Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Olive Oil Cake Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Lemon Olive Oil Cake

I’ve neglected this space for far too long; in that time I’ve had éclairs in Paris, coffee in Amsterdam and an amazing lunch in London.
It’s been an active couple of weeks; exhausting but in a good way, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’m back now, and just like last year I’m battling a cold again.
I have plans for soup this weekend, black-eyed peas stewed in a brothy sauce with lots of harissa and cumin and topped with fried sage – I can almost taste it!

But I’ll like to share this lemon olive oil cake with you before I move on to that – I’ve had this post prepped and ready for weeks, waiting for words to go with it. It feels surreal to be staring at it again after all this time.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

This cake saved me this summer, not in that critical and dramatic way one usually gets saved, but I made it a few times over summer and it felt like a little victory every time it came out perfectly. It made life deliciously easy.

It’s one of those cakes that looks like a bit of work, but it really isn’t – it’s a breeze to make and it turns out spectacular every time!

I collected a few teas during my vacation, I stayed across the street from the oldest tea house in Paris.

I knew I’d need lots of tea to get me through the damp grey autumn and winter months ahead; I had these intoxicating images of cold rainy afternoons curled up with aromatic cups of tea with generous slices of this cake.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Lemon Olive Oil Cake

I try to use mild and fruity olive oils that taste smooth for this cake, and Meyer lemons if I can find them, although I’m beginning to love the bold flavours of regular lemons.

I love the sweet lemony flavours. It’s the perfect everyday cake for breakfast or afternoon tea, and light enough as a refreshing dessert (after a heavy meal) with whipped cream and fruit.

This is one of my favourite cakes just because it’s simple, rustic and delectable with wonderful crumb and texture.
We’ve been collecting a list of cakes for our would-be café for years and this definitely makes the cut.

Lemon Olive Oil Cake Lemon Olive Oil Cake
Lemon Olive Oil Cake


Lemon Olive Oil Cake

Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit

Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit
Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit

There’s a cute paradise of a nut shop in my neighbourhood that sells all manner of tasty nuts and dried fruits, they have these magical saffron and lime roasted cashews that are out-of-this-world delicious, and okra chips so addictive I’m slightly obsessed with them.

I noticed they had rose petals the other day so I got some, unsure of what I was going to make with them… I loved the delicate floral scent and the alluring petals.

Perhaps it’s because I bought them at the store where I’d gone to get nuts for granola, but the first thing they went into was this rose petal granola with dried fruit.

Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit
Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit

The rose petals adds a tinge of sparkle to this otherwise modest granola, I love the essence it adds to it, the subtle notes of the rose enlivens the granola – it smells wonderful, the faint aroma of roses is quite lovely especially in the mornings.

This isn’t my first dalliance with floral flavours in granola; you’d recall this lavender granola, which to this day remains one of my favourite granola ever!

I know the title says ‘rose petals’ and I’ve gone on and on about roses… but omit the petals if you can’t find them, it’s still a very good granola without the roses or feel free to experiment with other flavours, that’s the beauty and flexibility in granola making.

Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit

It’s rounded off with rosewater, cardamom and a dash of nutmeg, which reminded me of a rosewater and cardamom cocktail I had a while back, I wanted to impact a little bit of that sweet, warm flavour into the granola.

I love experimenting with granola and discovering new recipes as evident by my expertly curated ‘granola board of inspiration

Another trick I’ve learned recently is that if you like your granola to clump up, don’t stir while it’s baking and when you take it out of the oven, add your dried fruit and other ingredient (if using) and press it down firmly into the baking pan, let the granola cool completely, then break into pieces before serving or storage.

Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit
Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit


Rose Petal Granola with Dried Fruit

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

I’d forgotten how much I love this time of the year. I love that stillness in the mornings that wasn’t there weeks before and the breezy cool sunny days.

It’s this time of year too that I start yearning for my favourite ‘comfort meals’ again; maybe it’s the cool evenings or the insight that we’re about be plunged into cold dark nights, but there’s something about this time that has me craving big hearty salads and soups.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

I love lentils… sometimes to a point of silliness; I swear I could eat lentils for breakfast, lunch and dinner without complaint – it’s pretty evident from the amount of lentil recipes I have on this blog.

I love this time of year for salads like this wonderful quinoa and lentils with vegetables, it’s comforting, hearty and filling, and comes together quickly.

I’m all about easy to prepare meal; especially during this time when there’s still light out to bring dinner down to the beach or eat out on the balcony.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad
Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

This is a well-rounded salad that can be adapted to include your favourite vegetables and legumes; use peas instead, or carrots or roast your fennel first for caramelized sweetness – I did this a few weeks ago.

I usually precook the lentils and quinoa and store them in the fridge, and reheat them when I’m ready to make the salad.

I use whatever vegetables I have on hand; with this salad it’s shaved fennel, carrots, red onions and sundried tomatoes, finished off with a tangy mustard vinaigrette.

I make plenty so there’re leftovers for the rest of the week because I love this salad more after a day or two, it gets even more wonderful when the ingredients have had a chance to get to know each other better.

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Quinoa, Lentil, Carrot and Fennel Salad

Cornmeal Muffins

Cornmeal Muffins

There’s something wistful about the start of September.

It’s filled with subtle changes; the days get shorter and there’s a moodiness in the air, the leaves start turning and there’s an early morning chill signaling summer’s inevitable end.

I’ve always loved this time of year; it feels contemplative as we shift focus from hazy summer days to the drearier days ahead.

There’s also a lightness to this time of year, bursts of perfect sunshiny days reminding us that summer isn’t quite over.

Cornmeal Muffins

Cornmeal Muffins

This is the time we ease back into the kitchen; roasting vegetables, baking and cooking decadent porridges again.

We fired up the oven this evening, slow roasting okra with hatch peppers and heirloom tomatoes.

I save cornmeal muffins for this time of the year; they’re summery and breezy, easy to whip up on cooler evenings when turning on the oven doesn’t feel stifling.

Aromatic flavours wafts through my tiny kitchen as it bakes and makes my heart happy.

Cornmeal Muffins Cornmeal Muffins
Cornmeal Muffins

These muffins are sweet, with hints of nutmeg and cardamom for warmth and topped with a sprinkle of pearl sugar to boost the cornmeal’s nutty crunchiness.

They’re just right for evenings around here, these delicate muffins, served warm with a pot of tea and a good book.

It’s perfect for lingering as darkness falls… as the sounds of the seagulls filter away and the 9 O’Clock Gun goes off in the distance.

There’s a touch of lightness and warmth to these muffins that is a little like this time of year.

Cornmeal Muffins

Cornmeal Muffins

A Day on the Sunshine Coast

Cafe Sign
Café sign and abandoned car in the woods

We hopped on the ferry and skipped over to the Sunshine Coast a few weekends ago.

I love these mini summer pilgrimages to the Sunshine Coast; it’s a quick forty-minute ride away but feels like worlds away from the hectic city life.

Life here relaxed and charming, perfect for a day’s jaunt to gather one’s self.

We spent the day driving the Sunshine Coast Highway, exploring scenic seaside communities in the Lower Sunshine Coast.

Roberts Creek Mandala

Rocky Beach Rooibos Latte

Gibsons Marina

Robert’s Creek Mandala/Rocky beach at Sechelt/Rooibos latte from 1902 Tea House/Gibsons Landing Marina

We had breakfast in the loveliest teashop in Gibsons, found a quiet beach in Robert’s Creek while checking out this year’s fascinating mandala, then collected seashells and driftwood in Davis Bay.

In Sechelt, we had a small picnic and explored galleries.
We stopped at Ruby Lake; we always stop at Ruby Lake to dip our toes in the water.

Skookumchuck Trail Sechelt
Brown Lake Mossy Forest
Skookumchuck Narrows trail/Boat on the water/Brown Lake/Mossy forest

We veered off the road at Egmont and took the winding road to the Skookumchuck Narrows trail.

We hiked through the enchanting moss and fern covered forest and caught the rapids – the tide was low but still pretty cool.

And then we drove back with just enough time for dinner and to catch our ferry.

Roberts Creek

Sechelt Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park

Sechelt
Rocks at Robert’s Creek/Sechelt/Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park/Egmont

Continue reading {A Day on the Sunshine Coast} for more pictures…!


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