Archive for November, 2008

recipe: cake

Lemon-iced Poppy Seed Cake


  • 250g butter
  • 250g castor sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 250g self-raising flour
  • grated zest and juice of one lemon
  • 100g poppy seeds


  • 250g icing sugar
  • grated zest and juice of two small lemons

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, a little at a time, stirring in between each addition, until mixture is smooth and all the eggs have been incorporated. Sitr in the flour, and then beat in the lemon juice, zest, and poppy seeds.

Spoon mixture into a buttered and lined 8-cup capacity loaf pan or cake tin and bake for about 1 hour, or until golden and springy to the touch.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool for about 20 minutes in the pan. Turn onto a wire rack and leave until completely cold.

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a large bowl, add lemon zest and enough juice to give icing the texture of thick pouring cream. Spread icing over the cold loaf using a palette knife and leave until set.

simmer down notes:

  • I took the cake out of the oven at about 45 minutes and it was a bit over-done. That could be the fault of my oven, I think it isn’t calibrated correctly, I have to get a gadget to measure the temperature in there.
  • The juice of two lemons in the icing was a bit too much – one would have done the trick, but maybe I had a juicy lemon (and I have an excellent lemon squeezer).
  • Other highly recommended lemon poppy seed cakes:


November 18, 2008 at 9:31 am Leave a comment

recipe: semolina cake

Semolina Cake 

Originally uploaded by sonnnia

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius 


  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup oil (corn, canola, or vegetable)
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • ½ cup rose water (or half a cup of water with drops of rose essence added)
  • ¼ cup blanched almonds (and halved if you can be bothered)


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom 

Combine semolina and oil. Add remaining ingredients except almonds. Grease baking dish, pour mixture in and smooth with a spatula. Arrange almonds in rows. 

Bake for about 1 hour.

Prepare syrup towards end of cooking time. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Remove cake from oven and cut into squares. Pour syrup on top of cut cake while both are still hot.

November 10, 2008 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

dreaming of sleep

Château Vary
Originally uploaded by faygate

Where our baby once woke up cooing and murmuring, he now moves quickly from fidgeting and shuffling to major crying. The breakdown started in the Loire Valley when he was six months old, and we haven’t really recovered yet.

From a strictly objective observation, it appears that the week or so that he spent trying to get some sleep in a black netting rectangular hole of baby hell (that is otherwise known as a traveller portable crib) did some serious damage to his previously positively dreamy routine of up to 12 straight hours of nightly sleep. That, along with parental nerves stretched paper-thin, twilight until 10pm, and being surrounded by strangers left him a bit of a wreck.

Now 11 months old, the lovely baby who was a lovely sleeper by six months now cries in the middle of the night more often goes down for naps with greater difficulty, and frequently wakes between 4 and 5am, although husbandly intervention in the mornings has given us the occasional 5:30-6 waking.

November 10, 2008 at 11:02 am Leave a comment