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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The Babilla culinary archives

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Before Christmas we enjoyed a few days visiting family on the south coast, and whilst there my Granny presented me with a ziplock bag full of old recipes. Some handwritten, some printed, some cut out of magazines. I’m quite a sentimental person, but even I was surprised at just how endearing these yellowing pieces of culinary history are to me.

Moving from Baghdad to the Shetland Isles in the 1950`s, my Assyrian granny was a whizz in the kitchen, and her fingers were always busy rolling rice into vine leaves, stuffing kubbah or putting little morsels of deliciousness in my mouth as she was cooking. Over the years of moving around (Cornwall after Shetland, Cyprus, Turlock in California, and finally back to the UK as they grew older) she inevitably picked up various regional recipes and I still maintain that she makes the best Cornish pasties I have tasted!

What charmed me most about these precious scraps of paper with the almost illegible handwriting, is the fact that half of them don’t even say what the recipe is at the top. They’re just lists of random ingredients… I’m going to love trying them just to figure out what they’re actually meant to be! Here are a few snaps to whet your appetites.

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I have no idea how old some of these are.

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I love how this says 'introducing' oregano! Introducing! Seriously?

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Yum! A jello salad!

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Post it note recipes!

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I even found a couple my mum had sent Granny in 1996

Super Saturday Supper

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In this house Saturday supper is generally less formal than our usual eating around the table with knives and forks. Saturday calls for something to share, something to get stuck into and something just a little bit more special. It’s usually devoured in the lounge along with the obligatory Saturday night TV!

Seafood was the flavour of the day today. Baby squid with ginger, garlic, red chilli and coriander, garlic butter baby lobster (as Phoebe calls them… king prawns to the rest of us), and Thai style mussels. All served on mixed leaves with olives and crusty homemade bread. Delicious! 

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I took a gamble and totally cheated on the mussels…and I have to admit they weren’t a patch on my Asian inspired moules, but it was Saturday evening and time is precious on Saturday evenings!

Prepare the squid.  There’s a handy guide on the BBC website if you’re unsure.

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Chop up the rest of the ingredients for the squid and fry them off in a little olive oil (you could also use coconut oil if you wanted a more Asian flavour).

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Throw the squid and cook for two to three minutes, before adding a handful of chopped coriander.

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As for the garlic prawns literally just melt some butter in a pan, add in some olive oil to stop the butter burning, throw in some crushed garlic and then add the prawns. You can sprinkle some chopped spring onions on like I did if you want but it’s not crucial.

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I served these, along with the mussels and squid on a large platter with fresh warm crusty bread for mopping up the delicious juices. Et voila, easy, quick Saturday night dinner is served!

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Creative People

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A friend of mine posted the picture above on Facebook and it struck a chord.  What stood out to me is that the first five statements are often, if not usually, perceived to be negative.  Why is it that way though?

Someone once said to me “only boring people get bored”. Absolute poppycock! I for one get easily bored because I have so many ideas, dreams and ambitions whizzing around in my head, and I’m constantly trying them out and moving from one thing to the next. I have a creative mind, that’s just how I’m wired and I certainly don’t feel bad about it.  I find it easy to take risks because I don’t fear failure. Without failing at something how do we ever learn? Some of my biggest failures have been my greatest adventures and I don’t regret experiencing them. I guess the point I’m trying to make is that we shouldn’t feel guilty for dancing to the beat of our own drums. We are all unique, with unique purposes and ambitions and should be celebrating and encouraging each other to be true to ourselves, regardless of the perceived limitations society has created over the years. I think this is much more of an issue here in the UK, than any other culture I have experienced. Stiff upper lip and all that!

Fulton Oursler once said, “Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves, regret for the past and fear of the future.” If you have a creative bone in your body (which, incidentally I believe we all do), pursue it confidently, don’t be afraid to fail and for goodness sake don’t fall victim to what others may think of your endeavours, oftentimes it are those who have an opinion that need releasing from the invisible confinements they’ve barricaded themselves in.

You have one life to live on this earth, live it well and indulge your creativity.

St. Brides Vintage Hire

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I adore all things vintage, so when my cousin-in-law decided to rent out the vintage and miss-matched crockery, bunting, homemade driftwood signs and glass bottles she and my cousin had collected for their wedding last autumn, I jumped at the chance to share it on here, as I know many of you will share my enthusiasm for it.

Catering for weddings, tea parties and any other events that require a slice of oldy worldy heaven, St Brides Vintage Hire is a one stop shop. With the bunting being handmade by Becca, the glass bottles and driftwood being foraged from around the Pembrokeshire coast, and each and every piece of crockery being carefully selected and sourced, St Brides Vintage Hire offers a personal and unique service which will complement your event perfectly. Check out the website here and be sure to follow them on Facebook. In the meantime here are some pics for you to drool over!
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