Sunday, 8 April 2012

...rested and relaxed (and full of food!)

Easter pudding

I've had the last week off work, and other than Monday being pretty rough (I locked myself out, and my skirt broke while I was locked out), it has been lovely. I have baked, and worked on my bread making skills. I've spent a lot of time sitting at our kitchen table, reading blogs and Pinning things and chatting on twitter. I have read many books, more than I would usually read in a month. On Tuesday, in stark contrast to the weather last week, we got 4 inches of snow. I responded to it by making soup and cake, and watching all of series two of Downton in one sitting. We have had proper, homecooked, healthy food every day, the flat is ship-shape, and I am pretty close to the bottom of the washing pile of doom.

Not quite the 20c temps of last week...

I made actual bread that was edible and not too dense!
And so, today. The very last day of my holidays. Today has been filled with Eastery joy. We aren't at all religious, so our Easter is more of a societal thing and centres around food, if I am honest. Dave gave me a bag of small chocolate eggs, a chocolate bunny, and a gingerbread biscuit decorating kit. Breakfast was toasted. buttered hot-cross buns, and was followed by decorating the gingerbread biscuits. Bits of chocolate have been eaten throughout the day. Our Easter lunch of roast pork - no sacrificial lamb for us, pork is cheaper) happened around 5pm (a little late). It was followed by lemon cake - cobble together yesterday evening, when I had the urge to bake and absolutely no desire to leave the house to buy things specially. I have at least tripled the lemon the original recipe required, but added honey, and it did the trick.


...and after. Dave decorated one of the five. I bet you can guess which!

How I spend my Easter holiday.

Lemon Cake with Honey

Y to the UM

For Cake
150g self-raising flour
3 medium eggs
200g caster sugar
3tbsp lemon juice (half a lemon worth)
1tbsp lemon extract
zest of 1 lemon, finely grated (save a little for top of cake if wanted)
90ml milk
2tbsp honey

For Icing
75g butter, softened
150g icing sugar plus 1tbsp extra for dusting
3tbsp lemon juice
1tsp lemon extract
1tbsp honey

  • preheat oven to 180c
  • for cake, beat together wet ingredients, and the incorporate dry
  • bake for 45mins to 1hour, or until top of cake is springy and golden (mine could have done with 5 minutes less I think)
  • turn out onto cooling rack
  • for icing - this is cheating, but, put butter in an oven proof mixing bowl
  • put in still hot oven for a couple of minutes - should be very soft but not liquid
  • add rest of ingredients, and mix well. It will be slightly more liquid than butter icing is usually, but firms up
  • when cake is cool, spread icing on top - for iced sides, make this mixture plus half again
  • leave to firm up
  • dust with icing sugar, and add zest.
This is a somewhat dense cake - somewhere between loaf cake and blondie texture. If you'd like a fluffier cake, beating the eggs and sugar till fluffy and adding a tsp of bicarb will do the trick. Also, I like the sharp freshness of lemon, but sharpness is easily adjusted with a little extra honey - in cake, add the same quantity of flour as added honey.

Now, I'm away to have tea and some more cake and gingerbread, watch Mary Poppins and savour the last few hours of my holiday. Did everyone see Elizabeth and Lynne in The Times today,  looking lovely and extolling the virtues of vintage china? We rarely by newspapers, save the odd Saturday Guardian, but I had to get a copy when I saw that they were in it!

Happy Easter!


Jack McCallum said...

Fabulous! I'll have to try the cake. Happy Easter!

JoJo said...

I love the pictures and all sounds like a great Easter! That cake recipe looks great. I am always on the look out for cake recipes that have no butter as we have a low fat cooking regime here for health reasons!Will def be trying it out! Enjoy what is left of your Sunday, Jo xx

Alan Hughes said...

Was that a sour-dough loaf?

Lisa-Marie said...

Jack, it was really good!

JoJo, I am quite pleased with it - it's rare to find a no-butter cake recipe, so I'll be trying more! Of course, I did coat it in butter icing which ruined that somewhat.

Alan, this one is just a basic brown loaf recipe. My sourdough starter has been a failure so far, I think I fed it too much. I'm going to start it again tomorrow, and will do a loaf on Friday if it works - I'll post here or on twitter. If I can get it to work, making bread will be very cheap.

Alan Hughes said...

I work out that a good quality home made loaf is about 40p. Shop bread at 40p tends to be polystyrene

Lisa-Marie said...

Yes! I'm going to try making all of our bread except the occasional cheap white loaf for dipping in eggs/making french toast. the Co-op near us always has out-of-date bread flour in the greedy corner, and it seems to work, out-of-date or not - I have made three loaves with it this week.

Lisa E said...

Oh my goodness, this makes me want to lick my screen, right down to that cup of tea!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Sounds like a lovely week off! I love that Dave gave you that egg decorating kit! So cute - and I can guess which one is his. ;)

I hope your week back at work goes well!!

amy b.s. said...

everything looks like it turned out so yummy1

Lisa-Marie said...

Lisa E, I hope you didn't actually lick the screen - it probably isn't good for the technology!

Lisa D, it was so good! The kit is CLEARLY for children, but I love that sort of stuff. Work today was really good, I've missed the kids!

Amy, yummy, and in my tummy!

Lynne said...

Thanks for the mention! Looks like a lovely Easter break.

Monica said...

Hello there!

I adore the sound of your Easter - food and more food, and loved ones and tea, and books. I'm curious as to what you read!

Zoƫ {Conversation Pieces} said...

Did Dave do the cross one? ;) They look ace :) Can't believe it was so snowy... so strange! Love the lemony cake recipe too... yum! :)

Dawniepopsies said...

I think you talk about food on your blog as much as I do :)


grace said...

what a lovely array of food! the mean ol' easter egg cookie made me chuckle. :) glad you had an enjoyable easter!

Mathildeheartmanech said...

Oh that cake! Thanks for the recipe, am going to make that next week! I too have been struggling with bread (too dense) but had a breakthrough last week. Practice makes perfect :)

KatGotTheCream said...

Your Easter sounds lovely and much like ours (a celebration of food) but you did far more home baking (we were on holiday).

I love the cross egg (men just don't do cute do they?)

Alison Cross said...

That all looks very wonderful, sorted and together. If you know what I mean!

How can your skirt break?! Was it the zip? Nightmare!

Loving the look of your cake. When I feel brave again, I might have a go!

Ali x

his_girl_friday said...

Man, Easter is yummy.

TanyaMac said...

that lemon cake looks yum! love your blog ;)

Hazels Crochet said...

Making bread looks quite cool, its one thing I have never thought of making!

The cake looks very yummy :)