Sunday, 24 November 2013

Soggy Lemon Cake

Years ago I cut out a recipe from a magazine and it became a firm favourite. More of a dessert than a cake it was the perfect finish to a rich meal. It came with me on a couple of  house moves and it was only recently that I realised it was missing. Several boxes were turned upside down but I still couldn't find it so I hit the internet and, thanks to Dave, I found it again. The original recipe was from Country Living magazine in 1994 but it has certainly stood the test of time.

150g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
225g softened unsalted butter
225g caster sugar
2 lemons - juice & zest
5 eggs - beaten

4 lemons - juice only
225g granulated sugar

Heat the oven to 180C  and lightly grease and line an 18cm baking tin.
Sieve the flour and baking powder together and mix with the softened butter, sugar, lemon zest & juice in a bowl. Add the eggs and mix until you have a smooth batter.
Pour into the baking tin and bake for approximately 1 hour 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out dry.
Remove from oven and cool a little before turning out and peeling off the lining paper. Place onto serving plate.
To make the topping just mix together the lemon juice and granulated sugar and spoon over the cake. The juice will sink into the cake but the sugar sits on the top creating a crunchy layer. If you have any left pour it around the cake. To get the most out of your lemons roll them on a hard surface before juicing them.
Serve with a dollop of cream - but not to people with sensitive teeth!

Soggy lemon cake

And on a completely different subject I couldn't resist this photograph of Mortimer taken by Andrew. He was under the table (Morts not Andrew) scoofing for food!

I'm sure they must have dropped something under here

Sunday, 10 November 2013

The Royal Victoria Patriotic Building

A couple of weekends ago we were in London for a family clan gathering, called to celebrate the 21st birthday of our niece Rachael, who also happens to be Andrew's god-daughter.
Birthday cup cakes

Sunday morning we took the dogs on a long walk across Wandsworth Common and Mortimer was in heaven. He is very much a dogs dog (as opposed to a people dog) and couldn't believe the amount of canines there were to play with.

We could be related!
He was also quite impressed with our host's new puppy Dexter, who although only 16 weeks played constantly.

Morts didn't even mind when Dexter swung from his ear or stole his blanket to sleep on.

Blanket thief
 He loved Tooting Common and was keen to show Dexter how to have fun.

First you start with the small stuff

Then you move up!

Yea that was fun!
I'm getting quite hungry actually

Anyway during our walk we stumbled across a magnificent Victorian Gothic building, known as the 'Royal Victoria Patriotic Building', built between 1857 and 1859 with money from the Royal Patriotic fund. I have to confess to never having heard of this but did some research and discovered that the fund was set up in 1854 by Queen Victoria who was concerned for the well- being of widows and orphans of British serviceman who were dying in the Crimean War. An appeal for donations was made and £1.5 million was raised - a staggering sum at that time.
Prince Albert was the first president of the Royal Commission responsible for the administration of the fund. Grants were made for hardship cases and to place orphans in existing schools. But with such a large sum raised it was decided to found and administer two new schools, one each for boys and girls. One of which was the building we had stumbled upon. The fund continued throughout the 19th century providing support during various Victorian conflicts.

But back to the Royal Victoria Patriotic Building. Originally called the Royal Victoria Patriotic Asylum it was intended for 'the Education and Training of three hundred Orphan Daughters of Soldiers, Seamen and Marines who perished in the Russian War, and for those hereafter who may require like succour'. You can read the complete history here.

Over the years the building has been used for many things, finally fallen into complete disrepair by the late 1970's and nearly demolished. However it was rescued and brought back to full glory and now has a mix of flats, studios, workshops, office space, a restaurant and a theatre.


It is a beautiful building with the very best of Victorian Gothic style, I hope that the photographs capture some of the grandeur.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Don't knock it 'til you've tried it!

Take almost equal weight of Brussel sprouts to shallots, just a few less shallots. Try to use smallish sprouts so they can be kept whole, otherwise cut large ones in half. Put in a large roasting dish with the shallots, which should be halved.Trickle with three tablespoons of rapeseed oil, season with salt and pepper and tuck in a few sprigs of thyme.

Pop into a preheated oven (190C: GM5) and roast for about 35 minutes. Stir halfway through and take out when a bit crispy and caramelised. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Absolutely delicious - particularly if you've kept them whole as the inside of the sprouts go creamy.

Not my invention - courtesy of Hugh.

Roasted sprouts & shallots