So, there it is then (as they say around here).
We have bought a house here in West Wales.
A wonderful house. A house that I have carried around in my heart since I stepped over the threshold in January, through the stress and embuggerance that is buying houses in England and Wales (it may be the same else where - I don't know - I understand that in other places it is a lot easier), through the initial silence between our offer being accepted and anything actually happening, through the last minute boundary issue and the changing of completion dates (which also coincided with me doing my back in and Blue sustaining a minor head injury, all while the Husband was back in England for a series of meetings. Never a dull moment, I tell you),,the mysterious missing document (not ours) on completion day a couple of days ago, to moving day.
The bottom line is that my home will always be where the Husband and the children are, but to be able to live in a house like this and call it ours, for it to coincide with where the Husband and children are, so making it home, well, it makes me very happy.
There is work to be done, and I'm sure there will be much cursing and swearing as we go, but for now, it's all good. Busy, but good. And you know me well enough by now to know that in amongst the hectic pace of life, there is always time for cake, especially a lemon cake.
Loosely based (isn't it always) in this case on yet another of Mr Dan Lepard's fine creations, this came about more as the result of having another purge through the cupboards in advance of moving day than anything else. I seem to have a selection of opened packets of poppy seeds in my cupboards yet no recollection of using them in anything, I didn't have enough lemons, my oatmeal was medium and not fine, and yet, this is a divine cake. More texture than your classic lemon drizzle, good flavour, and a good keeper (it actually makes quite a lot of cake). It also tastes fantastic with a cup of tea - great for keeping removal men incentivised...
Lemon & Poppy Seed Cake
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
75g medium oatmeal
30g poppy seeds
225g golden caster sugar
125g unsalted butter at room temperature
100ml vegetable oil
zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp lemon extract
4 large eggs
50 ml hot water
150g caster sugar (doesn't have to be golden), plus extra
juice of 2 lemons
Line a 20cm square, high sided tin with greaseproof paper, and pre-heat the oven to 180 C (160C fan).
Sift together the flour baking powder then add the oatmeal and poppy seeds, stir to combine, and set aside.
Beat together the sugar, butter, oil, lemon zest and extract until the whole thing is pale and light, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Once the eggs are all combined, beat in the hot water until everything is smooth.
Beat the flour, oatmeal and poppy seeds into the batter, then transfer into the prepared tin and bake for around 45-50 minutes.
Make the lemon syrup by combining 150g caster sugar with the juice of 2 lemons in a small saucepan and gently heating till the sugar is dissolved. While the cake is still warm, poke holes all over it with a skewer and pour the syrup all over it.
Leave the cake to cool, then sprinkle over a couple of extra spoons of caster sugar. Yes, I know it's a lot, but sometimes, it's necessary. Cut into generous pieces and put the kettle on.