So the MAD blog awards – those for which voting ends NEXT WEEK (see the badge to the right? Please click on it and do your civic duty... At the very least I promise to post pictures from the awards ceremony of me being 36 weeks pregnant looking on in a mixture of jealousy and disgust as the Man necks free booze) - are being sponsored by various companies.
Best Food Blog (MY category) is being sponsored by Brabantia. Yes, the bin people. Which, when you think about it, makes perfect sense, being where most of the food I prepare for the offspring ends up. Out of curiosity I wandered onto their website, and am now suffering from serious kitchen envy. Go check it out, gaze in astonishment at a world which small people do not inhabit, long for a life where sticky hands and snot-marks on surfaces are a figment of your depraved imagination... And then look at all the gadgetry they make. Not just bins! Very very cool suff indeed. Stuff that would make our Brabantia bin look a little less out of place in a sea of filthy chaos. (And if you'd like to see a guest blog I've done for them, click here.)
AND THEN THE MAGIC HAPPENED. A very nice lady at Brabantia contacted me and asked if I’ve like some of the cool stuff. And very calmly and collectedly, I said Yes Please, then whooped and jumped about the room for a bit. A few days later a very large box indeed arrived with my name on it and I shed a tear for my old life, the one before free stuff, and the Boy asked me if it was Christmas, and I said no, it’s better than that, and I hugged him close and whispered “Stay gold, Ponyboy”, and then I had to go lie down for a bit.
Once I recovered, I plundered my loot. Linen? Check. Cakestand? Check. Mixing bowl? Check. Kitchen scales? Check check check.
Clearly someone wants me to bake a cake. And so I did.
But first, more about the booty. Check out these scales:
Aren’t they the dinkiest things you’ve ever seen? They’re no bigger than my hand (admittedly I have rather large man-hands) and just fabulous. I am driving everyone mad by weighing everything out at every meal time (which, given how large I’m getting, may not be any bad thing), then pressing the buttons which resets it, and adding more, then resetting it again and again, until FINALLY I have a large portion of nutty sugary muesli, but at only a fraction of its true weight. See? Fabulous.
And then the mixing bowl. I appreciate that it’s a sad indictment of my life that I get excited about a mixing bowl, but when your old (plastic) one smells of vomit and olbas oil, it’s hardly surprising that a new one, made of titanium (ok, not really) and etched with measurements inside, and with a rubbery thing on the bottom to stop it slipping (I’m pretty good at this promotional stuff, no?*) will set me in a tizz.
And so I put the two together – like so:
- did some bits and pieces, and eventually ended up with this:
Which I know is a far cry from all the Jubilee bakery extravaganzas going on up and down the country at the moment, but it’s the most you’re going to get out of me at the moment. It helps that it’s utterly delicious too.
Lemon Poppy-seed Cake (adapted from Dan Lepard; his poppy-seedless version is quite wonderful too)
You need (for one loaf):
- 50ml sunflower oil
- 50g butter
- Juice and zest of 2 large lemons
- 150g castor sugar (for my US friends, this is just fine sugar – halfway between regular granulated stuff and confectioners’ / powder sugar)
- 2 eggs
- 50g ground almonds
- 150g plain flour
- 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 30g Poppy seeds
- Icing: Juice of 1 lemon + 75g icing (confectioners’) sugar.
Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / 4G, and line a loaf tin with baking paper.
Melt the butter and mix with the sunflower oil in a largeish bowl. Add the eggs, sugar and lemon zest (retain the juice) and whisk until smooth, then stir in the almonds.
In a separate bowl sift the flour, cornflour, baking powder and poppy seeds, then add half to the egg mixture. Add the lemon juice from the 2 lemons (or more, if you like it really lemony), then the remaining flour mixture, and mix well.
Fold into the papered tin, and stick in the oven for 45 minutes or so.
Meanwhile mix the icing sugar with the other lemon juice (adding a couple of spoons of crème fraiche if you’re feeling decadent, as I was), and pour over the top of the cake when you take it out of the oven (I left it too late, and so the icing mix didn’t get properly absorbed, which wasn’t the greatest calamity, but next time I’ll do it while the cake is still hot).
Leave to cool, place on a fancy cake stand, and sit back and gaze at it as you wonder where on earth you’re going to store all the free clothes and shoes and bags that are bound to come flooding in ANY DAY NOW...
(*It really is good. Seriously. I may have no honour and be dizzy with gratitude for the lovely gifts, as well as happy to bang on about anything that’s sent to me [Green&Blacks, ARE YOU LISTENING??], but actually I really do rate their products. Even if the bin isn’t cleaned as much as it could be.)