Thursday, 1 July 2010

Lemon Shortbread, Raspberries & Apricots...

We've been busy again. :)

My dear friends, despite the hot weather, the Little One and I found ourselves rushing into the kitchen yesterday to concoct an exciting recipe, something of an experiment ~ which was to become Lemon Shortbread.

It all started with a punnet of raspberries and a bag of apricots that I'd brought home the previous day.
I found my mind wandering to them at intervals and suddenley an idea was born, to eat these delicious, soft summer fruits with a generous daub of creme fraiche and a little shortbread biscuit, flavoured with the essence of the warm Mediterranean: Lemon.

Searching high and low for a recipe proved a little difficult believe it or not. And so, after some pondering and some musing, we decided to forge ahead and make up our own, adding zingy lemon zest to a long standing family shortbread recipe which I will share with you today...

Just look...what do you think?

Dear souls, I cannot describe how deliciously Melt-In-The-Mouth these little biscuits are, you will just have to try them for yourself and see. The lemon is a wonderfully subtle flavour that seems to emerge at the end of each mouthful, and seems to work beautifully with that buttery flavour without being too rich.

Ok, here is the recipe :D

Lemon Shortbread


150g plain flour
100g lightly salted butter
100g unsalted butter & a pinch of salt
50g golden caster sugar
Grated zest of 1 lemon (add more if you prefer a stronger flavour)
sugar for sprinkling

How to make:

Preheat your oven: 150c/130c fan/Gas 2
Put the flour and the butter (and salt if using) into a mixing bowl and rub together until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.

Mix in the sugar and lemon rind and knead until it all becomes nice and soft.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface about 5mm thick.
You can then cut out biscuit shapes, or if you prefer smooth the shape into a circle and mark triangles out.
Prick the surface with a fork, and pop in the oven for about 25-35 mins. The shortbread will retain its nice pale colour when cooked.

Sprinkle sugar on top when you take them out of the oven!

Eat when cool.

I hope you enjoy them as much as we did - in fact, we have none left and I can feel another batch coming on pretty soon!

Well, the sun has shone relentlessly this last week, just a bit of cloud now and then but almost continental temperatures that have left us all a bit weary not to mention hot and bothered. It's a faff to do much when it's like this but I'm not complaining at all - I love the warm weather and love getting out to enjoy it (pity there's a pile of ironing about 5 feet high crawling up the wall but c'est la is to be enjoyed, and we can iron when it rains!! Ha!)

So, yesterday - ignoring the ironing pile and walking hurriedly past the hoover, the Little One and I decamped outside with our paints and whiled away an hour under the parasol painting Lemons and Things.

I dug out my old watercolour paintbox from my college days and presented them to the Small Person who asked what all the holes were in the paint pans! I hastily explained that Mummy had painted lots of pictures when she was younger with these paints to which she proclaimed me to be a 'Naughty Girl' for making such a mess of them. Anyhow, she seemed quite taken with the fact that she'd been gifted with some real Big Girl paints and set to work.

It wasn't long before she wanted to do what Mummy was doing, which at that moment was painting a lemon (which you can see at the top of this post) and this is her effort here!

Bless her, she's even managed to do the paint splatters and was enormously pleased with it.

Talking of finished paintings, I have completed the watercolour piece I started last week. I must say a big thank you for all your nice comments about the sneaky peek I showed you, but I appear to have misled you all a bit. I was telling you about my tree problem if you remember and bless you, you all said how smashing they looked thinking I meant the small background ones....little did you know I had not taken a shot of the culprits who were causing me so much grief, they were the big beasties at the front of the woodland scene!! However, after much messing about, I'm happy with the final outcome and can now show you what it all looks like!

This will be finding its way to the printers in the next day or so, and then on to the Agency. I've been fretting a bit lately that I just don't have enough time to create as much work as I would like (I think I've always set high standards for myself and sometimes suffer because of it). I suppose I just want to make the best of what is a wonderful opportunity and not blow it, it's my absolute dream to eventually have a book to illustrate.

Well, the day is still young and there is still oodles of time to start work on another painting, or perhaps begin some more line drawings. Must make the most of my time as I'm being whisked out to Cafe Rouge for something to eat en-route to picking up the child from Mums house later on, and I'm really looking forward to that...moules et frites are calling me...

Have a wonderful weekend folks, thanks for stopping by!

Much love
J x


  1. Love Moules et Frites!! Ive written down the recipe and will be making some Lemon Shortbread tonight! I also made some with Sugar that I had infused with Lavender flowers - this is very tasty also and really summery. I love the painting of the boy in the tent. Its brilliant. Fingers crossed for you a book deal - I always said you shold illustrate childrens books. xxxxxxx

  2. I may well be saying this twice as for some reason the last seemed to delete rather than post.....
    Anyways I said....
    I want shortbread, can we pretend I can pop over for a cuppa?
    Love your lemon painting, you are so talented!
    Off for our first camping weekend on Friday, wish us luck!!

  3. Well. What a deeelicious and beautiful and finished and happy post. Ax

  4. Hello Julia. How lovely that your little one is following in your footsteps. We have only rain here today and I already miss the weeks of sun! Might have a go at those lemony thingys later to cheer me up. Love the painting and you are hard on yourself because you are passionate about what you do. Just keep doing what you are doing x

  5. What a lovely and very yummy looking recipe Julia ~ definitely one for me to try out at a later date. I love your camping painting too ~ it's wonderful :O) xx

  6. Hi Julia
    Ooooo Yum! Think I'll have to have a go!

    I love the thought of your daughter getting your paints, and getting stuck in & creating alongside you, it will give her some lovely memories....

    Speaking of memories, my mum & dad bought a house off of 3 illustrators when we lived in Romford - & I can still recall them working in the studio - Mick Inkpen, Leon Baxter & Nick Butterworth. Most of all, my strongest memory was of the multicolour rows of bottles of ink they used to use.

    Enjoy Cafe Rouge tonight.

    Love Lydia x

    Thanks for the recipe, it sounds lovely. Only problem is that I am a terrible cook, I burn everything!
    I shall certainly have a go though.
    Hope you have a good week, take care x

  8. Your lemon is so well-executed, but sadly not as realistic as the Little One's.... who is almost edible herself, so very cute.. but then you know that!

  9. Brilliant illustration Julia, I absolutely love it!!

    It warms my heart to see your mini-me following in your artistic footprints too!

    Happy days, Hx

  10. That bowl of fruit and shortbread looks delicious, I'll certainly be giving that recipe a try!
    The paintings are all lovely, the camping scene and both the lemon paintings. How sweet is the little one sitting painting. :)
    Vivienne x

  11. Mmmmmm, love Cafe Rouge! Your biscuits look great, I will have to try them when I get a chance. Well done for finishing the painting, I know what a juggling act it all is. Fingers crossed for you xx

  12. Thanks for the recipe - I will give it a go tomorrow. I love your little one's painting. Do keep a big scrap book with them in. I have a fab one of M's first pics with little notes of mine beside - its lovely to look back on. ( She was 30 this year and very arty too!)

  13. Hiya Julia!
    The painting looks wonderful! I really like the whole feeling of the picture, some publisher should give you a ten-book deal, NOW! :D

    Alas, I cannot make shortbread or any other baked things because our oven hasn't worked for about two years and we can't be bothered to get a new cooker. Now THAT is laziness! Oh, and poverty. No, just joking - about the poverty! ;-)
    Joey xx

  14. Oh Julia, that painting is just wonderful. When my kids were little, one of the best things was cuddling up with them and reading them a story. The pictures were always as important as the words. Your picture just draws me in and i can just lose myself in it.
    I hope one day you get to illustrate a book because you have enormous talent. Thank you for sharing. :)

  15. Hi Julia!
    Thanks for sharing the recipe. I think it's yummy and I will definitely make the lemon short bread.
    Your paintings are lovely.
    Have a great weekend too!

  16. lovely to catch up with you Julia, and I am soooo going to try your lemon shortbreads, I am very in love with zesty lemony things right now.
    By the way, your garden looks so inviting and beautiful, love the bunting.
    Enjoy a fabulous weekend my lovely

  17. That looks like a nice and easy recipe - I think even I could manage that !! Will have to give it a go and let you know what happens :o)

    Have a lovely weekend !

    Sarah x

  18. Gosh Julia, that shortbread looks extremely tempting! I love anything tasting of lemon. The picture of the shortbread with the fruits looks mouth watering! Thankyou for sharing the recipe....will definitely be trying that out! Your painting is utterly gorgeous, what a beautiful talent you have, and it looks like little one is following in her mothers talented footsteps!

    I hope that you got to have a great time at Cafe Rouge. Been a very long time since I have been to one! Have a gorgeous weekend my friend and hope the sun still shines for you! Love Vanessa xxxxx

  19. Lovely sounding recipe. Enjoy your moules frites. I went to Café Rouge on Monday and had the moules frites. Yum!

  20. Hi Julia

    Your post is delightfully summery and that recipe is to die for! I really want to make some lemon shortbread now. I have a thing for lemons. I just discovered this week Tesco Finest lemon curd yoghurt. It was so creamy and lemony but not at all tart. So delicious! When my sister comes to stay in August we are going to make lemon curd and some of these shortbread biscuits! Thank you!

  21. Hello, me again,.,,...just had to bob in and tell you that I made your zesty shortbread this afternoon and ohmygoodness, such deliciousness, utterly scrummy and moreish, devoured with relish.
    I made stars and teeny-tiny gingerbread men shapes, the kiddos could not eat them fast enough.
    Thank you so much for a wonderful recipe xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxXXxx

  22. It is always a pleasure to stop by at your blog Julia. I love the lemon watercolour and the shortbread sounds and looks delicious. I think the photo of your little girl painting is wonderful! I also think she has managed to capture the lemon's zestiness with her splatters!!! Your artwork as usual, is outstanding and I admire your many talents greatly. x

  23. Hey Julia, read your post and was straight on the case of lemon shortbread, hmmm fantastic! Haven't had them with the strawbs and cream yet, couldn't wait frankly! Just have to make some more eh!!! x x x

  24. Your paintings are just gorgeous... I so wish I could paint like that because my stories always end up pictureless and that's no good for children!

    What a sweet painting your daughter did - very talented, just like her mummy!

  25. Hi Julia! I love the lemon you have painted! I would like to paint lemons...but I won't...I want to sew!
    Thank you for this lovely recipe, we have now lots of lemons!
    xxx Teje


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