A knitter’s gotta eat, yeah?
You need fuel in order to retain your grip on sanity when you get to that part of the pattern. You know, the part that the designer wrote when they were having a really bad day because they’d just accidentally boil-washed their cashmere, so they decided to give free rein to their inner sadist because if they were suffering, then you should sure-as-eggs be suffering too. So instead of the easy, restful garter stitch they’d been suggesting for the body of this top-down cardigan, they decided to introduce such monstrosities of yarnery as repeated p7tog tbl for the last 20 rows. For those of you who are hookers not knitters, just trust me: that’s not a stitch that you’d want to meet in an alley on a dark night, unless you had some very sharp knitting needles with which to defend your honour.
So although you thought that the fiendishly complex lace band at the bottom edge of this cardigan pattern was a lovingly thought out design feature, it was really just the sadistic result of the designer’s BAD DAY. Still, it’s a nice-looking cardigan, isn’t it?
But I digress. I was discussing food.
If you’re into growing your own dinner, you’ll be familiar with the issue (especially at this time of year) of lurching from a glut of one type of produce to a glut of the next, and then the next. It certainly challenges your creativity as you master a hundred and four ways with broad beans one month, and then a tomatoes the next. Broad bean curry, anyone?
At the moment, we’re in the middle of courgette season. (Translation: zucchini.) We have a lot of courgettes. You’re supposed to pick them often to ensure that a steady supply keeps coming. “DON’T ENCOURAGE THEM!” the Stoic Spouse yelped when he saw me rummaging amongst the plants with a watering can. There was a look of panic in his eyes that suggested he wasn’t approaching my courgette sorbet recipe with an entirely open mind. But honestly, you’d have thought he’d caught me feeding the local rats, not growing harmless vegetables. He can’t win, though: if you don’t pick them, they get their revenge by growing into super-sized marrows, which still need eating but don’t taste half as nice.
So the courgette thing has been getting difficult, especially as I have to grate them into oblivion before hiding them in any foodstuffs destined for the twinnage’s plates as courgettes aren’t on my sons’ Official Approved Vegetable List. I don’t feel too guilty about this subterfuge: a friend used to do it to her 30-something veg-averse partner, too, after which he started looking healthier and got himself an allotment.
But then I came across a courgette CAKE recipe of such deliciousness that the poor courgette plants can’t keep pace with demand. I’ve made courgette cakes before: there’s a delicious chocolatey one in the original (and sadly out-of-print) Green and Blacks chocolate cookbook. The one I’m going to tell you about started out as a courgette-and-orange cake, but in my kitchen, it’s gradually morphed into a courgette, lemon, and poppyseed cake. And it rocks. 🙂 Also, it’s very very easy. And I’m happy to tell you how I made it.
The original recipe is here. I didn’t make the icing, though, mostly because as a cheese-phobic, I wasn’t going anywhere near that culinary abomination. Anyway, the cake tastes fabulous without any icing.
So here, with respectful acknowledgement of the original recipe in the link above, is the modified (and slightly simpler, cheaty, look-guys-I-haven’t-got-time-to-faff) Twisted Yarn version: COURGETTE, LEMON, AND POPPY SEED LOAF.
- 350g courgettes, the smaller the better
- Rind of approximately a quarter of a lemon
- 200g soft brown sugar
- 125 ml vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs, beaten (although as you can see from one of the photos below, I’m sometimes a little lazy about pre-beating the eggs)
- 100g raisins
- 300g self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1 tablespoon of poppy seeds
Set oven to 180°C/350°F, or 160°C/325°F fan oven, or gas mark 4.
Grease and line a one-pound loaf tin.
Prepare the courgettes and lemon rind. I used a little gadget that’s known in this house as a ‘whizzer’ to mix both together and pulverize them into mushy oblivion. (See pic higher up this post.) But an alternative is to grate the courgette and lemon rind.
Place all ingredients in a bowl and beat for approx two minutes or until your arm aches a little bit but not unbearably.
Pour mixture into tin and place in centre of oven.
Bake for 50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove from tin after a few minutes and leave on a rack to cool. Or you could just munch the lot: I won’t tell. 😉
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, this delicacy goes very well with green tea and knitting. Or crochet. I know, because I’ve tested extensively.
Now, onto the next glut…