Lemon Cake

In the popular book and tv series, Game of Thrones, Sansa Stark has a famous love for lemon cakes. There are lots of recipes out there for lemon cakes, in addition to the recipe on HBO’s website.


With the upcoming season finale, I thought, ‘Why not adapt a recipe I already make and enjoy?‘ This lemon cake recipe is about as about as easy as it gets. In fact, if you are really lazy, you can mix everything in the same bowl—mix the sugar and dry ingredients together, then just make a well in which to put the liquids. The recipe is very adaptable. Lemon is delicious, as is clementine. You could be really radical, and use lime zest, or even grapefruit.

In the spirit of Sansa’s lemon cakes, I used mini loaf moulds, and baked them for about 25-28 minutes.


Lemon Cake

1 cup sugar
1 lemon (or 1 lemon and 1 clementine)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsp honey, for glazing (or 1/2 cup icing sugar and 2 tsp lemon juice to make a glaze)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease an 8.5 by 4.5 inch loaf pan, and line with wax paper.

2. Measure sugar into mixing bowl. Use a microplane to zest lemon directly over the sugar. With clean hands, rub the zest into the sugar until the sugar is aromatic and moist.

3. Whisk together dry ingredients in separate bowl.

5. Mix the yogurt into the sugar and zest. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla extract and the oil. You can also add the juice of half of the lemon, if you wish.

6. Add flour mixture to the yogurt mixture until you have a smooth, shiny batter. Pour into loaf pan, making sure to get it into the corners.

7. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and starts to pull away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted deep into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then invert and remove from pan. Turn the cake right side up and cool to room temperature.

8. If you want to glaze the cake, use either honey, or a mixture of icing sugar and lemon juice. Brush the glaze over the top of the cake. Let it sit at room temperature.

The cake is delicious on its own, with fruit, jam, whipped cream, or ice cream. It is also tasty toasted and buttered!

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

Or, what to do with a surplus of zucchini!


Zucchini, or courgettes, a type of summer squash, are native to central America and not—surprisingly!—Italy. This explains why there are no images or references to zucchini before the sixteenth century, as they would not have arrived in Europe until after Columbus “discovered” the New World in 1492. An early reference to zucchini is found in the 1580 recipe collection, L’Opera, written by the famous Renaissance cook, Bartolomeo Scappi. In the work, Scappi shares a recipe for a “thick soup of stuffed [summer] squash” that mixes veal sweetbreads, goat-kid fat, gooseberries, and spices with the zucchini

Varieties of zucchini are found in a few seventeenth and eighteenth century paintings, such as the above still life by the Italian painter Simone del Tintore.

For a few weeks every summer, our garden produces more zucchini than we know what to do with. I try to use up as many zucchinis as possible: zucchini “noodles”, pickled zucchini, zucchini muffins. Fried zucchini blossoms, stuffed with ricotta, are a treat that I am not often ambitious enough to make, but I always have time to make a chocolate zucchini loaf.


Moist and sweet, this loaf is decadent, yet also “good-ish” and guilt-free on account of the quantity of vegetable used in the recipe. The shredded zucchini keeps the loaf ultra-moist, and cuts down on the amount of oil needed. It is delicious served as-is, warmed and buttered, or even with ice cream. You can freeze this loaf and enjoy later—but be sure to refrigerate after a few days, as the moisture makes it spoil faster than other loaves.


Chocolate Zucchini Loaf

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 1/3 cups grated zucchini (with peel), packed
1/3 cup sour milk (take 1 tsp lemon juice and add milk to make 1/3 cup total)
1/2 cup chopped pecans/walnuts/chocolate chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in vanilla.
3. Add flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on top. Mix a few times—it will be lumpy.
4. Mix lemon juice and sour milk in measuring cup. Add sour milk to flour mixture alternately with grated zucchini in 2 or 3 parts.
5. Mix in nuts (if using). Turn into a greased loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inches). Bake in oven for 70-80 minutes. A wooden toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean. Let loaf stand in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a rack to cool completely.

Experimental Pickled Kohlrabi

Recently, I attended the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery, a weekend-long conference devoted to all aspects of food. As part of the Symposium, the attendees are served meals prepared by international chefs that are always a culinary experience.


During the Sunday lunch, an amazing Ploughman’s array, one of the accompaniments was a dish of pickled kohlrabi (not pictured) Apparently the food producers slipped in a case of the kohlrabi into the transport van before the organizers could stop them! I had never eaten kohlrabi before, and the lurid pink kohlrabi pickles resembled pickled turnip, which I am indifferent toward. So I was a little sceptical.

However, the kohlrabi were delicious. Crunchy. Salty. Tangy. And something I knew I wanted to replicate at home.

Enter the experiment.



Experimental Pickled Kohlrabi

1 cup white vinegar
1 cup water
2 tbsp salt
2 tsp sugar (or more, to taste)
1 bay leaf
1 garlic clove, sliced in half
2 beets, quartered
1 lb kohlrabi (approximately 3 kohlrabi)

Mix the vinegar and water with the salt, water, garlic, and bay leaf. Adjust the sugar to taste. If you like a less salty pickle, increase the water to 2 cups.

Add beets to the mixture. Make sure the salt and sugar are fully dissolved.

Cut peel from kohlrabi. Slice into thick matchsticks, approximately one half inch wide. Add kohlrabi to the brine, and place in fridge to pickle. The kohlrabi will need to sit several days in the pickle brine in the fridge in order to have the salt, vinegar, and the pink from the beets penetrate through it. They should be ready to eat after 3-4 days. The longer the kohlrabi sits, the better they will taste!


Pickles should last a month or more in the fridge—if you don’t eat them all first! The above picture shows pickles after 1 week of brining. Next time, I think I will double the recipe because the pickled kohlrabi were so tasty I have been eating them everyday!