lemon and olive oil cake

lemon and olive oil cake


lemon and olive oil cake

I had a whole fruit bowl full of some back yard lemons. Now what to do with all that yellowy goodness?

I thought of lemon meringue pie….

I thought of lemon cordial

I thought of limoncello….

I thought of lemon and rhubarb pie

I thought of lemon meringue icecream...

I did a lot of thinking about those lemons. But none of them was quite right. What to do with you my bowl of tarty yellow fruit?

Gourmet Traveller stepped in. Another winning recipe that really is very easy. The hardest part was squeezing the lemons, which was in no way tricky at all. Love a recipe that is just tasty and simple…and lemony of course.

Lemon and Olive Oil Cake

lemon and olive oil cake

Purple Carrot Cake

purple carrot cake purple

Purple isn’t a colour that holds a strong part in my life. It seems to come up in flicks and flecks and then disappears again.

When I think of purple I think of the purple cabbage dish my mum used to make as a child…oh how I used to shudder knowing that was going on to my plate. Any offers of her to make it again as an adult have been politely refused as really…you can’t fight history.

Purple, and I think of the beautifully scented lavander that sits outside my front door. A heady large bush that seems to have a constant stream of buzzing bees dancing on it’s purple flowered heads. Brush past it with your hand just after rain shower and you are rewarded with a heady scented smell that clings to finger tips.

I once had an oversized costume jewellery ring with a purple stone centred in the middle. An old flatmate had given it to me on my birthday. It wasn’t a considered birthday present, it was more the fact that I appeared in the room at the same time as he unveiled the ring. We used to joke that he had got it off someones dying finger….given that he used to keep a large axe in his room, and periods of ridiculously erratic behaviour… probably not a joke I would find quite so funny now.

Purple was on my leg recently. A peach sized bruise that I didn’t have the foggiest idea of how it got there. For two weeks I was reminded of the fact that I didn’t remember how something so big and sore had got there in the first place. (What is it about bruises that make you prod it routinely to make sure it still hurts?)

Purple is also the colour of an old brooch that has sat in a small wooden of mine box for a very long time. I’ve never actually worn it, so it still sits in little drawer surrounded by a purple ribbon, ready and waiting for that one day.

So what does purple have to do with my carrot cake? Well clearly I’ve used purple carrots. Those carrots with the deepest darkest of colour. Carrots that stain your fingers when you peel them, and carrots that scream out to be made into a cake. Not just any cake though. I had played with my carrot cake recipe before, using the purple carrots and all I got was dark coloured flecks through out. Where was the purple? (Like in this sourdough.) I needed to somehow let the carrot cough up its colour without becoming a stodgy lump by cooking it too much. I also didn’t want to put any vegetable oil, or sugar in there. Raising your eyebrows a little? Nope, stick with me.

Local honey and sultanas for sweetness. Pecans and wholemeal spelt for flavour. Carrots for well, purple. And voila, purple carrot cakeMaybe purple is going to hold a bigger part in my life now after all.

Purple Carrot Cake

400g grated local purple carrots

100g melted butter

150g local honey

3 beaten free range eggs

1 tsp cinnamon

50g roughly chopped pesticide free pecans

50g natural sultanas

150g wholemeal spelt flour

150g s/r flour

Grate carrots and melt just the butter just a little with them either in a pot or microwave. Just enough to melt the butter- which also releases the purple colour. Mix through remainder of the ingredients, leaving the flours until last, then folding them through too.

Bake at 180C for approximately 45 minutes, in a greased and lined tin.

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