I am really enjoying this spring, it somehow seems more vibrant and alive – the colours seem so bright and fresh and everything in the garden is shooting up suddenly. I wonder if everything really is happening very quickly after such a long winter, or if I am just enjoying it more because the bad weather, the cold and the snow, seemed to drag on forever. Mr McGregor thinks he has finally got the veg patch under some sort of control after a delayed start because of the bad weather and there are exciting things growing for the summer!
There is blossom on the apple trees, and plenty of rhubarb….
There is also some colour in the flower garden, I particularly love this plant on the left which I think is called Lamprocapnos spectabilis or Dicentra spectabilis – commonly known as Bleeding Heart. It’s a lovely perennial, originally from the Far East, which is happy in our garden in a slightly shady position. The alliums are slowly spreading across the garden and are just about opening…
We also have a lovely shrub (perhaps a Berberis?), which explodes gloriously into orange flowers at this time of year
I saw this recipe for Apricot almond cake with rosewater and cardamom by Nigella Lawson and thought I’d give it a whirl. I’ve never cooked with rosewater before – Nigella advises to use it sparingly and it is really quite something. The cake is lovely, and reminds me a little of Turkish Delight! I accidentally deleted the picture from my phone, but it is there on Instagram if you want to take a look!
Apricot and almond cake with rosewater and cardamom (pdf: Apricot almond cake with rosewater and cardamom)
150 grams dried apricots
250 millilitres cold water
2 cardamom pods (cracked)
200 grams ground almonds
50 grams fine polenta
1 teaspoon baking powder (gluten-free if required)
50 grams caster sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon rosewater
Grease and line a 20cm/8-inch round springform cake tin
- Put the dried apricots into a small saucepan, cover them with the cold water, and drop in the cracked cardamom pods. Bring to the boil for 10 minutes after which most of the water will have been absorbed. Then let the apricots cool. When cool, discard the cardamom husks, leaving the seeds in the pan.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4/350ºF.
- Pour the contents of the pan into a food processor. Add the ground almonds, polenta, baking powder, caster sugar and eggs, and combine well
- Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and the rosewater, and mix well again. Scrape into the prepared tin and smooth with a spatula.
- Bake for 40 minutes – you will probably need to cover loosely with foil at the 30-minute mark. When ready, the cake will be coming away from the edges of the tin, the top will feel firm, and a cake tester will come out quite clean.
- Cool on a wire rack.