Always pleased to be cooking for a crowd, I was delighted to provide lunch on Sunday for a surprise baby shower for my lovely cousin, Sarah.
As requested, here are the recipes!
Soup – Chicken and Barley
Cook the following until soft, in a large pot with 2tbs of olive oil:
2 Onions – diced
2 Carrots – Peeled and diced
2 Sticks of Celery – diced
2 Cloves of Garlic – crushed and chopped
400gr Tin Diced Tomatoes and
2 litres of chicken stock (homemade, cubes, ready made….whatever you have on hand!)
200 grams of barley, then simmer for at least 50 mins. Stir it every once in a while so it does not catch on the bottom of the saucepan – I use a heavy Le Crueset
When it’s tasting delicious (add salt and pepper if you need it) add:
300 grams shredded chicken (I used 1 chicken breast. Boil a saucepan of water then turned off the water and put the breast in and leave it for 15 min – then take it out and shred it)
and a handful of chopped parsley.
Lemon Polenta Cupcakes
225gr Butter (softened) with
225 raw caster sugar (or regular – this cake is not fussy)
Add and beat in:
3 eggs – 1 at a time
Fold in the following;
110gr ground almonds (raw or blanched…again, not a fussy cake)
110gr shredded coconut (you could probably use dessicated, but the shredded gives it a great texture)
110gr fine polenta (or whichever polenta you have laying around – this recipe always works!)
Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
2.5tbs Lemon juice (about 2 small lemons)
1tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract – but you won’t regret investing in vanilla bean paste…makes everything taste AMAZING!!!)
Makes about 16 mini cupcakes (with about 60grams of mixture in each…OK so that bit sounds slightly obsessive, but when making them for a special occassion – like I did for Grandma’s 100th birthday last year – it’s really impressive to have them all looking the same size. Robert Gordon make good little cupcake cases – perfect for this)
Ice with a cup of sifted icing sugar mixed with a little lemon juice – be careful to add the lemon juice slowly!
Bake for about 30min at 180 degrees.
OMG – this is incredible! It tastes like those Europe Sesame Bars (you know, the ones in the red packs from my childhood…oh, hang on, maybe you don’t know…)
Mix (I did it in the KitchenAid with a paddle) until well combined
375gr Sesame Seeds
200gr Desiccated Coconut
180gr Smooth Peanut Butter
180gr Coconut Sugar (this is really expensive, but I think it really makes this amazing. You can use regular caster sugar)
2tsp Vanilla Bean Paste (or vanilla extract)
Press into a lined 20cm x 30cm slice tin.
Bake at 160 degrees for 20min – but be really careful – check it often – you don’t want it to be too brown. Slice while warm.
It should be delicious and soft and chewy (actually quite unlike the one I served at the Baby Shower on the weekend – but the flavour was good enough for the recipe to be requested anyway!)