14 February 2015

Vegetarian Valentines Feast with Lemon, Ginger & Goats Cheese Cake

Happy Valentines Day! Have you received anything from your secret or not so secret Valentine yet? Don't worry if not I have a special Valentines gift for you in the form of a recipe for my Lemon, Ginger and Goats Cheese Cake served with Blueberry and Ginger Jam. It's scrumptious for one or two, although really it serves eight but who's counting? Not me!

I thought I'd also take this opportunity to do a round up of the entire vegetarian meal I put together for our Veggie Valentines Feast, including a Saucy Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms with Walnuts and Lemon to start, a Hearty Beetroot Tarte Tatin for the main event, and a Lovely Lemon, Ginger and Goats Cheese Cake with Blueberry and Ginger Jam to finish. 

When faced with the concept of going vegetarian for February (for those wondering why on earth someone would go vegetarian for a month read on here), I was concerned I was really going to struggle to come up with entire meals. So setting myself a challenge of coming up with a fully vegetarian three course menu that my carnivorous Valentine could get on board with was an ambitious task. However, actually once I settled down and thought about it, it came really naturally and I loved it and so did the Meatosaurus I live with!

The recipe for the Lemon, Ginger and Goats Cheese Cake, isn't actually that different to your typical lemon sponge, but as I said in this post I picked up some goats cheese from Nut Knowle Farm's stand in Notting Hill's farmers market last weekend and really wanted to try the ginger soft goats cheese I got as part of a sweet recipe. It sounds strange but really it's no different to adding mascarpone to a cake except it's more delicious!

The goats cheese from Nut Knowle Farm uses vegetarian rennet making it fully suitable for our Vegetarian Valentines Feast. And although I used the ginger goats cheese in my recipe I've bulked up the ginger content of the recipe below if you can't get hold of any of this amazing cheese. Although I'd take a look at their list of markets because they frequent a lot of them and one might be local to you!

It's world renowned that berries go exceptionally well with goats cheese, and blueberries are no different. They're sharp tartness accompanies the goats cheese icing really well, with a healthy dose of ginger for good measure in the jam. If you have jam to use up from this recipe, consider making a bread and butter pudding and stirring this into the mix for a twist, stuffing it into mackerel before baking and serving with salad (I'm thinking about March here), or just spreading it on some buttered toast for a morning treat. 

This cake is light but full of flavour and should be shared with loved ones if possible*. 

*There may not be any cake left by the time your mum/friend/valentine arrives.

Lemon, Ginger & Goats Cheese Cake with Easy Blueberry Jam
(Serves 8)

For the Lemon, Ginger and Goats Cheese Cake
150g plain flour
150 caster sugar
150g butter
1 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
50g soft goats cheese
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
4 stem ginger balls

For the Goats Cheese and Ginger Icing
50g soft goats cheese
2 heaped tbsp creme fraiche 
150 g icing sugar
2 stem ginger ball

For the Blueberry and Ginger Jam
200g blueberries
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp ginger syrup (from the stem ginger jar)

Step 1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease a loaf tin with vegetable oil before lining the bottom of the tin with baking paper. 

Step 2. Sieve all of the dry ingredients for the cake into a large mixing bowl. Finely chop the stem ginger and stir them through the mix with the lemon zest. Then add the butter and soft goats cheese and mix the ingredients together until it looks like bread crumbs. Then in a separate jug whisk together the eggs and add this slowly to the bread crumbs, whisking the mix as you go. 

Step 3. Pour the combined mix into the lined cake tin and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. While the cake is baking, you can make the jam. This might not be a true jam recipe but it tastes good! Dust the blueberries in the icing sugar and then cook them in a saucepan on a low to medium heat with the ginger syrup. Stir the berries together with a wooden spoon until they start to break down, then reduce the heat and leave to simmer for 10 minutes. Once it reaches a jam like consistency you can pour it into a sterilised jar. There's loads of different ways of sterilising, I personally have always just used boiling water from the kettle and haven't had any problems, but use whatever method you want.

Step 4. Once the cake is done, run a knife round the edge of the tin and turn it out, then leave it to cool for 20 minutes. While the cake is cooling, make the goats cheese and ginger icing. Sieve the icing sugar into a bowl and cream in the goats cheese and creme fraiche, adding more icing sugar if necessary. Then chop the stem ginger and stir it through the icing. 

Step 5. When the cakes cool, smear the icing over the top and serve with a blob of blueberry jam on the side for a tasty treat this Valentines. Did I mention ginger is an aphrodisiac? You're welcome.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Who needs a partner
When there's a cake like this just for you?

Be Mine.

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