Lemon Posset

Week Six : Lemons
Weird story – up until I tried this recipe, I didn’t like lemon in sweet things. Hated it. Thought it was weird. Maybe it was thanks to the dodgy lemon meringues that were knocking around when I was a kid, but I just couldn’t understand why people liked lemon in sweet things. Now I’ve been converted by lemon posset, I realise that it’s just that I don’t get on with the supersweet, barely tart kind of lemon puddings. I like my lemon desserts sharp and creamy! I’m not saying this isn’t sweet – it is – but it’s balanced by the sharpness of the lemons perfectly. I can say all this because it wasn’t me who invented it!

The recipe is supposedly based on a medieval dish of milk curdled with wine or beer, with spices added to it. The alcohol would curdle the milk, which was supposed to be a great cure for things like the cold. Even today, we drink hot milk to get to sleep, so I guess it’s evolved since then! It’s also mentioned in Macbeth, when the evil Lady Macbeth uses possets to knock out Duncan’s guards.

This recipe works on a similar principle – but instead of curdling the cream, the lemon acts to set it, creating a dense, smooth and creamy taste. You can add grated lemon zest to this, but I prefer to keep the smoothness of the cream totally uninterrupted by the nuggets of peel.

Lemon Posset

INGREDIENTS

  • 600ml double cream
  • 140g caster sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons (at least 75ml)

METHOD

  • Combine the cream and sugar in a pan, and heat until scalding – but do not boil.
  • Whilst on the heat, add the lemon juice and allow to boil for 30 seconds, whisking to prevent the cream from burning.
  • Allow to cool before pouring into bowls and placing in the fridge until set.

Some people like to serve this with shortbread or other crisp biscuits, but I really don’t think it needs any additions!

The Royal Wedding Nosh

So, I bet you’re wondering what I actually served for MY Royal wedding watching party, right? Considering what a fuss I made about it, anyway. Well, you’re in luck – here’s my write up!
Whole table 6

So here’s the overview of the mammoth table of buffet food – we had about 20 people in all, so we didn’t want anyone to go home hungry! We nearly ran out of sandwiches, but other than that, we beat the stomachs and ended up eating leftovers for a couple of days…
Whole table 5

As you can see, the sandwiches were cut correctly into finger shapes (mwah hah hah) ala The Ritz – corner shapes are fine, but crustless finger sandwiches are the only option for a posh spread.
Whole table 2

We had a variety of sandwiches – smoked salmon and cream cheese, Belgian ham and dijon mustard with salad and baby tomatoes, caramelised onion chutney and cheese, egg mayonnaise, and of course, cucumber (boring). I love a good sandwich!
Mackerel pate 1

We also made Jamie Oliver’s mackerel pate from his British Picnic menu from 30 Minute Meals. People went nuts for this, but I really wasn’t keen. I thought I’d love it, but it sort of made me squeamish!
Heston trifle side

We also bagged Heston’s special royal trifle from Waitrose. It was incredibly pricey, and wasn’t a real trifle. All in all, it was a bit of a miss for me – vastly overshadowed by a family classic called Rennie’s Pudding, which I’ll talk about in a minute.
Heston trifle close

Heston’s trifle was really pretty though! Caramelised nuts, freeze dried strawberries, rose petals – lovely! Only trouble is, because it was topped with meringue, sitting on cream, it was pretty much destroyed as soon as you tried to take a spoonful.

Anyway, here’s the star pudding – in my humble opinion:
Rennie's pudding top

I don’t know where this pudding came from, but we’ve always had it in our family and it’s blimming delicious – and so simple! It’s just fresh fruit, covered with cream, and then topped with sugar caramel.
Rennie's pudding side

It is seriously gorgeous! Very easy, too.
Gin and tonic jelly side

I also made a gin and tonic jelly from the delicious Nigella Lawson – how English can you get, right? I’d never made jelly before, although I have made panna cotta, so it was an interesting experience. But it uses a remarkable amount of gelatine – more leaves than they even sell in one pack from the supermarket I shop at. Wowza. Maybe because it contains A QUARTER OF A LITRE OF GIN? That’s right! That’s a lot, I think. This jelly also made me realise I actually do like gin and tonic as well. But I’ll always be a Pimm’s girl at heart…
Gin and tonic jelly top down

It looks very innocent, but you should not attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery after eating this jelly…

Now onto the cake.
Victoria sponge side

Sitting proudly on top of the most expensive cake stand I have ever, and hopefully will ever, buy in my life is a Victoria sponge – a real classic. It was spruced up with some chantilly cream and blueberries and strawberries, just to give it patriotic colours. To be honest, we could have done without it, because it’s sort of, shall we say, restrained, compared to some of the outrageous puddings on offer, but I HAD to use my cake stand. This sucker cost me about £50! I’ve had my eye on one ever since I saw it on a blog somewhere – I think it was Bakerella’s, maybe. But I recently suffered a tragic loss in my life after every single damn cake stand I owned fell off the top of the fridge and smashed. I was gutted. The whole collection, gone at once. So I had to replace them, and this cake stand will hopefully last longer. I spent the whole day before the party, and the day of, shrieking at people ‘DON’T BREAK THE CAKE STAND. DO NOT TOUCH IT. IT WAS VERY EXPENSIVE’. It didn’t really create the atmosphere of relaxed, casual and classy hosting that I wanted to project, but you know, it’s still in one piece, so it was worth it.
Top of Victoria sponge

I also dusted icing sugar over the top in the shape of a doily, because, you know, it’s ENGLISH. Somehow.
Cake stand 2

This was also a new purchase just for this party (I know, ridiculous – I am still literally paying this off) – a cute cake stand from Cake Stand Heaven. You may remember me drooling over these before – LOVE them! I bought this one in green to match my nan’s china, which I inherited from her last year. Unfortunately, I also had to shout at people about this too, as you are expressly NOT supposed to pick it up using the handle on the top, as it can smash the china plates – it’s not a weight bearing handle. So of course, anytime anyone wanted to move this baby around, they used the handle on the top. Tsk.
Cake stand with flowers

My mum added these beautiful flowers to the cup right before we ate – a really nice touch! She’s also responsible for the pretty flower display on the table, she did an awesome job!

So, that was our buffet! Do you guys have any memories, photos or blog posts to share to do with your Royal Wedding party?

Sweet treats for your Royal buffet

Victoria sponge cake

Image via Wikipedia

CLASSIC BRITISH TREATS

Victoria sponge

A beautifully simple, light cake – classically British, of course – dusted with icing sugar and filled with jam would make the perfect addition to your table. Add whipped cream and fresh fruit to make it even more indulgent!

Gin and Tonic jelly

A great Nigella Lawson recipe – a grown up version of a party staple, and what better way to toast in the newly weds than with some gin and tonic!

Sweet vanilla cream and dulce de leche butterfly cakes

My own recipe for ridiculously delicious caramel and cream butterfly cakes. Forget cupcakes!

Scones with clotted cream and jam

You could make your own scones with this excellent recipe, but, equally, I’m sure no one will mind if you buy it in…

Lemongrass and raspberry trifle

Another Nigella recipe – and if you fancy a classic version, there are tonnes out there for sherry trifle!

Eton Mess

Legend has it this was invented at at Eton College – which is where Prince William was educated, of course, making this the perfect dish to serve on the big day. Just remember to mix it just before serving, because the meringues will melt otherwise! This is Delia’s recipe, but you can also add a splash of Pimm’s at the last minute to transform it into an ever more celebrationary dish!