When I lived in London I used to confuse everyone by saying it felt like Christmas when the sun started shining and the days became spring-like. Coming from the Southern Hemisphere I love hot Christmases, and the thought of summer gets me hopping about like a small child.
Sydney has been putting on a wonderful show of spring lately. We have been lucky enough to have two wonderful weeks of sunshine and fairly warm weather while it is still technically winter. On Friday I got the fuzzy “yay, summer and Christmas are coming!” excitement, and realized with utter joy that this year will be my first proper hot Christmas for 6 years. (We moved here just before last Christmas, but we had only just landed and it still felt like a holiday so I didn’t get the Christmas build-up…)
As Sydney and I have had our good and bad times over the last couple of months, I thought I would regale you with some of the reasons I love Sydney/Australia:
- The weather is proper. It is hot in summer, cold in winter, and utterly wonderful in between. You get a chance to appreciate both the cold and the heat as you experience extremes (ish) of both
- There are so many different places in Australia to see, and each is like a different country
- The food in Sydney, and in Australia, is of very high quality
- The Australian culture is fantastic. (Despite my recent discovery that Australians don’t like South Africans very much…)
- Australians work hard and play hard. I enjoy the playing part the most, the working part takes a little getting used to
- Outside of Sydney working hours, the people are relaxed and friendly. (Although sometimes a little too close for comfort)
- We have a cute little home for a fraction of the rent we paid in the UK
- I have been able to get into food blogging, and get involved in food blogging, which is something important in my life
- I learned how to dive! YAY!
- Our Christmases are hot. Often rainy, but hot.
As I am feeling all spring-like at the moment, I decided I would make a delicious loaf to celebrate the wonderful Sydney weather. Frank loves honey, and although I’m not the biggest fan, I thought I would give this recipe a go. It turned out rather tasty in the end!
Honey cake with honeyed almond crunch – recipe from the BBC Good Food website
175g slightly salted butter , softened, plus extra for greasing
85g clear honey, plus 4 tbsp for drizzling and extra to serve
85g caster sugar
85g ground almonds
200g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
100ml natural yogurt
2 large eggs , one separated, plus 1 extra egg white
85g flaked almonds
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease a 900g/2lb loaf tin and line with a strip of baking parchment that overhangs each end – this will help you lift the cake out when it is cooked.
Put the butter, honey, caster sugar, ground almonds, flour, baking powder, bicarb and yogurt into a large mixing bowl. Put the egg whites into another small bowl. Put the yolk and remaining whole egg in with all the other ingredients.
Whisk the whites until stiff, then put your electric beater into the other bowl of ingredients and beat until just smooth. Stir in a third of the whites, then gently fold in the rest with a wooden spoon. Tip the mix into the prepared tin, scatter over the flaked almonds and bake for 55 mins on the middle-lower shelf of the oven until golden and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven. Quickly drizzle with 2 tbsp honey and scatter with a small pinch of fine salt. Put back in the oven for 5 mins more. Remove from the oven, drizzle with 2 more tbsp honey, then cool in the tin on a wire rack. Release stuck almonds from around the edge with a knife; then, using the parchment overhangs, carefully lift the cake from the tin. Eat in slices, drizzled with a little extra honey if you like.