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Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Sapphire in Spain

This weekend Tomasz and I jetted off to Spain for a few days. A fleeting visit it was, but we definitely made the most of it. My Ma and Pa's friends had their 45th wedding anniversary, so we put together a beautiful Sapphire themed party for them around the pool. 

There were blue flowers, blue balloons, a blue tablecloth, blue candles, blue confetti and even some delicious blue lagoon cocktails! 

To make one of your own fabulous blue cocktails, mix one measure of blue vodka, two measures of blue CuraƧao liqueur and top the rest up with tonic water and lime juice. Pour over lots of ice and give it a good shake. If you are feeling particularly adventurous you can colour some sugar with the liquid and press your glasses into it - leave to dry and you get this lovely blue crystal effect on the rim. 

The food was a delicious Turkish feast. Think butterflied lamb legs marinated in oil, garlic and herbs, fresh salads, spiced bulgar wheat and cool minted yoghurt. Sublime and perfect for a hot summer day. 

Our dresses were blue, the men's shirts were blue and even my tongue went blue. 

It was a perfect weekend and lovely to spend it in the sun. What have you been getting up to?

Monday, 27 May 2013

Lemon and Rosemary Loaf Cake

This Bank Holiday weekend I have been out in my garden pottering about with my roses and peonies and noticed my rosemary plant was getting a bit wild. After giving it a bit of a savage prune I had a lot of sprigs going spare, so I decided to put it to good use and do a spot of baking. This light loaf cake is my own recipe - a simple sponge with a bit of extra lemon and rosemary - perfect with a cup of tea and an episode of Made in Chelsea!

Now, I'm going to let you in on the simplest and most fail safe sponge recipe in the world. (OK big claim, but just wait and see how easy this is). You have to keep my secret though, and pretend loads of work went in to it, OK? 

6 oz Self Raising Flour
6 oz Butter
6 oz Castor Sugar
3 Eggs

(Easy to remember just 6, 6, 6, 3 - see told you it was simple.)

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees

Then, just cream your butter and sugar (helps if you zap the butter in the microwave to soften a little), then beat your eggs separately and add in gradually to avoid curdling. Next tip in your flour and beat until smooth and creamy. 
Seriously, that is it. A basic and perfect-every-time mixture, done. 

You are now ready to add any extra flavours you like, and this time I added the zest of one lemon (I only had one, if you have more feel free to put more in), a few tablespoons of lemon juice and two large sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped. 

Stir all of that in, and pour into a greased loaf tin (if you don't have one, any cake tin is fine, it just might affect the baking time), and pop in the oven for 35 - 40 mins or until golden and the mixture is firm all the way through - if you stick a knife through the middle it should come out nice and clean.  Any raw cake mix left on means it just needs a little more time.

While that bakes I'll show you my handy work over the last few days...

Now I've shown you how my garden's doing, you will need to make the syrup to drizzle over the top. 

Mix equal parts of sugar, lemon juice and water and a few more sprigs of rosemary, mix, and bring to the boil in a pan. Reduce by about half and put to one side until your cake is ready.

Once your cake is firm, poke holes in the top with a skewer and drizzle over all the syrup so it soaks in beautifully. Turn out your cake onto a plate and you're done! 

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