At last a spell of warm weather.
You may remember that this time last year, we were having our small extension being built. It too was a little on the warm side but we were unable to enjoy the garden. The lovely builders had taken over and it turned into a building site. Those 10 weeks or so seemed to last forever – were we ever going to be able to enjoy opening up the patio doors and enjoy the garden. A garden that would in fact be an extension itself of the larger kitchen we had created? Fear not, as at last the 2 sets of French doors are fully open, the warm sunlight and air is pouring into the kitchen. The song birds are singing and feeding off the bird feeder – with the occasional pigeon being shooed off and the radio is happily providing a wonderful summer soundtrack.
Summer is definitely on the way!
The countdown is also on for early summer holibobs, a family trip to Cornwall – we cannot wait! We had once said that we would never need to go back to the same place for a holiday. There is so much to see – having both had some experience of travelling before we met – you realise that the world is both small and big. Small because really, everything is within easy reach, jumping on a plane a zipping to the other side of the world is relatively simple. I say relatively, because when you then start to have children the world can then seem big. Packing for 2 is ridiculously easy, when packing for 4 – 2 of whom are small children – a holiday take on a whole new meaning. As we found out last year when we travelled to Abu Dhabi. So this year, a staycation. To somewhere we have been before, to a location we know and love. Where we know the children will be able to relax and have fun. To a company – Beach Retreats – that has some rather nice holiday cottages – with a washing machine to relieve the load before returning home and straight back into work! With less than a 5 minute walk to a beach, free of surfers and a gentle (ish) wave on which to body board. We cannot wait. A chance to recharge, re-engage, to take stock, remember who we are and be thankful for the opportunities we have. I almost don’t care what the weather will do – we have wet suits – we can get wet in the sea. I can almost smell the sea from here.
Cornwall – we are on our way
Oh yes a cake. I was getting carried away.
Preheat the oven to Gas 3, 140c, 130c fan and line a deep 8″ cake tin.
For the cake;
- 220ml vegetable oil
- 200g gluten free self raising flour
- 190g caster sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 5 eggs
- zest of 2 lemons
- 1 jar (320g) of lemon curd – I used a jar of Co-op All butter Lemon Curd
For the strawberry mousse. For which there are several other recipes on-line. The addition of the egg whites, makes the covering very light. You could remove the egg whites and increase the amount of cream to 300ml if you wanted to just use a cream covering.
- 200g fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
- 180ml double cream
- 2 egg whites
Really easy – pop all the ingredients into your mixing bowl (I used the mixing bowl of my stand mixer) and whisk for about 4 – 5 minutes until all the ingredients have fully combined and you have a lovely fluffy mixture. You will need to stop mixing half way through and scrape the sides of the bowl down and give the whisk attachment a little shake as the lemon zest could stick to it, but then continue to whisk.
Pour into the cake tin and bake slowly for 60 – 70 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow to cool before carefully, removing from the tin, then fully cool on a wire rack.
Once cool, slice the cake horizontally – to create 3 layers of finished cake. The cake should be around 6cm high – so slice at 2cm intervals to create 3 fairly even discs.
Place your first disc onto your cake stand, spread with roughly half of the lemon curd, place on a second disc, spread with the remaining half of the jar and place the third and final cake disc on top. Put to one side, covered, until you have made the strawberry mousse.
First of all take 150g of the fresh strawberries and 1 tablespoon of sugar and with a food mixer, blitz to a puree. Or push the strawberries through a fine sieve and add sugar to taste. Add this to the double cream and whisk until thickened and fully blended.
Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl until light and fluffy, then add the other tablespoon of caster sugar and whisk in for about a minute.
Mix a third of the egg whites into the cream and strawberry mix. Then fold in the rest of the egg whites into the cream mixture until you have no fluffs of egg whites. Cover your cake – top and sides – and place in the fridge for around 4 hours – or overnight.
Decorate with the remaining strawberries – slice and serve.