Ginger Cake with Lemon Icing

I adore ginger and what better way to eat it than in cake. There is nothing quite as joyous as a late afternoon slice of cake with a cup of coffee or tea. It is a wonderful time to sit and reflect and lose yourself in your thoughts for a little while. This recipe by Tom Dalby is a favourite of mine as it’s easy to prepare and even easier to eat. It suits any occasion, afternoon tea, celebration cake or even as dessert. i have been known to serve the ginger cake warm with custard instead of the lemon icing….luscious!

Ingredients

225g self-raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mixed spice
115g butter, cut into cubes, plus extra for greasing
115g dark muscovado sugar
115g black treacle
115g golden syrup
250ml whole milk
85g drained stem ginger, finely grated
1 egg

For the icing

50g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

Preheat the oven to fan 160C/conventional 180C/gas 4. Butter and line an 18cm round, 7cm deep cake tin with greaseproof or parchment paper.

Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda and all the spices into a large mixing bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Put the sugar, treacle, syrup and milk in a medium saucepan and heat, gently stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to just below boiling point.

Add the stem ginger to the flour mixture, then pour in the treacle mixture, stirring as you go with a wooden spoon. Break in the egg and beat until all the mixture is combined and it resembles a thick pancake batter. Pour this into prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes-1 hour, until a skewer pushed into the centre of the cake comes out fairly clean. Leave to cool completely in tin before turning cake out. (To freeze: wrap in greaseproof paper, then in cling film. Freeze for up to 1 month.)

To make the icing, mix together icing sugar and lemon zest, then gradually add lemon juice until you have a smooth, slightly runny icing, adding more juice, if needed. Drizzle icing in a zig-zag pattern over surface of cake, turn cake around and drizzle again to create the cross-hatched finish (see below). Cake keeps for up to 2 weeks stored in an airtight container.

Enjoy!!

Brussels sprout gratin with bacon, cream and almonds.

We all know that the humble sprout is a Christmas favourite, but it doesn’t just have to be served with turkey and trimmings. Brussels sprouts can be a worthy accompaniment to dinner or Sunday roast any time, and they’re in season right through to the end of March.

Here’s my favourite sprout recipe, it’s easy to make and delicious.

Ingredients

900g/2lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed
20g/¾oz butter
4 tsp sunflower oil
150g/5oz bacon lardons (or rindless back bacon, cut into short fat strips)
20g/¾oz flaked almonds
400ml/14fl oz double cream
2½ tsp lemon juice
5½ tbsp fresh white breadcrumbs
4 tbsp freshly grated parmesan cheese
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Place the sprouts into a saucepan of simmering salted water and cook for 4-5 minutes, until almost, but not quite, cooked. Drain thoroughly, allow to cool slightly, then cut in half.

Place the butter and oil into a wide frying pan over a medium heat. Add the bacon lardons and almonds and sauté for 3-4 minutes, until lightly browned.

Add the sprouts and sauté for a further 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly.

Add the cream and bring the mixture to the boil. Boil for 2-4 minutes, until the cream has reduced to a rich sauce. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Remove from the heat, add the lemon juice and spoon into an ovenproof gratin dish.

Mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese together in a bowl, then sprinkle evenly over the top of the sprout mixture.

Place into the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the top is golden-brown and the cream visibly boiling.

Remove from the oven and serve in the gratin dish (when the dish has cooled slightly).

Enjoy!!

Don’t bin the Bread

The humble loaf really is the ‘bread of life’ it’s so incredibly versatile.

Here is my recipe for bread sauce because let’s face it the Christmas turkey would be naked without it!

You will need.

1 small onion stuck with 3 cloves
500 ml milk
Half a day old white loaf made into breadcrumbs
Grated nutmeg
Salt
Freshly ground white pepper
100ml double cream
Large knob of butter

Put the clove studded onion in a pan with the milk and heat very slowly until almost boiling. The longer this takes the better as the point is to infuse the milk with the flavour of the onion and cloves.

Remove the onion and whisk in the breadcrumbs until the sauce is thick and all the milk is taken up. Heat through and if the sauce is thin, add some more breadcrumbs and conversely if it appears too thick add a little more milk. Season with salt and pepper and a little mace or nutmeg. Stir in the cream and just before serving stir in the butter, this will make the sauce glossy and add extra flavour.Dont be shy with the cream and butter.

Of course the uses for stale bread could fill a book, here are a few that spring to mind….

• Croutons – for soup or salad
• Bread and butter pudding
• Eggy bread -Soaked in milk, eggs and sugar and then fried and served with sweet or savoury toppings
• Breadcrumbs for meatloaf/meatballs
• Breadcrumbs for all manner of savoury stuffing especially great for vegetarian dishes.

GLUTEN FREE DIET (GFD)

This dish is suitable or can be adapted to be suitable for those who are on a Gluten Free Diet.

As part of our Inclusive NOT Exclusive initiative we have introduced many new dishes and tweaked some of our long standing favourite dishes so that they can be enjoyed by those with specific dieatary requirements.

DAIRY FREE / LACTOSE FREE DIET

This dish is suitable or can be adapted to be suitable for those who are on a Dairy Free or Lactose Free Diet.

As part of our Inclusive NOT Exclusive initiative we have introduced many new dishes and tweaked some of our long standing favourite dishes so that they can be enjoyed by those with specific dieatary requirements.

VEGAN/RAW DIET

This dish is suitable or can be adapted to be suitable for those who are on a Vegan or a Raw diet.

As part of our Inclusive NOT Exclusive initiative we have introduced many new dishes and tweaked some of our long standing favourite dishes so that they can be enjoyed by those with specific dieatary requirements.

THE PALEO DIET

This dish is suitable or can be adapted to be suitable for those who are on The Paleo Diet.

As part of our Inclusive NOT Exclusive initiative we have introduced many new dishes and tweaked some of our long standing favourite dishes so that they can be enjoyed by those with specific dieatary requirements.

Celebrate Thanksgiving at Ffiona’s.

Lunch and dinner on Thursday November 28th 2024
Bookings from 12pm to 8.30pm (last sitting)
£75 per person.