when life gives you lemons…

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I make no apology for my love of the humble lemon, whether it is part of ice and a slice in a large G&T, or an early morning detox in boiled water, I do not like to be without my lemons! But how often do we, with the best of intentions, grab a bunch of these most attractive little citrus bombs, absolutely exploding with vitamins, only to use one and leave the rest to slowly die in the fruit bowl, underneath the rather bossy pink lady apples and juicy seductive peaches.

No more! I wish to stop this abhorrent ill treatment of lemons, and so Dear reader, for your perusal I am giving you ten uses for the underdog of the fruit bowl.

1. Lemons can help prevent kidney stones.

lemon juice taken daily may increase production of urinary citrate, a chemical in urine that prevents the formation of crystals that may build up and form kidney stones. Simply squeeze half a lemon into a cup of boiled water first thing on a morning, this is also an excellent aid to weight loss, bonus! it really is an excellent daily habit as it flushes the system.

2. Lemons are anti ageing.

Huzzah! I know. Lemons reduce production of free radicals, which are responsible for ageing skin.Also applied neat to age spots in can lighten them,just dab a little juice on and leave for fifteen minutes,before rinsing.

3. Lemons are great to clean and whiten nails.

Squeeze half a lemon into a cup of warm water, then soak your fingertips for around five minutes. Viola!

4. Lemons are the best for chills and fevers.

Squeeze a lemon into boiled water, add a little grated  ginger, Spanish Doctors swear by it.

5. Lemons will freshen your fridge.

Chop a lemon into quarters and leave on a saucer overnight in your fridge, it will absorb all yukky smells and leave it fresh and lovely.

6.Lemons will stop rice from sticking.

Yep,just a quick squeeze in the pan will avoid a horrid gloopy congealed mess.

7. Lemons are great on stains.

I know this from my vintage days, it was great on old tablecloths with age marks and such,Cut a lemon in half, sprinkle with salt and rub on the stain, leave in natural sunlight if you can for a while, repeat if necessary until stain is gone.

8. Lemons make an amazing skin toner.

Add a shot of fresh lemon juice to 6oz of distilled water and 3 drops of tea tree oil, either put in a spray bottle for a quick spritz or apply with cotton pads.Keep in the fridge.

9. Lemons whiten your teeth.

mix freshly squeezed lemon juice with a little baking soda, mix until it bubbles, apply to teeth with a cotton bud, leave for a minute before brushing as normal.

10. Finally…. make a lemon cake!

This is my Mothers secret recipe. You are welcome.

Hazels Luscious lemon cake.

4oz unsalted butter, 6oz caster sugar creamed.

Add; 2 large eggs, 4 tbsp milk, 6oz flour, grated rind of one lemon.

Mix well to a soft dropping consistency, pour into a lightly greased loaf tin and bake in oven (350/gas 4) for around 30-40 mins, keep checking obvs.

Mix 3 rounded tablespoons of icing sugar with 5 tablespoons of lemon juice, when cake comes out of oven drizzle over.Leave in tin until completely cold.

Enjoy!

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Chicken soup for the soul(not the book)

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So after the humongous Sunday lunch I was left with a fair bit of chicken and a pile of bones,whats a Gal to do I ask you?

Make chicken soup of course.Here you go,easy peasy.

Chicken soup.

Boil carcass with a few onions,carrots,Swede or any veg you have left over to make stock.

set aside stock,dice some onions and cook in a little oil until soft,add diced carrots,swede and potato,return stock to the pan and simmer for about 30 mins.

when all the veg are soft,put around half the soup in a blender and whiz it up,this adds thickness if you dont like a watery kind of soup,return to the pan and add your left over chicken,I added a handful of spinach just because I love it and its so good for you.

Season to your own taste and Viola! perfect Winter comfort food,serve with a crusty bun and feel virtuous for being so clever with your leftovers and also for being super healthy at the same time!

Sunday,the lurgy and cake….

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The inhabitants of Chez King have been struck down by the lurgy,Youngest Daughter has been off school,after passing it on to everyone else,but hey ho,  Myself I have rallied as one must,but I have to be honest I am glad the week is nearly over,we are all on the mend thankfully and I felt the need to celebrate by way of making a cake.

Ahh cake,the answer to everything,the cure of all ills,a cup of hot strong tea that you could stand a spoon up in and all is well in my world.

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I have long endeavoured to find the easiest and most foolproof recipe for the perfect Victoria sandwich,past attempts have seen them sunk in the middle,to thin,too thick,soggy bottom.Ahem.

But friends eventually I had an epiphany! and here it is,the simple truth that has completely evaded silly me for so long.

You weigh your eggs.

YES!!! as fellow bakers will know you use equal quantities of fat,sugar,flour and eggs,the eggs for me being the tricky part,just how many eggs are the equivalent of  250gms for example?DOH!, weigh them you numpty.

So here is my foolproof recipe,I weigh the eggs first and then use the same amount of other ingredients.

The best Victoria sandwich cake recipe.

4 eggs(250g)

250g caster sugar

250g unsalted butter

250g SR flour

1tsp baking powder

1tsp vanilla extract

Cream  butter and sugar until soft and creamy,add vanilla essence.In a seperate bowl mix eggs,add eggs,baking powder and flour a bit at a time,folding gently,lightly grease two medium cake tins and line with baking paper,then divide the mix into  them.Bake in a moderate oven around 180 for roughly twenty minutes(keep checking obviously) when springy to the touch or you can stick a skewer in the middle and it comes out clean,they are ready.Leave to cool before turning gently out of tins.Sandwich together with your favourite jam and buttercream icing,then dust the top with a little sieved icing sugar.

Bliss I tell you.Bliss.