Monday, May 30, 2011

Love in the Mist...

Originally this post was part of an upcoming post on English borders and traditional English flower choices for that perfect country garden. However, it changed tac a bit because I wanted to share a recipe with you all...

Nigella damascena, or Love in the mist, is an annually flowering plant, belonging to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae), which grows to a height of about 18 inches high. It comes in many colours, but blues and purples are the most common varieties...

The seed pods resemble something from a sci-fi film...

The pods are easy to collect each year, so One can resow the seeds elsewhere in One's garden. Even though, as the name suggests, they are natives to the Damascus area, they are a quintessential English country flower.

My favourite shade of Nigella is this pale blue specimen above.

Speaking of other English beauties in pale blue who go by the name of Nigella...

I love Nigella Lawson - I love a tart of ample proportions, and she can turn out some beauties. She is fun to watch and is as much an entertainer as a cook. Recently one of my colleagues baked Nigella's Gingerbread cake with Lemon icing for her going away party. It was divine, so I wanted to share the recipe with all of you dear readers...

Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Icing
from How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson


2/3 cup of organic, unsalted, free-range butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of honey
3/4 cup of treacle or golden syrup
2 teaspoons of fresh ginger, finely grated (powder will suffice if needs be)
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 cup of yogurt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon of baking soda, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of warm water
2 1/3 cups standard white flour

Lemon icing:

1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 1/3 cup of sifted icing sugar (confectioner's sugar)
1 tablespoon of warm water


Grease a medium sized cake tin, lined with baking paper.

Melt the butter combined with the brown sugar, honey, treacle, ginger and cinnamon in a saucepan at a medium heat. Take care it doesn't catch. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the yogurt, and baking soda and water. Blend and set aside.

When the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yogurt and egg mixture.

Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the liquid ingredients to the flour. Beat together until everything is well combined. Pour into to the prepared cake tin and bake in a 160 degree oven (325 degrees Fahrenheit) for approximately 45 minutes, or until the cake rises and firms up.

Turn it out onto a cake rack and let it cool completely before icing. To make the icing, whisk together the lemon juice and icing sugar, adding only as much water as you need to get a nice thick icing. Pour over the cake and smooth out with a spatula. Allow to set before slicing and serving.

This is why We love Nigella...


  1. She has a fantastic relaxed way about her. Looks like a fun Lady.
    Think I'll try that lemon icing. Makes me thing of my Grandmother's
    plum pudding with a hot lemon sauce.
    Never saw a flower such as that.
    Wonder if it could grow in Maine.
    Have a great spring, we have had tooo much rain.

  2. I love Nigella, her gooey chocolate pudding is also absolutely divine, and super easy : )

  3. I have always loved the part at the end of the show when she comes down in her nightgown to raid the refrigerator!

    That cake sounds divine.

  4. MOTH adores ginger in any form but for some strange reason doesn't adore Nigella. However after I've baked this beauty I reckon this is just about to change!
    Millie x


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