Plum and Almond cake with Bottlegreen Ginger and Lemongrass Syrup

I was kindly given some plums from a colleague’s garden this week.  Being one of my husband’s favourite fruits and deciding a few brownie points were in order, I decided to make a cake; just for him! (Well, ok, we’ll all eat it too, but it’s the though that counts, isn’t it?). I love plums and almonds together and having recently been sent a range of Bottle Green cordials to try, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to combine them both with a twist in the topping, so here’s what I made:

10 plums (or enough to arrange in the base of your tin)
Syrup:
10ml Bottle Green Ginger and Lemongrass cordial
10ml Water
10ml Muscovado sugar
Cake:
200g Butter
200g Muscovado sugar
4 Eggs
10ml Almond Extract
100g Plain Flour
10ml Baking Powder
100g Ground Almonds
1. Preheat your oven to 180C.
2. Line a 20cm/8″ spring form tin with baking parchment (or use a cake tin liner, as I’ve done).
3. Cut your plums in half and remove the stones.
4. Arrange in the bottom of your cake tin, cut side down.
 
5. In a small saucepan combine the Bottle Green Ginger and Lemongrass cordial, the water and the Muscovado sugar.
6. Bring to the boil and boil for 3-5 minutes until reduced in volume and syrup-like.
7. Pour evenly over the plums then set aside to cool while you make your cake batter.
8. In a large bowl, add the butter, Muscovado sugar, eggs, almond extract, vanilla paste, flour, baking powder and ground almonds.
9. Cream together thoroughly for a few minutes until light in texture.
10. Spoon the cake batter over the plums and level the top.
11. Bake for 50-60 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
12. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes.
13. Invert the cake onto a plate and remove the parchment liner.
14. This cake can be served warm with custard, ice cream, clotted cream or cream. Alternatively allow to cool before serving.
The plums were a gift from a colleague’s garden.  I often buy Bottle Green cordials personally, but was sent a box of 3 bottles to try, including Elderflower, Strawberry and the Ginger & Lemongrass cordial that I used in this cake.  I was under no obligation to develop a recipe using the Bottle Green cordials sent to me.

Roast chicken curry with Clearspring Organic Rice Trio

Having spatchcocked the chicken, placed it on a trivet of sweet potatoes and onions and originally intending to make a roast dinner out of it, I changed my mind when the chicken was cooked and had come out of the oven, so I made a quick & easy chicken curry out of it instead.  Here’s how:



For the roast chicken:
1 large chicken
2 sweet potatoes, quartered
2 medium onions, quartered
200ml cold water
For the curry:
30ml/2tbs Mango chutney (or to taste)
To serve:
Fresh coriander, chopped

1. Heat the oven to 180C.
2. Turn the chicken onto it’s breast and, using a pair of robust scissors, cut down each side of the spine to remove it.
3. Turn the chicken over and open out the legs and the wings.
4. Press down on the ribcage until it cracks and the chicken flattens out.
5. Peel and quarter the sweet potatoes and onions.
6. Place into the centre of a large roasting dish and place the chicken on top, breast & skin side up.
7. Pour in 200ml cold water & cover tightly with foil.
8. Roast for 1 1/2-2 hours until well cooked.
9. Remove the chicken from the pan, cover and allow to rest.
10. Pour the meat juices, sweet potato and onions into a saucepan and add the Knorr Curry Flavour Pot.
11. Bring to the boil and then add the mango chutney, adjusting the quantity to taste.
12. Blitz the curry sauce with a stick blender until smooth.
13. Bring a large pan of water to the boil, then add the Clearspring rice trio.
14. Gently boil the rice for 10 minutes, or until cooked and then drain.
15. Meanwhile, flake the chicken into pieces.
16. Serve the rice, making a hollow in the centre.
17. Add the flaked chicken to the centre of the rice and spoon some curry sauce over the top.
18. Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with naan bread.


The Clearspring Rice Trio was sent to me free of charge to sample.  All other ingredients were purchased by me personally and were not sponsored. I was under no obligation to publish content using the box of rice sent to me. We found the rice trio combination to be tasty, as well as enjoying the different textures of the Basmati, long grain brown and the Wholegrain rice.

Restaurant Review – Byron Hamburgers – Greenwich Promenade

One Sunday evening, in London, my husband, daughter and I, all with healthy appetites and ready for dinner, found ourselves in Byron Hamburgers on the East Pavilion, Greenwich Promenade.  A busy area of London next to the Cutty Sark; an iconic tourist hotspot in the Capital.

Requesting a table overlooking the river Thames looking towards the Docklands, we were shown up to the roof terrace and invited to take our seats by our friendly waitress.

On taking our order, we enjoyed the views until our drinks and starters of tortilla chips with a tomato salsa and guacamole arrived.  Whilst both dips were very tasty, I did find the salsa to be on the watery side.
The hamburgers we ordered; a Classic for my husband comprising a 6oz burger, served with lettuce, tomato, red onion and mayonnaise whilst my daughter and I chose a Byron burger – served with dry cured bacon, mature cheddar cheese, iceburg lettuce, red onion and ‘Byron’ sauce.  We chose all of our burgers to be well done (the norm is for them to be served medium, unless otherwise requested by the customer).


For our side orders we chose Fries which were served thin & crispy, Onion Rings made from thick slices of battered onions served in a crispy batter as well as Courgette Fries; fingers of courgette coated with batter and fried until crispy on the outside.

The Scottish beef is freshly ground and served on a soft and airy bun.  The meat is succulent and tender whilst remaining moist. The staff here are attentive and friendly without being pushy and obtrusive.  I’d certainly recommend this branch to anyone in the area; it’s well worth a visit.
Our meals were paid for personally. I was not invited to dine at Byron Hamburgers, nor have I received compensation for this review.

Food Review – Magnum Crème Brûlée

2014 sees the 25th Anniversary of Magnum Ice Creams; those light and creamy ice creams, thickly coated in chocolate that I personally find very hard to resist!

Selfridges in Oxford Street currently have a Magnum bar where you can go in and create your own, unique and bespoke Magnum to enjoy and celebrate their special birthday.

Also exclusive to Selfridges is the Creme Brûlée limited edition.  Smooth and creamy ice cream containing caramelised sugar pieces and enrobed in a thick milk chocolate is a true taste sensation!

Crack through the chocolate.
Bite into the smooth ice cream.
Crunch on the caramelised sugar pieces.
Heaven on a little wooden stick!

They’re currently retailing at £3.00 each.  If you get the chance, pop into Selfridges and treat yourself to one; I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

I was sent a voucher with which to purchase my exclusive, limited edition, Creme Brûlée Magnum to try.  I was under no obligation to write a review, positive or otherwise of these ice creams.  All opinions are my own and that of my family, who also enjoyed one.