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5 things to be cheerful about

Good morning.


I hope that you had a nice weekend. And if you are reading this in lockdown, that you are doing ok and that you know we are all sending lots of love.

News from here; is that it rained pretty much all weekend and is still raining (hurray), the farm is as wet as we can ever remember seeing it which bodes well for a good spring (double hurray), the fruit bowl is full of oranges and lemons from our neighbours trees (also hurray and hence the lemon cake you'll find below) and we have a new cat (she is the sweetest). 

Anyhoo. Moving straight on to some things to be cheerful about, I hope one or two of the below do the trick. 


Ps - I have plenty of copies of my book A Basket by the Door in my little online shop. So please get in touch if you'd like to order and who to sign it for. 


This honey sour cream layer cake - so gorgeous! 

I made this stir fried ginger rice and lettuce bowl by Hetty McKinnon for lunch yesterday and it was a big hit with the whole fam. Definitely making again. 

And this vegetarian one-pot pilaf with loads of veggies looks beautiful. As does this sweet potato and chickpea bake withi lime tahini dressing.

Saw these thin pancakes which you stuff with spiced mashed pumpkin on Instagram this week and can't stop thinking about them. Hello tonight's dinner.

This peace love and energy dip - yes please.



So cheerful to have discovered We Present - a content platform (by the We Transfer people) sharing incredibly good profiles, stories and ideas on music, art and design. Especially loved this profile of illustrator Roberts Rūrāns (this picture is one of his) his illustrations are playful and bright and how I would love one on my walls.  

Also loved this photo essay of ‘better days’. And Ruby Tandoh (one of my favourite food writers) on the art of quitting


This hallway in Tuscany via Romanek Design Studio is like a dream. Via this piece on SF Girl By Bay.

This article in defence of absurdly early bedtimes (I am 100% here for this!) via Skye's lovely newsletter Company on Sunday.


Rodham author Curtis Sittenfield shares some incredibly useful tips for writing short stories and fiction

And speaking of good writing and short stories…’Fleishman is in Lockdown’ via The Cut  is a real treat for those of us who enjoyed Fleishman is in Trouble. Author Taffy Brodesser-Akner checks in with her protagonist Toby Fleishman (who I have conflicted feelings about but…anyway) with a beautifully written short story placing him in a hospital during Covid.

The Cut is running a fantastic series called Write It with lots of advice on writing, I loved and need to heed this one in particular; 'Revision is my God'. 



This interview with Atlassian's Dom Price is full of tips for improving virtual meetings.

Glennon Doyle on How to Fail was such a fascinating listen.

This new-to-me Australian podcast In the Weeds is a series of interviews with chefs and producers about how Covid-19 is affecting them and how they are adapting and surviving.

Loved Helen Fielding on Desert Island Discs.

And this conversation between Alec Baldwin and Stanley Tucci was lovely.

Loving this playlist at the moment. And this one for quiet times.
Really Lemon-y almond cake

For the topping;
1 lemon
2 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp water

For the cake batter;
200g unsalted butter, softened
Zest and juice of 3 large lemons
150g caster sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
150g (1 cup) plain flour
1 cup (125g) almond meal
1 tsp baking powder

For the syrup;
2 tbsp caster sugar
Juice of one lemon

Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf tin (about 25x11X7cm). 

For the topping, thinly slice the lemon and place in a small saucepan over medium heat with the sugar and water. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the lemon slices are completely soft and sitting a syrupy puddle (add a little more water if you think it necessary). Arrange slices and drizzle the little bit of remaining syrup across the base of your loaf tin.

For the cake, combine the butter, lemon zest and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition. Now sift together the flour, almond meal and baking powder and fold through the batter. Finally fold in the lemon juice (don’t worry if the mixture looks like it’s curdling a little). 

Spoon batter into the cake tin, being careful not to move around the lemon slices too much. Place in the oven for 45 minutes or until the cake feels springy to touch and has begun to pull away from the tin’s sides. 

Right towards the end of the cake’s cooking time, combine the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan and bring just to simmer, cooking until the sugar has dissolved. 

Remove cake from the oven and turn onto a serving platter, pour over the syrup and serve warm or at room temperature.

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