I'm suppose to look puzzled, not angry!

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I have a book to publish. Editors love it, marketing departments say 'up the media profile'. So here I am 'upping it' and writing about the book, food, and life in general.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Lemon filo lunacy.

I only wanted to blog about our holiday in Corfu once I had recreated the unforgettable lemon cake which we ate in Barbas restaurant.  My lovely agent, Laura, had recommended this fine fishy eaterie although she forgot to tell us that its official name (?) is Porta Remounda Taverna.  God knows why it should be known by two different names.

Anyhow, we were greeted at 'Barbas' by Leanna, the daughter of the owner. She told us that Laura-the-agent was her favourite customer and Leanna made us feel like royalty (English, that is; not exiled Greek) just for knowing her.

Recovering from my near death experience
I hasten to add that we were eating shortly after I had fallen off a cliff while insisting to my family that I knew a shortcut to the beach from Mon Repos, the palace where our Prince Philip was born.  For some reason I stepped back into thin air while telling the children to be careful.  I grabbed at thorny bracken as I fell and even though I stopped a couple of feet down I was in a pretty sorry state.  Ged-the-husband had reached for his 'phone ready to call the emergency services and his screen had said, "Welcome to Albania".  The children thought it very funny that mum had fallen off a cliff and landed in another country. We soon realised that it was just rogue roaming.  Faced with the choice between a Greek hospital and some decent restaurant hospitality, I plumped for the latter.  It took three bottles of icy retsina, a plate of melt-in-the-mouth calamari and half a big fish before I felt restored.

It was only when leaving the restaurant that Ged realised he must have lost his glasses when reaching over the cliff to drag me back up.  The next day, we all had to make the treacherous journey once more and sure enough, there were Ged's specs lying amongst the tinder which I had clutched at on my way down.  We could have started a forest fire!  We could have gone to jail!

But back to the lemon cake.  Don't bother grabbing your pens to write this recipe down as I am about to record a disaster.

Recipe written when a bit drunk
John's punishment
I was so excited by this because it was so unusual.  No flour or ground nuts just filo pasty torn into small bits.

Nearly half a pint of juice
The lemon cake was to form part of a dinner for my brother, his girlfriend and her son.  They arrived an hour early so I punished my brother, John by making him squeeze and zest 6 lemons.

Yoghurt and filo

Adding missing sugar to eggs and lemon
John remarked how odd it was that there was no sugar in the recipe.  Would the sugar syrup poured over the cooked cake be enough?  Not likely. So we threw in 3 heaped tablespoons.

Adding flour in desperation 
Next, we tore up the filo and threw it into the very watery egg/sugar/lemon mix.  We hoped beyond hope that a miracle would now occur and that the filo would swell up the mix ready for baking. Nope.  So we added 4 heaped tablespoons of flour.  And then the yoghurt.

It should be ready by 7.25pm
In it goes, not looking good
Still sloppy
Solid but unbrowned
Finally baked
It was 9.55pm before the bloody thing set.  It looked like a rubbery omelette so we rubbed butter over it and whacked it back in at top heat for another ten minutes.

William doing the honey
I tasted a bit and it was sour as hell so William gave it a good squeeze of honey.  There was no time to start making sugar syrup - no-one even wanted a pudding by this time anyway.

Eventually it was plated and looked quite lovely, if nothing like the one we ate at Barbas.  And the reaction of my guests?  The adults were too sozzled to care and as for Joe, well he voted with his feet which pattered very quickly to the kitchen bin where he spat the cake out.
Quite a pretty sight

Not such a pretty sight.
You know how cookery book writers always say, "Never try a recipe for the first time at a dinner party, practise first"?  There's a very good reason for that.  Take heed.

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