Sunday, 27 April 2014

The consequences of a bit of spring cleaning

Every once in a while I get pleasantly enthusiastic and I do things in the kitchen, like tidy up.  And often, not always mind you, when I finish with this burst of out of character domesticity   I am just so impressed with how lovely and tidy my kitchen looks that I am all overcome with a need to bake. The execution of which renders my tidying up to be a complete waste of time.
Now I don’t bake very often. That does not mean that my kitchen does not get tidied up regularly. We have house elves that arrive three times a week and do that for me, but there are times when I am moved to give things a bit of a spring clean. It being spring and all it seemed appropriate that my nesting instinct kicked in over the weekend and I spent a few moments on Friday pottering about in the cool of the kitchen listening to a music collection streaming off of my latest find on the internet 8tracks.  This is just about the best way to listen to free music.  Click here and try it you will love it.  I found some summery / beach music (open to the interpretation of the compiler) and bopped about the kitchen first tidying up and then messing up while squeezing lemons and flinging flour about and generally “getting my Zen on” for a few hours.
I thought I would share the recipes with you so that you too can get messy in the kitchen and have delicious baked goods to eat.
First up I baked my Mums Tangy Lemon cake. Those of you who don’t like using cup, teaspoon and pinches as measurements can find a recipe that is just as good as my mums by Nigela Lawson which you can find below:
lemon syrup loaf cake with lovely step by step pictures.
Mums ( Judy’s) Tangy Lemon Cake ( well it is really more of a loaf)
The main difference with my mum’s recipe is that she does not have both caster sugar and icing sugar in her recipe and she adds chopped nuts. Which you don’t have to add. I did not this time as I wanted to use the nuts I had in my store cupboard for Yiayia’s (my Grandmother) melt in your mouth sand tarts.

Ingredients for the loaf                                                               Ingredients for Syrup
125g butter                                                                                    Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup caster sugar                                                                        ¾ cup of caster sugar
½ cup of milk
2 eggs
1 ½ cups self-rising flour
Pinch of salt,
¾ cup chopped
Rind of 1 lemon
1.      Cream butter and sugar together
2.      Add the eggs one at a time with a little of the flour
3.      Add the remaining flour and salt alternatively with the milk
4.      Add in the nuts and the lemon rinds
5.      Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin ( 9x5)
6.      Bake at 175°C or Gas 4 for 20 to around 45 minutes
7.      Mix the lemon juice and ¼ cup of caster sugar and dissolve.
8.      When the cake is cooked pour the lemon syrup over the cake.**
9.      Leave the loaf in the till cool.
* I recommend walnuts because I pretend that the calories will not count as much. Of all the nut varieties walnuts are the least fattening. Ha, Ha, Ha. Like it matters at this stage…..
**Once the loaf is cooked I spike the loaf all over so that the syrup really soaks in. This way you will get a wonderfully moist, lemony, cheek sucking, tangy slice of heaven.

It helps to use flour that is not 100 years old......

Yiayia’s Sand Tarts
I thought that sand tarts were some sort of Greek thing but from the 30 seconds of research that I did into the matter it appears that they are not. Sand tarts seem to be either Dutch or German in origin and are popular at Christmas. Well in my growing up years I associated sand tarts with my grandmother who always baked them at the same time as she baked Melomakarona ( Greek Honey biscuits) which are an almost soul destroying combination of flavors; honey, cinnamon, brandy , and orange. But that is not what I was baking so let me get back to the recipes I did bake:

Ingredients.              Oven temp. 4 gas, 350°F or 177°C   Time in oven: 30 minutes ( or less)
1 cup of butter
5 tablespoons icing sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 ½ cups chopped nuts *
*See my previous note on nuts.
Method – so simple it is silly
1.      Cream the butter and the icing together.
2.      Work the flour, vanilla and nuts into the creamed mixture.
3.      Form into little balls
4.      Depress in the middle
5.      Put on a prepared baking try in the oven.
6.      When cooled dust with icing sugar.

Tastes of my childhood

And there you have it. My outburst of domesticity resulted in things that will sit on my hips and make me hate myself. Think I might nip down to the pool this evening for a sliming swim.
The pool - needed to swim off the baked goods.
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