Lemon Ricotta and Almond Cake

Lemon and Almond Ricotta Cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

Lemon Almond and Ricotta Cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

If I’m lucky enough to get to 85 years old I’ll probably eat cake for breakfast.

Straight up. A big chunk of cake on my favourite plate and a extra large cup of chai on the side.

I was certainly encouraging for my grandmother to eat cake for breakfast on her birthday recently. Not just any cake but this one that I made for her. It’s got almonds, ricotta and low in sugar, with some careful thinking I would say this cake ticks quite a few boxes for a slight woman in her eighties and the first meal of the day.

It also happily ticked a few birthday cake boxes. The requirements were gluten free, low sugar, not chocolatey and not ‘eggy’. With the satisfying soft scent of lemon billowing done the hall, I’d say this simple cake was done and dusted, (and dusted with icing sugar that is.)

Lemon Almond Ricotta Cake || cityhippyfarmgirl

Lemon Almond and Ricotta Cake

150g softened butter

2/3 cup sugar

3 beaten eggs

zest of two lemons

200g almond meal

250g ricotta

icing sugar

Cream butter and sugar together. Add beaten eggs and zest of two lemons. Fold through almond meal and ricotta. Pour into a greased and lined springform pan. Bake at 180C for about 45-50 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

Advertisements

the pumpkin time had arrived

pumpkin dhal

The pumpkin had been sitting there, waiting patiently on the kitchen table for weeks.

Days went by, and still nothing. Evening meals came and went on by, still no pumpkin passed our lips. I was waiting for the right moment, the right time to cut in to that deep orange flesh. It had been grown and given with thought and love. I wanted to eat it in the same way.

The time was right, the knife was sharp, our bellies were hungry.

The pumpkin time had arrived.

Pumpkin Scones

25g softened butter

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup mashed pumpkin

1 beaten egg

grated rind of half a lemon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

pinch of salt

3 cups sifted s/r flour

Cream butter and sugar together. Whisk in all other ingredients except the flour. Fold in flour with a knife. Turn out on to a floured surface and lightly knead, just until the ingredients come together. Cut out with a floured upturned glass. Pop on to a baking tray and bake at 210C for about 20 minutes.

scones and wool

There is something wonderfully soothing about crocheting and knitting. The mediative repetition lulls you while you slowly watch your creation grow and grow. Click, clack, hook, hook…

Recently, when I was in Hobart at a conference. There was a wonderful lady there that had organised a beautiful Crafting Womb. Knitting needles and wool provided. All the listeners had to do was simply knit while they listened to the various speakers throughout the days. A speaker at the front and a silence that was filled with warmth… the gentle click clack of the needles weaving their magic.

So what were they knitting?

They were knitting squares for the Hamlin Fistula Hospital in Ethiopia. (For anyone that doesn’t know of it, please have a look at their website.)

Coming back home, I wanted to do something like this. I wanted to knit or crochet for someone else. A seemingly small gesture, that I knew I could do. I also mentioned it to a couple of friends who were just as keen, and so it begins. A morning at the park sitting in the winter sun, with our hooks and needles, grand plans to begin and continue.

It was a slow start, but with two babies, one toddler and three preschoolers- I think that’s ok. A chance to connect over some simple food and crafting. A brief period to slow it down a little and at the same time creating something that will be used and treasured by someone in need.

That’s something that I definitely want to be a part of.

These scones have been inspired by my baking guru’s Celia and Joanna. They created International Scone Week (actually it goes for a fortnight) and I needed no other baking encouragement. Scones it is.

Date and Orange Scones

3 cups self raising flour

1 cup cream

1 cup water

1 cup chopped dried dates

zest of half an orange (unwaxed)

a sprinkle of raw sugar

a pinch of salt

Lightly mix wet ingredients to dry, and turn out to a well floured surface. Lightly knead using your finger tips mostly, bringing it all together (you don’t want to handle it a lot.) Cut into circles (an upturned glass works well.) and place on a greased or lined baking tray. Bake at 220C for approximately 20 mins or until golden.

Eat with enthusiasm.

********

For anyone interested in creating their own knitting/crocheting group for charities, have a search to see what’s local to you. There are a lot of various charities that would all be appreciative of your woollen acts of love and also a beautiful chance to connect with others while doing so. So gather a few friends, pop on the kettle, grab the last of the biscuits from the biscuit tin and get crafting.

Hamlin Fistula Hospital

knitting for charities

best way to join your squares

inspiration to get you going

first you need the rotten bananas… then you get the cake

So what do we need to make a smoothie?

Rotten bananas… milk… honey… vanilla,  and some yogurt.

A little chuckle might have escaped from me at the first ingredient mentioned. I would have said it a tad more delicately, but hey, the kid was right. Rotten bananas make great smoothies.

I’m trying to teach The Monkeys that not everything needs to look their pristine best before using, and can be turned into other things. Those blackened bananas were just the obvious ones. Now what else could you do with those old apples, stale bread, drying rice?

Monkey Boy does get it, and the way his answers roll off his tongue so effortlessly makes me proud. Hopefully he won’t be one of those kids from my childhood saying “EEEEWWWW, look at your manky banana!” Instead, he’ll say “oh look, your bananas looking a little past it, why don’t you take it home and make it in to an enjoyable  smoothie or a cake”. He’ll say this just after he’s got his final exam results of straight A’s, and then probably ride off into the sunset on his white horse.

Or at the very least he might say, hey you’ve got a rotten banana, let’s go make a cake.

Either way I’d be happy.

Banana Cake

150g softened butter

150g raw sugar/brown sugar

350g  mashed banana (or 3 rotten ones)

2 tsp vanilla

2 beaten eggs

2 heaped spoonfuls golden syrup

2 cups self raising flour

*****

Whack it all in a mixing bowl. Mix it up. Grease and line a springform tin, then bake it at 180C  for approximately 45- 60 minutes.

Plum Shortcakes

A good bakery is a wonderous thing. You’ll quite often find me, nose pressed against the glass, eyeballs widened, and probably just the hint of drool coming from the side of my mouth. I don’t usually go in, I don’t need to. I like just looking. Seeing what’s on offer, how they have presented different things, and getting ideas for my own baking efforts.

Many moons ago, I lived for awhile in Germany. Twice a week I would head off, cold crisp air on my cheeks. Hands wedged into pockets and music wedged into ears, I would set forth on my two buses to get to a German language class. I loved this time. I loved the German winter, I loved the alone time, I loved being in a different country, I loved learning the language… and I really loved stopping off at a bakery afterwards.

Germany bakeries are a thing of wonderous beauty. So many different types of wonderful breads, and enough sweet goodies for a young Australian gal to do more than a little drooling. Everything I ever ate was delicious. Really delicious. Sure I probably headed for the same kind of things time and time again, but when you are on to a good thing, why stop eh?

So what did I go for? Anthing vaguely fruity/ sour related. Cherry strudel? You betcha. Plum struesel? Yes indeed. They all had my name well and truly written all over them.

So with a German bakery in mind, Plum Shortcakes it was.

Fruity, not crazy sweet, but enough of sugar kick just to say … ja bitte, das ist lecker.

Plum Shortcakes

200g plain flour

100g self raising flour

150g softened butter

150g sugar

2 tsps vanilla

zest of one lemon

2 beaten eggs

plums

Cream the butter and sugar together, add vanilla, eggs and lemon zest. Then fold through flour. Into your tray/s and add halved plums. Bake at 180C until risen, slightly golden, and smells like you can’t wait to eat it any longer (cooking time will depend on the tray you use.)