August 29, 2020


I made this cake recently for a friend's birthday.
It's an adaptation of a recipe which I've used before and you can see here.  On that occasion (two years ago) I was using up a glut of courgettes but this year we have none at all, which is very sad indeed.
Last year's wasn't a great harvest either, largely because during a spring storm the wind blew over two of our four plants, the green ones, and broke the tops off.  Luckily the other two plants gave a reasonable supply of small yellow courgettes.  This year we were in the UK drowning our sorrows in Italian rosé wine at the time when we should have been planting courgette plants in our French garden.

Fortunately we have friends who have some to give away so we're not going entirely without courgettes this year. 
Unfortunately I wasn't able to taste the cake after I had given it away.  Good for my lockdown waistline but it would have been nice to be able to verify that it tasted as good as my friend said.  It may seem odd to post about a cake that I haven't actually tasted but it wouldn't be the first time!  The main reason is that so I can remember how I made it for next time.  It's a further adaptation of Nigella Lawson's recipe for "Flora's courgette cake", adding some coconut instead of the dried fruit.

I made the cake again, just to check it was good.
 It was!
250g courgettes, unpeeled
2 large eggs
125ml sunflower oil
150g caster sugar
225g self raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder
50g desiccated coconut
zest of 1 lime*

For the topping and filling

2-3 tblsp lemon curd**
zest and juice of 1 lime*
100g cream cheese
50g butter, softened
50g icing sugar


Grease and line the bases of two 20cm sponge tins.  Preheat the oven to 180C / 160 fan / gas mk 4.
Wipe the courgettes clean with damp kitchen paper and grate them, unpeeled, using the course side of a box grater.  Squeeze small handfuls of the grated courgettes and place in a sieve over a bowl to allow any more liquid to drip out.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs, oil and sugar with an electric whisk until light and creamy.  Sieve in the flour, baking powder and bicarb and beat again to combine.  Stir in the courgettes, coconut and lime zest until well blended.
Divide the mixture evenly between the two tins and bake for 30 minutes until firm and golden brown.  Cool in the tin for five minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
While the cakes are cooling, put the lemon curd into a small bowl and mix well with a dash of lime juice to sharpen it if needed**.  Set aside.
In another bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth, beat in the butter and icing sugar and a dash of lime juice to taste.  Refrigerate until needed.
When the cakes are cold, place one of them on a plate or stand and spread with the lemon curd.  Place the other on top and spread with the cream cheese topping.  Sprinkle a few strands of lime zest over to decorate.  Add a few edible flowers for decoration if you like.
Cuts into 8-10 slices.
*the unused lime juice can be used to make margaritas which would go well with a slice of this cake!
**the jar of lemon curd I used, French from SuperU, seemed already quite sharp to me so I didn't add any lime juice to it.

August 18, 2020



I know what I said in the previous post but.....when visitors come for lunch one has to provide a dessert!  This plum crumble cake was made using this recipe here.

On another occasion I made a fig upside down cake using this recipe here.
Both of these cakes are fast becoming my equal favourites for entertaining.

August 6, 2020


We have now been back in France for two weeks and what a joy it is to be here.
I haven't posted about any baking for a while but that doesn't mean it hasn't been going on!
Just before we left for France I made a smoked sausage, pea, tomato and goat's cheese quiche.
It was delicious and used up bits and pieces from the fridge.  You can see the general method for this kind of quiche here.
I also made a mango and raspberry upside down cake using this method here.
I used tinned mango slices for it and they worked really well, making a change from the more traditional pineapple upside down cake with cherries.
I made it again for a lunch party we hosted chez nous which you can read about here.  I also served a raspberry trifle and a plateful of raspberry puffs which you can see here.

Also, just before we left for France I used some rhubarb from our flourishing rhubarb patch and some strawberries that needed eating up to make a rhubarb and strawberry jumblefruit pie.
It's essentially fruit sprinkled with sugar to taste and covered with a layer of pastry trimmings frozen from all the quiches that have been made!  You can see the general idea here.
However, I'm not sure how much baking will be going on in the near future.  During lockdown I have definitely acquired a "lockdown waistline" due to spending too much time in the garden during the fine weather, drowning my sorrows with rosé wine and home made cake!  (I had no idea before this that the Italians made such a delicious Pinot Grigio rosé!)
On arriving here and meeting up with friends after what seems like forever it's noticeable that several of them have spent their time much more sensibly and lost a serious amount of weight.  Five of them have lost one and a half stone each - as opposed to the half stone I have gained, which I could ill afford to gain as I had intended to spend the winter losing weight, not gaining it!  Then along came something that turned our world upside down - a simple virus.  (It's probably a very complex virus for all I know but what havoc it has wrought.)   What with the virus, Brexit, and my elderly father to worry about I went in for stress eating and drinking big style.  I can forgive myself for it in some ways but on the other hand am kicking myself for not getting to grips, knuckling down and "taking back control" of my calorie intake.
"The time has come" as the walrus said and there may be fewer baking posts for a while!