My favourite Lemon and Coconut Slice

When asked to “bring a plate”, I often lean towards creating a sweet treat. Rocky road is usually my “go to” sweet, and is generally well received, but on other occasions I like to bring a plate of lemon slice.  For it is easy to make, requires no baking, and the leftovers keep really well too.

Recently I offered to make a couple slices for a birthday party. I had a few chocolate based ones in mind, and figured my favourite lemon slice would work beautifully as a nice flavour contrast to those. And with some lemons leftover from the peach and lemon cake, well it was a no-brainer really.

So one dreary morning, my helpers and I got to work. Lemons were juiced and zested, biscuits were crumbed and condensed milk and butter were heated. And before too long we had ourselves a big tray of lemon slice, sprinkled with coconut, and ready to be sliced and served.

This was a great slice to make with the kids too. They had a lot of fun turning the food processor on and off, and stirring the coconut and melted ingredients into the biscuit crumbs. Bowls and spoons were licked not long after, and coconut was liberally sprinkled over the iced slice (and most of the kitchen benchtop, but let’s not talk about that…!)

Print Recipe
Lemon and Coconut Slice
Course Baking
Cuisine Baking
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
slices (or more depending on the size)
Ingredients
Course Baking
Cuisine Baking
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings
slices (or more depending on the size)
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Process the biscuits in a food processor until they resemble fine breadcrumbs. Place in a large bowl, add the coconut, lemon juice and zest, and stir to combine.
  2. Place the sweetened condensed milk and butter in a saucepan. Heat slowly, over a low heat, stirring until the butter has melted.
  3. Pour the butter mixture into the biscuit mixture, and stir until well combined. Press firmly into a slice tin (that is lined with baking paper), and place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
  4. Place the icing sugar and extra lemon juice in a small saucepan. Heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has melted and the ingredients have combined. Spread over the chilled slice, and sprinkle with extra coconut. Refrigerate for a couple of hours (or overnight) then slice and serve.
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Peach and Lemon cake

Do you have something that you like the idea of, more than you actually like?

For me, one such thing is  cake. Sure I love creating and baking cakes, but the eating part – yeah not so much. I tend to find them a bit rich and sweet, and after few bites, I’m generally done.

It’s not that I hate cake, it’s just not what I tend to choose when considering the dessert menu.

And it seems that Miss C also shares my ambivalence towards cake. At parties she will politely take a slice of birthday cake when offered, if anything not to miss out on the ritual of the celebration, but moments later she will inevitably ask me quietly if she actually has to eat it.

A lolly bag on the other hand? Well she can empty that in a matter of seconds.

This little cake, however, I thoroughly enjoyed.  It was rustic, light and lemony, and not overly sweet. The little pops of fresh peach throughout were also a nice flavour surprise.

In fact, I enjoyed this cake so much that I ate the whole slice. Who knows, I might even have another slice today…

Print Recipe
Peach and Lemon Cake
Course Baking
Cuisine Cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Baking
Cuisine Cake
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 160C, and grease / line a round cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Cream the butter, sugar and lemon zest for 5 minutes, or until pale and creamy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and yoghurt, and mix until just combined. Spoon into the prepared cake tin, and top with sliced peaches.
  4. Bake for 1 hour, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. Dust with icing sugar to serve.
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Lemon Meringue Tartlets

I am by no means a green thumb.

Gardening does not come naturally to me, and with the frosty Canberra winters, and hot dry summers, well needless to say – we have lost our fair share of plants over the years.

However, there are two plants I seem to be able to grow in abundance – rosemary and lavender.  In fact, I don’t seem to be able to keep up with their growth – resulting in a decent day of pruning the other week.

The other plant that has survived with relatively little intervention is our lemon tree.  I suspect we just got lucky when we planted it, for despite minimal work on our part, it has given us lots of lemons. Even if it is only still a small tree.

And there is something rather wonderful about being able to collect lemons from your own tree, don’t you think? Which is exactly what I did a few weeks ago when asked to bring a “sweet” to share at a BBQ with our neighbours.

The lemons were soon turned into lemon curd, which was then used to fill homemade tartlet cases, and topped with a little meringue. It wasn’t the quickest of sweets to make, and probably not one that I would make if time was short, but over the course of the day the tartlets came together and the end result was quite pleasing.

I loved the vibrancy of the lemon curd, which on this occasion was not overly sweet and still a little tart. I decided not to go too overboard with the meringue either, stopping at just a few piped rounds – although I could have quite easily been more generous and covered the whole of the tartlet with meringue.

Here’s hoping our lemon tree continues to yield!

Print Recipe
Lemon Meringue Tartlets
Course Baking
Cuisine Baking
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
tartlets
Ingredients
Course Baking
Cuisine Baking
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings
tartlets
Ingredients
Instructions
Curd
  1. Start by making the lemon curd - a day in advance, if possible. Combine the lemon juice, zest, caster sugar and eggs in a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a small saucepan of gently simmering water, and heat slowly - whisking continuously. The mixture will slowly turn from a frothy consistency to a thick, velvety consistency - and you will know that it is ready when you can coat the back of a spoon and draw a clear line through it. At this stage, remove the curd from the heat, and whisk through the cold butter until the mixture is rich and glossy. Set aside until ready to use (or place in the fridge overnight).
Tartlets
  1. To make the tartlets, place the flour, icing sugar, salt and butter in a food processor, and pulse until the butter has been cut in. Add the egg, and continue to process until the dough just comes together. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, and knead the dough gently. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge for 30 minutes to rest.
  2. Preheat your oven to 180C, and lightly grease 12 tartlet cases.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is around 4mm thick. Cut out suitably-sized rounds from the dough, and press into the tartlet cases - trimming off any excess. Prick the base of each case a few times with a fork. Place the tartlet cases on a baking tray, and bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Allow to cool in the tins for 5 minutes, then remove the shells and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To make the meringue, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the caster sugar, one spoonful at a time, continuing to whisk until you have stiff peaks.
  5. To assemble - pipe lemon curd into each of tartlet case. Top with meringue, and brown slightly using a kitchen blow torch.
Recipe Notes

If you don't have tartlet cases, you could make the tartlets using a mini muffin tray.

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Warm Chicken and Quinoa Salad

If I needed any reassurance that we are a long way from Summer, the fact it was minus 4 on my morning walk was proof enough. Crunchy white grass met me as I stepped outside, and the neighbourhood cars were covered with a thick layer of frost.

I was pretty warm with my 4 layers of clothing on (plus gloves and beanie), admittedly, although my nose wouldn’t stop running and I returned home with a nice ‘red cheek’ glow.  And my cravings throughout the day were a long way from the salads I normally have for lunch. Instead I opted for a big plate of comforting pasta, without a moment’s hesitation.

Although salads do tend to lose their appeal in Winter, this one was still a winner. The fact it was warm probably helped, and the quinoa added a nice feeling of ‘bulk’ to what was, in all reality, a rather light dinner.

IMG_8145

I opted to oven-bake the chicken (free house heating!), although you could quite easily pan-fry the chicken too – if that is your preference.  And feel free to play around with the ingredients – depending what you have on hand!

IMG_8147 Warm Chicken and Quinoa Salad (serves 2)

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, cooked per packet directions
  • 2 x small chicken breasts (or one large)
  • Juice and zest of half a lemon + extra
  • 1 tbs olive oil  + extra
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1tsp minced lemon grass
  • chopped sundried tomatoes and pitted kalamata olives (as many as you like)
  • A few handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cucumber, diced
  • The kernels from one corn-cob
  • 1/2 avocado (or more if you like), sliced
  • a handful of chopped parsley and coriander + extra to serve
  1. Preheat oven to 200C.
  2. Combine the lemon juice, zest, oil, ginger and lemon grass in a small bowl.
  3. Place chicken and  in a baking dish, and pour over the oil mixture. Turn to coat well. Bake for 40 minutes or until cooked through.
  4. Meanwhile, combine the remaining ingredients, and divide among serving bowls. Top with the sliced chicken and remaining herbs. Drizzle with a little olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice.

What about you? Do you crave salads in Winter?

Chilli lemon chicken Banh Mi

I *could* bore you with stories about our lack of sleep this week, owing to a teething (?) bub and a generally overtired pre-schooler. But instead I want to take a delicious trip down memory lane, when this delightful little dinner made an appearance in our household. Chilli lemon chicken Banh Mi. Try saying that 5 times fast Winking smile  A quick and easy dinner, thrown together in under 10 minutes. I kid you not. IMG_4566 Roast-chicken, reheated with a little oil, lemon zest and a tablespoon of chilli sauce. IMG_4567 Piled into a baguette spread generously with mayonnaise (jazzed up with a teaspoon each of minced ginger and garlic and a little squeeze of lemon juice). Then topped with a carrot pickle (shredded carrot, 1/2 red onion, 1 tbs vinegar, 1tsp sugar and a pinch of salt). IMG_4568 Finished with a good amount of fresh coriander and some mixed lettuce leaves. IMG_4574 And dinner was served! I loved the lemony-take on an old classic, with the chilli chicken flavour shining through too. Definitely a great meal when short on time! What about you? What is your favourite sandwich filling?

Let them eat….soup!

IMG_3573 I’m always a little hesitant to put soup on the menu for dinner, perhaps because it seems too ‘light’ and not hearty enough to satisfy hungry appetites at the end of the day. But there is no denying that it is healthy and quick to prepare, and rather comforting when the cool evenings arrive. Then I came across a recipe for broccoli and lemon soup in a recent edition of Taste magazine (you can also find the recipe online here) and had a bit of a light bulb moment. For this soup was more than just blended veggies (although it had its fair share of those too) – as it was ‘beefed’ out with the addition of quinoa. Brilliant! IMG_3561 And, true to form, the soup was quick and easy to throw together. Onions, broccoli (stalk and all), garlic and potatoes, chopped and cooked in chicken stock until tender. IMG_3564 Finished with an entire tub of baby spinach, lemon juice and a big handful of fresh mint. IMG_3569 Blended until smooth, and served with quinoa (prepared separately), marinated feta and some lemon zest. IMG_3572 Friends, I’m not kidding when I say this was one tasty little soup – made all the more special with the zesty lemon and creamy feta. IMG_3578 It has immediately been added to ‘the list’ – ie the ever-growing collection of  dishes that would be perfect to serve when guests are in town! What about you? Made any nice soups lately?

Lemon feta asparagus

The asparagus theme continues this week, as we happily munch our way through the various bunches gifted to us. IMG_0916 I opted to keep things simple with our second dish. No fuss, no messing around. But also no compromising on flavour. IMG_0936 Simply – asparagus spears – grilled to perfection. Then topped with mint leaves, lemon rind and a good amount of creamy feta. IMG_0937 Finished with a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice – and our lovely little side dish was complete! IMG_0938 Served, on this occasion, with some steak and olive sourdough. Although the real star, hands down, was that grilled asparagus. Just delicious really! IMG_0944 Thanks again to the Australian Asparagus Council for their surprise asparagus gift!

Lemon meringue cake

IMG_0132 It seems that lemon meringue pie is a firm family favourite in our household. And while I love making it, I can’t deny the fact that it is time consuming. Pastry made, rested, rolled, rested….you get the idea. So with my little brother arriving into town a day after his birthday, and knowing he was also a lover of lemon meringue, I decided to get creative. And make a lemon meringue cake. In place of pastry, I cheated and cooked two vanilla cakes – from a packet (gasp). IMG_0117 I did, however, make the lemon curd from scratch. And before too long, it was time to layer. IMG_0119 Cake, lemon curd, cake, lemon curd and…..cake! IMG_0120IMG_0121IMG_0122 Sandwiched together, then covered generously in light meringue. IMG_0125IMG_0126 Finished by baking for 10 minutes or so, or until the meringue was starting to colour. IMG_0139 I was really pleased with how this turned out. It took a little time, but not a lot of time, and had all the trademark lemon meringue flavours! IMG_0131 Yes, this will most certainly be added to my ‘baking repertoire’. IMG_0197 Lemon Meringue Cake

  • 2 x packet vanilla cakes
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tbs corn flour
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 tsp butter
  • Grated rind of one lemon
  • 4 egg whites
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  1. Cook the vanilla cakes as per the packet directions, then allowed to cool.  I then sliced each of the cakes into 2 horizontal layers , but only used 3 layers for the final cake. You could therefore most certainly get away using one cake if you were to slice it into 3 layers.
  2. For the lemon curd – combine the sugar, cornflour, water and juice in a small saucepan and stir until smooth. Place over a low heat, and cook – stirring – until thickened. Remove from the heat and add the egg yolks – stirring until smooth. Return to the heat,  bring to a gentle simmer  and cook for a further 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, and stir through the butter and lemon peel. Set aside to cool.
  3. For the meringue – whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, and whisk on a high speed until stiff peaks form.
  4. To assemble – place one of the cake layers on an oven-proof plate. Top with half of the lemon curd. Repeat, and then top with the final cake layer. Spread the meringue over the top and sides of the cake to cover completely.
  5. Bake at 350C for 10-15 minutes or until the meringue has browned lightly. Cool and serve.

What about you? What is your family’s favourite dessert?

A new look and a lemon meringue to celebrate

Hi there! And welcome to my new-look blog. It seems that today was the day for makeovers, for not only did BBB get a new face, I finally got around to getting my hair highlighted (long overdue, let me tell you!) IMG_8765       Another thing I should turn my mind to more often? Lemon meringue pie. For I always talk myself out of making it, due to the various elements involved. When, in reality, the whole process from start to finish can be quite cathartic, and there is nothing more pleasing than watch such a dessert come together over the course of the day. From the pastry – that is created, rested, rolled and then rested again. Baked until golden brown. IMG_8748                             To the lemon curd – and its gorgeously vibrant hue. IMG_8750         Poured into the baked pie shell, and allowed to set. IMG_8752   Before being finished with luscious clouds of meringue, IMG_8754         and baked a little more, until the top has started to brown. IMG_8759     Once I have the finished product before me, its hard not to feel accomplished. For while this dish does take a bit of time to create, the end product is both beautiful in looks, and scrumptious in taste. Yes, Mr Lemon Meringue, I should make you more often. IMG_8762   And yes, Mrs Hairdresser I will try to not leave it so long between visits. Hopefully. What about you? Do you get to the hairdresser regularly?

Lemon and herb potato salad

One vegetable that I struggle to use when the warmer months arrive is potatoes. In Winter I wont hesitate in cranking up the oven and roasting some potatoes to perfection. Or creating a creamy mash to serve alongside a rich and hearty casserole. But in Summer, I tend to crave salads and lighter meals, to which potatoes do not generally lend themselves. Or do they? Feeling particularly inspired a few weeks ago, I came up with a use for the bag of potatoes that was feeling rather lonely in our pantry. salad Potatoes – peeled and boiled until tender – then combined with olive oil, a wee bit of yoghurt, lemon juice and zest – and lots of mint, parsley and pepper. IMG_5258 The result being a rather tasty “side” dish to some meat we later grilled for dinner. IMG_5259 And the herb + lemon combination worked just beautifully in keeping this dish feeling light and lovely. IMG_5268 So it seems potatoes do have a place on our menu this Summer! What about you? Any fun Summer potato dishes you’d care to share?