Something Special

Lemon Thyme Drizzle Cake

Lemon Thyme Drizzle Cake 1500 833 R&G Fresh

Preparation Time

35-40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 115g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp lemon thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 115g butter, softened
  • Finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 170g self-raising flour, sifted
  • A pinch of salt
  • For the icing
  • 2 tbsp lemon thyme leaves, finely chopped
  • 140g icing sugar, sifted
  • 1 lemon

For decoration:

  • A few sprigs of lemon thyme with flowers, if available

How to make

1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Grease a 450g loaf tin, line the base and ends with a strip of baking paper and lightly grease.

2) Make sure the lemon thyme leaves are dry before you chop them. Place in a food processor with the caster sugar and whizz until the sugar turns green and the leaves have been finely chopped.

3) Add the butter and lemon zest and whizz until fluffy, then gradually add the eggs. Mix in 1 tbsp lemon juice, then scrape into a bowl and fold in the flour and salt.

4) Spoon into the loaf tin. Bake for 20 minutes, then loosely cover the top with foil if it is browning too quickly and bake for a further 20-25 minutes or until well risen and golden. Test by inserting a skewer into the cake; if it comes out clean, the cake is cooked.

5) To make the icing, stir the finely chopped lemon thyme into the icing sugar and add enough lemon juice to form a thick icing.

6) While it’s still in the tin, transfer the cake to a wire rack. Leave for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin and spoon the icing over the top of the warm cake. It will drizzle down the sides. Leave to cool. Shortly before serving, decorate with the sprigs of lemon thyme.

Basil Panna Cotta

Basil Panna Cotta 1500 833 R&G Fresh

Preparation Time

35-40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 70ml milk
  • 2 vanilla pods, scored and seeds separated
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 375ml double cream
  • 2 large bunches basil, leaves picked and chopped
  • 1½ gelatine leaves, soaked in water
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar

How to make

1) Put the milk, vanilla pods, vanilla seeds, lemon zest and half the cream into a small pan and slowly simmer for 10 minutes or until reduced by a third.

2) Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pods and stir in the chopped basil and gelatine leaves until dissolved. Allow to cool a little, then place in the fridge, stirring occasionally, until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.

3) Remove from the fridge and either strain the mixture through a fine sieve to remove the basil leaves or if, like me, you like the direct flavour of the leaves, leave them in.

4) Whip together the icing sugar with the remaining cream. Mix the two cream mixtures together. Divide into four serving moulds or small glasses. Cover and chill for at least an hour in the fridge.

5) Serve by dunking the glasses into hot water then tipping on to a serving plate; this will remove the panna cotta from the container. Decorate with a few basil leaves and serve with figs, redcurrants, peaches or nectarines.

Garden Herb Spread

Garden Herb Spread 1500 833 R&G Fresh

Preparation Time

35-40 minutes

Makes around 500g

Ingredients

  • 60g raw cashews
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 450g firm tofu, drained
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tbsp fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp fresh tarragon
  • 2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 30g red onion, chopped
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • Salt and black pepper

How to make

In a blender, blitz the cashews into coarse crumbs. Add the garlic and pulse to incorporate. Crumble in the tofu. Blend until relatively smooth. Add everything else and pulse. You don’t want the onion and herbs to completely puree – they should be chopped into small bits.

You can serve immediately, but it’s best when it has been chilled for at least 30 minutes.

Amazing Marinara Sauce

Amazing Marinara Sauce 1500 833 R&G Fresh

Preparation Time

35-40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 cans Italian Plum Tomatoes (I Recommend San Marzano, 26- To 28-ounce Cans)
  • 60 ml Olive Oil
  • 12 cloves Coarsely Chopped Garlic
  • 12 leaves Fresh Basil, Sliced
  • 2 teaspoons Chopped Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

How to make

1) Drain the tomatoes in a colander set in a large bowl for 5 minutes. Reserve the tomato liquid.

2) In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and cook it, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. If the garlic cooks too quickly, reduce the heat.

3) Add the basil, parsley, salt, and pepper to taste. Cook the mixture for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, increase the heat to high, and cook them for about 5 minutes, using a wooden spoon or long-handled fork to break them up, or until the tomatoes boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the sauce for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes break down.

4) Add the reserved tomato liquid. Increase the heat to high and bring the sauce to a boil. Boil it for about 12 minutes or until it starts to thicken. Stir it occasionally and scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent the sauce from burning.

5) Transfer the sauce to a bowl and set it aside for about 1 hour or until it cools to room temperature. Transfer it to a tightly covered storage container and refrigerate for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month. (I freeze one cup portions flat in baggies so I can easily thaw as needed.)

Royal Potato Salad

Royal Potato Salad 1500 833 R&G Fresh

Preparation Time

35-40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 800g jersey royals, cleaned but not scrubbed
  • 15 quail eggs
  • 150g petit pois (blanched for 30 seconds and refreshed)
  • 60g parmesan, grated
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 20g basil leaves
  • 20g parsley leaves, plus extra for garnishing
  • 1 bunch mint leaves, finely shredded
  • 200ml olive oil
  • ½ tsp white-wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper

How to make

1) Put the eggs in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to a boil: simmer for 30 seconds (semi-soft) to two minutes (hard-boiled), according to taste. Refresh in cold water and peel.

2) Cook the potatoes for 15-20 minutes until soft but not falling apart. Meanwhile, put the basil, parsley, parmesan, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor and blitz to a paste. Add the oil and pulse until you have a runny pesto.

3) As soon as they are cool enough to handle, cut the potatoes in two (they will absorb more flavour when hot) and toss with the pesto, peas, vinegar and sorrel. Mix well, even crush the potatoes slightly, so all the flavours mix.

4) Taste and adjust the seasoning, being generous with the pepper. Cut the eggs in half and fold into the salad. Garnish with parsley.

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