and light.

Fill the yogurt pot up with vegetable oil and, beating the whole time, slowly add to the egg yolk mixture. Then beat in the vanilla extract and lemon zest.

Still beating, add in 2 pots of flour, followed by 1 pot of cornflour. Scrape down and fold in with a rubber spatula. Now with a large metal spoon, dollop in the egg whites and fold them in with the spatula.

Fill the mould/tin with the batter and bake in the oven for 30-35 mins. When cooked the sides will be coming away from the sides and a metal skewer or cake tester will come out clean.

Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack and let the cake sit in the tin for 10 mins before turning it out.

Once cooled, put onto a serving point and sprinkle over icing sugar.


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The ‘Gotta be Quick’ Coffee and Walnut Cake

Coffee & Walnut Layer Cake, Nigella Lawson's 'Kitchen'

Coffee & Walnut Layer Cake, Nigella Lawson’s ‘Kitchen’

We hold regular charity bake sales in our team at work, and trial and error has taught me that this cake goes fast! It’s really does seem to be one of the best sellers. In fact, I baked this last night to be sold today…and within 20 mins of the sale someone bought the whole cake. THE WHOLE CAKE! (It was for someone’s birthday just in case you’re concerned about their general well-being) . And if you needed any more convincing, Paul doesn’t like nuts but somehow loves this cake. It is one of the easiest cakes to make, and whilst the nutty flavour is quite subtle, the espresso really makes this cake sing. The buttercream frosting is really simple too, but really adds to the overall taste! (I’m not really an icing fan, but this converted me to the idea). The first time I made this I couldn’t get espresso powder, but I really would advise searching it out. I found a Percol espresso powder at the supermarket which I now use, but Nescafe also do one that’s quite widely available too.

This cake is from Nigella Lawson’s book, Kitchen, which is actually one of my favourite Nigella books. And whilst I’ve listed the recipe below, it’s also available online on her website here.

Coffee and Walnut Layer Cake (serves 8, but that’s according to Nigella! Her portions are huge, so it can probably serve more!)

Ingredients

For the sponge

  • 50g walnuts (pieces)
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g unsalted, softened butter (plus some for greasing)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 4 tsp espresso coffee
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk

For the buttercream frosting

  • 350g icing sugar
  • 175g unsalted, softened butter
  • 2.5 tsp espresso coffee
  • 1 tbsp water (boiling)
  • 25g walnuts (halves)

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4.

Butter 2 20cm/8” sandwich tins and line the base of each with baking parchment.

Put the walnut pieces and sugar into a food processor and blitz to a fine nutty powder.

Add the butter, flour, espresso powder, baking powder, bicarb and eggs and process to a smooth batter.

Add the milk, pouring it down the funnel with the motor still running, or just pulsing, to loosen the cake mixture: it should be a soft, dropping consistency, so add more milk if you need to. (If you are making this by hand, bash the nuts to a rubbly powder with a rolling pin and mix with the dry ingredients; then cream the butter and sugar together, and beat in some dry ingredients and eggs alternately and, finally, the milk.)

Divide the mixture between the 2 lined tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, or until the sponge has risen and feels springy to the touch.

Cool the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for about 10 minutes, before turning them out onto the rack and peeling off the baking parchment.

When the sponges are cool, you can make the buttercream.

Pulse the icing sugar in the food processor until it is lump free, then add the butter and process to make a smooth icing.

Dissolve the instant espresso powder in 1 tablespoon boiling water and add it while still hot to the processor, pulsing to blend into the buttercream. (If you are doing this by hand, sieve the icing sugar and beat it into the butter with a wooden spoon. Then beat in the hot coffee liquid).

Place 1 sponge upside down on your cake stand or serving plate.

Spread with about half the icing; then place on it the second sponge, right side up (i.e. so the 2 flat sides of the sponges meet in the middle) and cover the top with the remaining icing in a ramshackle swirly pattern.

This cake is all about old-fashioned, rustic charm, so don’t worry unduly: however the frosting goes on is fine. similarly, don’t fret about some buttercream oozing out around the middle: that’s what makes it look so inviting.

Gently press the walnut halves into the top of the icing all around the edge of the circle about 1cm apart

Eat a piece before it all goes…