Perfect Granola

I really like the column Grub Street Diet. Reading it makes me feel like a voyeur, but who wouldn’t be curious about what Lorelai Gilmore eats for breakfast. However, reading about all these wildly exciting meals made me realise that were I to be featured in Grub Street Diet, it would go something like: granola and yogurt, coffee, fruit, leftovers for lunch, more fruit (and let’s be honest, cake), dinner. The dinner part changes every day but I can safely say that I’ve eaten homemade granola every morning pretty consistently for the last 6 years, maybe longer. Obviously there are exceptions for holidays, some porridge during winter and breakfast with friends but most of my friends know that if we’re catching up on the weekend, I am pushing hard for lunch. None of this brunch rubbish. I like to have breakfast and lunch. I am not cheating myself out of one or other so I can eat a plate of eggs for $25.

Despite the fact that I have made granola dozens, if not hundreds, of times, I’ve never shared it here. For a while I was making this one, which started out as a recipe from the I Quit Sugar cookbook by Sarah Wilson. While my current recipe has the same bones (no fruit, lots of nuts and coconut), it’s even more delicious and it’s a bigger batch so, you know, win win. It was inspired by a recipe from Megan Gordon’s book, Wholegrain Mornings (one of my favourites of 2014) but I’ve changed so much that it doesn’t really resemble the original anymore.

Granola [web]

Perfect Granola

Inspired by Sarah Wilson, I keep the amount of sugar in my granola very low. I use only two tablespoons of honey, rather than the 1/2 cup suggested by Gordon. I’ve also upped the amount of oats, nuts and coconut. In terms of nuts, my favourites are macadamias, almonds, pecans and hazelnuts but use whatever you like. If you like your granola fruity, stir through 1/2 cup sultanas, chopped apricots or dates when it comes out of the oven.

3 c rolled oats

1/2 c sesame seeds

pinch salt

1/2 c coconut oil or olive oil

2 heaped tablespoons honey

1/2 tsp each cinnamon and ground cardamom

1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 c unsweetened coconut flakes

1 1/4 c raw nuts, roughly chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 160’C / 325F.

2. In a medium saucepan, stir the oil, honey, vanilla extract and spices together over low heat until the honey has melted. Remove from the heat and add the oats and sesame seeds.  Mix well so that the honey is evenly mixed through the oats. Place on a non-stick baking sheet in an even layer.

3. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15-20 minutes or until the top of the granola is starting to turn a gentle gold.

4. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and gently stir through the coconut and nuts. Return to the oven and continue to bake for another 15-20 minutes or until the granola is golden (the coconut and nuts should look nice and toasty). I generally start checking at the 10 minute mark and stir if it isn’t browning evenly.

5. When the granola is done, remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheet. When it’s completely cool, move into an airtight container or jar. I find it keeps well for 2-3 weeks at least though usually it’s long gone before then!

Reading, Lately

Life has been so busy I haven’t had time to spend hours reading book reviews online and ducking into bookshops like I normally would. Instead, I’ve been rereading some of the books on my shelf that I haven’t thought about for ages and I’m so glad I have. I’ve enjoyed old favourites and finished books that have been looking at me from the book shelf with a guilt inducing stare for avoiding them for so long.

Nothing to Envy by Barbard Demick – I’ve probably mentioned that I find North Korea endlessly fascinating. I just cannot get my head around what it would be like to live in such a violent, regimented society, particularly given that images we see of North Korea almost always come from the regime and focus on enormous military parades and lines of indistinguishable gymnasts (i.e. not the stuff of real life). Demick changes that with this book.  While working as the Korean correspondent for the LA Times, Demick wanted to write about what it was really like to live in North Korea. Without free access to people living there, she decided to interview a group of defectors who all lived in the same town on the Chinese border at the same period of time during the terrible famines of the mid-1990s. The result reads like fiction – it weaves together the stories of very different people (a young female doctor, homeless teenage boy, a loyal party member etc) to paint a picture very different to the Pyongyang you might be familiar with.

Persuasion by Jane Austen – my favourite Austen and one of my favourite books ever. It’s hilariously funny and the tension between Anne Elliott and Frederick Wentworth is perfectly drawn, despite a relatively simple plot. I enjoy Austen’s take on the self-made man (Wentworth) versus the utter stupidity of Anne’s supposedly noble family members too.

Flight Behaviour by Barbara Kingsolver – I picked this up in Melbourne, thinking it might be a good airport read, and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a story of a young mother trapped in an unsatisfying marriage in Tennessee but it’s also about climate change and how we are responding (or not responding, more importantly). I don’t know what entomologists would have to say about the science in this story but I think that Kingsolver writes so well about the moral, religious, cultural and social issues that climate change raises and I really loved the main character, Dellarobia.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan – I tend to gravitate towards female writers (see above) and I certainly have no love for military fiction so I have no idea why I decided to read this but I’m really glad I did. Flanagan, inspired by his father who was a prisoner on the Thai-Burma railway during WWII, has written a truly beautiful book about Australian prisoners of war working on the railway.  Watching these men try to survive an almost incomprehensibly awful situation and then try to make sense of their lives back in Australia was so compelling. It manages to be so even though  the characters are so deeply flawed and contradictory that it can be hard to like them sometimes. Throw in a love story and you basically have a pretty perfect book.

The Sunday Philosophy Club by Alexander McCall Smith. This has been sitting on my book shelf for an eternity but I’ve been turned off my how prolific McCall Smith is. How can his books be any good if he writes 3 or 4 each year?! I thought I’d hate the characters too. The protagonist is a single, middle aged philosopher called Isabel Dalhousie – not really someone I thought I could relate too. Despite both these things, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. It’s a crime novel (in a very low key, not at all like James Bond kind of way) which offers a very nice glimpse into Edinburgh. Though I found Isabel frustrating at times, I had sympathy for her too.

As always, I’d love to hear your book recommendations. What are you loving at the moment? Xo

Links

I feel like I start every post with an apology for how long it’s taken me to turn up here again (but seriously, April?!!). It’s so boring and very repetitive so let’s just skip over that part and go straight for an update. In mid-March I finished up my second graduate rotation and settled in the litigation group. I learnt a lot last year but it’s nice to be back in litigation. I enjoy the work and so far, the hours have been much better. That will all change if I end up working on a trial later in the year but for now, I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

We’re going to Japan next month and I swear, the planning is almost as fun as the actual trip. We are staying at this incredible post-war hotel before it’s torn down later this year (what is wrong with people?!). Apart from Tokyo, we’re making an obligatory stop in Kyoto and spending a few days in Matsumoto and the Kiso Valley. If you have any Japan tips, I would LOVE to hear them!

I wish we were going to make it to Japan in time to see this stunning exhibition.

Watching Frances Ha was a really nice way to waste an afternoon over the Easter long weekend.

This Must Be The Place really is the place. The spritzes are delicious and pretty good value. It’s also a really lovely, light space (and a very welcome change from the Mexican, juke joint, speakeasy bars dotted all over Sydney). It’s so good I made it twice in the space of a week.

I made these old favourites this week.

I look forward to reading Grub Street Diet each weekend. How Christina Tosi has any teeth left is a mystery to me.

I thought I’d be the last person on earth to embrace yoga but I started going last year when I found a hip hop yoga studio called Yoga 213. It was amazing and I quickly realised there is a lot less crazy is my life when I’m doing yoga (also, I can touch my toes for the first time in my life!). Sadly, Yoga 213’s Sydney studio closed in December and I’ve been looking for another studio since. Yoga Satya is my favourite. The classes are small and you can hear the ocean as you practice.

Happy Sunday friends, thanks for reading. Xo

Lunch at the Shop

Finally! A recipe! That doesn’t involve butter and sugar! The last month has been crazy busy with work and life and while the more budget conscious probably wouldn’t condone it as a coping strategy, I’ve found that a bit of shopping is a legitimate way to reduce stress. So, when I had half an hour to kill waiting to meet a friend on a Friday afternoon I headed straight for Kinokuniya and picked up Lunch at the Shop by Petter Miller. It’s been doing the rounds of the blogosphere for a while (Food 52, 101 Cookbooks etc) and it’s been on my wish list for almost as long. Still, I resisted buying it because I have a plenty big enough collection of cookbooks already (and one of 2015 resolutions was to cook from them more often!).

In the end, I couldn’t resist. It’s such a beautiful book and an inexpensive splurge. The design and photographs are lush and not at all messy, which seems to be what’s hot right now. The recipes are simple and delicious but most importantly, I love how Miller writes about the power of sharing a meal with others and the many things that can be gained by stepping away from the screen for 20 minutes. At the same time, he isn’t at all precious about it – though there are recipes for soups, pasta and salad, they don’t require hard to find ingredients and they sit next to instructions to buy fried chicken or a burrito. I don’t have the time or space at work to assemble lunch and eat with friends every day (I wish!) but with these lentils in the fridge, I feel like I’m part of the way there.

IMG_3496

 

Miller suggests that these lentils form the base for a lentil soup but I’ve been using them just as they are added to a leafy salad, warmed and topped with lots of feta or serving them with leftover beef pie to make a very satisfying Sunday meal. Whichever way you go, I don’t think you can go wrong.

 

A Third Way to Cook Lentils from Lunch at the Shop by Peter Miller

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil

1 brown onion, finely diced

2 slices bacon, diced

1 celery stalk, finely diced

1 carrot, peeled and finely diced

1/2 c fresh or canned tomatoes, roughly diced (with juice) (about 2 medium tomatoes)

1.5 – 2 L warm chicken or vegetable stock or water

1 c lentils, thoroughly rinsed and drained

1. In a medium saucepan or a large frying pan (with high sides), heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bacon and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until lightly golden.

2. Add the celery (if using) and carrots. Stir and then add the tomatoes (with their juice). Reduce the heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring every 5 minutes, for 20 – 30 minutes. If the pan is starting to get dry, add about 1/4 cup of stock or water.

3. When the tomato mixture is soft and well-combined, add the lentils and stir. Cook for about 4 minutes and then add enough stock or water to cover the lentils by about 2 cm. Bring the mixture to a slow boil over medium heat and cover.

4. Cook the lentils, stirring once or twice, for 30-35 minutes. If the mixture is becoming dry, add another 1/2 cup stock or water. The lentils are done when they’re soft and the mixture is thick. Taste to check the texture of the lentils. If they still have some bite, continue cooking for another 5 minutes, adding water if the pan is dry. Season with salt and pepper as needed.

5. At this point you can serve the lentils just as they are. Miller recommends processing a third of the mixture through a ricer and adding another cup of stock to form the basis of a soup. He also suggests stirring through 1/2 cup cooked white rice and a splash of red wine vinegar. The world is your oyster!

Notes

  • I use whole red (or Persian) lentils. I think lentils du puy would be lovely too. You want something that will hold it’s shape so avoid quick cooking red or orange lentils (which are usually sold split).
  • I never have a single stalk of celery lying around and this is still delicious without it so don’t worry about buying it especially for this.

Link Love

Ooof. How did it get to February already? Things have been feeling pretty autumnal in Sydney over the past week and there is no way I am ready for that. I’m going to cling to long days, peaches and trips to the beach for as long as I can (see  below – case in point!). The meals we’ve been eating lately have been more assembly than cooking – salads, bread, chicken from the slow cooker – so I thought I’d post some favourite links until I have something more exciting to share. Catch you soon friends x

Sydney summer <3<3 #vscocam

A photo posted by Anna (@annasweetpeas) on

This is a really awesome post about changing your dreams and deciding to move on. I think about this all the time, working in commercial law. Law students are often taught that the most interesting and prestigious work is to be found in commercial firms. While it’s true that some of the work is fascinating, there’s a lot of boring tasks to do too, especially as a junior, and it’s high pressure. The idea that the best and brightest join the top tiers has become accepted and when you decide to go, it’s perceived as a failure (at least by those on the inside). Nothing could be further from the truth (often you leave for more money, better work life balance, great work and a lot more freedom!) but when you’re facing attitudes like that it can be hard to follow your own path.

I’m loving the Guardian’s column, Ruby Bakes at the moment. I need volunteers to help me eat through a honeyed earl grey tea loaf and doughnuts and lemon marzipan muffins.

Speaking of baking, these scones are fantastic. They just came out of the oven and I’m already planning a repeat.

A couple of new to me blogs here and here.

Love this round up of Vanity Fair’s most popular articles in 2014.

Kitchen by Mike is my favourite Sydney cafe at the moment.

Jessica Valenti started a newsletter and it is perfection.

This documentary looks amazing. I hope it gets released in Australia.

Everyone go and see Selma.

Favourite beauty products of 2014 (love this blog, Meg is so cool). Speaking of which, while this isn’t about to become a beauty blog, if you have a moisturiser recommendation, send it my way!

Coconut Rice Pudding

Well hello 2015! This year has been off to a good start. I had three weeks off work which I spent seeing friends, reading, sleeping in and heading to Victoria for a week (the Grampians were the unexpected highlight. This is one of the loveliest hotel experiences I’ve had, not to mention the incredible views from our cottage). On our last morning in Melbourne, we splurged and had breakfast at Cumulus Inc., where I had a coconut rice pudding with mango and lime. I am a sucker for all things coconut and this might just be one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had – creamy and rice but so fresh. It was a great way to see out the summer holidays.

When we got back to Sydney, it was straight back into work and the holidays glow disappeared pretty quickly. With so much stress swirling around, I’ve been mulling over the idea of resolutions. I hate the idea of them – the pressure to make them and the expected failure. Rather than making concrete goals (go to the gym 3 times a week, lose 5 kilos etc), I tend to think about small ongoing changes (taking better care of my skin was one a couple of years ago). That way, there isn’t such a risk of failure. If you fall of the wagon for a couple of weeks, it’s pretty easy to get back on. This year I’m shooting for maintaining a regular yoga practice (my beloved Yoga 213 closed its Sydney studio before Christmas and I’m looking for a replacement), printing some photos, posting here from time to time and using my vast cookbook collection more often (I tend to go online for new recipes but I’m sure there are many treasures in the books I already own and I’d like to find them!).

Coconut rice, mango, lime

That last resolution has been working for me so far. The first book I plucked off my stack of unused cookbooks was Delancey by Molly Wizenberg, which just so happened to have a recipe for coconut rice pudding. It’s a slightly different beast to the one at Cumulus Inc. (more dessert than breakfast) but it might be even better. Seriously, it’s one of the best things I’ve made in ages – creamy, coconutty and rich but not too sweet. I’d like to say that I’m making this again soon but I polished this off all by myself in a handful of days so I think this pudding is going to be an occasional treat only.

Coconut rice pudding (adapted from Delancey by Molly Wizenberg)

Makes 4-6 servings (I halved Molly’s original recipe)

70 g basmati rice

190 ml (3/4 c) water

pinch sea salt flakes

240 ml (scant cup) coconut milk (full fat – I like Ayam brand)

240 ml (scant cup) milk (I used reduced fat and it was fine)

125 ml (1/2 c) thickened cream

50 g white sugar

1/4 a vanilla bean

1. Rinse the rice under running water until it runs clear.

2. In a medium saucepan, combine the water, rice and salt. Place over medium-high heat until it starts to simmer. Reduce the heat to low. Cook, uncovered, until the water is absorbed (about 10 minutes).

3. When the water is absorbed, stir in the coconut milk, half of the milk, cream and sugar. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean and add to the saucepan, along with the bean itself. Increase the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally)  until the rice is tender and the pudding is thick and creamy (about 35 minutes). If it starts to catch on the bottom of the pan, reduce the heat slightly and add a splash more of the milk. Remove from the heat and stir in the leftover milk.

4. Leave it to cool slightly before transferring to a storage container. Press a sheet of cling wrap directly onto the surface to prevent a skin forming. Refrigerate until completely chilled.

5. Serve with thinly sliced mango and lime zest or, as Molly suggests, with cherries. It’s pretty tasty scooped straight from the fridge with a spoon, too.

Chocolate Coconut Slice

We’ve been away in Newcastle for a couple of days going to a mid-week wedding and as we were driving home today, it suddenly hit me that 2015 is only a few weeks away. Generally it feels terrible to wish time away, but I’ll be glad to see the end of 2014. There have been some definite ups – my sister getting engaged, our art deco apartment and lots of yoga classes – but mostly, it’s been pretty rough. My hours have been so long that it’s been almost impossible to maintain even a little balance (this poor neglected blog is proof enough of that) and I miss sleep and friends and watching Call the Midwife. The work I’ve been doing has also made me stop and think more deeply about what I want to do in the long term (I feel like this often!) and while it’s good to figure that stuff out sooner rather than later, change is scary.

Anyway, all of this has absolutely nothing to do with baking, but I wanted to come say hi (hi!) and I’ve had this recipe sitting in my drafts folder for way too long, so chocolate coconut slice it is. My sister and I have made this recipe dozens of time – it’s the taste of my childhood. I think it’s the first thing I every learnt to make on my own.  (Though the first time we attempted this without parental supervision we realised mid-way that we didn’t have vanilla extract and couldn’t possibly bake the slice without it. The only logical thing to do was eat as much batter as we could and feed the rest to the garden. I hope our baking skills have improved considerably since then!). It’s buttery, sweet and far more satisfying than it should be given the short list of ingredients, none of which are fancy.

[Ed: as I’ve been writing this, it’s hit me how funny it is to write about change and fear of what the future holds along side the oldest, most steadfast and comforting recipe I know. I feel like I should thank the universe for giving me a surprise but much needed dose of the familiar. Or is that just too much yoga going to my head?]

Chocolate Coconut Slice (recipe from the Big Book of Beautiful Biscuits published by the Australian Women’s Weekly)

1 c plain flour

1/2 c white sugar

1 c desiccated coconut

1 tbsp cocoa powder

185 g butter

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 egg

Icing

1 c icing sugar mixture

2 tbsp cocoa powder

30 g butter

1 1/2 tbsp hot water

desiccated coconut, for sprinkling

1. Preheat the oven to 180’C/350’F. Line a 19 x 29 cm cake pan with baking paper.

2. Melt the butter over low heat. When it is completely melted, remove from heat and leave to cool.

3. While the butter is melting sift the flour and cocoa powder into a medium mixing bowl. Add the sugar and coconut and using a wooden spoon, stir to combine.

4. Add the butter, egg and vanilla essence to the flour mixture. Stir until the flour has been fully incorporated into the butter. Press the mixture into the cake tin.

5. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture is firm but soft to touch. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the pan.

6. To make the icing, sift the icing sugar and cocoa into a small mixing bowl. Stir the melted butter and then add the water or milk and the vanilla essence. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth (it should be the consistency of thick honey or nutella). Pour the icing over the slice and spread with a knife. Sprinkle a couple of tablespoons of desiccated coconut over the slice. Eat up!

Notes

  • I have been making this slice for years as outlined above but it is very buttery. I’ve had a look online and others report having great success with 125 – 150 g butter. I’m going to test it out soon and report back.
  • This recipe doubles really well (if you can bring yourself to use so much butter).

The Ordinary

I keep waiting to write a post until I have a recipe to share with you but the truth is I’m having some major issues moving all my software over to my new laptop so I don’t have Lightroom to play with. Work is crazy busy too so the chances are it’s going to take me a little while to figure out this annoying IT bug. I hope you’ll stay, despite the absence of pretty pictures.

Even though I don’t have a recipe to share, I can point you in the direction of these stellar muffins. Along with these beauties, I think they might be the best muffins I’ve ever made. They were pretty much the highlight of my week! That sounds incredibly boring but there are lots of exciting things in the pipeline at the moment too – Christmas and getting away to Canberra and Victoria, graduate rotations at my firm in the new year and visits from family overseas. I can’t wait.

Perfect summer sandals.

Very sensible advice.

I love these old fashioned cakes. I haven’t had a marble cake since I was at school.

This looks like such a cool bar. We’re going to Melbourne, the Grampians and driving the Great Ocean Road over the Christmas break and Pony Fish is definitely on the list. Is there anywhere else we should check out?

This topic is endlessly fascinating to me.

I had a perfect lunch here today and I’m so keen to get back soon.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler is the best book I’ve read in ages. When I bought it, the sales woman said that she adored it but she refused to tell me anything about the plot. I’m so glad she didn’t spoil it. Don’t google it, just start reading!

Link love

I’ve heard it said before that the days are long but the years are short and that’s how life feels at the moment. Days are creeping by full of an apparently endless number of contracts that need to be reviewed and an overflowing inbox. But when I stop for a minute and look up, I realise that it’s almost October (!) and everyone is making plans for summer holidays and talking Christmas. While it feels horribly wasteful to be wishing days to pass, I’m so ready for fruitcake and longer days, not to mention a holiday. I think we’re going to stay close to home this Christmas, maybe visit Mudgee (just to stay here!) and / or Hyams Beach.

Favourite Sydney station. #vscocam

Apart from plenty of wanderlust, there isn’t much else happening around here at the moment. I do have a brownie recipe ready to share soon, but in the meantime, here are some things I’ve been reading lately.

Marmalade appears to be the flavour of the month – this zucchini marmalade loaf is my new favourite thing.

Prince Alfred Park is one of my favourite spaces in Sydney. Can’t wait to swim there again soon.

A new cocktail spot

The only way I’ll get a tan this summer.

Next up on my reading list.

I am a Lena Dunham fan girl.

Spring (with cake, of course)

Spring makes me a little bit crazy. When the weather starts to change and there’s a palpable sense of summer just around the corner, I suddenly feel this need TO DO ALL THE THINGS – organise holidays, buy new clothes, book concert tickets. This past week, work finally let up after a few weeks of utter horror and I’ve found myself home by 7pm, with a few hours of free time ahead of me! The combination of spring and free time has left me feeling a lot restless.

By last Thursday, I couldn’t take it anymore and so I headed off to Rupert and Ruby for a burger with Rosie, Friday night I went to Fix St James for a glass of wine with friends and Sunday involved brunch at Fourth Village (the best!) and dinner at the Lord Dudley. It’s no European holiday but it’ll do. Apart from getting out of the house, I’ve also been doing lots of baking. It probably makes me sound ancient, but I find it way more calming than watching TV or mindlessly scrolling on Instagram. It’s something about following instructions and using your hands without having to think very much. On Saturday we had friends over for dinner and never one to pass up the chance to bake, I made a marmalade, coconut and semolina cake from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi.

Pretty Little Loaf

Everyone raves about Jerusalem but I’ve been slow to get on board. Middle Eastern food is probably my very favourite but Ottolenghi’s recipes always looked so complicated and I couldn’t believe all the hype was really deserved. Turns out, I should eat my words. My sister gave J a copy of Jerusalem for his birthday a couple of months ago and we’ve been cooking from it non-stop since. Some of the recipes involve ingredients that would take a mission to find but the majority of them are totally doable and delicious, this cake included. It’s one of the best things to come out of my kitchen and it really couldn’t be easier – it’s as simple as squeezing oranges and stirring. There’s no creaming butter and no sifting. The results are delicious. The cake is moist without being squidgy and heavy, it has a faint coconut fragrance and fine, soft crumb. With a bowl of softly whipped cream (soured with a couple of teaspoons of greek yogurt), it’s the kind of cake you could graze on all night long.

Semolina, coconut and marmalade cake (from Jerusalem by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi)

Makes 2 small loaves

180 ml sunflower oil

240 ml fresh orange juice

160 g orange marmalade (I used Bon Maman)

grated zest of one orange

70 g caster sugar

70 g desiccated coconut

90 g plain flour

180 g semolina

2 tbsp almond meal

2 tsp baking powder

For the syrup

200 g caster sugar

140 g water

zest of one orange or 1 tbsp orange blossom water

1. Preheat the oven to 180’C / 350’F. Butter and line two 500g loaf tins with baking paper.

2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the sunflower oil, orange juice, marmalade and orange zest until evenly combined.

3. In another bowl, mix together the sugar, desiccated coconut, flour, semolina, almond meal and baking powder. Add to the wet ingredients, stirring until the mixture is smooth and evenly combined (it will be really runny but don’t worry).

4. Divide the filling evenly between the two loaf tins (I did this by putting it into a large pyrex jug and pouring it into the tins).

5. Bake for 40-60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Start checking at about 35 mins – mine were ready at that point but my oven runs hot).

6. Towards the end of the baking time, place the syrup ingredients in a small bowl and bring to a gentle boil over medium heat. When it’s bubbling gently, remove from the heat. As soon as you take the cakes out of the oven, start spooning the syrup over them. Spoon a couple of tablespoons over a time and then leave for five minutes before spooning over some more. Ottolenghi and Tamimi advise you to use all the syrup but I used less – see the notes below.

7. When the cakes are almost cool, remove from the leans and leave to cool completely on a cooling rack. I served them with whipped cream, which I combined with a little greek yogurt.

Notes

  • Ottolenghi and Tamimi flavour the syrup with orange flower water but I didn’t want to splash out on something I’ll probably never use again so I added the zest of an orange instead.
  • I only used about 2/3 of the syrup – I was worried the cakes would turn into puddings if I kept going. I think they turned out just right with that amount of syrup but you could definitely use more if you’d like.
  • The recipe calls for 2 x 500g loaf tins. I had no idea what that meant but google pointed me in the right direction.