Usually, I love winter but I was so, so glad to spot these snowdrops today.
There are words that make me happier just by saying them. Among these are the Scottish place names Beeswing, Wogle, Auchterarder and Mugiemoss; the animal names aardvark, moose and piglet; and the food names butterbean, nectarine and poppyseed. And quite frankly, my like of the word poppyseed was what possessed me to make the following cake last week. I don’t even like cakes that much! Turns out this one was rather lovely though and I shall be making it again soon.
Poppy Seed and Vanilla Cake
140g butter, room temp
140g caster sugar
Seeds from 1 vanilla pod
1 tspn vanilla extract (optional)
140g plain flour
Pinch of salt
1 tspn baking powder
40g poppy seeds
- Rub a 20cm cake tin with butter and line with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180 oC.
- Cream together the sugar, butter and vanilla seeds. Taste and add the vanilla extract if you think the cake needs it.
- Mix together the eggs and buttermilk. Add little by little to the creamed eggs and sugar mixing in thoroughly each time.
- Sift the flour, salt and baking powder into the bowl and add the poppy seeds. Fold together until ingredients are combined.
- Spoon into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes until golden on top.
- Allow to cool before eating.
Home for a couple of days. As I drove into the village yesterday, this was the view that greeted me.
Quite a welcome. And that was nothing in comparison to the welcome I got from my beloved pup, Marco. Think he missed me as much as I missed him. Treated him to sunny walk and a swim in the firth. Two of his favourite things.
Then we got home and I did one of my favourite things. Made bread.
(Makes one big loaf)
300ml warm water
1 tspn dry active yeast
400g strong white flour
1 tspn salt
Big handful of black olives (approx. 20), chopped roughly
1 tspn dried oregano
Fine ground cornmeal
- Add the yeast to the warm water and set aside until the yeast foams a little (around 10 mins).
- In a large bowl stir together the flour, salt, olives and oregano. Add the yeasty water and stir to create a wet dough. Leave for 5 mins.
- Smear a little olive oil onto your work surface and plop the dough out onto it. Knead for a couple of minutes. (You might need to add a tiny bit more flour if the dough is really too sticky to do anything with but don’t add much. I just dip my hands in flour a couple of times if need be.)
- Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with a teatowel. Leave in a warm (not too hot!) place for 30 mins until doubled in sized.
- Knead the dough for a couple of minutes again and place back in the bowl for another 30mins.
- Final stage. Line a baking tray with baking paper and dust with cornmeal (or more flour if you don’t have cornmeal). Place dough onto work surface and pull into a flattish rectangular shape. Roll dough up lengthways and tuck the ends underneath. Place seam side down and cover with the tea towel again. Leave to double in size in the same warm place.
- Meanwhile, heat your oven to 210 oC (or 200 oC if fan assisted). When oven reaches the right temperature place a cake tin of hot water in the bottom of the oven. Leave for 10 mins to let the oven get steamy.
- Dust the risen dough with cornmeal and use a knife to make 3 slits across the top of the loaf. Place in the oven and bake for 40 mins until golden.
- Leave to cool on a rack before eating.
Was sent the following pup pictures over the last week. They sincerely did cheer me up. Hope they brighten your day too.
Marco and a couple of kitties manage to sneak in there too. Couldn’t resist.
A larger version can be viewed here.
To Mary, Andrew, Eve, Mary, Cynthia, Artiom, Jeanne, Julie, Amanda, Maria, Lynn, Antonia and Maria – thank you. x
My friend Lucy sent me an email a couple of days ago with some words of support and a cheering photo of her pup, Poppy. I adore Poppy even though I’ve never met her or her owner, both of whom live on the other side of the planet. Ain’t blogging grand?
So here is Poppy, the sleepy, cheeky, patched terrier:
P.S. If anyone else wants to send me dog photos, I’d more than gladly receive them! Send those canine snaps to wjharrison77[at]aol[dot]com
Still recycling old photos.
A couple of summers ago we were asked by friends to dog-sit four Irish Wolfhounds. They towered over my own pup, Marco, but guess who was the boss of them all… Yup. The wee, black, bully spaniel.