Posts Tagged ‘Lemon’

Lemon Blancmange

June 5, 2010

I’m really getting into the swing of making a more-than-occasional dessert these days.

I’ve never been big on them, and certainly wouldn’t order them in a restaurant (My typical splutter: “What! €7 for a ball of ice-cream and some sauce?  No thanks!”).

But, as the crafty hausfrau that I am, a lightbulb plinged brightly in my head as I read through Mrs Beeton’s recipe for Lemon Blancmange.  With quite a lot of fresh lemon juice being added at the final stage, surely, I realised, surely this is an excellent (and yet so subtly sneaky!) way of slipping in the benefits of more fruit into our – well, specifically my veg-and-fruit-shy boyfriend’s – diet.

I sincerely hope he never reads this post.


INGREDIENTS – 1 quart of milk, the yolks of 4 eggs, 3 oz. of ground rice, 6 oz. of pounded sugar, 1–1/2 oz. of fresh butter, the rind of 1 lemon, the juice of 2, 1/2 oz. of gelatine.


Again, this is a recipe where agar agar (or, I guess, any other vegetarian gelatine substitute) works very well.

It’s a 3-stage recipe, but none of these are long or complicated – and in fact, I had some of the pots with various separated ingredients on the go at the same time.  At the final stage, everything gets added together – including the lovely, fresh, vitamin-rich lemon juice – and popped into the refrigerator to chill.

The only thing I was a little confused about was the ”lemon rind”.  Most recipes these days calls for it to be grated.  However, Mrs Beeton made no mention of this, and later refers to ”…leaving out the lemon peel” (which I could only assume meant the aforementioned lemon rind).  So I peeled the rind into thin slices and added this to the mix, removing them later just before chilling.

“How did you like it, then?” I queried cheerily as we finished our bowls (to which I’d added the first of the season’s sweet cherries and strawberries, plus a helping of vanilla ice-cream for good measure).

“It was OK.  Nice.  Very nice.  I mean, nice.  It was OK.”

It was OK, nice, very nice, OK.  It would have been more OK, nicer, very much nicer, nicer, more OK, had I not accidentally added a little too much rice flour (I’d absent-mindedly added the remains of the pack into the mix, instead of the precisely weighed amount I’d already put aside for use).  Possibly if it was a little more sweeter, that would also have helped.

But, I don’t think he’s against finishing the rest of the blancmange for dessert tonight.  Especially with the sweet lure of bourbon vanilla ice-cream heaped alongside it!


Lemon Blancmange (Recipe 1142):

Lemon Brandy Custard

February 27, 2010

I know I’ve done Custard here before – but this is Lemon Brandy Custard.  Made from my very own (well, Mrs Beeton’s very own) Lemon Brandy plus her regular custard recipe.

Instead of using the custard as a sweet sauce for dessert, I used it this time as a topping for Baked Apple Custard (see Day 89).  The instructions for putting together the custard in that recipe weren’t specified, so I played it safe and turned to her other custard recipe for guidance.  As a flowing sauce or as a baked topping, it works really well.


INGREDIENTS – 1 pint of milk, 2 eggs, 3 oz. of pounded sugar, 1 tablespoonful of brandy. [Lemon Brandy was used in this case ]


According to this recipe, you’re supposed to faff about with various saucepans full of boiling water etc. – but I decided to take a risk and just do it all in one saucepan, at a reduced heat.

“Can’t hurt to try,” my boyfriend commented dubiously.

To my great delight, it worked perfectly. I had to continually whisk for a few minutes to ensure it wouldn’t burn, or clump, or whatever it is that custard does if it doesn’t work perfectly, but the frothy, thick sauce that greeted me at the end of 3 or 4 minutes’ worth of whisking made it all worth while.

Normally when I decide to ‘cheat’ or take shortcuts with a recipe, the outcome ensures that I abundantly regret not listening to the author.  This was the first time I could remember where cheating actually worked in my favour.

However, as already mentioned in Day 89, my boyfriend complained that it was “too eggy”.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” I grumped.  ‘Why is everything just ‘OK’, ‘alright’ or ‘fine’?  Why?  Why? Why can’t things be ”really good”?”

“Hey,” he cried, “Sometimes I say something’s really good.  Sometimes.  And when I say it, because I don’t often say it, that’s how you know I really mean it”

I think at this point that I just have to accept that we’re always going to view food in totally different ways.  I see it as something exciting, he sees it as fuel.  But, at least I have the comfort of knowing, if he doesn’t like something, I can always blame it on Mrs Beeton.

Well, sometimes, anyway.  And, as I realised afterwards, two opinions about the same dish are far better than one – it makes the review more objective, if you will.

But still… sometimes…!

Lemon Brandy Custard (Recipe 404):

Lemon Brandy Part 2

February 7, 2010


Mrs Beeton said ”…let them infuse for 24 hours…”, right?

Unfortunately, the days zipped by and the jar of soaking lemon rinds and brandy was somewhat out of sight on top of a cupboard.  So, let’s just say that 6 x 24-hours should only make the brandy 6 x better?

Here’s hoping.

“It’s lemony” commented my boyfriend aptly as he stuck his nose hesitantly into the jar.

“Well it’s got lemon in it you know,” replied I sassily.

He merely gave me a look and raised his eyebrows.

“So, you going to drink this or something?” he asked hopefully, ear half-cocked towards the living room door, where a computer gamed I’d interrupted him in the middle of was awaiting his incredible shoot ’em up skills.

I returned the look and raised eyebrows.  “No, Mrs Beeton says it’s for lemon custard or something”.

After boiling up the sugar and water called for in the recipe, I let it cool down and mixed it with the brandy (after removing the rinds, of course).  Before adding it, Mrs Beeton says to ”skim” the sugar water, but I guess that’s something to do with old-fashioned sugar preparation rather than modern, because there was nothing to skim off.

It does smell very good – like brandy, of course, and like lemon, as my on-the-ball boyfriend rightly pointed out.

I’ll make a custard sometime this week and reveal what it tastes like.


Lemon Brandy (Recipe 460):

Lemon Brandy Part 1

February 3, 2010

I love the name of this tipple.

Don’t ask me why – when I think about it as a drink, it doesn’t sound too appealing. But when you consider its value as a flavour enhancer for desserts, doesn’t it sound highly intriguing?

Well it did to me anyway (I really ought to get out more).

I’m not very patient when it comes to doing recipes in stages – especially when there is a day or two’s delay between said stages – but I was willing to face the challenge with this particular recipe.


INGREDIENTS – 1 pint of brandy, the rind of two small lemons, 2 oz. of loaf-sugar, 1/4 pint of water.

Mode.—Peel the lemons rather thin, taking care to have none of the white pith. Put the rinds into a bottle with the brandy, and let them infuse for 24 hours, when they should be strained. Now boil the sugar with the water for a few minutes, skim it, and, when cold, add it to the brandy. A dessertspoonful of this will be found an excellent flavouring for boiled custards.



Part 2 will reveal how I got on with this.

Lemon Brandy (Recipe 460):

A Glass of (Very Very Sweet) Lemonade

January 25, 2010

For some reason, I thought that lemons were a summer fruit.  It made sense – the bright yellow tinge, the zesty flavour, the refreshing taste – all seemed to indicate a summertime appearance.

But no.  Upon checking my seasonal calendar, it would seem that lemons are just coming into season at the moment (which now makes sense, given that the price per kilo has dropped considerably in the last few days).

Sticking with the faux-summer theme, the only appropriate thing to do with the newly-in-season bag of lemons in my fridge was to make some good old-fashioned lemonade.

And, as always, Mrs Beeton delivered the perfect recipe.


INGREDIENTS—The rind of 2 lemons, the juice of 3 large or 4 small ones, 1 lb. of loaf sugar, 1 quart of boiling water.

Mode.—Rub some of the sugar, in lumps, on 2 of the lemons until they have imbibed all the oil from them, and put it with the remainder of the sugar into a jug; add the lemon-juice (but no pips), and pour over the whole a quart of boiling water. When the sugar is dissolved, strain the lemonade through a fine sieve or piece of muslin, and, when cool, it will be ready for use. The lemonade will be much improved by having the white of an egg beaten up in it; a little sherry mixed with it, also, makes this beverage much nicer.


This took me inside of 15 minutes to prepare, which at 7pm when I’m knackered from my day and yet to prepare dinner, is no bad thing.  The scent of fresh lemon oil as I rubbed the skin with sugar cubes was, I have to say, absolutely divine.  I can’t believe I’ve never noticed the effect of real, fresh lemon oil before – the kitchen smelled so exotic.  And oh-so-summery.

I sloshed some in a glass and popped it the freezer to chill in a hurry (I’m pathetic when it comes to being patient about surprises and other looking-forward-to events sometimes).  In 35 minutes, I took it out and trotted happily off to the living room with my brightest, sunniest smile.  Domestic goddess, here she comes, thought I.

“Oh no,” said my crestfallen boyfriend when I cooed that I had something special for him (with no lingerie in sight).

This was clearly some sort of encouragement in ”man speak”.

For a sugar-mad guy – he has 3 heaped tablespoons of sugar in his coffee (”But they’re big cups!” he cries defensively, whenever I express my absolute disgust, horror and fear that he’ll keel over or develop diabetes before he’s 40) – he was the first to suggest that it was a bit on the sweet-side.

“This is really sweet.  Ugh.  It’s nice, yes, but it’s really sweet.”

Given that I had indigestion for a good half-hour afterwards, I’d have to agree.  It was mighty fine and tasty, but the semi-thick syrup could do with being watered down a little.

Mixed with some water and schnapps, this could be a fantastic drink in the summer.

Mixed water and schnapps, this would be a perfect summer tipple.


Lemonade recipe (Recipe 1834):