lemon rosemary bundt cake

30 Jun 2014

I subscribe to Delicious magazine and have for a long time. The recipes are usually easy to follow and don't demand a trip to the shop to source some hard to find ingredient. When the July issue arrived I spied a Jamie Oliver magazine recipe for little lemon cakes topped with a lemon and rosemary syrup. I love my own lemon cake recipe and I'm always a little disappointed when I try another one but but I wondered how it would pair with the lemon and rosemary syrup.

The only way to find out was to try it, so that's what I did.

Whenever I go away on holidays I put all my plants in the bath tub. Most survive but I find my herbs usually don't. Unfortunately my rosemary bush is looking a little worse for wear and I don't think it's going to survive. Here's how it looked before I went away for 5 weeks. I won't show you the after photo because it's looking a bit sad.

The cake in all it's glory topped with the lemon and rosemary syrup.

Here's the recipe for you. The cake recipe is all mine, the syrup from Delicious magazine. This makes a small bundt cake. If you'd like to make a larger version double all the cake and syrup ingredients except for the eggs. You'll need 3 of those but keep the quantity of lemon juice and yoghurt about the same. The cooking time will stay the same.

Lemon and rosemary bundt cake
125g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened 
100g (3½ oz) caster sugar 
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
1 egg
¾ cup self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
¼ cup almond meal
¼ cup lemon juice
¼ cup plain yoghurt

Grease and flour a small bundt tin. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a small bowl and mix together with the almond meal. Set to one side.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter, lemon rind and caster sugar.

In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg then gradually mix into butter mixture. If the mixture starts to look curdled, add a spoonful of the flour mixture.

Add the remaining flour mixture into the batter alternating with the lemon juice and yoghurt to make a soft batter. If the batter looks too thick add a little more juice.

Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and bake the cake in the oven for 45 – 50 minutes until the top is lightly golden and cake is cooked when tested with a skewer.

Leave the cake to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out on a wire rack.

Pour over the lemon and rosemary syrup.

Lemon and rosemary syrup
1 lemon
I rosemary sprig
⅓ cup caster sugar
2 tble water
Optional - extra rosemary leaves/toasted flaked almonds

Peel the lemon and finely shred the peel. Juice the lemon and set the juice to one side.

In a small pan bring water to the boil, and then cook the peel for 1 minute.
Drain the peel and rinse. Return the lemon rind to the pan with the juice, the rosemary sprigs, the sugar, and the water. Bring the mixture to the boil then simmer until the syrup is reduced by half. Remove the rosemary sprigs from the syrup then pour the syrup over the cooled cake.

If desired, decorate the cake with fresh rosemary leaves and some toasted flaked almonds.

I took this into work for morning tea last week and it was very well received but then again they'd not had any baking for the past 6 weeks so maybe they were just hungry.

See you all again later in the week with some more travel photos.

Bye for now,


paris part IV - the markets

26 Jun 2014

Wherever I travel I like to live like a local as much as I can. I catch public transport; visit grocery stores and markets and this time I chose to rent apartments in Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London and Paris. It was so nice having my own little space to come home to and best of all, I avoided the dreaded visit to the laundromat, watching my washing spinning around and around.

With my own little Paris kitchen I wouldn't say I did much cooking but I did go shopping every day, just like a local.

came home with roast chicken, a baguette, cheese, my daily pastry from the local patisserie, salad leaves and berries. This beauty came from Liberté and it was sublime.

visited the Marche d'Aligre for the first time and revisited one of my old favourites, the Marche BastilleLook at what I found - a kaleidoscope of colour and taste and shopping at the market was so much more fun than shopping at my local supermarket.

It was white asparagus season when I was in Paris so they were in abundance as were melons and strawberries. I may not have indulged in the asparagus but I certainly came home with a few melons and punnets of strawberries and raspberries. My French may not be very good but when the need arises, I know how to get what I want!

How magnificent is this display of blooms?

This lady with her humble bunches of flowers broke my heart. She didn't get many takers.

See you all again next week with some images from my time in Zurich and a spot of baking. My black and white film scans have just returned from the lab and once they're edited, I'll share some of those images with you as well.

Bye for now, 


ostkaka - swedish cheesecake

23 Jun 2014

Now that I'm back home in Sydney, summer is over and I've returned to some cooler weather. When the temperature drops, I start hankering for soups, casseroles, puddings and pies. I saw some pictures of Ostkaka on a blog and was intrigued, so I tracked down a recipe. It's a Swedish pudding which is a cross between a baked custard and a cheesecake and as I like both of those things, I decided to give it a try. 

Have you heard of Ostkaka 'cos a week or so ago I'd not heard of it either. It's normally served with berries but as I had some rhubarb and strawberry compote in the fridge, I decided to top the ostkaka with that.

My main inspiration came from this blogI'm not a huge fan of cottage cheese, the main ingredient of ostkaka, and I wasn't in the mood to make my own curd cheese from scratch so I decided to swap some of the cottage cheese for ricotta cheese.

In a piece of serendipity, the serving plate I used was an antique Swedish one I bought when I was in Copenhagen and carefully carried all the way home.

Here's the recipe for you. You'll need to drain the cheese the night before you make the Ostkaka.

2 eggs
2½ tbl flour
3 tbl caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
30 g (1oz) almond meal
30 g (1 oz) toasted flaked almonds, finely chopped
½ cup milk and ½ cup cream, mixed together
500 g low fat ricotta cheese/cottage cheese drained in a sieve overnight

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Butter a 20cm/8 inch round pan.

Whisk the eggs, the flour, the sugar and the vanilla together in a bowl.

Combine the almond meal and chopped almonds. Stir in a third of the almonds, a third of the milk and a third of the cheese mixture into the egg mixture. Continue adding the remaining ingredients in thirds. (The batter is quite lumpy so I gave it a bit of a whizz with the stick blender to smooth the batter a little).

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven 180ºC/350ºF for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the cake has puffed and is brown on the top.

Serve warm with rhubarb compote, berries or lingonberry jam and cream. Serves 4 very generously.

The pudding is not very sweet and almost rice pudding like in taste and texture. Next time I would double the vanilla extract and maybe use a touch more sugar as my rhubarb compote was nowhere near as sweet as jam would be. Or then again perhaps I could open that jar of lingonberry jam that's lurking in my cupboard.

See you all again soon,


paris - part III

20 Jun 2014

I'm not sure why I like Paris so much because it certainly wasn't a case of love at first sight. I was 15 and on a school trip the first time I visited Paris. It was winter so Paris was grey and cold; we were staying in a no-star hotel with dodgy plumbing and let's just say the Parisian's weren't very friendly. With time Paris and it's charms started to grow on me. So what has Paris to offer? Beautiful buildings, culture, food, art, fashion, shopping and the list goes on and on.

 I arrived a bit early for my time slot at the Paris 1900 exhibition, which is being held at the Petit Palais. While I was waiting I headed over to Pont Alexandre III where I witnessed a Japanese couple on their (?) engagement shoot.

The exhibition was very large, very crowded and no photos were allowed so instead I concentrated on the building itself, built for the Paris World Fair of 1900.

At its heart is a beautiful courtyard garden and cafe.

The garden was quite serene and filled with swooping birds.

Whilst I'm writing about beautiful buildings, here are a few photos from the Hopital St Louis not too far from my Canal St Martin hotel.

The beautiful leafy courtyard.

I just wish you could smell these roses, because their perfume was magnificent.

I still have a few more photos to share with you from Paris and Zurich but if I have time to get back into the kitchen, I may have some food to share with you next week.

See you all again soon,


paris - the marais

16 Jun 2014

I've done a lot of flying this past week. I flew in from Zurich Wednesday night and was back on a plane early Friday morning. I've just returned home from a flying visit to Brisbane and I've added my weekend bag to the pack sitting on the floor in my bedroom. Memo to self - clear everything away before returning to work on Thursday.

I took my black and white film off to the lab last week before flying to Brisbane, so in about 2 weeks time I should have some of those images to share with you. I'm trying out a new film lab so I hope they turn out okay. Now that I'm back home with no flights on the agenda for the next few months, it's time to bring you some more images from Paris. 

On my first day in Paris, I immediately went to the Marais, my favourite part of Paris.

As always if I see a pretty flower shop, then I must photograph it.

This looks like a flower shop, but it's actually an hotel.

The perfectly perfect, Place des Vosges.

There are always plenty of interesting street signs.

The Marais is such a lively place with great shopping as well.

The next day I was up bright and early in time for Printemps to open. Why? So I could photograph the roof tops of Paris with as few other people as possible.

I'm almost reluctant to share this knowledge with you, cos I like the fact that the view from Printemps is a bit of a local secret.

I don't think I really need to write anything here other than - quintessential Paris.

I'll leave you with a little taste of Paris.

I was thinking of running a short (4 week) self paced online photography course teaching the basics of camera control, exposure and image processing so that you can progress from point and shoot level to understanding all those buttons and dials on your SLR. 

I have no idea of the logistics of such an undertaking, I was just wondering if there's any interest amongst my readers. If that's something that would interest you, you can leave a comment or email me info(at)jillianleiboff(dot)com and I'll take it from there.

Time for me to check on my dinner so I'll see you all again soonish,


merci - mini shopshoot

13 Jun 2014

Hi Every-one,

well I'm back home in Sydney and battling with jet lag. There's nothing like being wide awake at 2.00 a.m. but what a fabulous time to blog!

When I was in Paris, I decided to revisit some of my favourite places and one of those places was
Merci. I thought it was a popular place before but now, it's quite frantic and obviously the place to shop in Paris. 

They were in the process of installing their new display, Heliotropic so I revisited the store to see the outcome.

24 hours is a long time at Merci. Completely new light fittings had been installed in this display.

The store is nothing if not eclectic. It stocks everything from furniture, fashion, linen, hardware, cosmetics and stationery as well as 2 cafes.

and of course it's trademark brightly coloured linens.

I love their line of Brooklyn tin wallpaper.

I'm looking for a new light fitting for my living room so these lights were a source of inspiration as is the rest of their store.

If you like what you see, Merci now has online shopping or they can be found at 111 Avenue Beaumarchais if you happen to be in Paris.

See you all again next week with some more images from my time in Paris.

Have a great weekend.

Bye for now,




10 Jun 2014

As promised, here are some photos from Brussels. I was only there for a few days so I didn't take many but don't expect the same from Paris.

While in Brussels, I stayed in a hotel near the Avenue Louise and I passed by this monument every time I walked into town. If I'd had more time I would have loved to have visited some of the first war battle fields as I've read so much about them. A short walk from the memorial is a lovely little park backing onto Egmont Castle. The Orangerie houses a cafe and if you look really carefully in the first photo, you can see the golden dome of the Palace of Justice.

Just a block down the hill is the Petit Sablon, a triangular park opposite the Sablon Church.

I got into trouble for stepping on the grass to take a photo of the flowers, so my apologies to any blades of grass I may have damaged.

As you keep walking down the hill you pass by a Le Pain Quotidian, where I bought a lovely raspberry tart and the Belgian store, Flamant and it brings you to this intersection. Dandoy is a Belgian biscuit store and I bought some florentine biscuits to bring home with me. Then you turn right and keep walking until you reach the Grand Place and the Galerie St Hubert, a covered shopping arcade packed with tourists.

Rue du Marche aux Herbs is a busy restaurant strip running away from the galeries. If I had a dollar for every time I saw this scene of a bored waiter having a cigarette, I could have paid for my hotel room in Brussels.

I hopped on the metro and alighted at Botanique, where this formal garden is located.

I walked back to the Grand Place passing by the Congress Column, home to the  tomb of the unknown soldier.

This is the very glamorous home of the Belgian Parliament where I photographed some very cheeky boys, having a water pistol fight.

No visit to Brussels would be complete without a visit to the Place du Jeu de Balle flea market in the lively Marolle district.

I do love a good chandelier but I figured I'd have a hard time squeezing that middle one into my pack. Instead I decided to squeeze in a tiny copper saucepan.

How could I do a post on Brussels without mentioning frites or waffles? I don't eat waffles but I do love fries but fries don't much agree with me so I compromised by only eating the crunchy golden ones and tossed the rest.

This is the last post I'll be sending from the road because tomorrow I fly back to Australia. I have to go and pack for the trip back home so I'll leave you here. Next post (s) will be about Paris when jet lag allows.

For those of you who've been missing my recipes, my most recent Delicious Bites recipe for decor8, ricotta hotcakes with passionfruit syrup, can be read here.

See you all again soon,

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