spring

a soothing broth and vegetable palya in one dish

15th May 2022

The liquid from the cooked dal is used as a soothing broth, while the drained and cooked dal is seasoned into a vibrant green palya. The broth is a soothing treat, with the addition of lemon juice and pepper. If you are feeling slightly under the weather, this broth is heavenly.

tips

  • Toor dal can be found in any Indian supermarket. I use a brand which I buy in Portugal, it is smaller and more polished with a quick cooking time. The toor dal variety purchased from the Indian store takes a much longer time to soften. With this in mind, you may need to experiment and cook the dals separately until you are familiar with each of their individual cooking times, or pre-soak the toor dal and cook together for 30 minutes, adding more water as needed. You don’t want the dal to be mushy, but rather hold its shape.
  • For quick preparation, the vegetables can be added to the simmering dal. I like to cook them separately to keep the vegetables vibrant.

a soothing broth and vegetable palya from one dish

preparation – 40 minutes

palya serves – 3 persons

broth serves – 2 cups

Recipe adapted from ‘Mysore Style Cooking’ by V. Sandhya

ingredients

¼ cup/50g whole moong dal

¼ cup/50g toor dal 

5 cups/1.4 litres water

1 flat tsp fine rock salt

voggarane

1 Tbsp ghee/peanut oil

½ heaped tsp black mustard seeds

⅛ tsp asafoetida

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 fresh red/ green chilli, seeds removed, roughly chopped

8-10 fresh curry leaves

⅛ heaped tsp turmeric powder

1 ½ cups/200g green beans, finely chopped 

¼ cup/50g water, more as needed

1 bunch /50g dill, finely chopped stems and all

2 Tbsp dried/freshly grated coconut

2 Tbsp lemon juice, plus more for the broth

preparation 

1.  Cook the dal: In a pot, place the rinsed moong dal and water, bring to boil, turn down the heat, then simmer rapidly, uncovered for 18 minutes, add the rinsed toor dal and simmer for a further 10 mins, or until they just become soft, but still hold their shape. As mentioned above depending on the variety of toor dal, you may need to cook both dals together for 30 minutes or experiment separately until you are familiar with each of their individual cooking times.

2.  Add salt to taste, then drain the broth from the cooked dals and set both broth and dal aside.

3.  Prepare the voggarane: Heat ghee in a pan, add the mustard seeds; when the seeds start to pop and splutter, add asafoetida, cumin and chilli – fry until fragrant, then add the curry leaves and turmeric – fry few seconds. Add the beans, stir to combine with the spices. Pour in the water and simmer until the beans are cooked and the water has evaporated –  approx 4 – 5 minutes, you may need to add more water 1 tablespoon at a time.

4.  Turn off the heat, add the dill – mix well until combined with the spices and slightly wilted, add the cooked dal, coconut and lemon juice. Stir to combine, taste adding more salt and lemon, then transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with rice and drizzle with ghee.

5. To the remaining broth, add ⅛ tsp freshly ground pepper and 1 Tbsp lemon juice, taste adding more salt and lemon, as needed.

raspberry crumb sourdough muffins (vegan & GF)

15th April 2022

Streusel crumb topping is a wonderful way to elevate any cake or pastry by adding a layer of crunch. I love adding it to muffins, tarts, or any cake. This streusel recipe is from Aran Goyoaga’s new book ‘Cannelle et Vanille BAKES SIMPLE.’

The streusel recipe makes much more than you need. Freeze the remaining; Sprinkle it on a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Freeze the pan for 15 minutes, then transfer the streusel to a ziplock bag or airtight container and store it in the freezer for up to 3 months. There’s no need to thaw the streusel before baking; sprinkle it frozen on a cake, muffins or tart and bake as directed.

tips

  • *I take my starter (sourdough leaven) from the fridge in the evening, just before bed, and measure out 40g, and then feed it – 100g flour + 100g water. Allow it to sit overnight, by the morning, it may be fully active, or even if it has deflated already or hasn’t quite reached its full potential, no matter. With this starter, I make this raspberry crumb sourdough cake.
  • If you don’t have a sourdough starter, replace it with ½ cup/70g rice flour, and ⅓ cup/80g of water/buttermilk, and increase the baking powder to 1 ½ teaspoon.
  • Important! Let the muffins cool completely. This will allow the crumb to set nicely and not fall apart.
  • If you don’t want to make the streusel topping, omit and sprinkle the top with flaked almonds instead.

raspberry crumb sourdough muffins

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 30-35 minutes

Makes 12-14 muffins or one pound cake (11 x 25cm loaf pan bake for 50 minutes) 

streusel crumb topping

1 cup/100g almond flour

¾ cup/100g superfine brown rice flour

½ cup/100g light brown sugar

¼ tsp fine rock salt

7 Tbsp/100g cold dairy-free butter or regular butter, cut into ½-inch pieces

cake ingredients

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed + ½ cup/100g hot water (allow to sit for 10 mins as below)

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

3 Tbsp finely grated orange zest (zest from 3 oranges)

2 Tbsp/50g maple syrup

½ cup + 2 Tbsp/200g sourdough starter

½ cup/110g extra virgin olive oil or neutral-tasting oil

¼ cup/55g orange juice (1 very juicy orange)

1 cup/140g brown rice flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

¼ cup/30g tapioca starch 

¾ tsp fine rock salt

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

125g fresh raspberries (Toss the raspberries in tapioca flour before adding them to your batter. This will stop them from sinking to the bottom.)

preparation

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line your muffin tray with 12 baking cups. (I use these ones)

2. Make the streusel; In a medium bowl, toss together both flours, sugar, and salt. Add the butter and work it into the flour until the mixture is sandy and crumbly.  Place in the fridge until ready to use.

3. Make the cake; Into a large bowl, add the flax with water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add sugar, zest, maple syrup, sourdough starter, oil and orange juice – whisk until smooth.

4. In a small bowl measure out the brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, baking soda and powder.

5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth, fold in the raspberries. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, distributing it evenly among them (they should be full). Generously cover with the streusel to form small domes over the batter, it’s optional to dot with a few extra raspberries. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes, or until golden. Let cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. 

I hope that you have a wonderful festive weekend, here are some photos taken in the garden this week.

easy basil dressing

6th August 2021

I printed this recipe in 2017 when I came across it in the Globe and Mail published by Tara O’brady and have been making all sorts of variations since. Using fewer tomatoes or none at all, and adding bitter green leaves, or cutting the zucchinis into thick slabs and grilling until slightly charred, rather than eating raw. The dressing I keep the same as it is a gem! However, keeping in mind if the garden is overgrown with dill, coriander, mint or similar soft herbs, they can be added into the dressing as well or instead.

I always like to make my salads with beautiful seasonal greens, herbs and edible flowers picked straight from the garden. Different lettuces impart different flavours, and the best salads mix up two or three. Because this dressing is lively, it is better to pair it with hardier and spicy greens; like arugula, rocket, mizuna, endive or baby kale. 

easy basil dressing 

serves 2 – 3

for the dressing

¾ cup/30g basil leaves

¼ cup/10g flat-leafed parsley

juice from half a lemon – approx 2 Tbsp

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 – 2 Tbsp honey or sugar

3 Tbsp olive oil

pinch dried chilli flakes

for the salad

2 slices rustic French bread, torn into pieces

2 Tbsp/20g olive oil, plus more as needed

salt and freshly ground black pepper

half lemon, preferably organic, well scrubbed

3 – 4 handful of washed green leaves – arugula, rocket, little gem, mizuna, etc (try to combine a variety of different leaves while balancing the more bitter ones with crisp and tender leaves.)

1 small/120g zucchini, sliced into thin rounds (the small zucchinis have the best flavour)

3 Tbsp toasted, roughly chopped pinenuts and pumpkin seeds

preparation

1. Make the dressing by squeezing the juice of half the lemon into a small blender. Add the basil and parsley, then add a splash of vinegar, sugar and olive oil—season with salt and pepper, then puree. Taste, adjust seasoning and balance with more oil or vinegar as called for, and sweeten with sugar or honey if it’s too sharp. Run the machine again, then add a pinch of chilli flakes.

for the salad

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F.

2. Toss the bread with 2 tablespoons of olive oil—season with salt and pepper. Scatter pieces on a small baking sheet.

3. Slice the half lemon into thin rounds, removing any seeds; if you have a mandoline (or patience), slice about 3-mm thick (1/8-inch.) Coat lightly with olive oil and arrange on another small baking pan. 

4. Place both baking pans in the hot oven. Toast the bread until golden and crisp, 15 – 20 minutes, tossing once. Roast the lemon until touched with char and deeply caramelized, 12 – 15 minutes. 

5. Arrange the salad, place the leaves and zucchini, followed by the croutons, roasted lemon slices and seeds. Top with dressing, offering more at the table.

rice pilaf with a crunchy crust

23rd July 2021

I posted a similar pilaf recipe a while back; this version is easier, quicker and uses the option of olive oil, or if you prefer, replace it with ghee. I change the vegetables to what I have in the garden, sometimes using thinly sliced potatoes, fennel, zucchini or freshly picked sweet peas. It is easy to swap the vegetables around. If the season or garden is overgrown with parsley, coriander or similar soft herbs, they can be used instead.

Serve with a crisp garden green salad and a bowl of tahini.

There are a few steps in achieving the success of this dish; the crispy golden bottom makes it worth it!

  • Washing the rice to rid it of any surface starch, which might make it sticky.
  • Boiling the rice for 8 minutes in boiling water, then draining and allowing it to steam dry for a few minutes.
  • Cover with a cloth, as well as a lid, to protect it from the drops of condensation as it steams.
  • Achieving “the golden crusty bottom” at the bottom of the pot by cooking it over low heat for an extended period.

It is recommended to use a non-stick pot. For the recipe, I use a cast-iron 10-inch (24cm) pot. Also, try to use a pot with a flat bottom and one large enough to give the rice plenty of room to expand. If your pot is too small, the rice will clump together. If you are using a pan, make sure you have a lid that will tightly fit.

rice pilaf with a crunchy crust

Serves 3

Preparation 20 minutes

Cooking 45 minutes

ingredients

1 cup/200g white basmati rice

1 medium/140g carrot

1 medium/160g medium fennel

2 medium/125g potatoes

1 large bunch/30g each fresh dill and coriander

6 Tbsp/60g olive oil or ghee – divided 

1 tsp fine rock salt – divided 

½ tsp freshly ground pepper – divided 

1 tsp turmeric powder – divided 

prepare the rice

1.  Wash the rice and drain. Repeat three more times to flush out all the excess starch (this helps the rice be fluffy with nice separate grains when cooked). Drain and set aside.

2.  Fill a medium saucepan (with a lid that fits.) Bring the water to a vigorous boil and cook the rice for exactly 8 minutes, starting the timer from the moment the rice enters the pot. Drain in a colander and let sit for 5 minutes or so to steam dry.

prepare the vegetables and herbs

3.  Finely slice the vegetable into 2mm thick slices and set aside. Finely chop the leaves and tender stems of the herbs, and mix the herbs together and set aside. 

assemble and cook the pilaf 

4.  Return the empty pan to the stove, add half of the oil.

5.  Split the pile of herbs in two – setting aside a handful of herbs for garnish.

6.  Layer half of the vegetables in the bottom of the pan and half of the herbs for use now.  Sprinkle over half of the salt, pepper and turmeric. Add one-third of the rice over the top. Do not mix. Repeat with the remaining vegetables, then the next third of the rice and the other half of the herbs. Sprinkle the remaining salt, pepper and turmeric. Finish with the last third of rice. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top.

7.  Cover the pot with a tea towel, then place the lid firmly on top, folding the corners of the tea towel over the top so that they don’t catch fire. Cook over medium heat for 8 minutes (#7 setting on an electric stove), then place the pot on the lowest heat you can manage (#2 setting on an electric stove) and continue cooking for another 40-45 minutes.

8.  When the rice is ready, gently mix the reserved herbs and pile it all onto a good wide platter or bowl. Scrape up the crisp rice at the bottom of the pot and tuck it into the pile of rice shards – it’s delicious. It is optional to sprinkle with lemon zest and a squeeze of lemon juice – taste and season with salt and a few rounds of pepper. 

carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting (vegan)

9th June 2021

I had my sights on a go-to celebration carrot cake that is walnut-studded and carrot-flecked, fragrant, moist and lavish with a decadent frosting.  So I revisited and reposted a recipe that was created a few years back and made a few adjustments. 

Variations can be found at the end of recipe!

This cake uses walnuts for crunch and flavour, with a lovely warmth coming through in the cardamom and cinnamon. The cake itself is deliciously moist and it is topped with a vegan cream cheese frosting and decorated with edible flowers. 

carrot cake with a cream cheese frosting

Inspired by the much-loved Spice Cake from The Voluptuous Vegan by Myra Kornfeld.

Makes one 9-inch cake or 12 cupcakes (Reduce baking time to 35 minutes)

The cardamom adds a rich warmth, so it is important to grind your own as the taste is much more fragrant, fresher and more flavour intense. 

ingredients 

1 cup/100g walnuts – divided

1 cup/120g whole-wheat flour

1 cup/120g unbleached white flour

2 tsp baking powder

1½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp fine rock salt

2 tsp cardamom powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon powder 

½ cup/110g neutral-tasting oil or mild-tasting olive oil

cup/190g maple syrup (can replace with cup/100g brown sugar)

¼ cup/45g brown sugar or coconut sugar

cup/160g almond/oat milk

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

¼ cup/50g golden raisins/dates, roughly chopped

2 cups/180g grated carrots (approx 2 medium)

cream cheese frosting

cup/60g vegan/regular butter (softened to room temperature)

1 tub (200g) Vegan Violife Cream Cheese, (available from Celeiro – out of the fridge for an hour)

cup/40g icing sugar

2 tsp vanilla extract or scrape 1 vanilla bean (halved lengthways and seeds scraped out)

prepare the cake 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/180C. Oil a 9-inch springform pan with oil.

2.  Toast the walnuts: place them on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove half of the whole walnuts for garnishing on top (approx 23 pieces) and roughly chop the remaining (50g) to add to the cake batter – set aside.

3.  Make the cake: In a medium bowl, sift together the dry ingredients –  flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices. Whisk to combine.

4.  In another medium bowl, combine the wet ingredients – oil, maple syrup, sugar, almond milk and vinegar. Whisk until the wet ingredients are emulsified. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry, whisking together just until all the dry ingredients are absorbed. Stir in the walnuts, sultanas, grated carrot- fold gently with a spatula to combine.

5.  Pour the batter into the oiled pan and bake for about 45 – 55 minutes, or until the cake is springy to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean. If the top looks like it’s getting dark, but the inside needs more time, cover loosely with aluminium foil for the last 10 minutes of baking.

6.  Prepare the frosting: Beat together the butter with a hand mixer until soft. Add the cream cheese and beat again until well mixed (*don’t overmix.) Sift over icing sugar and add the vanilla extract – beat again. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. *If for some reason the mixture starts to seperate from over beating. Place it in the blender, and blend until smooth, then place in the fridge for a few hours.

7.  When the cake is completely cool, flip the cake over so that the top is now the bottom and spread the frosting evenly over the cake. Decorate the cake with the remaining walnuts and edible flowers.

Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Variation

  • To make a crumble topping instead of using frosting, sprinkle the top and sides with 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds and add a quarter of the the chopped roasted walnuts to the cake dough and with the remaining make a crumble topping by adding 1 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 Tbsp maple syrup to the walnuts, stir to combine. Spoon over the top of the dough before baking.(See image below)
  • Sprinkle the sides and bottom of the greased cake tin with 2 tablespoons of sesame seeds before baking.

lemon coconut cake with blueberry compote (vegan)

13th May 2021

This cake is lovely, moist, and tender with a delicate flavour. It is effortless to make, and the combination of yoghurt, blueberries, and coconut perfectly complements each other. The blueberry compote is divine!

Praia de Aguda

Every two weeks for my weekly shop, I drive a little further to a health food store north of where I live. It takes me through the Sintra mountain along narrow windy tree-lined roads; then it opens out into a wider, flatter landscape where the temperature is warmer. I arrive at a sweet health food store called Ideal in a little village named Janas. I like this place as they offer vegetable seedlings and the vegetables and fruits are abundant and fresh, newly picked from their garden. After finishing my shop, I continue up the road towards the sea, park my car and walk down the steps towards the beach. During the weekend this car park and beach is busy, but on weekdays there is nobody, especially on cloudy days. Sometimes I go just for the sunset, and it is especially magical when the mist rolls in off the ocean.

~

lemon coconut cake with blueberry compote

Recipe inspired by Nigella Lawson.

Preparation 45 minutes

Makes 8 – 12 slices

tools

1 x 9-inch springform cake pan (can be made in an 8-inch)

cake

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

¾ cup/100g whole spelt flour

1½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

¼ tsp fine rock salt

⅔ cup/130g coconut or vegetable oil

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

1 cup/220g thick coconut milk (see note below)

2 lemons, zested

3 Tbsp/35g lemon juice

1 tsp vanilla extract

blueberry compote

1 cup/130g blueberries

1 Tbsp/12g lemon juice

1 Tbsp/12g light brown sugar

3 Tbsp/35g + 1½ tsp cold water – divided

1½ tsp cornflour 

icing

1 cup/250g  thick vegan Greek yoghurt or milk-based Greek yoghurt 

1 tsp vanilla extract or scrap the seeds from a vanilla pod

¼ cup/35g icing sugar

preparation

1.  To make the cake: Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease sides and line base of a springform cake tin with baking paper.

2.  Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a medium bowl.

3.  In another bowl, whisk the oil, sugar and coconut milk together, followed by the zest, juice and vanilla extract.

4.  Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, whisking to combine, then pour into the prepared tin and bake for 30 – 35 minutes, until golden brown. Set aside to cool completely.

5.  To make the blueberry compote: Put the blueberries, lemon juice, sugar and 3 Tbsp water into a saucepan, bring to boil, turn down heat and simmer, stirring every now and then, for a few minutes until the blueberries have softened.

6. Remove from heat, in a small cup, mix the cornflour with the remaining 1½ tsp water and stir this paste into the blueberries. Return to heat and stir gently for 30 seconds, the sauce will start to bubble and thicken. Pour the compote into a bowl to cool. It will set once cold.

7. To make the icing: Mix the yoghurt and vanilla together, sieve the icing sugar over the yoghurt and stir to combine.

8. To assemble the cake: Turn the cake over (so the underneath is now on top) onto a plate. Place most of the icing on top of the cake. Spread out and bring a small amount down the sides, evenly scraping so that you can actually see some of the cake through the icing (sides only.) Decorate with lemon zest, thyme, and blueberries. Dust the blueberries with icing sugar. Slice and spoon with a generous amount of the blueberry compote. If not serving immediately the cake can be refrigerated until ready to serve. 

note

  • Don’t shake the tin of coconut milk, try to get as much of the thick creamy part as possible and purchase a better quality can of coconut milk to ensure thick milk.

vegetable barley soup

15th March 2021

This soup is easy to make and hearty enough to be served by itself or for a substantial meal with a loaf of freshly baked bread.

The barley expands three times its original size when cooked, as a result; it leaves you full and satisfied. Use fresh herbs as they play an essential role in the flavours of the finished soup.

a few tips

  • It is important to chop the vegetables into a uniform size to allow everthing to cook at the same rate. I like to chop them into tiny uniform cubes.
  • Finely chop the rosemary as it opens up the flavour.
  • At the end of the cooking, press down on the vegetables a few times with a potato masher to add more texture to the soup.

vegetable barley soup

Serves 2

Preparation 10 mins

Cook 55 mins

ingredients

3 Tbsp oil or ghee

2 sticks/80g celery

1 fresh bay leaf

1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary

6 – 8 sprigs/6g fresh thyme

3 Tbsp/45g barley

1 large/140g carrot

1 medium/110g potato

1 small/125g sweet potato or pumpkin

½ cup/80g cabbage or green beans

5 cups water

1 heaped tsp fine rock salt

¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

¼ cup chopped fresh dill 

preparation

1.  Peel and finely chop all vegetables into tiny uniform cubes. Set aside.

2.  In a heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat, heat the oil/ghee, add celery, bay leaf, rosemary and thyme – fry till fragrant, approximately 2 minutes.

3. Add the barley and stir until well coated in oil, then add the remaining vegetables stirring after each addition—fry for a few minutes, stirring regularly to avoid sticking.

4. Pour in the water, bring to boil and rapidly simmer, uncovered for 15 minutes, turn down the heat and simmer with the lid ajar for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and barley is cooked.

5. Remove the thyme twigs and bay leaf. Using a potato masher, press down a few times to break up some of the vegetables adding texture to the soup. 

6.  Add salt, pepper and fresh dill. Allow to sit for 10 minutes for the flavours to develop, taste adding more salt or pepper if needed.  Drizzle with ghee when serving.  

lemon-sourdough pound cake (vegan)

1st March 2021

Another delicious recipe by Aran Goyoaga which was shared in her newsletter. I adapted it slightly by making it vegan; replacing the 3 eggs with ground flaxseed, adding baking powder, using maple syrup instead of honey and reducing the glaze by half. 

I have recently entered the world of sourdough bread and every Monday I make a loaf of sourdough to bake the following day, so this recipe was perfect to use any leftover starter and use up the lemons which are hanging heavy from the trees in the garden. 

The sourdough starter does add more complexity to the crumb. I use a 1:1 ratio, meaning equal amounts of flour and water. 

If you don’t have a sourdough starter to discard, replace it with ½ cup/70g rice flour, and ⅓ cup/80g of water/buttermilk, and increase the baking powder to 1 ½ teaspoon.

Scroll down for the blueberry variation.

To save time, soak the flaxseed first, then grate the zest and prepare the other ingredients giving the flax the time it needs to thicken.

lemon-pound sourdough cake

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 45 – 55 minutes

Makes one pound cake (11 x 25cm loaf pan)

*I take my starter (sourdough leaven) from the fridge in the evening, just before bed, and measure out 40g, and then feed it – 100g flour + 100g water. Allow it to sit overnight, by the morning, it may be fully active, or even if it has deflated already or hasn’t quite reached its full potential, no matter. With this starter, I make this lemon-pound sourdough cake.

ingredients

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed + ½ cup/100g hot water (allow to sit for 10 mins as below)

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

2 Tbsp finely grated lemon zest (zest from 3 lemons), plus more for garnishing

2 Tbsp/50g maple syrup (this gives a crisp caramelized exterior)

*½ cup + 2 Tbsp/200g sourdough starter

½ cup/110g extra virgin olive oil or neutral-tasting oil

¼ cup/55g lemon juice (1 very juicy lemon)

1 cup/140g brown rice flour

1 cup/100g almond flour

¼ cup/30g tapioca starch (or arrowroot powder)

¾ tsp fine rock salt

¾ tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

glaze

2 Tbsp/25g light brown sugar

2 Tbsp/27g lemon juice (½ of a very juicy lemon)

preparation

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Generously grease your loaf pan.

2. Into a large bowl add the flax with water and allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add sugar, zest, maple syrup, sourdough starter, oil and lemon juice – whisk until smooth.

3. In a small bowl measure out the brown rice flour, almond flour, tapioca starch, salt, baking soda and powder. 

4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and whisk until smooth. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 – 55 minutes (my oven took 55 minutes.) Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely in the pan, then invert onto a platter.

5. Meanwhile, make the glaze by gently heating the sugar and lemon juice together in a small pan until the sugar dissolves – don’t heat for too long. Immediately brush the top of the cake allowing it to drip over the sides. Generously garnish the top with lemon zest (I like to use a combination of lime, lemon and orange.)  

note

  •  Use a metal pan, as suggested and grease it well. Alternately, you can line it with baking paper which makes it easier to lift out of the pan, but note that the exterior won’t caramelize, as it won’t be in direct contact with the metal.
  • Important! Let the cake cool completely. This will allow the crumb to set nicely and not fall apart.

variation with blueberries

  • Fold in 1 cup/125g of blueberries into the batter.

(Always toss the blueberries in cornstarch or tapioca flour before adding them to your batter. This will stop them from sinking to the bottom.)

sesame cake (vegan)

27th January 2021

“This cake gets a double dose of sesame, with tahini and sesame seeds in the batter and lots of crunchy sesame seeds to coat the pan, too” – Yossy Arefi. 

It’s simple to make as it only uses one bowl. To ensure even mixing, use the edge of a whisk to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. For best results, make sure you use a traditional brand of tahini that is runny and smooth. I like baking this in an 8-inch square pan to be cut into tidy squares for gifting to friends.

~ holy basil

~ holy Brahmin cow

~ frangipani tree

~ offerings

sesame cake

Preparation 15 minutes

Baking 35 – 40 minutes

Serves 10 – 12

Recipe slightly adapted from Snacking Cakes by Yossy Arefi.

ingredients

6 Tbsp/50g sesame seeds (a combination of black and white is nice) – divided

3 Tbsp/22g ground flaxseed

¾ cup/170g oat/almond milk

¾ cup/150g plus 1 Tbsp light brown/blond sugar – divided

½ cup/120g smooth runny tahini, well stirred

¼ cup/50g neutral oil, like canola or grapeseed

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ tsp fine rock salt

1¼ cups/160g all-purpose flour

1½ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp baking soda

½ tsp cardamom powder (freshly ground)

dried rose petals (optional)

preparation

1.  Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Oil a sheet of parchment paper and line it in an 8-inch square baking pan, then sprinkle 2 tablespoons sesame seeds on the bottom and 1-inch up the sides.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flaxseeds and milk, allow to sit for 10 minutes, then add the sugar, tahini, oil, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until smooth.

3. Add the flour, 3 Tbsp of the sesame seeds, baking powder, baking soda and cardamom. Whisk until well combined and smooth.

4. Pour the batter into the lined pan, tap gently on the counter to release any air bubbles, and smooth the top. Sprinkle the remaining sugar and sesame seeds on top.

5. Bake until golden, and a tester comes out clean, 35 – 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan. Allow to cool completely before serving, otherwise, it may crumble. It’s optional to sprinkle with rose petals when serving.

flavour variations

peach and raspberry sesame cake: Slice 1 small pitted peach over the top, scatter ½ cup/70g fresh raspberries over the top, then sprinkle with sugar and sesame seeds.

date and sesame cake: Fold ½ cup chopped date into the batter.

use another pan

loaf: Bake in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. (45 mins)

round: Bake in a 9-inch round pan. (35 – 40 mins)

lemon poppy seed cake (vegan)

15th July 2020

Moist, tender, full of lemon flavour and filled with nutty poppy seeds. It’s covered with a tart passion fruit glaze. Divine!

I made this on my birthday to put on the birthday table with flowers and lovely gifts the boys put together. And then, made it again the next day for a friend’s birthday. It was enjoyed by all!

lemon poppy seed cake

Preparation – 10 minutes

Baking – 40 minutes

Serves 10 -12

Based on the beloved spice cake.

ingredients 

1 cup + 2 tsp/130g whole spelt flour

1 cup/120g white spelt flour

¾ cup/150g light brown sugar

¼ cup/35g poppy seeds

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp rock salt

½ cup/100g melted coconut oil

1¼ cup/280g almond milk

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

zest from 3 lemons

4 Tbsp/55g lemon juice

2 Tbsp vanilla essence

for the glaze 

1 cup/120g powdered sugar

20g passion fruit pulp (1 small passion fruit)

½ tsp lemon juice

preparation 

1.  Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.  Grease a ring pan or bundt pan well with oil, making sure to get every nook and cranny.

2.  In a medium bowl, add the flours, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, baking soda, and salt – whisk to combine.

3.  In another bowl, combine the coconut oil, nut milk, vinegar, lemon zest, lemon juice and vanilla – whisk until the ingredients are emulsified, then pour into the dry ingredients, whisking until all the liquid ingredients are absorbed. Don’t worry the batter will be quite wet.

4.  Pour the batter evenly into the greased cake tin. Place on a middle rack in the oven and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Allow to cool completely before removing it.

5.   Make the glaze by sifting powdered sugar into a bowl and mix in the passionfruit and lemon juice, until you get a thick but pourable consistency.  Test the consistency by taking a spoonful from the bowl and drizzle back into the glaze; the drizzled glaze should leave a trail. If not, may need to add 2 Tablespoons of more powder. Use a spoon or whisk to drizzle the glaze over the top, allow it to run over and down the sides. Before it sets, decorate with lemon zest or flowers. If desired and recommended, drizzle with more passionfruit pulp just before serving.

Enjoy with love, light and blessings!

variation

  • If making them into cupcakes, fill three-quarters full and bake for 35 minutes. Makes 14 cupcakes.

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