Deep Fried Brie & Vanilla and Lemon Drizzle Cake

We had friends over today, and, as you do, I decided to do something delicious for lunch. I had a wedge of brie in the fridge (Fergal nearly threw it out yesterday because it is almost a month out of date: But dates like that never bother me, especially with cheese)

So, along with pasta and stir-fried vegetables sprinkled with soft goats cheese and a dash of soy sauce, I made:

Deep Fried Brie

Now, this isn’t actually deep-fried (I don’t have a deep-fryer- in a bid to save myself from myself) I simply poured about half an inch of oil into a small saucepan and carefully heated it up until very hot (keeping all children well away in case it spat oil)

I cut up the brie into small wedges, approx 1″, cut off the ‘skin’ leaving the soft cheese inside. I dipped these in a bowl that held 1 egg mixed with  sprinkle of black pepper, then into a bowl of fine breadbrumbs. I pressed the breadcrumbs into the egg covered sides so they were well covered. 

Then into the oil, carefully turning them after about 3 minutes when they were a gorgeous golden brown. 

I sat them on some kitchen paper to drain any excess oil, while I prepared lovely plates, and made a small stack of three, then added a dollop of homemade cranberry sauce (what a fantastic combination). The brie had melted inside and when cut open oozed its deliciousness out. 

Oh yum.

For dessert we had a vanilla and lemon drizzle cake, which was a light and fragrant end to the meal, and the added bonus of being very quick and easy to make (I made 3 dozen fairycakes for the children as well from the same mixture)

Vanilla and Lemon Drizzle Cake

Using the fairycake recipe (here!) add in a teaspoon of good vanilla extract (invest is some good stuff, it makes all the difference, or make you own- I’ll explain how at the end)

Into a buttered 8″ cake tin, lined with parchment paper, spread out the mixture (my mixture came just below the rim of the tin)

Bake for approximately 20 mins in a preheated oven at 170′ C (I had made 3 batches of fairy cakes at 180’C before I put the cake in so the oven was very hot)

When cooled down, I juiced a lemon and drizzled it over the top, letting the lemon juice soak into the cake. Then, while the top was wet/damp, I sifted icing (confectioners) sugar over it all.

Serve with a dollop of cream (double cream of course)!

Vanilla Extract

This isn’t something you make on the morning you are baking, but very worthwhile to make and have (buy an excellent bottle of extract until yours is perfect)

I bought a small bottle of vodka (a really tiddly one- probably just one shot in the bottle!! I am planning on buying a bigger one- I aim for approximately 150ml per vanilla pod) (you can also use brandy)

Into this I put 1 vanilla pod. Leave for as long as possible- Mine is still stewing since the 31st of October 2010, and has developed a deep brown colour, and a powerful vanilla scent.

Vanilla Sugar

And while I’m on the subject of vanilla, I always have a kilner jar filled with caster sugar with a vanilla pod in it. Leave it for a week, or more if possible, and you will always have on hand a beautifully fragrant, deepy comforting jar of vanilla sugar, for cakes, biscuits or icecreams (and makes a super gift too!) Also delicious: is to make a special pot of jam with fruit and vanilla sugar. The taste is sublime.