Chef’s Diary Update

Journal & Recipes

Autumn is finally here!

Yes, I mean finally. I love this time of year in the Karoo. The evenings are getting significantly cooler. WP_20160411_004The mornings are crisp and fresh. A gentle sun as I step out my door at the cooking school in the morning; the smell of rosemary, thyme and sage from my herb garden and the Cape Robin Chat sips the dew in the lemon tree. The lemons beckon to be picked and inspire me to think of comfort food all day long!  When I think about autumn, I think brown, yellow and red. I think lemons, figs, pomegranates and quinces. Beautifully earthy beetroot, broad beans and parsnips. Hearty stews and rich, steamed puddings.  For now, I am going to focus my taste buds on lemons. The lemon tree is by far my favourite tree in the garden, always has been. You can use a lemon for so many things. It’s packed with goodness and goes well with sweet and savoury dishes.  Here is our latest creation and to welcome the whispers of Autumn into our lives, a soft and tasty poppy seed cake with a sweet lemon syrup.        Chef Jaco Fourie.

Poppy seed cake with lemon syrup 


250g butter
250g (1 cup) castor sugar
Zest of two lemons
3 eggs
250g (2 cups) cake flour
10ml (2 teaspoons) baking powder 3ml (1/2 teaspoon) salt
75ml (5 tablespoons) poppy seeds 60ml water
45ml lemon juice

For the syrup: 200g (1 cup) sugar 125ml (1/2 cup) water 125ml lemon juice

  1. Mix butter and sugar together until light and creamy. Add lemon zest and mix well. Add eggs one by one and mix well.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together, add poppy seeds and fold into the egg mix alternating with the water and lemon juice. Pour the batter into a prepared 230mm ring baking tin and place in a pre-heated oven at 180 degrees celcius.
  3. Meanwhile start cooking the syrup ingredients together just until the sugar is diluted and the liquid is a light, syrup consistency. The moment the cake comes out of the oven, pour the syrup over the cake and let it cool in the tin until well cooled and all the syrup is absorbed. Unmold onto a plate and dust lightly with icing sugar. Enjoy!


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