When the snowflakes are out, I know it's really winter, and gosh haven't we been dealt some wintry weather lately? It's been very hard to prise myself out of the warm doona in the dark to take the dogs for a run in the mornings (let's just say that it doesn't happen every morning) and I think they prefer to be here anyway...
The farm is looking lovely and green at the moment, although it's hardly wet 'n muddy, which it often is at this time of the year. We have been carrying what can only be described as the United Nations of the cattle world.....
We had a lovely trip to New Zealand in the holidays, to stay with some friends near Queenstown. It is impossibly beautiful.....
and enormous fun.
When we got home I was faced with the urgent need to prune the roses. It's a big job, but I'm always so glad when it's done:
|The Albertine is always the worst|
In this jar is the peel of 3-4 lemons and vinegar. I leave the lemon and vinegar to infuse for 2-3 weeks then dilute it 50/50 with water and use it as a multi purpose spray.
Cheap, effective and environmentally friendly...got to love that. I also made a lemon syrup yoghurt cake, which has to go into the category of an oldie but a goodie:
LEMON SYRUP YOGHURT CAKE - with a whisper of rosemary:
185g butter, softened
1/2 cup castor sugar
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/4 cup ground almonds
1/2 teasp bicarb soda
1/2 cup natural yoghurt (I use greek)
1/4 cup castor sugar
1 sprig rosemary
Preheat the oven to 180c. Grease and line a 20-22cm round cake tin.
Cream butter and sugar for a few minutes until pale then beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down the sides as you go.
Sift flour and bicarb soda and fold in with the almonds.
Gently mix in the yoghurt and the grated juice and rind of two lemons.
Turn into tin and bake for 30-45 minutes, depending on your oven.
While the cake is in the oven make the syrup so the rosemary can infuse.
Heat the juice and zest of two lemons with sugar and the rosemary in a saucepan stirring until the sugar dissolves. Set aside.
The cake will be ready when it is golden and a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Using the skewer, poke holes all over the cake and pour the syrup over so that it can soak in. Allow to cool in the tin then using a plate over the top, flip it over then flip onto your serving plate. You can make some more syrup for when you serve it up if you like. This is one of my all time favourite cakes, on a par with Nigella Lawson's Damp Lemon and Almond Cake from How to be a Domestic Goddess, which uses rather more butter and eggs.
Another use for the mighty lemon is this herby lemon salt from The Kitchn, I am definitely going to make a jar of that this afternoon. I also whipped up a lemony salsa verde, which would go so well with lamb, beef or chicken...
Of course it is also time for Seville oranges, so I always make my year's supply of marmalade in the middle of winter: