Since blogging about my prolific lemon tree lots of friends have sent me their winning lemon recipes, and so I’ve been enjoying the process of trying them out as needed, photographing and blogging about them (sorry I’m not faster at it… life doesn’t generally afford me the fun of cooking just for the sake of it!). Next cab off the lemon rank is Amy’s Lemon Bread, which she tells me is probably the cake she’s made more than any cake ever, and the one she still makes most often. This lovely loaf took little time and only a few dollars to make, lasted a good week in my take cake keeper and worked well with cream as dessert when needed. Thanks for sharing, Amy.
For the cake:
- 90g of butter
- 1 cup castor sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- pinch salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 dsp grated lemon rind
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup almond meal
For the lemon syrup:
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 cup castor sugar
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
- In a small saucepan or microwave jug melt butter and mix in the sugar. Transfer to a large bowl, and add eggs one at a time, mixing well as you go.
- Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk and then fold in lemon rind, juice and ground almonds.
- Pour into a greased or lined loaf tin and bake in moderate oven for 50-60 minutes, though start checking earlier if you’re oven is hottish or fan-forced.
- While cake is in the oven, prepare the syrup by stirring lemon juice and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until the sugar dissolves.
- When cake is cooked and still hot and in the tin, gradually spoon over the lemon syrup. Allow to cool completely in the loaf tin.
So my lemon tree is going bananas (check out my heavy-laden little tree!), which has seen me searching high and low for good lemon recipes. Ages ago a friend made this lovely cake for me when visiting with them and it was such a delightful thing to eat – zesty and fresh with a lovely depth and moistness resulting from the addition of sour cream. And trying it out proved so simple I could do it while catching up with an old friend on the phone. Make this cake in whatever shape you like – a ring tin is a lovely option, or do as I did and use a regular 22cm round one. This cake is great when you’re in a rush cause it doesn’t matter at all if you need to ice it while it’s still a little warm – the drizzled glaze effect is perfect for this cakey genre. Turn it into a terrific dessert by serving with a dollop of cream and enjoy the cost effectiveness of this affordable option, which costs around $6.80 if you need to purchase lemons from a shop, and $3 less if you scrump some lemons from elsewhere.
For the cake
- 220g butter (melted or at room temp)
- 330g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 120g sour cream or cream or greek yoghurt
- 60 ml lemon juice / juice 3 lemons
- 2 Tbsp lemon zest / zest 2 lemons
- 300 g all purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
For the lemon icing
- 320g icing sugar (sifted)
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp water (boiling)
- Preheat the oven to 160°C if fan forced or 170 degrees otherwise. Grease and line a 22 cm round or ring tin with flour and butter or baking paper.
- Place the butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, lemon juice and zest in a stand mixer or food processor and mix well until batter is well combined and smooth.
- Add the flour and baking powder and whisk until smooth.
- Pour the mixture into a greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes (or until a skewer inserted comes out clean). Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a wire rack and take off the pan. Let it to cool completely.
- To make the lemon icing: place the icing sugar, juice and water in a bowl and mix to combine. Drizzle over the cake.
Today is Australia Day so I’m pretty excited to be sharing this lovely lamb recipe with you, not only because in my family Australia day equals eating a good deal of lamb, but because this dish, adapted from a terrific one by Nigella Lawson, pointed in my direction by my friend Amy, is all the things this blog is about: easy, tasty, affordable and delightfully do-able when having people over. Using either lamb loin or chump chops, simply place all the ingredients in a roasting dish at the same time and stick it in the oven. You don’t even need to turn anything! Just add something green to eat it with, perhaps a salad or steamed green beans, and whack the lot, straight out of the oven, onto the middle of the table with a fresh loaf of bread for mopping up the yummy juices. The lamb turns out oh so tenderly and the chopped fresh parsley makes the flavours come alive. This recipe is easily doubled using two roasting dishes and which can both go in the oven together – no problem: that’s 12-16 people fed for the cost of one at a nice restaurant! Even better is the fact that this delicious one-pot feast is gluten, egg, wheat and diary free. Using the quantities below, this recipe serves 6-8 and costs no more than $15 to make. Thanks for this one, Amy.
- 12 lamb chops, either loin or chump
- 3 baking potatoes, adding up to approximately 650g
- 45ml olive oil (approximately three tablespoons)
- 2 teaspoons dried mint
- 1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes (a little less if substituting with chilli powder)
- salt and pepper
- 2 lemons
- small handful of roughly chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius. Put the lamb into a roasting dish
- Cut clean potatoes into wedges (don’t bother peeling them) and place them in the gaps around the lamb.
- Drizzle the oil over the lamb and potatoes and sprinkle with the dried mint, chilli flakes and salt.
- Zest 1 lemon over the roasting tin and then juice both lemons and pour the juice over everything in the tray.
- Season well with salt and pepper and cook in the oven for 1 hour, not bothering to turn anything over. Pull the tray out of the oven when everything looks quite brown (don’t let anything burn), and if it looks like it’s very brown before the end of the cooking time, cover the tray in foil and return to the oven.
- Serve everything in the middle of the table for a yummy and casual feast.
Yesterday was my husband’s birthday and he requested this lovely cheesecake for birthday cake. It’s a recipe my mother-in-law Pauline gave me when Steve and I were first married and it has become something of an identity marker for our little family, a tradition that we’ve made our own for special celebrations. What we have always loved about this chilled cheesecake, is the light but creamy texture of the filling that comes from not using gelatine and its faint taste of lemon. And it’s so versatile flavour-wise: yesterday we enjoyed it topped with fresh mango pieces and raspberry sauce and in the past it’s been lovely with drizzled melted chocolate on top. These extra serving options are totally unnecessary though, because the cheesecake is just delightful all by itself. There are a couple of simple but essential tricks to making this cheesecake successfully: the first is not to forget the fresh lemon juice – it’s what makes the filling set and unfortunately, this won’t happen if you replace it with lemon squeeze either; and the second is not use lite versions of cream, cream cheese or condensed milk – the setting factor of the filling is determined by interaction of the citric acid, fat and sugar content. But with these factors in mind, this cheesecake is super simple to make because it doesn’t require baking, and cost-effective because it easily serves 10-12 people – Pauline’s cheesecake costs around $10 to make.
- 250g cream cheese, full fat, softened to room temperature
- 1 x 395g tin sweetened condensed milk, full fat, (home brand is fine)
- 300ml thickened cream, full fat
- 1 x 250g packet of Nice biscuits
- 190g butter, melted
- Juice of 1 fresh lemon, yielding 60ml of juice
- Select a loose-bottomed pie tin or springform cake tin, 20-25 cm in diameter and spray lightly with canola spray.
- Place biscuits into the bowl of a food processor and blitz until a rough crumb. The biscuits need to be well and truly crushed, but don’t go too fine with them. Remove blade and add melted butter, mixing through. Using clean hands and spoon for pressing down firmly, place biscuit mixture into the tin to form the base, which should come up the sides 3/4 of the tins height. Place in freezer to set.
- Using electric beaters, beat the cream cheese to a paste, continue mixing and add the condensed milk. When thoroughly combined, continue mixing and add the cream and lemon juice. Beat a little longer to ensure the mixture is well-combined. Remove the now set base from the freezer and gently fill the base with creamy filling. Place the cheesecake in the fridge for 4-6 hours to set.
This awesome recipe comes from my friend Kate, via taste.com.au. A tasty, cheap, easy and filling dinner for 6 people. Using around half a BBQ chicken, this recipe pairs well with Open Chicken Sandwiches with Lemon and Almonds during a working week or a weekend of having people over – 2 yummy meals that use just one chicken between them. Kate suggests adding a handful of pine nuts to the the zucchini fry-up and if zucchini doesn’t float your boat, add half a bag of baby spinach leaves to the hot pasta mixture at the end and watch them wilt up beautifully. Totalling around $8 to make this is a recipe I’ll be using again and again. Thanks Kate!
- 500g bowtie pasta or similar
- 100g butter, chopped
- 2 zucchini, coarsely grated
- 2 yellow zucchini, coarsely grated
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 2 cups shredded cooked chicken (about half a chicken)
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 large lemon, rind finely grated, juiced
- 1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves
- grated parmesan cheese, optional, to serve
- Cook pasta in a saucepan of boiling salted water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 30g butter in a large, deep-sided frying pan over medium heat. Add zucchini and garlic and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until zucchini is soft. Add chicken and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until heated through.
- Add pasta, remaining 70g butter, green onions, lemon rind, 1/4 cup lemon juice and parsley to chicken mixture. Cook, stirring, over low heat until heated through. Sprinkle with parmesan, if using. Season with salt and pepper. Serve.
My friend Lisa made me something like this from a Donna Hay magazine for lunch last week and it was so yummy I had to make it again – only I could not find the recipe anywhere! So I had to make it up as I went and thankfully the chef type friend who helped eat my version said it worked! Pair this recipe with Lemon, Zucchini and Chicken Pasta in the same week, to use just one BBQ chicken to make two tasty and affordable meals. Apologies for the half-eaten sandwich in this photo – got a bit excited eating it before remembering to photograph it. Serves 6 people with 2 open sandwiches each and costs less than $12 to make.
- 1/2 BBQ chicken, shredded while warm (much easier than when cold from the fridge)
- 1 loaf of sourdough bread or similar
- 120g slivered almonds
- a couple of lugs of olive oil
- 1/2 bag baby spinach or 1 cup basil leaves roughly torn
- 1/2 tub spreadable cream cheese
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- zest of a whole lemon
- salt and pepper to taste
- Slice sourdough into at least 12 slices and spread cream cheese across one side of each, followed by a layer of baby spinach or basil. Divide shredded chicken evenly among each slice, placing it on top of cream cheese and greens.
- In a frypan place slivered almonds, lemon zest and olive oil. Cook on low heat until almonds are brown, but not burnt. Remove from the heat and add lemon juice, stirring the mixture well.
- Top open sandwiches with almond and lemon mixture. Season with slat and pepper. Serve 2 slices per person.
I have the fondest memories of my Nan’s Lemon Delicious pudding. As kids we spent lots of holidays at my grandparents’ home at Tumut Plains in country NSW. It was my most favourite of all her desserts and once she knew how much I loved it, she would always make it when she knew I was coming. It was always paired with a main that she called ‘Old Faithful’ which was essentially a Tuna Mornay baked on a bed of brown rice and topped with rounds of sliced fresh tomato and grated cheese. In my mind they go together now. These days I love Lemon Delicious for the added benefit of being so cost efficient: the whole pudding costs around $3 to make and feeds 8. Enjoy finding the lemon sauce that pools in the bottom of the dish and serve with cream or icecream.
- 2 lemons
- 60 g butter
- 1 1/2 cups castor sugar
- 3 eggs, separated
- 3 tablespoons self-raising flour
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- Preheat oven to 180°C and butter a 1 litre oven proof basin or serving dish.
- Zest 1 of the lemons and juice both. In a food processor, cream butter with zest and sugar, then add egg yolks.
- Add flour and milk alternately to make a smooth batter. Scrape mixture from sides of processor bowl and blend in lemon juice. Transfer to a clean basin.
- Whisk egg whites until creamy and firm and fold gently into batter. Pour batter into prepared basin.
- Stand basin in a baking dish and pour in hot water to come halfway up sides of basin. Bake for 1 hour. Allow to cool a little before serving.