Elizabeth David’s Lamb Boulangère

Lamb Boulangere | Gather and Graze

I must admit to being quite smitten by this particular dish… only quite recently plucked from the pages of Elizabeth David’s fabulous book, ‘French Provincial Cooking’. My copy is a fairly cheap Penguin-published paperback, which I’ve flicked through occasionally over the years, but in fact, have never really made anything substantial from. Happy to say that this was put to rights about a month ago. While enduring the lengthy wait for the boys to finish their soccer training, quite naughtily, I went through and dog-eared all the pages containing recipes that piqued my interest. Take it as a sign of exactly how good this dish tastes, by the fact that I’ve yet to make either the ‘Courgette Soufflé’ or the ‘Tarte à l’Oignon’ that were duly marked for testing, but have made this ‘Épaule d’Agneau Boulangère’ at least 4 or 5 times!

Boulangère is a term used in French cooking for a dish that comprises both potatoes and onion. Strangely enough… literally, it is also the word for a female Baker (of bread, rather than patisserie) and word has it, that many years before ovens made their way into household kitchens, it was quite the norm for people to prepare their Sunday Roast and then take it to be baked by the local baker of the village, in his very large oven.

This slow-cooked, tender and flavourful, one pot legend of a dish is something I hope you will all be tempted to try very soon… you won’t regret it!

Elizabeth David's Lamb Boulangère | Gather and Graze

  • 1.5kg (about 3-3½lbs) Boned Lamb Shoulder
  • 2 Garlic Cloves (crushed)
  • 6 Sprigs Fresh Thyme (leaves removed and chopped)
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • 30g (2 Tablespoons) Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 Onion (thinly sliced)
  • 6 Medium Waxy Potatoes (peeled and quartered)
  • 500mls (2 Cups) Good Quality Beef Stock
  • Small amount of extra Thyme leaves (for scattering over the finished dish)

Remove the lamb from the fridge about an hour before you wish to start cooking, to allow it time to come to room temperature.

Lamb Boulangere | Gather and Graze

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C/330°F/Gas Mark 3 and arrange an oven rack to be sitting on the second lowest shelf.

Press the garlic and thyme leaves, along with some salt and pepper into the inside of the lamb shoulder. Roll up and tie into shape with kitchen string. To learn a good method of tying up a roast, click through to see this video by Le Cordon Bleu.

Melt the butter and olive oil in a large (Le Creuset or similar) cast iron casserole pot over medium heat. Brown the rolled lamb shoulder, turning every now and then, until golden all over. Remove to a plate temporarily, while you add the sliced onion to the pot and sauté until translucent. Return the lamb and surround it with the potatoes. Pour over the beef stock (which should almost cover the potatoes) and allow to come to a gentle boil. Simmer for a minute or two, then place the lid on and transfer to the pre-heated oven to cook for about 2½ hours (removing the lid for the final half hour of cooking).

Transfer the meat and potatoes to a warm place to rest (before carving) and reduce the liquid remaining in the pot to form a beautiful, flavourful sauce. Be sure to check for seasoning, before adding any extra salt or pepper – this will vary depending on the type of beef stock you use.

Serve the lamb and potatoes (with perhaps some lightly steamed green beans or broccoli) on a large platter/plate in the middle of the table, with the sauce poured over the top and sprinkled with a few more fresh thyme leaves.

Lamb Boulangere | Gather and Graze

Lamb Boulangere | Gather and Graze

Apricot Coconut Slice

Apricot Coconut Slice | Gather and Graze

For a fast and easy no-bake slice (‘bars’ for my American friends), this apricot and coconut version is truly wonderful. Featuring sweetened condensed milk, this style of slice takes me immediately back to my childhood… and strangely enough also to Florida in the USA, where another Australian (who has become a dear friend), re-introduced it into my life… I’ve been making it regularly ever since! It’s citrusy cousin, which also gets made on a regular basis in my home, was featured here over a year ago.

Apologies in advance if things seem a little quiet around here over the next few weeks. I can reassure you that it’s only a temporary hiatus… while we prepare, edit and finalise the next 2 seasonal menus on The Dinner Party Collective. Please come through to check out our first 2 menus, if you haven’t already.

Cheers, Margot

Apricot Coconut Slice | Gather and Graze

  • 250g (9oz) Packet Marie Biscuits (or any plain, sweet biscuit)
  • 85g (1 Cup) Desiccated Coconut
  • 150g (1 Cup) Chopped Dried Apricots
  • 395g (14oz) Tin Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • 100g (⅓ Cup + 1 Tbspn) Unsalted Butter
  • 200g (7oz) Good Quality Milk Chocolate (or Dark if you prefer)
  • 2 Teaspoons Sunflower/Vegetable Oil

Line a slice tin (mine is about 28cm x 18cm) with Cling Wrap/Plastic Wrap.

Crush the biscuits in a food processor, then mix them together in a mixing bowl with the coconut and chopped apricots.

In a small saucepan, gently heat the condensed milk with the butter. Stir now and then and as soon as the butter has completely melted, remove from from the heat. Tip this mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients and stir until well combined and the dry ingredients are completely coated.

Spoon mixture into the prepared slice tin and press with the back of a dessert spoon, to flatten the mixture and make an even layer.

Break up the chocolate into small chunks and place in a microwave-safe bowl, heat in short bursts until the chocolate has melted. Add the oil and stir well to fully combine. Pour the chocolate over the top of the slice and spread until you have an even layer.

Refrigerate the slice for at least an hour (for the chocolate to set), then remove the Cling Wrap and cut into squares. I find that cutting with a hot knife (heated under hot water, then dried off with a clean tea towel) is a good way of making sure that the edges don’t end up too tatty looking.

Serve for afternoon tea, with a good cup of tea of coffee.

Apricot Coconut Slice | Gather and Graze

Savoury Cheese Scones

Savoury Cheese Scones | Gather and Graze

Extremely popular in New Zealand (well, at least they were… about 7 or 8 years ago), cheese scones are an absolute delight! Perfect for a morning or afternoon tea when you’re in need of something a little more savoury, rather than sweet. Plus they’re extremely quick and easy to make – which is always a bonus!

My original recipe for Perfectly Fluffy Scones (which was in fact the very first post published on Gather and Graze) is a wonderful alternative for those preferring to go the traditional ‘Devonshire Tea’ route with jam and whipped cream.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Savoury Cheese Scones | Gather and Graze

  • Servings: Makes 6 Scones
  • Print

  • 300g (2 Cups) Self Raising Flour
  • ¼ Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • ⅛ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 50g (3½ Tablespoons) Chilled Unsalted Butter (cut into small cubes)
  • 75g (1 Cup) Cheddar Cheese (grated coarsely)
  • 180ml (¾ Cup) Milk

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F and line a baking tray with baking/parchment paper.

Sift the flour, salt and cayenne pepper into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it thoroughly into the flour, until you can no longer feel any little lumps of butter. Stir through the grated cheese.

Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk. Use a butter knife to mix in the milk, until completely combined (adding in a tiny bit more milk, if the mixture is too dry). For a light, fluffy scone, it’s very important that you don’t knead the dough by hand. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board and shape gently into a large round disc (about 2cm high). Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 6 wedges. Transfer each piece to the prepared baking tray, allowing a little room between each.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for approximately 12-14 minutes, until golden on top and cooked through. Allow to cool a little, before serving warm with a generous slather of butter.

Savoury Cheese Scones | Gather and Graze

Cooking Notes:

  • These scones are also lovely with a scattering of fresh herbs… chopped chives in particular work well… or finely chopped thyme or rosemary can also make for a lovely addition. Add the herbs at the same time as you stir in the grated cheese.

Crème Brûlée (and what to do with all those leftover egg whites!)

Crème Brûlée | Gather and Graze

A few weeks ago, I paid good money to eat the worst Crème Brûlée in my life. In retrospect, I should never have ordered it… should have known that it would be ‘average’ at best! As a Birthday treat, we took our children to the local ‘Gold Class’ Cinema, where you sit in jumbo-sized, reclining arm chairs and can order dinner, drinks and dessert to come out at different stages of the movie. It was here that the dubious, sub-standard, so-called Crème Brûlée was served. Curdled custard underneath, with thick as a brick toffee, concealing underlying sugar which hadn’t melted, so was still granular and gritty. Honestly… they couldn’t have got it more wrong!

The one positive to come from this experience was that yesterday, I decided to challenge myself to see how hard it really is to make a superior Crème Brûlée. After doing some research on ingredients, quantities and cooking techniques… as well as drilling my friend Sandra for tips, the following is the recipe that I came up with. The underlying vanilla bean custard tasted gorgeously smooth, creamy and rich… as any good Crème Brûlée should… and was topped with the finest layer of toffee enabling that child-like pleasure of cracking through the surface.

In future I’ll definitely be a little more discerning when choosing the right restaurant/venue from which to order a Crème Brûlée. Or better still… I’ll make it myself.

Crème Brûlée | Gather and Graze

  • 600ml (about 2⅓ Cups) Pure (Heavy) Cream
  • 1 Vanilla Pod (split and seeds scraped out)
  • 6 Free-Range Egg Yolks
  • 60g (¼ Cup) Caster Sugar (I used raw) + extra for the toffee coating
  • Pinch of Salt

Pre-heat the oven to 140°C/275°F. Fold a clean tea towel to fit on the base of a large roasting tin and place 4 x (¾ Cup capacity) ramekins on top. My ramekins are about 10cm/4in in diameter and are quite shallow, which is perfect for Crème Brûlées.

Place the cream and vanilla pod (along with the seeds) into a small saucepan and place over medium heat. When it has almost come to the boil and you can see bubbles forming around the edge, remove from the heat immediately and remove the vanilla pod.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar and salt until the mixture has paled and thickened.

Slowly pour the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously as you do so, to ensure that you don’t end up with scrambled eggs. At this stage, if there is a layer of froth on top of the mixture from whisking, scoop it off with a large metal spoon and discard it. Strain the mixture through a sieve, into a large pouring jug, then pour evenly into the 4 ramekins.

Pour some boiling water into the base of the roasting tin so that it comes up to about the halfway mark on the side of the ramekins. Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for approximately 45 minutes. The custards should still have a little (jelly-like) wobble to them.

Remove the ramekins from the roasting tray and allow to cool for about half an hour at room temperature, before covering with cling film and placing into the refrigerator to cool completely (about 6 hours).

When ready to serve, evenly spread about 2 teaspoons of caster sugar over the top of each custard and use a kitchen blow torch to heat and transform the sugar into toffee. Allow a few minutes for the toffee to harden before serving.

Lovely served with a few fresh raspberries, if in season.

Crème Brûlée | Gather and Graze

Rather than making a pavlova or batch of meringues with the leftover egg whites (from using 6 yolks in the recipe above), these two fabulous recipes for Italian flour-less Biscuits/Cookies will make for a wonderful change. They are recipes posted by blogging friends of mine over the past month or two. The Acetani (orange and almond) I’ve made four times already after seeing them on ‘Stefan’s Gourmet Blog’ and the Ossi Du Mordere (chocolate and hazelnut) were made for the first time yesterday, after spotting them on Sandra’s ‘Please Pass the Recipe’.  If you click on either of the photos below, it will take you directly through to the recipes.

Acetani | Gather and Graze


Ossi Du Mordere | Gather and Graze

Ossi Du Mordere

Strawberry Cream Baskets

Strawberry Cream Baskets | Gather and Graze

A special dessert, remembered from my childhood… this was one that Mum used to serve on occasions at their very grown-up Dinner Parties. I clearly recall hovering in the kitchen as she made the little baskets, secretly hoping that at least one of them would break or crack as she moulded them into shape, so that I could nibble on the broken bits.

We made this together last week when we stayed with my parents up in Southern Queensland. The strawberries are in season up there right now (being somewhat warmer than chilly Canberra), so we picked our own from a local strawberry farm and set to work on this fabulous dessert. They’re as delicious as I remember them from childhood… and now a firm favourite of my own children.

Thanks Mum! It was lovely to spend some time with you… and Dad too, of course! xx

The original recipe, which I’ve adapted slightly (including the substitution of strawberries for raspberries), came from a classic cookbook ‘A Taste for All Seasons’ (first published in 1975) by Beverley Sutherland Smith

Strawberry Cream Baskets | Gather and Graze

For the Biscuit/Tuile Baskets:

  • 50g (⅓ Cup) Plain Flour (sifted)
  • 40g (⅓ Cup) Icing (Powdered) Sugar (sifted)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 60g (4 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter (melted)
  • 1 Large Free-Range Egg White (stiffly beaten)

For the Strawberry Cream:

  • 250g (1 Punnet) Fresh Strawberries
  • 1 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Cointreau/Orange Liqueur (optional)
  • 125mls (½ Cup) Pure/Heavy Cream
  • ¼ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 30g (1oz) Dark Chocolate (grated)

To make the Biscuit/Tuile Baskets:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F and line a baking tray with baking/parchment paper.

Stir together the sifted flour, icing sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add the melted butter and stir to combine, then add the beaten egg white and stir until the mixture comes together nicely.

Place a heaped teaspoonful of mixture at each end of the prepared baking tray and use a knife to spread them into large, very thin circles (approx 13-14cm in diameter).

Strawberry Cream Baskets | Gather and Graze

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 5-6 minutes, until the biscuits are golden around the edges.

When the biscuits come out of the oven, lift them immediately from the baking tray (using a spatula) and while they are still hot, press them gently into a small bowl to create the baskets. Note: It’s best if the bowl has a flat base, so that the baskets will stand up nicely once they are removed and ready to serve.

Continue to make another 2 sets of biscuits in the same way, until you have 6 baskets.

Strawberry Cream Baskets | Gather and Graze

To make the Strawberry Cream:

Set aside 6 strawberries to decorate the top of the desserts with. Chop up the remaining strawberries and place them in a small bowl along with the caster sugar and cointreau (if using) to macerate for about 30 minutes.

Whip the cream and vanilla extract until you reach soft peaks, then gently stir in the grated chocolate and macerated strawberries.

To assemble the dessert:

Spoon strawberry cream into each of the biscuit baskets and decorate the top with the remaining strawberries. Serve immediately.

Strawberry Cream Baskets | Gather and Graze

  • Slightly adapted from a recipe by Beverley Sutherland Smith in her book ‘A Taste for All Seasons’
  • For an even easier dessert option, you could simply scoop good quality ice cream (flavour of your choice) into the tuile baskets and top with fresh berries. A drizzle of chocolate or berry sauce would be fabulous too!

Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Pie

Beef Red Wine Pie | Gather and Graze

It’s doubtful that I’ll ever reach the stage where creating gels, foams or other Heston-esque kitchen creations becomes part of my everyday cooking repertoire… however now and then, there are days when I’m up for the challenge of preparing or cooking something that might have seemed a little daunting before. De-boning quail for Sandra’s Pan Fried Quail with Vincotto Glazed Grapes is a prime example… and then making my first ever ‘Rough’ Puff Pastry from scratch on this past weekend is another.

The prevalent thought for me at such times is that surely I’m going to botch the job completely, rendering dinner inedible for my poor, dear family. Though without taking these risks, we would simply never find out just how easy some things are to produce; how the flavour can be in such stark contrast with it’s shop-bought alternative; and what a great sense of accomplishment can be felt when the challenge pays off and the family dinner is actually, really quite edible!

Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Pie | Gather and Graze

For the Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Filling:

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Medium Brown (or Red) Onion (chopped)
  • 2 Leeks (white and pale green parts only, washed and sliced)
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Rosemary Leaves (finely chopped)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic (crushed)
  • 750g (about 1½lbs) Diced Beef (I used a mixture of Chuck and Blade Steak)
  • 250mls (1 Cup) Red Wine (I used a nice Aussie Shiraz)
  • 250mls (1 Cup) Good Quality Beef Stock
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons Concentrated Tomato Paste
  • 2 Teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • Sea Salt and Black Pepper
  • 15g (1½ Tablespoons) Cornflour (mixed together with 3 Tablespoons Water)

For the Rough Puff Pastry:

  • 300g (2 Cups) Plain Flour
  • 5g (1 Teaspoon) Sea Salt
  • 250g (1 Cup) Unsalted Butter (diced into small cubes)
  • Approx 125mls (½ Cup) Chilled Water

To make the Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Filling:

Place a medium sized saucepan over low-medium heat and sauté the onion, leek and rosemary (with a pinch of salt) in the olive oil until soft and translucent (about 8-10 minutes). Add the crushed garlic in the last couple of minutes to sauté gently. Remove the cooked vegetables to a bowl and set aside for the moment.

Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Pie | Gather and Graze

Add a little more olive oil if required and over medium-high heat, brown the diced beef (in a couple of batches, so as not to overcrowd the pan). When done, return the cooked onion and leek to the pan and pour in the red wine, allowing it to simmer for about 5 minutes, to burn off the alcohol. Then add the stock and bay leaves. Stir and allow to simmer (covered) for about 1½ – 2 hours, or until tender.

Once the meat is tender, add in the tomato paste, worcestershire sauce and the cornflour liquid and stir to combine. Simmer gently for another 10 – 15 minutes, until the gravy has thickened nicely. Allow to cool completely before using the filling in the pie.

Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Pie | Gather and Graze

To make the Rough Puff Pastry:

Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl and roughly rub in the small cubes of butter.

Add about three quarters of the water and mix it in (adding a little more water gradually if required) until it comes together nicely as a dough. It should be neither too sticky or too dry and you should be able to see little flecks/small chunks of butter within.

On a floured board, roll the dough out into a large rectangle, with the short side closest to you.

Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Pie | Gather and Graze

Fold the end furthest away from you in by a third and then fold the bottom third over the top of this (a little like folding a business letter). Turn the dough a quarter turn and once again roll it out into a large rectangle. Repeat this process a further 4 times. Cover the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 – 40 minutes, before rolling it out for the pie.

Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Pie | Gather and Graze

To assemble the pie:

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and cut the dough into 2 portions (one a little larger than the other). Roll out the larger portion first, to an appropriate size to fit your pie tin (mine is about 22cm x 17cm). Line the tin, trimming any excess around the edges – these bits can be used for decorating the top, if you wish).

Scoop the meat filling into the pastry lined tin and then roll out the other portion of pastry that will cover the top. Be sure to first brush the edges with a little water, before laying the sheet of pastry on top of the pie. Use a fork to press around the edges to seal the pie and place a couple of slits in the middle, using a sharp knife, to allow steam to escape. Decorate with the excess bits of pastry if you wish.

Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Pie | Gather and Graze

Place into the pre-heated oven and bake for about 45-50 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and golden brown on top.

Allow to cool slightly, before serving with a side of mashed potatoes and other steamed vegetables.

Beef, Rosemary & Red Wine Pie | Gather and Graze

Notes on Cooking:

  • This could also be made into 4 individual pies, though you will most likely need to make a larger quantity of pastry in order to do so (depending on the size of your pie tins).
  • Feel free to substitute or add other vegetables to this recipe… carrots and other root vegetables would work particularly well.

Croissant & Raspberry Jam Pudding

Croissant & Raspberry Jam Pudding | Gather and Graze

A pudding so easy that it almost feels like cheating. If you have access to beautiful, buttery, flaky croissants, then the hard work is all done for you and you can expect grand results with this delicious, wintery dessert. I’ve never been overly fond of Bread and Butter Pudding, but this is Bread and Butter Pudding with a difference… one that has converted me for life… evidently, you just need the right type of bread (or croissant)!

Two more months of winter to endure… though with the recent passing of the winter solstice, I’m at least relishing the thought of our daylight hours ever lengthening for the six or so months to come.

Croissant & Raspberry Jam Pudding

  • 3-4 Croissants (day old are perfect)
  • 120g-160g (6-8 Tablespoons) Raspberry Jam
  • 2 Free-Range Eggs
  • 40g (3 Tablespoons) Caster Sugar
  • 375mls (1½ Cups) Whole Milk
  • 125mls (½ Cup) Heavy or Double Cream
  • ½ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Lightly grease a medium sized baking dish.

Slice the croissants in half and spread a tablespoon of jam over the top of each. Sandwich them back together, cut into 3 pieces and place into the baking dish.

Croissant & Raspberry Jam Pudding | Gather and Graze

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until a little paled in colour and slightly thickened.

Place the milk, cream and vanilla extract into a small saucepan and stir over a gentle heat until it just comes to a simmer. Remove from the heat immediately and slowly pour over the egg/sugar mixture (being sure to whisk all the while, to avoid scrambling the eggs). When completely combined, pour this mixture evenly over the croissants. Allow to sit for 10-15 minutes, for the croissants to soak up a little of the liquid.

Croissant & Raspberry Jam Pudding | Gather and Graze

Bake in the pre-heated oven for about 45-50 minutes, until the custard has just set.

Allow to cool slightly, before serving as is, or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Croissant & Raspberry Jam Pudding | Gather and Graze

Notes on Cooking:

  • Optional additions – fresh/frozen raspberries (or other berries)… or chunks of chocolate (white, milk or dark). A variety of other flavour jams would also work beautifully here.
  • ‘Pain au Chocolat’ or sliced brioche could also be substituted for the croissants.

Poached Pear Chocolate Puddings | Winter Menu | Dessert

Gather and Graze:

My friends, this is the last of the recipes for a little while on ‘The Dinner Party Collective’ – our fabulous new collaborative food/wine blog. Please come through to have a look at this winter-warming dessert that I’ve prepared to go with our seasonal menu. Thanks so much for your support as we get TDPC up and running! Cheers, Margot

Originally posted on The Dinner Party Collective:

Poached Pear Chocolate Pudding | The Dinner Party CollectiveBy this stage of the Dinner Party you should be feeling totally relaxed, especially in the knowledge that your beautiful little desserts have been totally prepped and are almost ready to go. So sit back, enjoy the flowing conversation, have another sip of that gorgeous wine… the oven will do the rest of the work for you.

Poaching pears is such a lovely way of celebrating this seasonal winter fruit. The spices I’ve used in the poaching syrup are some of my personal favourites… though feel free to adapt as you wish. Cardamom, cloves, allspice, ginger and citrus peel all go wonderfully too. With a dollop of cream or ice cream, poached pears can be a delicious dessert in their own right, but by taking them that one step further by surrounding them in a rich dark chocolate pudding, it lifts them to new heights.

We truly hope you’ve enjoyed…

View original 41 more words

Sticky Lemon Pudding

Sticky Lemon Pudding | Gather and Graze

What better way of getting through winter than with a warm, lemony pudding!

The rain has been falling softly, yet constantly over the past few days. On days like this, soccer training for the boys is thankfully cancelled and the afternoons and evenings slow right down to a beautiful, relaxing pace. There is time for slow-braised meats… and puddings make it onto the dinner table too. Everyone is the happier for it… The very best kind of comfort food!

Sticky Lemon Pudding

  • 80g (⅓ Cup) Unsalted Butter
  • 160g (⅔ Cup) Raw Caster Sugar
  • Zest of 1 Lemon (Finely Grated)
  • 3 Free-Range Eggs (Separated)
  • 75g (½ Cup) Plain Flour (Sifted)
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 250ml (1 Cup) Whole Milk
  • 80ml (⅓ Cup) Lemon Juice (I used Meyer lemons)
  • Icing (Powdered) Sugar (for dusting)

Pre-heat oven to 180°C | 350°F | Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease a 1.5 Litre capacity Baking Dish.

In an electric mixer, beat together the butter, sugar and lemon zest until light and fluffy. Beat in the 3 egg yolks, one at a time. Stir in the sifted flour and salt, alternating with the milk, until you have a smooth mixture, then stir in the lemon juice. Note that the mixture will seem quite runny at this stage.

In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the egg whites until they reach medium peaks, then fold them gently into the rest of the mixture with a large metal spoon.

Pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish and sit this dish within a larger roasting tin (half-filled with water). Bake for about 50-55 minutes, until the top has set and gone a beautiful golden brown, giving way to a soft lemon curd-like base below.

Sticky Lemon Pudding | Gather and Graze

Remove from the oven and dust with a little icing sugar. Serve straight away with cream and/or ice cream.

Sticky Lemon Pudding | Gather and Graze

When life gives you Lemons…

Lemons | Gather and Graze

I mean that literally, not proverbially… life is actually pretty good around here, however it’s well and truly time that I got creative with the glut of Meyer Lemons that my 3 little potted trees have produced this year. Since fully ripening, they’ve been waiting patiently in the fridge for the past couple of weeks, until I could find the time to make something wonderful with them. Not just one thing wonderful, but four different delights that can be created in next to no time.

The kitchen has truly smelt amazing over the past couple of days, with the scent of lemon zest and juice lingering in the air.

Meyer Lemon Curd

  • Servings: Makes about 1 Litre (4 Cups)
  • Print

  • 6 Large Free-Range Eggs
  • 300g (1⅓ Cup) Caster Sugar
  • 250mls (1 Cup) Meyer Lemon Juice
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely grated Meyer Lemon Zest
  • 125g (½ Cup) Unsalted Butter (cut into small chunks)

Place eggs, sugar, lemon juice and zest into a large heat-proof mixing bowl and whisk well to combine.

Sit the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (not allowing the base of the bowl to touch the water). Continue to whisk from time to time, as the mixture thickens. When it reaches the stage that it will coat the back of a wooden spoon, remove from the heat and little by little, add in the chunks of butter, continuing to whisk as you go, until it is all incorporated and the mixture is smooth and curd-like.

Scoop the lemon curd into sterilised glass jars and keep for up to 3 weeks, refrigerated.

  • Spoon lemon curd into a shortcrust pasty shell to make a ‘Tarte au Citron’.
  • Layer lemon curd and softly whipped cream to make an easy dessert. Top with some crushed shortbread/biscuits for a little crunch/texture.
  • Slather over hot sourdough toast, freshly made scones or pancakes.
  • Top a pavlova with lemon curd and fresh berries.
  • Use to make a creamy, zesty ice cream/gelato.

Homemade Ricotta

  • Servings: Makes about 375g (1½ Cups)
  • Print

Homemade Ricotta | Gather and Graze

  • 1 Litre (4 Cups) Whole Milk
  • 250mls (1 Cup) Heavy Cream
  • 1 Teaspoon Sea Salt
  • 60mls (¼ Cup) Lemon Juice

Place the milk, cream and salt into a medium sized saucepan and place over medium low heat. Stir regularly as the mixture gets frothy on top and comes almost to a boil. Remove from the heat immediately, pour in the lemon juice and give a gentle stir to combine. Let the mixture sit (without any further stirring) for about 10 minutes. You will find that curds have formed and the whey (thin watery liquid) will be beneath.

Sit a fine mesh strainer/sieve (lined with a damp piece of muslin/cheesecloth) over the top of a deep mixing bowl. Pour the mixture into the sieve, allowing the whey to drip through into the bowl beneath. You may need to discard some of the whey that’s collected in the bottom of the bowl from time to time, if it becomes too full. Allow the curds to drain like this for about half an hour, until it reaches your desired consistency. The longer you leave it, the thicker and drier it will become.

Ricotta has many uses, but I enjoyed my first couple of spoonfuls, slathered over some crusty sourdough slices, with a little lemon zest sprinkled over the top, seasoned with freshly ground pepper and salt and a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The rest will be set aside in the fridge, to make Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni tomorrow evening… hopefully another post in the making!

Meyer Lemon Salt

  • Servings: Makes about ½ Cup
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Not really a recipe, but well worth mentioning!

  • 8 Tablespoons Sea Salt Flakes (I used Maldon Salt)
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Grated Meyer Lemon Zest

Place the salt and lemon zest in a small mixing bowl and stir well to combine. Allow to sit for a couple of hours for the zest to dry out a little, then store in an airtight jar, until required.

Use as a finishing salt or sprinkle over potatoes/vegetables before roasting in the oven.

Lemon Salt | Gather and Graze

Meyer Lemon Cordial

  • Servings: Makes about 1.25 Litres (5 Cups)
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Please visit my friend Sandra of ‘Please Pass The Recipe’ for this fabulous recipe that I used for her Mum’s Lemon Cordial. We’ve already tried and tested the cordial with soda water and still water and it’s totally delicious… though in Sandra’s Lime Cordial version, she suggests mixing 2 parts cordial with 3 parts gin and adding a twist of lime to create a ‘Gimlet’. Sounds even better to me!