No.1 The Strand Chef
The citrus season brings these yellow gems to our attention just when our bodies need it the most.
The ancient Egyptians used lemon juice as an antidote to poisons. We now know that lemons have a powerful effect with antiviral, antibacterial and immune boosting properties. So armed with my active manuka honey and fresh squeezed lemon, I hope to fight off this annoying new cough naturally.
Let’s all embrace the abundant supply at present. The chances are you have or know someone with a lemon tree. There are thousands of recipes to use them, besides the winter lemon honey drinks, there is that simply sweet lemon honey for spreading on anything, you can preserve your lemons Moroccan style, or make fabulous zingy chutneys and relishes.
This week’s recipe uses lemons to good effect. It is an old trusted lemon syrup semolina cake or ravani. Ravani is a popular cake throughout Turkey, Greece and Armenia and came to prominence during the Byzantine period.
Makes a 22cm cake
6 large eggs, separated
225 grams sugar
225 grams fine semolina
1 teaspoon baking powder
Grated zest of 3 lemons
1 tablespoon lemon juice
350 gram sugar
Peel of 2 lemons
Split vanilla pod
Place the egg yolks in a large bowl. Add the sugar and beat until smooth and pale in colour.
Add the semolina, baking powder, and zest. Stir in the lemon juice.
In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add the salt and whisk until the egg whites stand up in peaks.
Fold this gently into the semolina mixture. Pour into a pre-greased or baking paper lined 22cm cake tin and bake at 180 degree Celsius for 30-40 minutes or until golden.
Meanwhile prepare the syrup. Place all ingredients in saucepan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Set aside to cool. Once the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and spoon some syrup over it. Use as much as can be easily be absorbed but don’t make it too soggy. Leave to cool then refrigerate.
Serve with or without cream, or extra nice with