It’s bloody cold here.
It’s so cold that when you’re on a tour of Highgate cemetery, you huddle next to a hard tomb to soften the icy wind that scrapes across the marble. You dance on top of graves to reawaken any inklings of feeling in your toes, and apologise as you do so.
Even though you’re surrounded by gothic beauty, all you can do is look down at your red fingers and imagine how nice a steaming cup of coffee would be right now.
However, even though your lips have froze together and your teeth are chattering so furiously you think they might escape, the stillness of the cemetery calms you. The west side of Highgate cemetery spans 17 acres, and once prized for its fashionable position in the London outskirts, still offers perfect silence – despite the tens of thousands of souls underfoot. It can only be accessed on a tour, which is what we did last Saturday. Despite the cold it was absolutely magical.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t much warmer when we returned home. You see, in these tough times one must economise (read: as students we’re too stingy to spend money on warmth). So I’ve been drinking copious numbers of hot drinks; studying with my gloves on, and making fine use of my newly acquired slow cooker. In fact, the cold is almost an excuse to go to the library…almost…
Anyway, I have to power on despite being frozen inside and out, so this month I enthusiastically took up Dom at Belleau Kitchen’s Random Recipe challenge: randomly pick a recipe book from a friend’s collection and cook whatever you land on. I got on the phone to my Mum and after some detailed instructions on the correct procedure to achieve TRUE randomness, she came up with Bon Maman: The Seasonal Cookbook, and Lemon and Wild Blueberry Swirl Cake.
Hurrah! Summer in a cake – perfect! And I can tell you, this cake was just as delicious as it promised, especially with the liberal application of a lemon honey drizzle (all cakes should be ‘drizzled’ in my opinion).
Now off to huddle in front of the oven. I hear it’s the warmest part of the house.
Lemon and Wild Blueberry Swirl Cake, from Bon Maman: The Seasonal Cookbook
175g soft butter
3 medium eggs
200g self-raising flour
25g ground almonds
Grated rind of 1 unwaxed lemon
4 tbsp Bonne Maman Wild Blueberry Conserve
1. Line a 20cm round cake tin or loaf tin with baking parchment. Place all the ingredients except the conserve into a mixing bowl and blend with a hand mixer until smooth, or beat with a wooden spoon for two minutes.
2. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level with the back of a spoon. Place the Wild Blueberry conserve into a paper piping bag and snip off the end. Pipe a swirl of the conserve on the top of the cake (or just drizzle it on like I did)
3. Conventional cooking: Bake on a centre shelf in a pre-heated oven at 180°C/350°F. Bake the cake for about 40-45 minutes until a skewer comes out clean from the centre.
4. Cool in tin for 5 minutes, then leave to cool completely on a wire rack