Sunday 28 December 2014

Super easy Polish poppy seed cake

John Lennon was right when he wrote that "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". At this point I ask myself if any plan is worth making. Perhaps life has nothing to do with plans after all, perhaps the only reason we plan is to create an illusion of control? What control do we truly have? How to be, how to think... Even this I have to question. I may choose to be strong, and think positive thoughts in the face of adversity, yet if other feelings creep in, what can I do? Either fight them, pretend I feel differently or, according to teachers like David Hawkins and Eckhart Tolle I can accept them in the knowledge that they too will pass. Whilst doing that, however, I may not be being particularly strong or positive, thereby breaking my resolution, and letting go of any control I have over the situation. However disagreeable and unpleasant that sounds, deep down I know that the path of acceptance is the one for me and that my trust in life is what keeps me sane. Sometimes. From my musings you may have figured out that the Christmas period has been taxing over here... Yet within this unavoidable brutality of life, there are still moments of comfort and softeness and it's with the wish of more of these, in all of our lives, that I give you this Polish poppy seed cake. Poppy seeds are generally known to have a calming, soothing effect on the mind and body...
A "proper" Polish poppy seed cake is an endevour, but this is a super easy version. If you go to a shop and buy the pre-prepared poppy seed mixture in a tin - called " masa makowa" - then all you need to do is add three egg yolks and 3 beaten-until-stiff egg whites, empty the lot into a greased baking tray and bake in a pre-heated oven at about 180 degrees C for 40 minutes. If you can't find this mixture, or would rather undertake the longer journey for the pure joy of it (it is quite joyous in a Slavic-Christmas kind of way), then you need to get all those ingredients down there. Soak the poppy seeds overnight in boiling water. Blend them on a very high setting until they produce a white-ish juice, then start adding all the other ingredients apart from the egg whites, keep blending. Finally, stir the egg whites into the mixture and bake as before. To finish, once the cake has cooled down, we make icing out of icing sugar and fresh lemon juice and pour it over the cake


1/2kg poppy seeds
1 tablespoon honey
200g caster sugar
1 tablespoon butter
100g raisins
100g dessicated coconut
100g chopped walnuts
50g candied orange peel
2 eggs, separated, whites beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon almond essence
Icing sugar
Fresh lemon juice

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