Lemon curd Victoria sponge

Week 15, session 1

It’s another cake week this week – 2 cakes and scones last week (whisked and rubbed in cakes) and 3 cakes this week (creamed and melted). I’m feeling caked out already but the cake marathon must continue.

won’t put up recipes for these but if you want them let me know. I will, however, post the lemon curd recipe below though because that was good!

Cake 1 this week was a Victoria sponge. This is an example of the creamed method where you cream the butter and sugar together then slowly add eggs then fold in dry ingredients. The purpose of this is to get lots of air into the cake. To be honest though, the electric heater with all ingredients in the bowl works just as well for this cake in my opinion.

I’d not made lemon curd before though so that was exciting and it turned out so lovely. It takes a lot of attention so that it doesn’t curdle but apart from that it was quick, easy and delicious! Will definitely make the lemon curd again!

Lemon Curd Recipe

  • 2 large lemons
  • 85g butter
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 3 eggs (lightly beaten)
  • Zest both lemons and keep aside.
  • Add butter, sugar, lemon juice and eggs to a sauce pan and heat gently, stirring continuously until the mixture is thick.
  • Pass through a sieve then stir through the lemon zest.
  • Pour into jam jars and close cover to prevent a skin forming.
  • This will store in the fridge for about 3 weeks.


Week 14, session 3

I love scones. Savoury or sweet, I just love them.

These scones were plain, sweet scones served with clotted cream and jam. I prepared them both the Devonshire way and the Cornish way and although I knew at the time what that meant in terms of order of toppings, I can’t now and to be honest, although a cream then jam advocate, they were equally as good!

This is a really quick and easy recipe which I will be using again again for both fruit, floral and savoury scones.

Nailed this one!


  • 225g self raising flour
  • 60g salted butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 30g caster sugar
  • 100ml milk
  • Rub the fridge cold butter into the flour until there are no clumps of butter
  • Add the salt and the sugar a d mix to combine
  • 3/4 of the milk a s mix to form a dough. Add a little more if it looks a little dry until the dough comes together
  • Work quickly and gently into a smooth ball remembering that the less you work it the better
  • About 1 inch then use a round cutter to cut out your scones
  • Place them on a lightly floured baking tray
  • Reform the remaining dough and repeat to make a further 2 or 3 scones
  • For a soft finish, sprinkle the tops with flour or for a
  • Cook the scones in the oven for about 12 minutes until golden and well risen. Look at the dough where the cracks have formed – this should be white, not grey.
  • Leave to cool then cut them in half and top with jam and cream, or cream and jam 🙂

Lemon and macadamia loaf cake

Week 14, session 2

As you can see from the picture this was a bit of a disaster. The tin was too small (even though I was advised to use this tin) and I forgot to add some of the flour so whilst it rose well (credit to my whisking), it sunk.

This cake tastes so good though even though I’m not a fan of macadamias so I will do this again one day with a larger tin and all the flour. Also, the fat only comes from the nuts which makes me feel better for some reason (kidding myself).

I’ll post the recipe when I know how to correct some of these issues.


Whisked sponge

Week 14, session 1

In this session I learnt that a whisked sponge is one that relies on whisked eggs as the only rising agent. The eggs are whisked with sugar over a bain marie until thick and fluffy and then plain flour is folded through. That’s it. Simple and fat free!

I didn’t have a deep sided cake tin so tried to improvise using a regular cake tin with sides built up using baking paper. This was a mistake because the edges got a little dark and wiggly but apart from that the cake is delicious!

I topped this with sweetened cream and strawberries. When I redo this when I have the right equipment I will mix lemon curd into the cream and scatter petals on top but otherwise, perfection!

The downside of a whisked sponge is that because there is no fat it doesn’t keep so you need to eat it on the same day. This may not be a downside to you if you make this for an occasion but having made this on a Wednesday at my friend’s house, this is a lot of cake for 2!


  • 3 eggs
  • 80g caster sugar plus some for dusting
  • 80g plain flour plus some for dusting
  1. Preheat oven to 189 degrees centigrade
  2. Lightly oil an 8cm, deep sided cake tin and line the base with baking paper.
  3. Coat the side of the tin with caster sugar then do the same with flour. Pour out any excess.
  4. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a glass bowl over a bain marie until thick, fluffy and ribbony
  5. Carefully fold in the flour
  6. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until set. The cake should not retain indents when it is done.
  7. Leave to cool then decorate with fresh cream and fruit (or any other toppings you fancy)

Enriched white loaf

Week 12, session 2

I forgot to post this one 😲. This recipe is yummy though and enriching bread gives it a much softer crumb and crust which is perfect for sandwiches.

To enrich bread is to add fat to the dough. For this recipe this is in the form of milk and butter.

This is a lovely and easy recipe to make and I really enjoyed it. I was definitely in the mood for some therapeutic kneading on Saturday morning.


  • 250g strong bread flour
  • 5g dried yeast
  • 1tsp salt
  • 150-200ml milk
  • 20g butter
  • 1tsp sunflower oil
  1. Heat milk until steaming then allow to cool until just warm.
  2. Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
  3. Rub the butter into the flour until there are no lumps.
  4. Add the yeast and three quarters of the milk and mix. If it is dry and not coming together into a dough, add a little more if the milk until it is the right consistency.
  5. Knead the dough until smooth and springy (about 10 minutes).
  6. Place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
  7. Knock back and shape into an oval.
  8. Place into a lightly oiled and partially lined 1lb loaf tin. (Line with parchment just with 2 sheet so that the sheet can be used to lift the loaf out). Cover and leave to rise until doubled in size (about an hour).
  9. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  10. Once dough is risen and does not spring back when poked (in an inconspicuous place) sprinkle with flour and place into the oven and cook for 20-30 minutes – until golden and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom.
  11. Turn loaf out and cool on a wire rack.

Moroccan lamb tagine

Week 13, session 1

This week is stewing and slow cooking. I do a lot of cooking like this so was not particularly excited by this week’s learning. However, as always, I did learn something new and this recipe for lamb tagine with herb rice is good!!

The new thing I learnt is that if you brown the meat in a separate pan, when you then deglaze that pan you can taste the liquid it produces (fond) and choose whether it is tasty or not before it’s added to the dish. It’s more washing up which of course I’m resistant to but it makes sense – I have made a slightly bitter tasting stew before and now I know why!


  • 500g lamb neck (cut into 2.5cm pieces)
  • 1 onion (diced)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tomatoes, skinned, quartered and deseeded
  • 70g dried apricots (halved)
  • 70g dried dates (halved)
  • 500ml white stock
  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 3/4 tsp ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Small bunch coriander (chopped)
  • 200g rice
  1. Cook onion with 2 tbsp olive oil in a casserole dish until translucent making sure that to they don’t brown.
  2. In a separate pan, add remaining olive oil and brown the meat in batches so as to not overcrowd the pan.
  3. Deglaze the pan with a little cold water and taste the fond. If it tastes good, retain to add it to stew later.
  4. To the translucent onion, add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  5. Add all of the spices and cook them for a minute.
  6. Add the meat to the pan and coat in the spicy mixture.
  7. Add the stock and the fond (if adding) and bring to the boil.
  8. Add the tomatoes, place a lid on and turn down to a simmer and cook for about 40 minutes.
  9. Add the dried fruit and cook with the lid on until the meat is tender (about 40 minutes).
  10. If the sauce is too thin, sieve the stew over a bowl and return the liquid to the pan and boil until thick. Season to taste and return the solids to the liquid to heat through.
  11. Add rice to salted cold water and heat on high for 10 minutes until the water is absorbed. Water to rice ratio is 1:1.5.
  12. Stir chopped coriander through the cooked rice.

Rosemary focaccia

Week 12, session 1

This week is bread week and since I’ve been firmly on the bread baking wagon this lockdown, I was looking forward to doing this.

Whilst I’ve been cooking sourdough, this focaccia is made with dried yeast which is much easier to use! This is an easy recipe, doesn’t take much kneading and looks and smells delicious. I haven’t actually tried it yet but am looking forward to some for lunch tomorrow.


  • 250g bread flour
    • 5g dried yeast
    • 150ml warm water
    • 2tbsp olive oil
    • 1 level tsp salt
    • 2 sprigs rosemary
    • Sea salt flakes
  • Place all ingredients except the rosemary into a bowl and combine.
  • Knead until smooth and springy (about 10 minutes) then form into a ball and place onto an oiled baking tray on top of a sprig of rosemary.
  • Press out until it is about 2cm deep.
  • Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise for an hour until doubled in size.
  • Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  • Once risen push dents in the top and place small pieces of rosemary in the holes.
  • Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
  • Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes until golden and hollow sounding.

Lemon and ricotta tortellini with sage beurre noisette

Week 11, session 2

I made this pasta in the food processer and it was so much easier than by hand. I needed to add more egg to get the right consistency but that was so easy to do. It was easy to bring together and all round just easier and quicker. This is definitely how I’ll make it in future.

The filling for these was delicious but very rich. Thankfully, I made only few and they were small as this was plenty.

I will definitely make these or ravioli again and will experiment with different fillings. When I’ve got my confidence up I’ll try the MasterChef special – egg yolk raviolli and join the yolk porn revolution.

  • Filling recipe
    • 200g ricotta
    • Handful grated parmesan
    • Handful grated pecorino
    • Zest of 1 lemon
    • Salt and pepper
  • Beurre noisette
    • Large knob of butter (melt until foaming)
    • Handful sage leaves (add to foaming butter and cook for a couple of minutes)

Tagliatelle with Pesto

Week 11, session 1

This week is pasta week. I’ve made pasta before but was never very good at it, didn’t find it easy and thought that it was a lot of effort for results similar to what I can buy in the shops. Therefore, I was not excited by the prospect of pasta week.

I was right to be fearful. I had to make 2 batches of dough because my first batch was tough and I couldn’t get it to go through the machine without tearing to pieces.

My second batch was more successful and tasted good but it was far from perfect. I don’t eat a lot of pasta so can’t really tell you if it tasted better than dried or shop bought tagliatelle. But I did it and it tasted good!

I made a classic basil pesto which was so easy and definitely better than shop bought!

Although the recipe didn’t call for this, I fried some Parma ham and crumbled this onto the top to add a bit of texture and saltiness. Naughty but nice!

The veggie option


  • Pasta
    • 200g 00 flour (as much as you can incorporate)
    • 2 large eggs (a little more if it’s dry)
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • Semolina flour for dusting and drying
  • Pesto
    • 100g basil (leaves and stalks)
    • 60g pine nuts
    • 60g parmesan
    • 2 garlic cloves
    • 100ml olive oil (or as much or as little as needed for the desired texture)

Roast chicken

Week 10, session 1 and 2

When I saw that week 10 was making a roast chicken I thought that the only thing I could learn from this is amazing gravy. However, the time planning session was really helpful and I did serve up on time! Will need to get into the habit of doing this for bigger dinners.

Time plan

The only other thing I can say about this is that the roast potatoes and gravy were amazing!

  • Roast potatoes
    • Parboil Maris Piper pieces in salted water.
    • Drain and allow to dry.
    • Heat 100g goose fat in a large baking tray to allow lots of space between potatoes.
    • Roast for 20 minutes then turn.
    • Roast for a further 30 minutes or until golden and crispy.
  • Chicken/Gravy
    • Cook the chicken in a baking tray which the chicken sits in snugly.
    • Push 40g of butter underneath the skin of the chicken and insert 2 sprigs of thyme and half a lemon cut in half inside the cavity.
    • Cut half an apple and half an onion into chunks and place in the baking tray. Place the chicken on top and season with salt and pepper.
    • Pour 100ml of both white wine and water into the bottom of the tray and place the chicken in the oven.
    • When the chicken is cooked, move the chicken to a carving board and reserve the juices minus the apple and onion.
    • Take the fat off the top of the juices and return them to the baking tray. Heat them up and add a scant tablespoon of plain flour and whisk. Cook for about a minute.
    • Slowly add 150ml strong chicken stock (I used the stock I made in week 1) then add the chicken juices.
    • Boil for a minute to cook out the flour and then more if you want a stronger flavour.
    • 👍