Thursday, 27 October 2016

Lemon poppyseed cake

I got gifted some lemons last weekend. Big, beautiful backyard fruit, befitting a cake. So I made one. Though this is an English recipe, poppyseeds in baking are by and large associated with Eastern Europe. Strewn liberally through strudels and sponges and all manner of doughs and batters, these little black speckles are striking here against the pale pastel of citrus, and lend a lovely texture to a traditional tea time treat.

Made mostly with almond meal, the cooked cake is drenched in syrup and drizzled with icing so keeps well should you have leftovers or want to bake in advance. If you're lucky enough to have a lemon tree or be friends with anyone who does, then this is definitely one for your repertoire. It's not a show-off of a cake, it's more subtle and sophisticated, even a little subversive. The beat poet of baked goods. Brilliant.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Beetroot, kohlrabi, carrot and apple slaw with labneh

A few years ago for Christmas I got a mandoline. Not the musical instrument but the kitchen gadget that thinly slices vegetables with razor sharp metal blades. I was a little afraid of it to be honest, so it sat in the drawer til today, when I was motivated to use it by a recipe in Hetty McKinnon's new cookbook Neighbourhood (which is so good I've bought it for two friends' birthdays since it came out in September). I have to say the word "slaw" conjures visions of limp cabbage coated in mayonnaise. A white on white nightmare. But this! This is different. Vibrantly-hued vegetables (plus one piece of fruit) sliced super-fine, doused in sharp/sweet vinegar, offset with liberal dollops of creamy labneh and scattered with crunchy roasted pumpkin seeds. It's bright and beautiful and suitably spring-y. A big reward for a small act of kitchen bravery.