Almond Cake with Lemon Syrup

So the weather forecast was not entirely correct. Go figure!!
Saturday was ok, so I managed to ride both of my horses, weed around the fruit trees and give them a little fertiliser. (aka horse poo that I’d picked up.) I then tackled a few of the more mundane household task that I had been putting off. Funny how they don’t magically disappear even when you ignore them….
Sunday was cold and raining. Most people would find this depressing but I found it just perfect for relaxing by the fire reading my book, drinking cups of tea and eating cake. Almond cake with lemon syrup to be precise. With lemons from our very own tree! Recipe below. Hope you enjoy.


4 eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
150g melted butter
1 cup almonds- (1 cup almonds blitzed in the food processor)

Lemon Syrup

1 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup water

1 tsp vanilla extract or essence
2 Lemons thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 160C and grease either a large loaf tin or a square cake tin.
Note for young players- a loaf tin works best. The cake takes longer to cook in the square tin and you risk the outer edges drying out.

Lemon syrup; combine the sugar, water and vanilla in a saucepan over medium heat and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add the lemon slices and simmer for 15 minutes or until they are completely soft. Arrange the slices on the base of your cake tin and then pour in the syrup.
For the cake batter; combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer and whisk for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is pale and tripled in volume. Fold in the flour and baking powder. Then gently fold in the butter and almonds.
Spoon batter into the cake tin, smooth over the top and bake for 45 minutes or until cooked through. Let rest for about 5 minutes then turn out onto a platter making sure to collect all of the syrup. Serve as it is or with vanilla ice cream!! 

Old is new again.

What’s that old saying?…”the more things change the more they stay the same”.

A few years ago we were offered an old vacuum cleaner. At first I said no. We already had a vacuum that we left in the shed along with a host of cleaning stuff for the villas. If I needed a vacuum for the house I’d just walk up and get it. Then I had second thoughts. We only have carpet in the bedrooms so I didn’t need it that often. The vacuum was in perfect working order, and it had all the extra attachment even one called a “Power Head”. Perfect for all that 60’s shag pile carpet! So then I relented and said yes. It would be handy to have in the house. Trent was not so convinced, but as ever he was very supportive. He even managed to find a new connector for the hose on e-bay. Seriously is their nothing you can’t buy in e-bay?
I nick named her Betty Draper.

The first few times I did the vacuuming with Betty, it was a bit of a laugh. I could imagine house proud women of the 1950’s being totally in awe of Betty. After a few uses I could also see why housewives of the 1950 loved a “Bex and a good lie down”! Betty wasn’t actually that old, probably a child of the ’70’s more than the ’50’s but never the less, Betty was hard work. None of the extra piece were ever on hand when I needed them so I was forever walking back to the last room to retrieve the missing bit. The power head attachment was fantastic but it required an extra cord to be plugged into the vacuum for it to work. She was big, noisy and cumbersome but I persevered because she was free and it wasn’t like I was using her that often. But then I was. Our love affair went downhill fast.

Enter her replacement. I named her Ruby. Because she’s red. Original name I know.

Ruby Meile is compact, quiet and whooshes around behind me like a ghost. All of the attachment are hidden on board, and she has 3 power head options. Realistically I’m never going to be THAT type of house proud person, so the additional 2 are still in the box. I didn’t pay extra for them, they just came with the vacuum. I wonder if Betty’s attachments were optional extras?
I guess the bit that made me laugh was the fact that even though Betty still did the job, I wanted Ruby.  She was easier to lug around, smaller and with whiz bang air filters, defiantly better for my health…We women can justify anything can’t we?
I had succumbed to consumerism and clever marketing. Much like Betty’s original owner I suspect.  I could have persevered with Betty until the very end, but seriously vacuuming is a dull thankless job at the best of times. Why prolong the pain?

The old new stove……..

My Nana’s stove now takes pride of place in our house. I have many fond memories of standing in front of this stove with my cousins. It was always the central meeting place in winter and the perfect place to warm cold hands & bums!
It’s beautiful to cook on and keeps the entire house war. We have a gas stove in the kitchen, but during last winter I took every opportunity to cook on this stove. Whether it was soup slowly bubbling on the stove top or a casseroles in the the oven – it always made the house smell divine.
I’m not sure why, but a kettle boiled on top of this stove always makes the best pot of tea…

Trent did the most amazing job in restoring the stove. The back had completely rusted out, the chimney casing was cracked  and the fire bricks inside had to be replaced. All that and we still had to move it into the house! This solid enamel cast iron stove weigh a tonne. It took 5 men to move it out of her house. We used steel pipes to roll it into place in our new house.