Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf {gluten-free}

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf was the first gluten-free cake I developed for the cake stall three years ago. It is a firm favourite amongst my customers and ever since its creation I have never failed to include it as part of my weekly menu at the market. It is always the first to sell out and the one which provokes the most conversation with my customers.

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

I don’t know why I have waited so long to write about my Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle, I guess I wanted to do it justice as it’s my most requested recipe. I’m glad I waited this long though as the photographs were finally taken in collaboration with Tara from Fork & Dram as part of our food styling day last month. Tara is an amazing photographer and stylist and has been of invaluable help in focusing the look of my photography.

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

I have limited time to work on the website these days as I am a full-time mum to Cole during the week and bake and work on the market stall at the weekends. Pockets of time where I can make and photograph my food specifically for the website are like gold dust. Tara has helped me understand how I can achieve photos I can be proud of efficiently and without any complicated set-ups or props.

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

I was thrilled then that Tara helped me capture the beauty of this cake. No to go all crazy-cake lady on you but this cake is kind of like my BFF. I can make this cake in my sleep, I never go to a market without it and it’s reliably delicious. That’s not to say that it was the easiest recipe in the world to develop, on the contrary getting the cake to rise evenly without falling in the middle was a bit of a stumbling block at first but there are tricks to ensure perfect results every time.

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

Do follow the recipe precisely, mix the butter and sugar on a low-medium speed until light and fluffy which ensures a good rise and then when the cake is finally in the oven don’t open the door for at least the first 40 minutes. I do like to check on my cakes to make sure they are all nestled comfortably in the oven after the first 20 minutes but this cake has a tendency to fall like a sozzled sailor on a two day shore leave. Resist the temptation.

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

All the faffing is worth it though and to be honest even when the cake did fall, or didn’t rise properly, it was still amazing in flavour. Boy, does the Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle pack a punch. It made sense to me when I initially developed the recipe to add blueberries into a lemon drizzle. Blueberries provide such a delightful gentle counterbalance to the tang of citrus. But the cake is then taken stratospheric with the inclusion of peppery aromatic Basil. Lemons, fresh blueberries and basil are all added into the cake batter and then dredged over the top of the just baked cake to form the signature drizzle.

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

The recipe method was originally inspired by the lemon drizzle cake featured in Outsider Tart’s cookbook Baked in America which is one of my favourite baking books. The key to their Drizzle is to use an almond paste which imbues the cake with an unbeatably moist texture. The taste of the almonds is barely noticeable, especially with the over-the-top citrus notes, the fragrance of the basil and the gentle pop of blueberries.

The beauty of using an almond paste here also means you don’t have to use very much flour as the ground almonds in the paste do a lot of the work for you. So with only a scant amount of flour in the recipe, an easy shop bought gluten-free flour is more than fit for purpose.

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

I’m very happy to finally share my Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf and thank you to Tara from Fork & Dram for helping me bring the cake to life.

Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.

Print Recipe
Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf {gluten-free}
Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this everyday teatime cake is an absolute showstopper.
Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
10 slices
Ingredients
For the almond paste:
  • 110 g almonds
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
For the cake:
  • 28 g basil leaves removed and finely chopped
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 210 g caster sugar
  • 210 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 150 g gluten-free plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 120 g blueberries
For the drizzle:
  • 80 g blueberries
  • 28 g basil leaves removed and finely chopped
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 175 g granulated sugar
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 60 minutes
Servings
10 slices
Ingredients
For the almond paste:
  • 110 g almonds
  • 110 g caster sugar
  • 1 tablespoon golden syrup
  • teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg white
For the cake:
  • 28 g basil leaves removed and finely chopped
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 210 g caster sugar
  • 210 g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 5 eggs
  • 150 g gluten-free plain flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • 120 g blueberries
For the drizzle:
  • 80 g blueberries
  • 28 g basil leaves removed and finely chopped
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 175 g granulated sugar
Singing with citrusy aromatic flavour this gluten-free Blueberry Basil Lemon Drizzle Loaf is a showstopper of an everyday teatime cake.
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C and line and grease a 9 inch x 5 inch loaf tin.
  2. First make the almond paste by placing the almonds in a food processor and blitzing until finely ground. Add the caster sugar, golden syrup, vanilla extract and egg white and blitz again until a paste has formed. Set aside for a moment.
  3. Place the basil leaves, lemon zest and orange zest in a food mixer along with the sugar. Whisk for a few minutes together until fragrant.
  4. Add the butter, one cube at a time and beat on high until light and fluffy.
  5. Scrape the almond paste into the creamed butter and sugar and beat until combined.
  6. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
  7. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt then beat it into the rest of the batter.
  8. Roll the blueberries around in the empty flour bowl so that they are gently coated with the remaining dusting of flour then stir into the batter.
  9. Pour into the cake tin, smoothing the top then bake for 60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  10. To make the drizzle place the blueberries in a small saucepan with a dash of water and heat for about a couple of minutes until the blueberries are just beginning to soften but not so that they have burst. Leave to cool.
  11. Pour the blueberries into a medium sized bowl along with the lemon juice, basil leaves and granulated sugar. Mix together.
  12. Remove the cake from the tin onto a wire rack, making sure there is a baking tray underneath to catch the excess drizzle.
  13. Prick the cake all over with a cocktail stick and then spoon the drizzle over the cake.
  14. Leave to cool completely before serving.

Favourite Gluten-Free Cakes

I sell my cakes at local farmers’ markets in London but lucky for those who don’t live nearby I also love sharing the recipes for all the cakes I sell and if you want to receive more of my cake stall recipes then I have a FREE mini e-book of the top 3 Favourite Gluten-Free Cakes which are on my stall including Fig, Almond and Salted Honey Cake, Peanut Butter and Jelly Cupcakes and Minted Brownies. The recipes are really special to me and if you want a copy of them then just click the button below!

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Pork Crackling, Lemon and Fennel Meatballs

Pork Crackling Lemon and Fennel Meatballs

This isn’t a quick whip-me-up midweek supper I’m afraid but a bit more of a languid affair to begin on the Saturday then work your way across to the Sunday for a bounteous end of weekend supper. So then I’m not sure why I’m giving this recipe to you on a Tuesday but at least it gives you time to hunt and gather.

The most important ingredient in these meatballs is the addition of pork crackling. I’m sure that I read somewhere that this is how a famous chef makes his meatballs taste so good but I can’t find any residual reference of that so I might have just made it up. Nevertheless it adds texture, flavour and fat to these meatballs which are wonderfully succulent, meaty, fresh with lemon and bright with fennel. You simply must save some crisp crackling for sprinkling over the top as well for added umami crunch.

I bought 1 kilo of pork skin, even though only 300g is really needed for the recipe. I then cooked all of the pork skin by boiling it up to soften it and after that portioned out the amount I needed for the recipe, cutting up the rest to put in the freezer, ready for frying up into crackling snacks at a later date. You never know when the urge is going to hit so it’s best to be prepared.

Pork Crackling Lemon and Fennel Meatballs

I ummed and ahhed over how to serve my meatballs; in a sauce not in a sauce. Then once I had decided on that I wondered if they would be best accompanied with an Italian-American inspired marinara sauce. However, at the weekend we had a bit of a trip to Ikea, now I have never eaten their meatballs but you can’t help but be deluged with the images as you are wandering, rather painfully, around the labyrinthine warehouse. Can you imagine I only went to buy candles and napkins and I think we ended up in this other dimension for about two or three hours. Nothing like wasting your weekend away. Anyway, since everyone waxes lyrical about these meatballs I always mean to try them, but without fail by the end of my shopping trip and an hour long queue to buy a few measly items I just want to get the hell out and the idea of meatballs falls by the wayside.

So, when I was researching the gravy these mythic Ikea meatballs came to mind and I sought inspiration from Swedish meatballs, although since I’m no expert I certainly have no idea if this gravy tastes remotely like anything Ikea (or any Swedish recipe) offers. I just liked the idea of a simple gravy, imbued with the intense flavour of good stock, a bit of redcurrant jelly for sweetness and then finished off with the creamy tang of crème fraiche. The gravy compliments the unctuous meatballs perfectly. They have so much flavour packed in that I just wanted the gravy to nest the meatballs not create a swimming pool for them, so don’t expect more than a couple of spoonfuls of sauce per serving.

Pork Crackling Lemon and Fennel Meatballs

These meatballs are rich so I found that just to accompany them with a bowl of steamed greens and carrots was plenty but by all means I can only imagine the possibilities if you would like to serve these with a prodigious mound of mashed potato.

Today this recipe seems a perfect fit for the wintry weather we are experiencing and I can think of nothing better than sitting down cosily later with a bowl of hot creamy meatballs whilst gazing upon the blanket of snow currently covering North London.

Pork Crackling Lemon and Fennel Meatballs

Pork Crackling Lemon and Fennel Meatballs
Makes about 16 meatballs

300g pork skin
60g ground almonds
60ml milk (or water or veg stock)
1 onion, finely diced
2 teaspoons butter
500g pork mince
1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed
Zest ½ lemon
2 cloves garlic, crushed
25g parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons flour
450ml chicken stock
½ teaspoon redcurrant jelly
150ml crème fraiche

  1. The day before you want to eat your meatballs, prepare your pork skin by rubbing all over with plenty of salt and pepper.
  2. Place the skin in a wide saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to a gentle boil then put the lid on a leave to simmer for about an hour and a half.
  3. Remove the pork skin from the water and pat dry. Leave to cool before refrigerating overnight to completely chill.
  4. Also, the night before you should prepare the almonds by pouring the milk over and leaving in the fridge to soak overnight.
  5. Another job I would recommend doing the night before is caramelising your onions, so place the diced onions in a medium saucepan with the butter and cook on a very low heat for about 20 minutes to half an hour until the onions are soft, golden and melting. Leave to chill in the fridge overnight.
  6. The next day finish your pork crackling. Slice the pork skin into strips. Then heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a wide bottomed saucepan and when hot, place the pork skin into it. As the skin turns into crackling it will spit a lot so clear the sides of anything you don’t want covered in oil and stand back. Fry for about 10 minutes on the first side and 3-4 minutes on the other side. Remove with a slotted spoon and leave to cool if you are very restrained. Then chop finely. Reserve the fat in the pan for making the meatballs in a minute.
  7. To make the meatballs, add the pork mince into a large mixing bowl along with the soaked almonds, caramelised onions, fennel seeds, lemon zest, garlic, parsley, thyme, about two-thirds of the pork crackling and an egg. Season then mix thoroughly with your hands until completely combined.
  8. Shape into balls, about 50g each and heat the pan in which you cooked the crackling which should be still filled with the pork fat. When hot, drop your meatballs into the pan and cook for about 3-4 minutes on each side.
  9. Remove the meatballs and set aside. Then remove most of the fat, leaving about 2 tablespoons. Carry on heating on a low heat and add the flour, mixing into the fat so that it turns into a smooth roux.
  10. Slowly add the stock, whisking into the roux until it’s all combined. Keep whisking as the sauce begins to bubble. Taste for seasoning.
  11. Add the redcurrant jelly and whisk through. Then add the crème fraiche and whisk into the sauce so it becomes thinner and smoother. Again, taste for seasoning.
  12. Place the meatballs back into the pan and coat thoroughly with the sauce. Cook for about 5-10 minutes until they are piping hot then remove from the heat.
  13. Serve the meatballs with the gravy and plenty of parsley and the rest of the pork crackling sprinkled over the top.

Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Infused Olive Oil: Day 7 of Whole30

Lemon Garlic and Thyme Olive Oil
If you cook a lot then there are a bunch of tasks which you will be doing on a regular basis like chopping onions or crushing garlic. It’s these menial jobs which can sometimes add a good few minutes onto preparing your meal and let’s be honest, those few minutes can sometimes be better spent thumbing through Grazia or hopping amongst the Sky channels.

This is why I love infused oils; garlic is such a good infused oil mainly because of garlic’s innate tendency to burn easily, so while I am very careful about using fresh garlic in the oven, if all the garlic flavour is within the oil then you don’t need to worry. Also I do get fed up of always peeling and crushing those suckers, I must do it nearly every day. So having an oil where the hard work is done for you is so useful.

This particular infusion of olive oil is brilliant for slathering over a chicken before it goes on to roast. You can also use it drizzled over barbecued meats or steamed vegetables for instant flavour or in salad dressings which cuts out mincing about with mustard and vinegar emulsions, chuck this onto your leaves and you’re golden.

So the main thing I am really trying to get across here is that for about 30 minutes of not too stressful labour of a weekend you can produce an oil that will help you cut down time on your cooking for the next couple of weeks. Just as long as you like all your meals flavoured with lemon and garlic, but who doesn’t?

Dried Thyme  |  Stroud Green Larder

Of course you can use whatever herbs you like, the woodier herbs tend to dry better than the more leafy ones so will impart flavour more easily. It is important to use dried herbs rather than ones picked fresh as mould will gather on fresh herbs floating about in oil. The same goes for the garlic and lemon but I advise you fish those out of the oil anyway then you don’t have to worry about botulism or anything. The other oil infusion I also regularly make is chilli oil. Prepare it in the same way as the garlic infusion by simmering the oil with the chilli then removing the chilli before you decant it.

As a footnote, one of the directions below calls you to peel a whole head of garlic. If you find this a bit of a nuisance then you obviously haven’t seen Martha Stewart’s excellent tutorial which explains how the job can be done in under a minute. And since I tested it out for this recipe I can confirm that it does actually work.

Lemon Garlic and Thyme Olive Oil  |  Stroud Green Larder

Lemon, Garlic and Thyme Infused Olive Oil

A few sprigs of thyme
1 head of garlic
3 strips lemon zest
500ml olive oil

  1. First of all dry the thyme by putting the herb on baking parchment on a baking tray and place in the bottom tray of an oven at the lowest setting you have. Leave the door slightly ajar and bake for about 20 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  2. Remove and peel all the garlic cloves from the head of the garlic.
  3. Then place the garlic, along with the lemon zest and olive oil in a wide bottomed saucepan.
  4. Heat the oil on a low setting, never bringing to a simmer, for about 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the lemon and garlic with a slotted spoon and leave the oil to cool before decanting into a jar along with the dried thyme.
  6. This should keep well for about 2 weeks.

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

Today I was very excited to make a silky warming butternut squash soup.  It was exactly what I was hankering for.  I took the stock out of the freezer last night, leered over the butternut in eager anticipation and fished out the chipotle from the very back of the cupboard.  I used a ladder and everything.  It was all systems go.  And then I smashed my kitchenaid blender.  I still don’t understand how as the glass on those things is about an inch thick.  But it briefly kissed the surface of my ceramic sink and shattered like the fragile heart of a tween.

So, basically, you are not getting soup and I’m getting a new blender.

courgette and aubergine3So stepping up to the plate is one of my absolute faves.  It’s probably the one I make the most often of a weekday.  So easy to throw together in the roasting tray straight after work.  Whack it in the oven, have a sit down with a glass of sparkling water, as it’s January, then serve with anything you like.  I have it the most with grilled lamb chops.  It might also be even better the next day taken out of the fridge and brought up to room temperature to have at your desk for lunch, I would never bother re-heating this.  I have eaten it with leftovers, with roast chicken, with garlicky yoghurt drizzled generously over and taken it to picnics.
courgette and aubergineDue to the amount of oil that the aubergine soaks up it’s very rich and so you don’t need a great deal, not that I usually let that stop me.

Oh, and the best thing about this dish… it doesn’t require a blender.

Roasted aubergine and courgette2Roasted Aubergine and Courgette with Sumac and Herbs

2 aubergines
2 courgettes
60ml olive oil
¾ tsp sumac
10g mint leaves, roughly chopped
10g coriander leaves, roughly chopped
10g parsley leaves, roughly chopped
Wedge of lemon

  1. Top and tail the aubergine and courgette and then cut each one in half widthways. Halve each again lengthways and then cut into 16 wedges in total.
  2. Toss the wedges in the olive oil, sumac and plenty of seasoning and place in an oven pre-heated to 180°C. Roast for 30-40 mins, checking halfway through to give a good mix around.
  3. Once the aubergine and courgette are soft, lightly browned and slightly crispy at the corners then remove from the oven. Mix together with the herbs, squeeze the lemon wedge over and serve.

Lemon Poached Chicken with Gingery Rice

Lemon Poached Chicken with Gingery Rice

Since the New Year I have been laid low by a horrible bug.  Sickness is no fun when you enjoy guzzling yourself silly three or more times a day, especially when you are used to food being the comforter and not the antagonist.

lemon chicken with ginger rice3A recipe was called for to nurse myself back to health and there was no other ingredient to turn to than ginger.  Although scientific research is on the fence over the actually proven combative results of ginger, I am a sworn believer that a few matchsticks of fresh ginger can settle the stomach and promote general well being in the face of any adversity, especially poorliness.

The refreshing zing required a soothing background of tender lemon chicken and rice.  The vegetables needed to be cut small so they practically melted into the rice and the patient doesn’t pick out their nutrients.

Poached chicken
The chicken breast poached in stock and a dash of lemon juice adds a light protein to the dish, perfect for rebuilding energy.  I have specified below that using bouillon in this instance is fine but typically I didn’t have any so I poached my chicken with some ends of veg and herbs to impart a bit of flavour.  A stock on the go if you will.

lemon chicken with ginger rice2Lemon Poached Chicken with Gingery Rice

Serves 2

1 chicken breast
Stock for poaching, bouillon is fine to use
Juice of ½ lemon
1 bay leaf
2 sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
½ courgette, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
30g root ginger
½ chilli, seeds removed, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely diced
300g cooked basmati rice
1 tsp sesame salt

  1. Place the chicken breast with the lemon juice, bay leaf and sprig of thyme in a small saucepan and enough hot stock to cover. Bring to a simmer then put the lid on. The chicken should take about 10 mins depending on the size of the chicken breast.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil with the onions for 5 mins until soft.
  3. Add the courgette and carrot and stir-fry on a medium-high heat.
  4. Peel then grate in almost all the ginger, leaving some to cut into small matchsticks for later.
  5. Add the chilli and garlic and stir for 3-4 mins until the veg is starting to brown.
  6. Add the rice and sesame salt and stir until the rice is piping hot. You might need to add a dash more olive oil if the rice is sticking.
  7. Take off the heat and serve with the poached chicken, lemon slices and the ginger matchsticks.
Puppy and Tiger

Even though puppy and my little tiger make excellent companions sleeping on my sick bed none of them have yet learnt how to whip up a chicken soup.