Monday 30 June 2014

On Yer Bike avec Grandma’s Yorkshire Lemon Cake

It's on Yer Bike for a summer of cycling festivities here in Yorkshire with Le Grand Départ Tour de France 2014. The greatest cycle race in the world begins its first stage in Yorkshire on 5 July and, with an audience of 3.5 billion across 188 countries and an expected 3 million visitors to our region, we’ll be showing off our Yorkshire grit.  

Here’s Grandma Abson’s Lemon Sandwich Cake - just the thing for a summer’s day and what could be better than homemade Lemon Curd in the filling.

Lemon Sandwich Cake

3 eggs and their weight in each of butter, caster sugar, self raising flour 
(This is usually around 6 oz or 175g of each ingredient)
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp baking powder
Milk to mix (usually around 2 tbsps)

Preheat the oven to 180°C, Mark 4, 350F. Line the base of a 2 x 20 cms/8 inch cake tins with non-stick baking or greaseproof paper. Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. You can use a food mixer or processor to do this. Beat the eggs and add a little at a time, adding a tablespoonful of flour if the mixture shows signs of curdling. Sieve the remaining flour and fold into the mixture with the lemon zest and enough milk to make a dropping consistency. This means the mixture is soft enough to fall from a spoon in a couple of seconds. Put the mixture into the 2 cake tins and bake for about 25 minutes until the cakes start to shrink from the sides and a cake skewer inserted into the centre comes away clean. Place the tins onto a wire cooling rack for 10 minutes. Then turn the cakes out onto the wire cooling rack and leave until cool. Then make the Butter Cream.

Butter cream filling
2 oz/50g butter
4 oz/110g icing sugar + icing sugar for dusting
4 tbsps lemon curd
2 tbsps (approx 1 fl oz/25ml) milk
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Cream the butter and icing sugar. Add the lemon curd and milk and mix well. Spread the butter cream on the top of one cake and place the other on top.  Dust with icing sugar on the top cake and then sprinkle the lemon zest.

My own links to France go back to the Yorkshire-Lille Exchange when I was aged 14.  It was a mammoth feat of organisation, before the days of social media, when hundreds of Yorkshire school children welcomed French pen friends into their homes for 3 weeks every July. The intrepid Yorkshire youngsters then made the long journey by train with their pen pals to Lille where the French families were waiting to take them all over the Nord and Pas de Calais. It was my first introduction to la cuisine française and the first time that I’d ever ridden a bike and so my love of France began.

It's formidable being a Tourmaker on Stage 2 Sector 20.  These special mini Tour de France cakes will keep us going! 
Bon appétit! Vive le vélo! 

Tuesday 17 June 2014

Not just Scones, we've got Fat Rascals in Yorkshire

Fabulous Fat Rascals
We like to think we know a thing or two about food in God’s own country Yorkshire and of course, top of the list is our own Yorkshire Pudding. 
But we don’t stop there. Where else could you find not just Scones but Fat Rascals, which have been around here in Yorkshire since Elizabethan times?  Fat Rascals are like Scones  but usually dome shaped with lots of variations with the dried fruit such as sultanas, raisins, currants, cranberries, apricots – whatever you like best! Here’s Grandma Abson’s recipe.
Fat Rascals
8 oz/225g (or 8 heaped tbsps) self raising flour
4 oz/110g butter
2 oz/50g caster sugar
4 oz/110g of a combination of raisins, sultanas, currants and glace cherries
1 oz/25g flaked almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
Zest of 1 lemon or orange
7 tbsps milk or milk/water
2 eggs
1 oz/25g demerara sugar

Sieve the flour and salt and rub in the butter. Add the sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and lemon or orange zest and dried fruit/glace cherries. Beat the eggs and milk and add to the mixture to make a soft dough. Roll out to ½ - ¾ inch thick and cut into rounds with a pastry cutter. This makes around 10 to 12. Place on baking tray and sprinkle a little demerara sugar on the top of each one. Bake in a hot oven for 15 minutes (425F, Mark 7, 220C).
Once you’ve baked Fat Rascals I'm sure you'll agree they deserve to be on the podium for a top prize! Tell me what you think of this recipe.