Pick-me-up smoothie

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I’m doing battle with a cold/swollen glands in my throat at the moment and was in need of a real vitamin packed pick-me-up this afternoon. Think plenty of vitamin C and anti-oxidents. So with that in mind I set about making a concoction in my Nutribullet. I threw in two clementines peel and all, a thumb of ginger, juice of half a lemon, and the seeds of half a pomegranate, a teaspoon of Manuka Honey and a glug of ice water.

The result was surprisingly good. Tart, as you’d expect, but the honey took the edge off it, and no doubt it packed a vitamin loaded punch. Just what I need today.

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Monkfish with black olive tapanade

I picked up a couple of monkfish fillets the other day and wanted to try something a bit different with them…cue Jamie Oliver’s Monkfish with Black Olive Sauce.
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It’s an easy to follow recipe, using ingredients we usually have in anyway. He suggests pairing it with lemon mash, but I fancied something lighter so went for roasted mini hasselback potatoes with wild garlic butter, and did a simple salad using rocket, lettuce and baby chard from the garden, dressed with some of the excess juices from the olive sauce.
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It was delicious. Phoebe thought so too!
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Enjoy.

Easy as Pie, Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

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Moist citrus cake, zesty lemon curd and smooth, glossy meringue, what a beautiful amalgamation!

This recipe yields 12 shallow cupcakes. If you want a higher cake to meringue ratio then I suggest doubling the cake mix.

Firstly preheat the oven on to 180oC and put 12 cupcake cases in a muffin tray. Incidentally, I thought my cases were so pretty I’d share…

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How cute? Anyway, for the batter you’ll need:
4oz self raising flour
4oz caster sugar
4oz unsalted butter
2 large eggs
Pinch salt.
Zest of two lemons
2 tbsp milk

Cream the butter and sugar then add in the rest of the ingredients and mix until you get a smooth batter. Spoon into the cases and bake for about 18 minutes until they’re golden and baked through.

Place on a wire rack until completely cool.

Meanwhile gather the following ingredients together:
12 tsp lemon curd or cheese
2 egg whites
125g caster sugar.

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Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks when you lift the whisk up.

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While the whisk is going, add in the sugar a dessert spoon at a time until stiff peaks are formed and it becomes as glossy as the hair in a shampoo ad.

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When the cakes are completely cool, take a little scoop out of the middle of each one and put a generous dollop of lemon curd into each. Don’t scrimp on this part otherwise you’ll end up with cake and meringue but no lemon!

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Pipe on the meringue.

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And place under a medium grill for a couple of minutes until they start to brown and leave to cool.

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This is definitely a fork cake! Enjoy!

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Pretty Ice Bowl

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It could be argued that this borders on the ridiculous and is utterly impractical, but I don’t give a hoot because it is incredibly beautiful, incredibly wintery and perfect for a Christmas drinks party. 

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With water, two Pyrex bowls and whatever fruits, herbs and spices you have to hand you can create a very unique centrepiece that is sure to be a talking point with all your guests.
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In the larger bowl put about half an inch of water in along with a few of the decorations, then pop in the freezer.
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When that has set, put the smaller bowl on top of the now frozen half inch of water, add a few more decorations and another inch or do of water. Freeze.
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Repeat this process until you’ve reached the top of the larger bowl, bearing mind most of the decorations will float. In short you get the best effect if you have more layers so the time it takes is worth it in the end. This is what you’ll end up with.
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Now it’s time to remove the bowls. Fill the small one with warm, but not hot, water and leave to stand for a couple of minutes. It should just lift out.
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Then flip the large bowl over and place in the sink. Running warm water over it should release it.
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Et voila! A beautiful ice bowl!
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Pop it back the freezer for a while as all that warm water will have started to melt it.

You could use this for all sorts of things. Keeping scoops of ice cream cold on a dinner table or keeping a fruit salad fresh are just two ideas. On a cold winters day you could put it outside your front door with a tealight (supported by by some cranberries) in, like so:
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I think I’ll be using this as an ice bucket on christmas day though.
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Pretty! Just make sure you put a saucer underneath it to catch the drops when it starts to melt.