Thursday, 17 July 2008

July/August announcement: PICNICS

The theme for Heart of the Matter for July and August is PICNICS ... whether you're travelling, on the beach, in the garden, going for a walk, rambling up a mountain, going for a bicycle ride - you'll need something to eat, and we'd like to know what it is. Every kind of picnic, from the elaborately pleasurable to the purely functional: what heart-healthy foods do you take with you?

Here it's been raining, so not really picnic weather. But I did make a lovely yoghurt cake soaked in rosewater syrup, and we did manage to eat it outside in between the showers. Not quite a picnic, but the next best thing.

This yoghurt cake is simplicity itself, pretty robust, and infinitely adaptable: you could flavour the syrup with all kinds of other tastes - orange springs easily to mind. And if you're not taking it out and about, you could serve it as a pud with some lovely bright berries simmered in a little water or wine.

Yoghurt cake

200g self-raising flour
110g ground almonds
150g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
250g yoghurt
150ml sunflower oil
zest of a lemon

Measure the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add everything else and stir with a wooden spoon. You really do not need to use a mixer for this. Pour into an oiled 20xm springform tin. Bake at 180C for 30-40 minutes. Leave for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a plate. Pierce all over and pour in rosewater syrup. Allow the cake to cool and the flavours to mingle before serving.

Rosewater syrup

275 ml water
175 sugar
juice of a lemon
2 tbsp rosewater

Measure everything except the rosewater into a small saucepan. Dissolve the sugar, then bring to the boil. Simmer for seven minutes, leave to cool, then add the rosewater.

As usual, I've been inspired by Diana Henry's piece in the Sunday Telegraph magazine. Her cake looked lovely, covered in rose petals.

We'd love to hear your heart-healthy picnic ideas ... the Heart of the Matter website is a great place for ideas for heart-healthy recipes (something I wish had existed when we were changing our diet on doctor's orders after my husband's heart attack), and it only exists because so many bloggers have taken the time to share their recipes.

The usual rules: If you’ve participated before, you already know the basics. If you haven’t, check here, here and here for ideas on what “heart-healthy” means, and we hope that you’ll join us! Again, we ask that this please be a single event entry (please don’t use your post for other events – that way we can keep things centred on healthy heart awareness). Just send your entry to joannacary AT ukonline DOT co DOT uk (could you use the title HotM, so they don't get lost) by midnight Monday 25th August (a Bank Holiday in the UK) , linking to my site, Joanna's Food (and to the HotM blog if you’d like) and I’ll post the round-up on the Thursday or Friday on both sites.

Related links

A fabulous spot for a picnic in the south of England
A travelling beef sandwich (mark two coming up later this month)
A place in our garden for a picnic

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