When I first heard about the new River Cottage book (Everyday) coming out this year I asked practically every family member to buy it for my birthday. Luckily for me one of them agreed, and I can now happily confirm that this is yet another great book from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall.
The image below, by the way, is our attempt at following one of the recipes in the book – the sharp tasting Lemon Trickle Cake. After all, what better way to review a book than to test one of the recipes in practice? More about that later…
For those of you who, like me, follow Hugh’s escapades with interest, this book is a logical progression for the River Cottage brand. Gone are the days of the naive city boy trying to find, grow and rear his own food – River Cottage is now 10 years in, and this experience shows. Hot on the tails of Nigella Express and How to Cheat at Cooking, this is Hugh’s take on good food made quickly and easily.
Perhaps the most successful part of the book is how despite jumping on the “easy food” bandwagon, the River Cottage trademarks of home grown, organic and seasonal food are still in effect. So now, not only are we making cheap food, we’re making it ethically, too – and all the better for it.
Anyway, on to the recipe test. I picked out the Lemon Trickle Cake for no reason other than a lady at work bakes and brings in her own delicious version (Lemon Drizzle Cake), and I’ve never tried baking it myself. This, and it would be a great excuse to practise using my KitchenAid for cake mixing.
The version you see in the picture is the second attempt at baking this cake; one attempt was mine, and one was Gosia’s (my Wife’s) . Better not to ask what happened to mine; it’s a sore subject, and the word “sink” comes into the explanation. Still, both versions tasted delicious – even if one did look better than the other, and it after all it was a great excuse to fill myself with cake for a few days running!
I’m not going to go into detail on the recipe here (for fear of Hugh striking me down) – for that, buy the book. Basically, you take 175g of butter and caster sugar, beat until pale, then add the zest of 3 lemons, 3 eggs and 175g of flour. The eggs are added 1 at a time, each with a bit of flour. This goes into a greased tin and into the oven at 170 degrees c until cooked.
The magic comes in when the cake is stabbed liberally with a skewer and drizzled with lemon icing (200g icing sugar with the juice of 2 lemons); the icing soaks through the cake creating an intense and sharp tasting cake which is so addictive.
I’ve also tried out the “Chocolate and Beetroot Brownies” recipe; if there’s any left by the time I take out my camera, I might post a few pictures of those, too. Right now, the chances are looking slim…