Sunday, 29 January 2012

Paris 2010 - The Eiffel Tower at almost dusk

Better late than never I suppose. So here they are. Photos of the Paris I saw, but cannot say I fell in love with like many others. Perhaps it was the stolen wallet, perhaps it was that I didn't quite see the 'romance' in it all or perhaps I was simply tired. I'm not sure, but I do wish to visit again just to make sure Paris and I are/aren't meant for each other.

Built in 1889 by Gustave Eiffel as the entrance arch to the 1889 World's Fair, La Tour Eiffel has since become one of the world's most recognised and visited structures - the symbol of Paris.

Beautiful isn't against the fading blue sky? I didn't get to see the lights that come on after nightfall. It was a long spring day. I chose not to wait in favour of dinner and a warm bed. I did however, manage to sit on the ledge of the water canal and eat some delicious freshly made crepes filled with Nutella.

The other side of the canal.

Lemon Drizzle Cake and hope for a better tomorrow...

Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Stephen Mitchell

The sky puts on the darkening blue coat
held for it by a row of ancient trees;
you watch: and the lands grow distant in your sight,
one journeying to heaven, one that falls;

and leave you, not at home in either one,
not quite so still and dark as the darkened houses,
not calling to eternity with the passion of what becomes
a star each night, and rises;

and leave you (inexpressibly to unravel)
your life, with its immensity and fear,
so that, now bounded, now immeasurable,
it is alternately stone in you and star.

It will be tomorrow in a few hours. I can't say I'm looking forward to it with enthusiasm despite the lovely cakes I've had to tide me over the weekend. I think I will need Edmund again, but we'll see. Perhaps a slice of this for dinner will sort me out.

Adapted from BBCGoodFood

250g Butter, softened and a little kept aside to butter the cake tin
225g Caster Sugar
3 Lemons, zested and juiced
Vanilla Beans from 1 Vanilla Pod
4 large Eggs
200g Self-Raising Flour
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
50g Ground Almonds
Icing Sugar

Grease and line a 20cm round loose-bottomed cake tin.

Sieve Flour, Ground Almonds and Baking Powder together. Set aside. Cream Butter, Sugar, Vanilla and three-quarters of the Lemon Zest with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Beat in Eggs one by one, beating well after each addition. Fold in the Flour mixture gently by hand until just combined. Give the batter a quick mix with the electric beaters (5 - 7 seconds). Fold in three-quarters of the Lemon Juice gently by hand until completely absorbed into the batter. Pour batter into the prepared tin and bake at 150 Celsius until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

While the cake is baking, mix the reserved Lemon Juice with enough sieved Icing Sugar to get a thick, white, spreadable icing. The icing should not be too runny. Pour the icing over the just baked cake and place it back in the oven for about 5 minutes to dry a little. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool completely. The icing will form a thin crust on top of the cake. Sprinkle with reserved Lemon Zest and serve.
  • I used a smaller round cake tin and cupcake cases instead of a 20cm round cake tin.
  • I also accidentally left the cake in with the icing a little too long so it started bubbling and made a bit of a mess on the oven floor. This idea (not the mess!) is from Tamami. If you click on the link, you will see that she has given step-by-step instructions on how to get the perfect shiny set icing. I'm of course, a half-past-six baker so I simply mixed and did.
  • And yes, I have tried Jamie Oliver's recipe for the same cake. It's a lovely cake by itself. It's got a more full-on mouth-puckering lemon flavour going for it as well as syrup poured in and an icing on top, but I found the poppyseeds distracting.
  • I much prefer this cake. The flavour is more elegant and nothing distracts from the moist lemony crumb. Perfect with a cup of hot tea.