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.

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loving…

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cityhippyfarmgirl

“Often life’s pleasures pass us by simply because we don’t take a moment to focus on them… Make a point of noticing everyday something that uplifts your spirit or tickles your heart… Stop to breathe in the joy of this moment and then tell someone about it. Share your joy and revel in it. When your joy is savoured, and then shared, it is magnified…” ROBIN GRILLE

Surprise bunches of flowers, with perfectly tiny pink blooms…loving their tiny pinkness.

Eating simply, with lots of whole foods. I really do enjoy eating like this, it feels right and combined with eating with the seasons…well, I love that.

This is also led me to playing with a lemon tart. Using sprouted buckwheat, no butter, no wheat, no sugar and gluten free. Sounded a little unlikely when I was writing down how I thought I might make it. Turns out… we all loved it.

Watching this little girl’s face light up on the discovery and pure delight of, well, everything…loving her so much.

That sweet moment when the coffee hits, and all the world is realigned again. Clarity in a coffee cup…loving that.

History lesson for my boys, both of them so very interested…loving that.

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If anyone else would like to do a ‘loving’ post, (or simply write something in the comments). Please let me know, link back to this post and I’ll do a link up. I would love to know about those little moments in your week that have tickled your heart.
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Have a peek at Erin’s little cutie who has just found her new legs this weekend.
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Making me want to move immediately to the country is Kim and all her preserved goodies.
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Also have a look at what the lovely Kari has been up to… I do have a little garden envy.
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food foraging- mulberry breakfast trifle

The last few weeks I’ve been lucky enough to find a couple of laden mulberry trees on my daily travels. The first thing to notice is lots of dark almost blue coloured stains squishing under your shoes, then I look up and… oh hello bountiful tree with your weighty branches filled with red tinged berries. What’s that? You want me to pick me you and store you in my handy empty container I just happen to have with me? Don’t mind if I do.

Most mulberry trees around these parts are usually on some one elses property and not within arms reach. Not my arms anyway. However lately I have had easy access to a couple of trees weighted down by all their fruit. Only once I have seen someone else picking the fruit, everyone else seems to walk on by not knowing what it is, or not in the slightest bit interested.

Picking mulberries is a bit of a labour of love. The juice stains your fingers and each berry has to be picked individually. Once home, you still have to pick off the little green stems before cooking with, (and I always seem to be in a white top when ever I happen to come across them). It can take a while to get a decent amount, but it’s definitely worth it.

I’m not particularly good at identifying wild food foraging options in my local area. Mulberries are easy. Loquats quite often pop up, and the tiniest mini mandarins are also near by. (Which were the tartiest fruit I have ever tasted- very funny while watching The Monkeys taste test them… evil mama, I know.)

Apart from that, my knowledge for urban foraging could use a little upgrade. In the mean time though, at least I have breakfast sorted.

Is anyone else enjoying some local free foraged food?

Mulberry Breakfast Trifle

whole oats

apple juice

natural yogurt

whole almonds

mulberries

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Soak whole oats in some hot apple juice.

Blitz whole almonds (skins too) until you get a consistency you like (I like it chunky) or use almond meal. Mix in with the soaked oats.

Cook up mulberries in a little apple juice, then cool.

Then alternate with the layers of oats, mulberries and yogurt.

* If you like it sweeter, you can add flavoured yogurt, or a little jam to the mulberries (or sugar). No mulberries? Use any other kind of berry.

Fruit and Nut Rye

There is something about truly wholesome food that feeds the soul. A simple seasonal dish, fruit and vegetables picked at their best. Honest food that nourishes, heals and restores.

It could be something as simple as revitalising an appetite or tantalising those taste buds. Inspiring to cook better. I was watching a cooking programme the other day and got so excited about the simple ingredients the chef was using. The presentation was beautiful, the colours, the textures and also the fact that it took just a few minutes to prepare.

Food is exciting. It can be wonderfully vibrant. It brings people together. The textures, the smells, the colours all mixed together can do so much. As I quite often write, it doesn’t have to be complicated, and it doesn’t have to take half a day to prepare.

Packets don’t have the same effect. Jars are unlikely to as well. Fruit and vegetables with their genetic diversity dumbed down for convenience and then stored for great lengths of time do not have the same qualities and effects of their seasonal local heirloom variety counterparts.

I love sweet things, and don’t have any issue with sweet recipes in moderation. However I do think that in our society sugar is being used as a substitute for taste. Salt is right along side it. A product lacking in flavour, health, anything nourishing what so ever will be added to. What with? Sugar and or salt. It deadens the taste buds, you want more, your satisfaction levels get confused and more gets consumed. Using ingredients that are easily identifiable, and letting their real flavours shine through brings dishes to the table that make a person smile.

Listen closely to a small child with their favourite simple piece of fruit, and more often than not, slow enjoyable eating sounds will be heard. A sun kissed strawberry brings nothing but happy slurps and red stained fingers and mouth. Taste buds heightened and ignited. A lesser strawberry would still be consumed, but leaving no satisfaction, taste buds lying dormant and on finishing it, you’ve already forgotten about it and moved on.

Bread is no different. For this bread I wanted something that nourished every part of me. A couple of slices for breakfast that would leave my taste buds awakened and my body energized.

Fruit and Nut Rye

300g starter

200g strong bakers flour

100g rye flour

50g linseed

100g sultanas

50g chopped pecans

25g unprocessed wheat bran

1 tsp dark malt flour

275mls (approx) water

1 1/2 tsp salt

handful of raw almonds

Mix all ingredients together except the salt. Resting period for about 40 minutes. Add the salt and mix again. Two long proves with a quick knead in between. Shape or pop in an oiled loaf tin, making sure you throw in a handful of whole raw almonds at the bottom of the tin and bake at 240C with plenty of steam. I baked this one for about 40 minutes. Then gently flipped the loaf out of the tin and into the oven again for another 5 or so minutes, bottom side up, to toast the almonds a little more. Cool on a rack, then wrap and leave over night before cutting into.

This post submitted to the wonderful yeastspotting

Almond pesto- Frugal Friday

 

Pesto is one of those dead easy, whiz it up and away you go kind of meals. The only thing that stops me is pine nuts. Yes, I love them, they are delicious. However I can’t source any local ones and they are really quite expensive. Swapping the pine nuts to a cheaper and more local nut works just as well though.

I’ve made it with pecans, walnuts before and for this one it was almonds. Blitzing whole almonds in a blender (skins on) then adding 2 bunches of fresh basil, some grated parmesan and some great local olive oil. It’s an accompaniment to lots of dishes. It never lasts long in this house, but this amount will give a good sized jar, which I just top up with some extra olive oil, and then keep it in the fridge.

Eat it stirred through pasta, a little chopped up chilli and extra parmesan.

Mixed with rice, baby spinach, and crumbled fetta.

Or simply on some toasted sourdough, bruschetta style.

gluten and sugar free crumble

I didn’t feel like sugar and I didn’t feel like flour… but I did feel like dessert. The rhubarb was fast becoming friends with the flacid celery in the fridge and I still had some squirrelled away blueberries in the freezer. A crumbley thing it was. Lots of similar variations of this had been popping up around the blogosphere. It’s funny how a food dish can sneak it’s way in, and suddenly everyone is happily eating a variation of the same thing. 

So did rhubarb without sugar work?

It probably didn’t work as well as it could have. However, the honey was a decent trade off and completely passable if you were going easy on the sugar and didn’t want any gluten though. The Monkeys had two serves of this, so it certainly passed their palate test. Mr Chocolate got through it and declared yes it was good… but the last one was better, (with sugar and flour.)

Blueberry Rhubarb Crumble

(gluten/ sugar free)

Bunch of chopped rhubarb and a punnet of frozen blueberries

in the microwave for 3 minutes

while that’s cooking

blitz 1 cup of toasted almonds/hazelnuts/linseed in food processor (chunks not crumbs)

add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp cinnamon

then 3 tablespoons honey

mix it round and pop on the top of the fruit

into the oven at 180C until golden

Cardamom Semolina Diamonds

Indian Semolina Balls.

That’s what I’ve got these little cardamom treats written down as. A recipe that is well entwined into my childhood memories with cardamom flavours, plump sultanas and nutty cashews. Given half the chance I would have eaten my weight in these little things. One, two…oops, ten.

I’d re-written the recipe from my mum’s recipe folder a long time ago, although had only vaguely written down the quantities and even more vaguely written down the method. I knew how they were supposed to taste, but wasn’t so sure how to get there. Then I realised I didn’t have cashews…. and I didn’t think I really wanted to roll them anyway… So that changes a few things doesn’t it.

Indian Semolina Balls turned into squares? That’s not so exciting.

Diamonds?….much more enticing.

Cashews? I never have them about…

I’ve got flaked almonds though…would that work?

Cardamom Semolina Diamonds

(Inspired from my mum, and before that a 70’s Indian Vegetarian Recipe Book)

4 tbls ghee

1 cup semolina

1 cup loose brown sugar

1 cup milk

1 1/2 tsp cardamom

toasted flaked almonds

Melt ghee in a pot, add semolina and fry until golden. Add brown sugar and cardamom, mix through. Add milk and handful of sultanas. Stir until thickens. Pour into square tin, press down and add flaked almonds. Into fridge until hardens up a bit. (or wait until mixture cools and roll into balls, replacing almonds with toasted cashews.)

10 minutes tops to make, if you’ve already got the toasted almond flakes.