Lately, the common cliché, "you are only as good as...." has been flashing in front of my eyes on an imaginary card. Reassuringly, the phenomenon though occurring regularly, it tend not to happen at odd time. It only takes place when I pitch or tweak my bio or talk about my work which means that it happens a lot, indeed. It had me thinking, could it be that as writers what determines our self worth is the latest piece written?
The brutal answer is, "Yes".
In April, my food column for The Greenwich Visitor, the much loved local paper, will be all about cakes and that will be the article by which my writing is assessed, at least for a blink.
"Cake" I hear you say, "but you can't bake for toffee". How well you know me. Though being challenged in the cake baking department, I am a very good researcher and believe me I ate a lot of cakes for that article. One stood out. I loved how moist this lemon cake was. The addition of thyme was not greatly successful so I tweaked the recipe, still more would be required to cut through so my advice is don't be shy with the thyme.
◾200g caster sugar
◾100g plain flour
◾1/2 teaspoon baking powder
◾100g ground almonds
◾4 large eggs
◾1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves - A reader suggested to use Lemon-Thyme to get more of the thyme flavour -
For the drizzle:
◾4 tablespoons caster sugar
◾2 large lemons
◾2 tablespoons water
◾1/2 teaspoon on thyme leaves
Method:Line a 20cm loaf tin with baking parchment and set your oven at 160 degrees C / Gas 3. To add extra flavour put the thyme leaves reserved for the drizzle in a bowl and pour the equivalent of 2 tbsp. of boiling water on the top.
In a mixer (it can be done by hand as well but mixer here is best). Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the eggs one by one then the flower, the baking powder and the ground almonds. Keep mixing until you get a smooth mixture
Grate the zest from your lemon and put into a pestle with your thyme leaves and pound until you get a rough paste, then mix into your cake mix. Spoon in the prepared tin and bake. It normally takes 45 minutes but keep an eye on it and check near the end with a knife. You don't want it to dry up.
While the cake is in the oven, prepare the syrup. In a small saucepan dissolve the sugar, the juice of 2 lemons and add the thyme leaves with the water.
When the cake comes out of the oven prick it all over and drizzle the syrup all over. Leave it to cool and take out of the baking tin.
This recipe has been linked to Cooking with Herbs a challenge set by Lavender & Lovage