Citrus & Herbs


Capellini with Lemon & Basil


Intro 2 Collage

Pasta and lemons must just go together.  Lately, I have bumped into recipes that feature those two ingredients in several places:  Deborah Madison has a version in her Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, the ladies at Canal House have one as well in their Canal House Cooking, Volume No. 1 as does Deb Perelman over at the Smitten Kitchen.  Inspiration for this evening’s dinner dish, however, comes from across the pond…in Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries.  Simple, straightforward & unpretentious, this dinner has a wonderfully bright flavor with a lovely light texture.  The meal comes together in less than 20 minutes…

I have never met Mr. Slater in person but, after reading three volumes of his published work those three words describe the personality that emerges from the pages of his books

I have never met Mr. Slater in person but, after reading three volumes of his published work, the adjectives “simple, straightforward & unpretentious” describe the personality and cooking style that emerge from the pages of his books


Capellini with Lemon, Basil & Parmesan {adapted from The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater}

  • 1 pound, capellini
  • 2 large lemons {plan on ½ a lemon per plate}
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • 2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1½ cups packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced {reserve a small handful of leaves to use as garnish}
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta to al dente {according to package directions}.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large bowl by filling it with boiling water from a kettle and let it sit for a minute or two. Discard the hot water and wipe the bowl dry.  Add the olive oil and the parmesan to the bowl and beat briefly with a small whisk until the mixture becomes thick and grainy.  Add the sliced basil leaves and stir.
  3. Drain the pasta and quickly toss in the Parmesan “sauce”.  Add the freshly-squeezed juice from ½ a lemon to each plate, season to taste with salt & pepper and garnish with some of the reserved basil leaves.  Serve immediately.


And, I quote, from Nigel Slater’s, The Kitchen Diaries {page 148}…”Lemons are as much a part of this kitchen as pepper and salt“.  Well, obviously, I agree…check out the lemon basket which sits atop my kitchen island…

IMG_0789I will go through all of these lemons in a week…using them in recipes & I love a cup of hot water with lemon in the morning and right before I go to bed.  Whatever fruit is not used in a timely manner is preserved.

Preserved Lemons CollageNow back to the dinner at hand…

IMG_0780Don’t throw those cheese rinds away!  Click here to see how you can put those discards to good use.

IMG_0798Our simple, yet savory, dinner plate…

IMG_0801Now, be sure to…

tumblr_lifeisbeautiful:dessert_500I like to bake something over the weekend that will serve as a snack, morning coffee cake, and/or dessert throughout the week.  Pound cakes & breads work well and I try to avoid heavy chocolate and frostings {saving those for special occasions}.  Whole fruit is usually involved.  This week’s treat was inspired by this confection at Desserts for Breakfast {as featured in Anthology magazine} and the resulting cake is nothing short of spectacular…incredibly moist, full of citrus flavor & savory, thanks to the rosemary.

The original recipe calls for orange blossom water.  While I have cooked with this ingredient before I did not have any on hand when I was making this cake over the weekend.  A bit deceiving, orange blossom water does not lend the taste of orange to a finished food but rather imparts a lovely aromatic floral scent and a slightly sweet taste.  In trying to find a substitution, I knew I wanted something with floral notes.  I ended up using St. Germain ~ a French liquor  made from elderflower blossoms, which I had on hand {if you fancy champagne, give this cocktail a try…I love it with a simple twist of lemon} and the cake turned out beautifully…

Clementine & Rosemary Bundt Cake {adapted from Desserts for Breakfast via Anthology magazine}

  • 9 small clementine oranges
  • 4 cups water, plus more for blanching
  • 2½ cups sugar
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon St. Germain liquor
  • 1½ cups unsalted butter @ room temperature
  • 4 large eggs @ room temperature
  • Confectioner’s sugar for dusting
  1. Trim a small slice from both the tops & bottoms of the clementines, revealing just a peek of the juicy flesh.  Place the clementines in a small pot and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute.  Drain the oranges {discarding the water}.  Repeat the boiling and draining process again.
  2. Return blanched clementines to the empty pot and add 1 cup sugar and 4 cups water.  Cook over medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring frequently until the sugar dissolves and the clementine rinds are fork-tender.  Drain and let fruit cool to room temperature.  Cut clementines into thick slices, removing seeds, and  place in a food processor.  Blend the fruit {including the rinds} to a chunky purée.  Set aside.
  3. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Grease and flour a bundt cake mold.  In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and chopped rosemary.  In another bowl, combine the puréed clementines, milk, orange juice and St. Germain liquor.
  4. In a separate bowl and using an electric mixer, beat the butter and remaining sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gradually fold in the flour mixture and the fruit mixture, alternating between the two, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared bundt pan and bake until done {a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the edges are just turning a golden brown}.  All ovens are different but my cake took about an hour and 15 minutes.  I would begin checking the cake’s doneness at the 1 hour mark.
  6. Remove the cake from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 20-30 minutes.  Turn out the cake onto the wire rack and cool completely.  Dust lightly with a bit of sifted confectioner’s sugar.


Clementine Collage


Cake Collage

Finally, a lovely lemonade for the warm days ahead {as temperatures soared into the 90’s last week here in the Bay area, I made several pitchers of this refreshing beverage}…

Basil-Mint Lemonade {click here for the recipe}

Lemonade Collage



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