Last week was a bit busy and in the spirit of organisation I bough fifty lemons to serve with various shellfish dishes, to add to home-made mayonnaise and to make posset with. Somewhere along the way, I lost them. All fifty of them. I bought more and carried on.
Of course, the first thing I found as soon as I got home after a week on the West coast was the original fifty lemons and so today has been a bit of a 'doing different things with lemons' marathon. So far I've made lemon shortbread, sorbet, lemonade (which we have already drunk) and lemon and cardamom cake.
I love the combination of cardamom with lemon. And I love the preparation of this cake - bashing the cardamon pods; separating the husks from the seeds and getting a hit of that beautiful Eastern aroma; adding the lemon juice and zest - which instantly sharpens the air. And then the cooked crunch of the sugar topping. This is the kind of baking that requires a little bit of love early on. The result? Yumminess.
12 cardamom pods
125g butter, softened
125g castor sugar
200g plain flour
11/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tbsp thick greek yoghourt
3 lemons - zest and juice
1 tbsp chopped lemon balm
Demorara or granulated sugar for topping. (My son used to call this granny related sugar and I still want to spell it that way!)
Grease a loaf tin and line the bottom with parchment paper
Bash the cardamom pods until the husks split, remove the seeds and crush in a pestle and mortar.
Cream the butter and sugar, add a little of the flour and alternately beat in eggs and flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Using a large metal spoon, fold in the polenta, the Greek yoghourt, the lemon juice and zest and the chopped lemon balm.
Pile the mixture into the lined loaf tin, creating a hollow at the centre. Bake for 30 mins and then sprinkle with the sugar. Put back in the oven and bake for an additional 10 - 15 minutes - a skewer should come out clean.
Allow to cool slightly, turn out. Eat whilst still warm ideally with an extra dollop of Greek yoghourt, or maybe some lemon curd. I defy you not to eat another slice.