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Thursday, 29 May 2014

Key lime pie

From How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson.

A lot of people, including me, really love limes, which is why the rumoured limepocalypse (limegeddon, limetrastrophe) is so terrifying. So let’s make the most of them while we still can. My wonderful friend T.O.M loves limes more than anyone else I know, and I made this dessert as a contribution to her hen party a few weeks ago. T.O.M may now love Steven (who takes brilliant photos) a little bit more than limes, but there is probably not much in it.

This is the second key lime pie recipe in How to be a Domestic Goddess, and I have made both of them. They are both really tasty, but this one wins by being so easy to make. No egg-separating, no baking, just mix and set. The only complication I had was that the bowl of the mixer was a bit too full, and little bits of limey cream splashed my hair, clothes, the kettle, and the boxes of different kinds of tea. It must have been a suitable libation sacrifice to the lime gods, because it made one of the nicest desserts I have ever made – creamy, rich and light at the same time, and absolutely delicious.
You will need a 23cm springform or loose-bottomed tin (I used the wrong size tin and messed up the quantities a bit, which is why my key lime pie looks a bit heavy on the base, but if you follow these quantities it should turn out perfectly)


For the base:
200g digestive biscuits, smashed to crumbs (ginger or coconut biscuits might make an interesting variation)
50g softened butter

For the filling:
Juice and zest of 4 limes
397g can of condensed milk
300ml double cream


To make the base, melt the butter and mix it with the biscuit crumbs. Press the buttery crumbs into the cake tin and leave it to set in the fridge for at least half an hour.

To make the filling, simply mix all the ingredients together, and whisk until it has thickened a bit. This is easier to do using an electric hand-held whisk or free-standing mixer. Pour the thickened mixture into the buttery biscuit base, and let it set in the fridge for a few hours (at least) before serving.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Sweet Potato and Pak Choi Laksa

Adapted from Nigel Slater’s Tender (Vol.1)
This is a really flavourful and delicious soupy noodle dish, it looks complicated, but it is actually really easy and quick to make.

I made this with udon noodles, I love their slippery-slurpy-ness, but you could use whatever noodles you want. This is one of those meals where you cant really work out what cutlery or chopsticks you should be using, and you will inevitably get splashes of soup down your front. But it will be worth it.

Serves 4


For the spice paste:
1 fresh red chilli (seeds in)
2 cloves garlic
About an inch long lump of ginger
2 stalks lemongrass
Handful coriander leaves and stalks
2 tbsp sesame oil

For the soup:
1 very large or two smaller sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into large-ish chunks
2 clusters of pak choi, chop the stalks
2 spring onions, sliced
1 red pepper , sliced (optional)
600ml chicken or vegetable stock (cube or powder is fine – I used fake chicken powder)
400ml coconut milk
2tbsp Thai fish sauce (nam pla) – vegetarian/vegan option – ½ tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce (you may need a little more if you are not using fish sauce
Juice of 1 lime (throw the zest in too if you like it super lime-y)

2 portions noodles – egg, rice or udon, cooked if they need pre-cooking
Handful fresh coriander leaves


Roughly chop all of the ingredients for the spice paste, and them blitz them to a paste using an immersion blender, food processor, or pestle and mortar.

Put a large saucepan on a medium heat and dry-fry the spice paste for a minute or two. Add the stock and coconut milk and bring to the boil. Add the sweet potato and simmer for 10-15 minutes, and then add the nam pla (if using), soy sauce, lime juice and pak choi stalks. Simmer for another 10 minutes, or until the sweet potato is cooked through, and then add the pak choi leaves and noodles. Stir together until the leaves are wilted and the noodles are warmed through, and serve in deep bowls with fresh coriander leaves scattered on the top.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Raspberry Custard Cake

This recipe is dedicated to Suzy, who got married yesterday. She is always inspiring me to push myself with my cooking and try new things.

This cake is like no other cake I have made before. A pudding-y kind of cake, the batter separates into layers as it cooks, creating a light baked top, and thick custardy base. When it is baked it doesn’t look all that inspiring, sunken, brownish and a bit lumpy on the top. But when you cut into the cake it is revealed as a rose-pink squidgy slice of heaven.

I saw this recipe on an American blog, but have converted all of the measurements into metric. American measurements really bother me – the vagueness of cups is just so problematic, and ounces seem like an entirely foreign concept. Bee Wilson discusses it really well in her excellent book Consider the Fork: A History of How We Cook and Eat, which I highly recommend if you are a nerdy foodie like me.

Freeze-dried fruit powder is brilliant. It adds all the flavour of fruit without adding any extra moisture. Fruit powder can be found in Whole Food Market and other similarly poncey foodie shops, or you can do what I do, any buy it online from Healthy Supplies

Be aware that the batter for this cake is a bit tricky and lumpy, and a lot runnier than cake should be. The first time I made this I thought it was going to fail completely, but it came out really lovely.

Probably makes about 9 servings


4 eggs, separated (at room temperature)
1 tbsp water
150g caster sugar
110g butter (or margarine) melted
40g freeze-dried raspberry powder (or use another kind of fruit powder, like cherry or blueberry)
115g plain flour
500ml warmish milk (I used almond milk)
2 tsp vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 160 degrees (150 with fan)

Whisk the egg whites until stiff.

In another bowl, beat the egg yolks, sugar, water and vanilla until pale and creamy. Then add the melted butter and mix for another minute. Sift in the raspberry powder and flour, and mix until fully incorporated.

Add the warm milk and mix again. Gently fold in the eggs whites (as best you can, its tricky). Pour the batter (which will be very liquidy) into a greased baking dish (either 20 or 23 cm - I used a circular lose-bottomed cake tin).

Bake the custard cake for 50 -60 minutes, or until the top is golden and there is just a slight jiggle in the cake. Cool the cake in the pan for three hours before un-moulding.