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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Aftermath

Once again, it's been a while. My sincerest apologies to those of you who keep asking when the next well-overdue post is coming! Whilst my intentions are good, there have been some major life upheavals to contend with over the past couple of months which have prevented regular blogging. Things look set to return pretty well to normal over the next few weeks, albeit a new kind of normal courtesy of my new job. Aah, life.

Anyway, this new kind of normal will hopefully include a lot more blogging and a course on how to properly use my camera, so that you all can see the true beauty of some of my kitchen experiments!

And as for today's kitchen experiment, well, it didn't go too badly indeed, as you can see by the photo above. Unfortunately for you, I neglected to take pictures of the 'before' scene so you'll just have to make do with the recipe and trust me that it's good. Real good.

And just for Nic and Sal's benefit: I see no harm at all in adding to this some figs lightly poached in a sugar syrup with a slug of port or dessert wine - go all out!

Warm Almond Cake with Lemon Curd Icecream

adapted from recipe in 'Cocina Nueva - the new Spanish kitchen', by Jane Lawson


200g unsalted butter, softened

1tsp vanilla extract or paste

2tsp finely grated lemon zest

310g icing sugar

4 eggs, separated

125ml milk

400g ground almonds (always better if you can grind them yourself but the bought pre-ground ones are fine)

Preheat oven to 160C, and line and grease a 23cm round springform tin.

Beat the butter, vanilla, zest and 250g of the icing sugar in an electric mixer until pale and creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk and ground almonds and mix to combine.

Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt and the remaining icing sugar until firm peaks form. Fold a large spoonful of this through the almond cake batter to combine, then carefully fold through the rest. Spoon gently into the tin and smooth the top.

Bake for about 30 minutes, then cover the top of the tin with foil and bake for a further 20-30 minutes or until a skewer tests clean in the centre of the cake. Your finished cake will be quite dark on the outside but should be gorgeously moist and a bit squidgy in the centre. Cool slightly in the tin, then turn out and serve warm, with the lemon curd icecream on the side.

Lemon Curd Icecream

This is ridiculously easy providing you have some decent lemon curd (lucky me having made a huge amount of it last week with all the lemons falling off Mum's tree!). If there are no lemons, or you're feeling time-poor, by all means buy your curd - just don't skimp on the quality, as you will taste it in the finished product. And, obviously, make this a day ahead of baking your cake.

600ml thick cream, chilled

about 350-400ml good lemon curd, chilled

Mix the lemon curd and cream together (adjust the amount of curd to taste - you want something a bit sweeter than you're after as the coldness of the icecream will dull the sugar a bit).

If you have an icecream maker, put the mixture in and churn according to your machine's instructions. Otherwise, pour the mixture into a shallow tray, cover and freeze for a few hours until icy around the edges. Working quickly, transfer to the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until smooth. Return to the tray and refreeze. Repeat this step three times, then transfer the mixture to an airtight container covered with a piece of baking paper and a lid.