Tart Me Up!

If life throws you a lemon – make lemonade.Joan Collins

I’d rather make a lemon cupcake, thank you very much!

I am a compulsive lemon hoarder. I always have them sitting in a bowl on the dining table. Every week I buy more lemons regardless of whether I have finished using those already there.

Two pomegranates join my lemons this week

That being said, I did make a lemon cupcake and it is my new favourite cupcake flavour.

This cupcake was initially created for my DCM who touted my Pinkalicious cupcake his favourite because it was fruity. The moment he said that, my mind started whirring. Honey, lemon and yogurt came to mind. Honey and lemon always go well together; and yogurt with honey is something I adore. I began researching.

There are a lot of posts on Ina Garten’s Lemon Yogurt Cake but I didn’t like that you made a somewhat boring-ish cake and then poured lemon syrup over it. I wanted a cupcake that was lemony on its own. All other recipes used lemon extract or only the tiniest amount of lemon juice and zest. No one seemed to share my sentiment on the inclusion of honey.

Once again, I had to make up my own recipe. I zested and squeezed lemons. I incorporated honey. I used fewer eggs. I added organic vanilla yogurt (It’s expensive but totally worth it). This was turning into a pretty healthy recipe. I made up the batter and crossed my fingers.

I’ve discovered cakes are shy. I used to sit there and watch them bake because I was so eager to see what would happen. They do not rise nicely. Now, I set the timer and wash up or get out of the kitchen and blog or research recipes. And when the timer rings, I calmly (lots of control) walk to the kitchen. They get bold while I’m gone. I like. Anyway, back to my lemon, honey and yogurt cupcakes.

I had no idea what to expect as this was a completely made up recipe. I was so tempted to peek. I held back. Then the moment of truth. They’d risen but not that much. I hadn’t expected them to on account that there was quite a lot of liquid in the batter.

I also knew not to expect the very slightly crumbly, fluffy texture that I love. They were a lovely pale yellow, slightly sweet and very lemony! The texture was denser but moist and almost cheesecake-like. I had one and then another one and then reached out for a third. I stopped myself. Three cupcakes in a row is a no-no even if they are healthier.

I was in love. I will say it. These are my favourite cupcakes! I love them more than my perfect chocolate and strawberry. I LOVE THEM! I love the insanely addictive lemon perfume that permeated the apartment and lingered in the kitchen till the next day. I love when I bite into a bit of lemon zest. I love. I love. I love.

I wasn’t in the mood for frosting so I made a sticky lemon glaze to drizzle over the cupcakes. The zing factor went up a notch and I fell a little more in love.

I gave a few to my DCM’s colleagues and saved the rest. They kept really well in the fridge so I had them for breakfast everyday till they were gone. My DCM wasn’t much in the mood for sweets that week until the weekend when he finally tried my lemon loves. Then he finished the three on my plate… I had only two bites… Pinkalicious is still his favourite cupcake by the way. He says it is fruitier. I think it’s a laugh that someone so averse to pink should have a very pink cupcake as his favourite!

We packed up the last two for his cupcake-loving friend and his girlfriend who were picking us up to go wakeboarding (I do not wakeboard, I just go and take up space on the boat). The cupcakes were eaten immediately and approval was given.

I need to make these again real soon. I finally understand the obsession some have with lemon desserts. I want to make more lemon flavoured sweets! I’m thinking lemon and ricotta…

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Gg’s Mini Farfalle Salad

Farfalle‘s known as “bow-tie pasta” or “butterflies”. I found a mini version and just had to buy it. I have a thing for mini things… Here, I made a simple and versatile yogurt dressing to perk up some already great ingredients. This yougurt dressing may also be used with fruits for a fruit salad. Just omit the olive oil, salt and pepper. Did I also mention it’s healthy?

Gg’s Mini Farfalle Salad Recipe:
(serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of any small pasta (cooked in boiling salted water and cooled)
  • 6 quail eggs (hard-boiled and shelled)
  • 1 ball of buffalo mozzarella (torn into bite-size pieces)
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • ½ cup sweet corn kernels (defrosted)
  • 5 stalks baby asparagus (quickly blanched in boiling, salted water and refreshed)

   Dressing

  • 2 tablespoons natural or Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • juice of half a big lime
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add pasta, vegetables, mozzarella and quail eggs to dressing. Toss well.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

Gg’s Blackened Garoupa with Crunchy Passion Salad

Fast to cook, good to eat. And good for you too! Spicy Grilled Blackened Garoupa is served with a lime yogurt sauce and a sweet and sour salad. Who says eating healthy has to be boring? My DCM also commented this was the best fish I’ve made so far.

Gg’s Blackening Rub Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 4 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

Directions

  1. In a small jar with a lid, combine all ingredients. Seal securely and shake vigorously. Use immediately or store in a cool dry place. Shake jar before each use.

Gg’s Blackened Garoupa Recipe:
(serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 thick Garoupa fillets
  • Gg’s blackening rub (enough to coat seabass)
  • drizzle of olive/ vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven on the conventional cooking setting () at 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Lay a piece of baking paper on a metal rack placed on a baking tray.
  3. Coat flesh of Garoupa with as much or as little blackening rub as you like and pat down gently.
  4. Arrange Garoupa on baking paper, drizzle lightly with oil and place in the oven on the second rack from the top. Switch the oven to the fan assisted grilling setting ().
  5. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the Garoupa and how well done you like it.

 

Gg’s Lime Yogurt Sauce/Dip Recipe:
(serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons natural or Greek yogurt
  • zest of half a big lime
  • juice of half a big lime
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix.
  2. Refrigerate until ready to eat.

 

Gg’s Crunchy Passion Salad Recipe:
(serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 1 big broccoli (divided into bite-sized florets, quickly blanched in boiling water and refreshed)
  • ½ cup sweet corn kernels
  • 1 small Japanese cucumber (sliced ½ cm thick)
  • 1 handful of cherry tomatoes
  • 8 quail eggs (hard-boiled and peeled)

   Dressing

  • 4 tablespoons passion fruit vinaigrette (store-bought and can be substituted with 2 fresh passion fruit)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • juice of half a big lime
  • drizzle of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Combine all dressing ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
  2. Add vegetables and quail eggs to dressing. Toss well.
  3. Refrigerate until ready to eat.