Lemon and Olive Oil Cake

Lemon and Olive Oil Cake ||

It’s Sunday and there is cake on our family plates

a soft lemony one

a cake that you could easily handle another slice (or two.)

Made quickly but with love.

Don’t ever think that something made in haste

isn’t without it’s lemony love merits,

that’s just practicality.

Lemon a dn Olive Oil Cake || cityhippyfarmgirl.com

A practical Lemon-And-Olive-Oil-Made-With-Love Father’s Day cake.

Lemon and Olive Oil Cake

4 eggs

400g caster sugar

250mls olive oil

zest of 1 large lemon

juice of 2 large lemons

450g self raising flour

In a mixer, beat eggs and sugar together until pale. Then drizzle in olive oil. Tip out to a large mixing bowl and add lemon zest and juice. Fold through self raising flour.

Pour mixture into two greased and lined cake tins or one cake tin and one muffin tray (this mixture make approximately one large cake and 8 muffins).

Bake at 180C for approximately 45-50 minutes, shorter time for muffins.

Schiacciata con l’uva…can you remember it?



Some time a go when I was still a girlfriend, I was introduced to a man. We exchanged names and shook hands. It was a pleasant meeting, he seemed to be a likeable fellow, and being a friend of a friend, maybe we would meet again, maybe not.

A little further down the track and we did meet again. Mr Chocolate remembered him well, and gently pushed his newly wed wife towards the man in an enthusiastic gesture.

“You remember my now wife? he beamed.

“Sure!” said the man just as enthusiastically

I looked confused. Turning towards the man, I held no recognition of his face at all. I looked back towards Mr Chocolate, hoping for another clue. Nope nothing there. Clearly they were both mistaken and we had had never previously met before. (hmmmph!... thinking I must have been mistaken for a previous girlfriend.)

Introductions were made once more, and after a time we left again. Mr Chocolate assured me we had met previously but as I had no memory of him and usually “never forget a face!” I sincerely doubted him.

So when a third time meeting occurred another year or so down the track, Mr Chocolate (probably a little cautiously) said “Brydie you remember *Ben don’t you!” With his eyebrows up a little higher than normal and perhaps a slight edge to his voice.

“Of course I do babe. Ben…how are YOU?!” Smiling and giving the guy a big hug. I sucked up my complete and utter confused-stranger-alert face I wanted to put on, and instead put on my so-happy-to-see you my old friend face on.

Pleasantries passed between us, a lunch was had and again we left. No awkward moments for Mr Chocolate this time as I had remembered the man I met several times before.

Although I hadn’t. I still had no recollection of this man what so ever. Not one little scrap of face recognition did I have. All I knew was this was the man whom I was expected to remember due to having met him several times before.

Mr Chocolate and I laugh about it now, and refer to him as the man who I can’t remember. Certainly not for a lack of personality, as he is lovely (so Mr Chocolate tells me.) Just for some reason he had refused to jump into the recesses of my memory bank.


Now what does this have to do with bread? Well schiacciata is another word that refuses to stay in my memory bank.

Grape and Rosemary Flatbread? Don’t worry, I’m all over it. Starts with an S I’ll say. Italian regional flat bread…delicious…dead easy to make. Sounds a little like sciatica, also ends with an ‘a’. But remembering the name Schiacciata?

Probably as much chance of remembering that as I do dear *Ben.

* And no, I still can’t remember what his real name is.

Schiacciata con l’uva

(Grape and Rosemary Flatbread)

the bread…

400g starter

750g flour

500mls water (approx)

2 tsp salt

MIx in your usual sourdough fashion and roll out on to a large tray. Last proof and add your remaining ingredients just before you pop it in to the oven.


if you have no starter use this how to make bread recipe

600g flour (4 cups- I use strong bakers flour)

2 tsp dried yeast

400mls tepid water

 3 tbls olive oil

2 tsp salt

for the top…

add all of this after the last proof and just before you pop it into the oven

couple of sprigs of my potted rosemary

extra salt (I use Murray River Salt)

some great local olive oil

dark grapes

Baked at 230C for about 20 minutes with a little steam.


This post submitted to the always drool worthy 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.

how to make bread, for the person who thinks they can’t…but really they can

This is, (I hope) a really basic way to start making your own bread. It’s an adapted version of the Bourke Street Bakery cookbook olive oil dough. I’ve used it a whole bunch of times, and it’s always reliably delicious.

 You will need.

600g flour (4 cups- I use strong bakers flour)

2 tsp dried yeast

400mls tepid water

 3 tbls olive oil

2 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl add the, 600g flour, 2 tsp yeast and 400mls water. (The slight warmth of the water will kick start things, don’t use hot; you’ll kill the yeast.)

 mix with a spoon until it all comes together. It will look a little dry and unlikely.

Now leave it for 10 minutes.

 The dough looks and feels a little different. It’s been doing its thing for the past 10 minutes.

It will feel softer and more workable.

Now add 3 tbls olive oil, and 2 tsp salt

 Mix it through with the spoon initially, for about a minute and then by hand. You will be able to feel it coming together. Now tip it out on to a bench and knead. (I don’t find with this recipe I need a floured surfaced area, but it may depend on the type of flour you are using. If it’s sticking, lightly flour the surface and your hands.

Work the dough until it comes together as a smooth, stretching mass (or use a mixer with dough hook). You want it to feel elastic.

Use the heel of both of your hands for kneading. Finger tips flick the dough up, and heel of hands push down.

 When the dough is soft and smooth, it’s a happy dough. The kneading will probably take about 10 minutes.

Then pop it back into the mixing bowl, (or a lightly oiled clean one, I just whack it back in the grubby one though) with some plastic wrap (or a shopping bag/wet tea towel) over the top. This stops it from drying out. Let it prove for 30+ minutes.

If the dough is in a warm spot (about 26C) it will just need the 30 minutes, if cooler, it may take longer. If it’s soft, and springs back when you poke it, it’s ready to be folded.

 Pop it out on to your work surface and roughly flatten it. Using your finger tips.

 Fold one third over

Then the other third over. Turn it 90 degrees, and fold it to thirds again. Pop it back in the bowl.

 looking kind of square

Another prove for about 30 minutes, (longer if it’s colder).  Then get it out and press the dough down on the working surface area and shape. Or…

Take the ball of dough out of the bowl and place on the bench. Pulling a side of the circle, and dragging it into the middle and press down. Keep going until you have gone all the way around. Then using one hand to do the same process with the heel of your hand, (side to the middle) and your other hand turning the disc. This process can be used instead of the folding after the initial prove or it can be a way to do a final shape.

 In to the middle.

 Looks like that

and then flick it over. Should be smooth and round. Once you’ve got the shape you want, pop it on an oiled tray (or a tray lined with baking paper) cover it with a plastic shopping bag and leave it to prove again in a warm spot. Should have risen by about 2/3 and feel/look soft and pillowy. This can take 30+ minutes.

This dough can be  shaped into just about anything. I used it as a foccacia base here, but have used it as a fish, mermaid, sunflower, grissini and bread rolls.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 240C with steam. I use a water squirter bottle for the steam. 20 squirts in the crack of the door once you’ve popped the bread in or you can use a little dish of water at the bottom of the oven when you turn it on. Baking time depends on the shape you have made. Bread is cooked when dark golden in colour and sounds hollow if tapped.


 The trick with bread is, you just have to practise. Make it, and if there are any problems, write down what they are so you remember for next time and can change it accordingly. I watched my mum make bread my whole childhood so absorbed how to knead it just by watching. If you have never played with dough before though, it might seem a little daunting.

Play with it.

At worst, they will be stone hard burnt unsalted bricks, (and I’ve certainly made my share of them before). Most likely though, they’ll be delicious, and you’ll never want to buy shop bread again.

Books to make you want to play further

Bourke Street Bakery

The handmade loaf

River Cottage handbook- Bread


The Fresh Loaf 

Dan Lepard

Wild Yeast

gai lum potatoes- Frugal Friday

Thanks to the lovely BM@ Living a Little Greener, a little book now sits by my table. Food Rules by Michael Pollan. A handy little book that is full of wise advise like,

41# Eat more like the French. Or the Japanese. Or the Italians. Or the Greeks– People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than those of us eating a modern Western diet of processed foods. 

With that in mind, I’m not quite sure which food culture this Frugal Friday dish is trying to harness. Olive oil in a wok with gai lum? Chinese or Italian? Would both cultures be quietly drawing in their breath and shaking their heads?

Possibly. Either way though, I still say it’s easy, it’s healthy and I was making good use of that fantastic mixed bag of potatoes and soul filling local olive oil I had got on the weekend. I didn’t want to cook the potatoes in any old fashion as I didn’t want to lose any of the flavours. So I cut them into long quarters, and dinner was quickly made up.

Gai lum Potatoes

In my trusty flat bottomed wok, (or pot)

a generous couple of slurps olive oil

added 2 stems of spring garlic

an assortment of rocking potatoes cut length ways

Cook until lightly golden on one side. Whack a lid on to steam a little.

Add chopped gai lum (chinese broccoli) or other seasonal greenery,

add lid again for a little steaming

season and drizzle with olive oil.


This dish might seem too simple, but it worked because everything was super fresh, cooked fairly quickly, and the flavours of what was in there easily held their own. An easy, healthy Frugal Friday dish that had Mr Chocolate  fast becoming Mr GaiLumPotatoes.

Food Rules 14# Eat foods made from ingredients that you can picture in their raw state or growing in nature.