Wednesday 23 June 2021

Amalfi Lemon Cake

I thought I'd try another olive oil cake, since the chocolate one went down a treat.  This time it's a lemon version.  I love lemons for all sorts of dishes, and always have a couple of these sunshiny fruits in my fridge.  I also have a jar of preserved lemons, and a wee bottle of lemon juice (from the supermarket) in there too.  Lemons are definitely one of my desert island items, along with EV olive oil.  You could use the oil for keeping your skin beautiful on that desert island too :-)

We had a handyman in fixing a door lock when I made this cake.  He mentioned it once or twice, so I felt compelled to offer him a piece.  (That's his hand you see in the photo.)  He gave me a wonderful critique, which seemed like it came from a tv show or food magazine.  He was wonderfully erudite, and full of praise.  He liked the different textures - i.e. the almost crispy crust and rich, tender crumb, along with the pillowy softness of the whipped cream, and the slightly bitter caramelised lemon syrup.  I'm not kidding you!  He was a wonderfully helpful and well-versed critic.

smothered in billowing pillows of whipped cream

(This recipe comes from Delicious magazine)

Serves 8:


Cake batter:

1 medium lemon

1 cup/250 mL EV olive oil

4 large eggs

250g./9 oz caster sugar

300g./3 cups almond meal/ground almonds

75g./1/2 cup self-raising flour, sifted

600 mL/20 fl oz thickened/double cream

Lemon Syrup:

110g./1/2 cup caster sugar

juice of 2 lemons - I ended up with c. 150 mL/5.3 fl oz - which you divide into a 3/4 amount and a 1/4 amount


First boil up your lemon!  You can do this the night before as I did. Put it in a small but deep saucepan, cover with cold water, whack on a small plate to keep it down, bring to a rapid simmer, and let it boil gently away for 20 minutes till tender - i.e. a small knife will pierce it easily.  Keep checking to see if it needs more water.  Let the lemon cool, then cut into quarters and de-seed if necessary

Spoon it into a blender, add the oil and blitz away till you have a smooth emulsion

Turn your oven to 170C/340F to heat up

Prepare your 20cm/8 inch cake tin by greasing and flouring then adding a layer of baking paper to the base and sides

Break the eggs into a large bowl, then add the sugar and whisk together till well combined

And whisk in the lemon purée, almond meal and the sifted flour

Pour/spoon the batter into your cake tin, smooth it out and bake for 55-65 minutes till the top is golden-brown, and a skewer comes out clean from the centre

Cool in the tin for an hour, then turn out onto a wire rack to get completely cool

For the syrup:

Put the sugar and the 3/4 amount (i.e. juice of 1.5 lemons) of the lemon juice into a small saucepan over medium-low heat

Stir to dissolve the sugar, bring to a simmer and simmer for 6-8 minutes till the syrup is slightly thickened and turning a beautiful golden colour

Let it cool for a bit, then whisk in the rest of the lemon juice (i.e. juice of half a lemon)

Cool the syrup to room temp., whisk the cream to stiff peaks, smother the cooled cake in lovely swirls of cream, then tip the syrup over the cake

Will keep in an airtight container for a few days (as it is Winter here, I actually left the cake out of the fridge tho' I suggest putting it in the fridge if the weather is warm!


It really annoys me when a food magazine gives such imprecise measurements for something like lemon juice.  I did a bit of research and various bodies said the average lemon holds 2 tbs or 4 tbs!  Or it could be 90 mils or 130 mils ... and so on, making quite a difference to the recipe ...  I had quite a lot of juice so that's probably why the syrup came out fairly tangy - not that I minded!

My syrup went very thin again when I added the fresh juice after simmering, so I reboiled for 2 minutes!

(BTW, for non-Blogger/Blogspot readers, a heads-up re email subscriptions.  Google in their wisdom have decided to cut off Feedburner as the delivery system for emails about our posts.  So I have registered with, a different system.  You may get double emails for one or two posts, or it may go into your junk mail.  I'm hoping with all fingers crossed that it works out okay!)  

And P.S. - it's my birthday today!  Mr P. is taking me on a mini-break for the weekend, but there are Covid cases lurking so we are hoping like heck we manage to get away!  Birthday cake and presents are on the menu anyway.  Lucky me!

there's a lemon simmering away under that saucer!

lemon and EV olive oil emulsion

whisk your eggs and sugar together

add the lemon purée, almond meal and flour

pour the batter into the prepared tin

simmer for 6-8 minutes

simmering till golden and caramelised

slather on the cream

and pour on the syrup

spoon the tangy lemon syrup over the top

the handyman handling a piece

© Sherry M.

Tuesday 15 June 2021

Red Rock Olives' Chocolate Olive Oil Cake

Funny how things just keep on popping up, isn't it?  New Zealand has been on my radar lately, and so have pistachios.  I mean, I love 'em, but I rarely eat them or cook with them.  Yet here we are, with another recipe flavoured with delicious green pistachios.  And I get to use some of the huge supply of almond meal I have in the fridge.  I bought some a while ago to make something (what was that?), and ended up with a huuuuuge bag in my online grocery shopping.

I like to buy my olive oil from small and boutique Aussie farmers, so I sometimes buy from Red Rock Olives.  I saw this cake on their blog recently, and decided it had to be made.  So here we have it - an incredibly moist, and nutty cake - not too sweet, perfect at any time.  And it was a perfect way to use up some of the many olive oils I have on my pantry shelf.  I just can't stop buying 'em.  I must be an EVOOholic.  Sorry if I pinched that line from one of you :-) 

moist, nutty and flavourful

Serves 6-8:


50g./1.8 oz cocoa powder - I used black cocoa

125 mL/7 fluid oz boiling water

2 tsp vanilla extract

75g./2.7 oz ground almonds aka almond meal

75g./2.7 oz pistachios

1/2 tsp bicarb soda (baking soda)

175g./6.2 oz caster sugar

150 mL/5 fluid oz of a fruity olive oil

3 large eggs

icing sugar, to serve  - maybe 2-3 tbs

AND 2 Flake chocolate bars, broken up, OR 2 tbs dark muscovado sugar + 1 tbs cacao nibs + 1 Flake bar mixed together and thrown on the top, to serve - my idea!


Turn on your oven to 170C/340F

Prepare a 20cm/8 inch springform tin or a regular cake tin by lightly greasing and flouring the bottom and sides, and placing a piece of baking paper on the base

Sift the cocoa powder into a small bowl, then whisk in the boiling water till you have a smooth but runny paste, and let it cool down

Grab another small bowl, and whisk together the almond meal, pistachios and bicarb soda

In a medium-size bowl, place the sugar, the olive oil, and the eggs; beat for 3 minutes with electric beaters - or with a hand beater and lots of energy! - till you have a thick, and palely creamy mixture 

Pour/spoon in the cocoa mixture, beating as you go, then add the nutty stuff and give it a quick whisk till incorporated

Into the prepared tin goes the batter, and bake for 40-45 minutes - (mine took 45 mins.)

It's ready when the cake is coming away slightly from the sides, and a skewer (yes, thrust into its dark heart) comes out clean - the cake will still look a teensy bit damp in the centre, which is a good thing

Cool it for 10 minutes on a wire rack (in the cake tin) then take it out of the tin and onto the rack till it cools completely

Dust liberally with icing sugar, and serve with cream or creme fraiche

I strongly suggest casting the chocolate Flakes, muscovado sugar and cacao nib mixture all over it too!

Pros of this cake:

so easy to make; so moist, and not too sweet; 'a nice surprise with the soft crunch of the pistachios' (thus spake Mr P.)


some people might find the olive oil a bit strong for them, and it has the slightest, slightest whiff of egginess, tho' we didn't mind at all, especially when paired with creme fraiche or ice cream

gather your ingredients

whisk the meal and nuts together

beat the cocoa mixture into the eggy mixture

batter ready for the oven at 170C/340F

out of the oven; baking paper ripped off its bottom

cooled and ready to eat

smother in cream or creme fraiche

yep, we dived in before the final photo :-)

© Sherry M.

(Joining up with Marg from Intrepid Reader for Weekend cooking.)

Tuesday 8 June 2021

Pistachio And Orange Blossom Water Shortbreads

I was never a great fan of shortbread till I met Mr P.  His eldest sister (he has 4!) makes the most wonderful, buttery, light as air shortbreads you will ever eat.  Unadorned, beautiful shortbread.  I paused when I saw this recipe which has orange blossom water starring as a flavour.  Reminds me a bit of grandmothers' bathrooms.  Our mate Princess Pia laughed when I said it smells like toilet water - as in, the scent that ladies splash on themselves, not your actual toilet water :-)

This is a recipe by Peter Gordon, the New Zealand chef who has recently moved back to NZ during Covid.  (From his book Peter Gordon a culinary journey.)  After living in the UK for 20 years, he sold his London restaurants to start up again in his home country.  Mm, I seem to have a bit of a thing going with New Zealand at the moment, don't I?  It really IS a fabulous place to visit, and I'd love to live there for a while.  And they have the wondrous Jacinda Ardern for Prime Minister.  Sooooo jelly!

so cute, so delicious

Makes 21 biscuits (tho Peter says 24-30!):


125g./4.5 oz butter, softened (not melted)

100g./3.5 oz caster sugar (I used raw)

1 egg yolk

30 mL/2 U.S. tbs of orange blossom water (or rosewater - my idea)

80g./3 oz ground pistachios (I zapped 'em in the food processor)

200g./7 oz plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

a pinch of sea salt

2 tsp orange zest (my idea)

extra sugar for sprinkling on top


Cream the butter and sugar together briefly with electric beaters - don't go crazy; Peter says you don't want too much air

Beat in the egg yolk, then gently beat in the orange blossom water and the nuts

Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture, and stir till nicely incorporated 

Pat the dough into a nice lump, whack on the cling wrap, flatten slightly and stick in the fridge for an hour to chill down

Then - turn your oven to 180C/360F to warm up

Cut the dough in half, roll out one piece between 2 sheets of baking paper till it's 1/2 cm./0.2 in thick

Make shapes with a biscuit cutter or whatever you fancy, place on a lined baking tray then do the same with the other half of the dough

Prick them with a fork (I forgot to do this!), sprinkle on the sugar and zest and bake - the recipe says 12-18 minutes; mine took 16 mins. - till they start to go golden

Let them cool on the trays for 10 minutes, then place them on wire racks to get cold

Keep in an airtight container for up to a week

grind your nuts - can you even buy 'em already ground??

add the ground nuts to the creamed butter and sugar

wrap in clingfilm, and refrigerate for an hour

cut the chilled dough in half

place the shortbreads on lined trays

a wee bit puffed up 'cos I forgot to prick 'em :-)

sweet, airy, light shortbreads

© Sherry M.

Tuesday 1 June 2021

In My Kitchen - June 2021

First of all - very sad news for those of us who knew Kim Bultman of the blog A Little Lunch.  I was completely gobsmacked and shocked to read on her Facebook page that she had passed away last week.  She emailed me at Christmas with some words of wisdom, which I really appreciated.  Vale Kim, and hugs to her family.

But here we are, ready for another IMK post.  I love June! - it's Winter, it's my birthday month, it's the Winter Solstice, it's fabulous.  I pull out my many and varied scarves, and my boots and for about a month, we enjoy the change in weather.  Though we Queenslanders do start to complain once the temp. drops below 20C/70F!

Our compatriots in Victoria have just gone into a 7 day lockdown again, poor things.  I just hope we don't get any of that up here.  I've already had some awful virus that lasted for 3.5 weeks!  And I've had some marathon sessions at the dentist, with more to come.  And I need new spectacles ... and on it goes.  This year is full of surprises, and shocks.  Now let's look into our kitchen happenings.  Join in, one and all.  Everybody is welcome!

In my kitchen:

a few goodies from Grecian Purveyor in Sydney, and Long Track Pantry

The dolmades are so delicious!  They are not too soggy or salty, but just right.  And the dried oregano is fantastic - full of flavour and a great scent.

more goodies from our local village Providore

Watermelon hot sauce is a tangy, sweet and spicy item.  Great with all sorts of things.  Such clever people to think of making this stuff.

regional vanilla paste

as per the label

blitzing parsley and chives and olive oil

Happily I no longer throw out limp, sad herbs but blitz them with salt, pepper and olive oil, and into the freezer they go.  I feel virtuous, and I have a ready supply of herbs for soups and stews.

shredding cabbage for sauerkraut

My sauerkraut is going very well this year.  Bubbling away nicely in the depths of my walk-in wardrobe.  I love my personalised crock made by our beautiful potter friend Brooke from Red Door Studio.

'A Book Trip' by Yuiko Uto

This is my June curveball.  I love watercolours!  This is by a Japanese-Australian artist.  I bought this at a local market, situated in trendy Fish Lane.  So quirky, so clever, so gorgeous.  My walls are getting rather well-populated, so this one is sitting way up above 3 other paintings.  I keep telling Mr P. that I need my own little studio/getaway in the backyard.

Here's the usual reminder, folks: IMK posts are about your kitchen (and kitchen garden) happenings over the past month.  Dishes you've cooked, preserves you've made, herbs and veg in your garden, kitchen gadgets, and goings-on.  You get the picture.  And don't forget your curveball!  Throw in whatever you fancy; no need to be kitchen-related.  The link is open from the first to the thirteenth of the month.  Let me know if you need help with adding your post, or if you would like it added manually by me after the 13th (if you're running late). Here's how to join in:

Options for adding your post to IMK:

1. Add via the Add Link button at the bottom of this post.  Instructions can be found on the sidebar of this page, under the Add your IMK link OR:

2. Comment on this post, providing a link to your post so I can add it manually to the list below OR:

3. Email me:, with your link or any queries about the link process

In My Kitchen:

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter