My attempts to grow herbs can be summarised as a series of small victories overshadowed by great losses. I have wiped out fields of basil and mint plants at this stage, not to mention the tarragon bush that slowly slipped away despite my best efforts. Rosemary is the sole thing I can successfully grow, even when there is ice on the ground outside.
My window box of herbs has become a battle ground of a different sort. Located on the ground floor windowsill of my house, it is routinely stolen and dumped somewhere around the neighbourhood every month or so. The first time it happened, our lovely local binman found it and returned it, providing a rollercoaster morning for my faith in humanity. Since then I have painted the address on the back, and now each time it is stolen, without fail, someone brings it back to my doorstep. It’s reassuring to know that the balance between the amount of (insert insulting description of the kind of person who steals a windowbox of your choice here) and decent people in my area seems to be at least 50/50.
I am not a habitual cake maker, so when I came across this recipe from Suzanne Brady, who makes beautiful cakes for a living, I knew it was one to trust. The recipe is from her site Cove Cake Design. It’s simple, fresh and pleasantly zesty. It is also dangerous, because it is the kind of cake that tastes delicate enough to eat any time of day. This amount makes a 9 inch bundt cake, or in my case 9 inch springform cake and one 8 inch loaf tin cake.
- 225g unsalted butter (plus extra for greasing)
- 300g caster sugar
- 350g plain flour
- ½ tsp bicarbonate soda
- 6 eggs
- 250ml natural yoghurt
- Zest of 2 medium lemons (buy a microplane, it’s an excellent investment if you like lemon zest)
- 3tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
Lemon Rosemary Syrup
- 100g caster sugar
- Juice one and a half lemons
- Sprig rosemary
- Juice half a lemon
- 100g icing sugar
- Preheat the oven to 160°C
- Grease your tin(s) of choice very well with melted butter.
- Sift flour and bicarbonate of soda together
- Cream butter, caster sugar, lemon zest and rosemary together until light and fluffy.
- Beat in eggs one at a time, adding one tablespoon of flour with each egg.
- Fold in remaining flour, followed by the yoghurt.
- Pour into greased tin and bake for 45mins-1hour.
- Keep an eye on it from about 40 minutes on (I covered mine with foil for the last bit when it had turned a lovely golden brown colour).
- Slide a skewer or knife into the middle to test the cake, when it comes out clean it’s ready.
- Meanwhile make the syrup by placing all the ingredients in a saucepan and heating gently until the sugar has dissolved and syrup has reduced a little. Remove rosemary sprig.
- When cooked leave the cake(s) to cool for a few minutes before turning out onto wire rack.
- While still warm, pour syrup over cake and leave to cool.
- Make the icing by adding lemon juice to sifted icing sugar until it has a liquid dropping consistency.
- Drizzle over the cake once cooled a bit.
- This stores well for a couple of days in a tin (if it lasts that long).