I haven’t made a food post here in awhile – this is on about the semi di papavero we brought back from a Coop (an Italian supermarket chain) in Cecina. There are poppies flowering all across the Tuscan countryside, bright red sentries rising from wiry stems that seem incapable of holding up that much cheerfulness. The poppy is one of the most elegant flowers to ever grow as a weed. Naturally, Italy must produce lots of poppy seeds, if the ubiquity of poppies in the countryside is anything to go by.
We randomly picked up a pack of semi di papavero in the supermarket for my baking in Singapore – I didn’t know what ‘poppy’ was in Italian, but the packet looked more similar to poppy seeds than any other grain, so we bought it. It wasn’t that cheap either, about 3 euros for a 200-250g packet?
The lemons we used weren’t Italian lemons (even though there are plenty of lemon trees littered across Tuscany with humongous lemons larger than grapefruits).
They were those 3 for $2 Israeli lemons from NTUC :P which happens to be just enough zest for 2 lemon poppyseed cakes.
Here are the lemons completely stripped by my microplane grater.
I got this microplane grater from the Seattle Crate & Barrel for something like USD 15. After which I found it going for $42.95 in the Singapore Crate & Barrel! What is with the huge jump in price? I almost didn’t buy it in the US because I thought oh, Singapore has a Crate & Barrel too, I can just buy it there. Thank goodness I didn’t. This microplane grater has served me exceedingly well in grating both lemons and cheese since I’ve gotten back. It washes amazingly, has a magnificent blade that could probably skin a person, and is so easy to use.
Here is the lemon poppyseed cake cooling out of the oven. I basically follow the recipe for Nigella’s lemon-drizzle cake but added the poppy seeds at the last minute when the batter was done. The fruit in the background are dragon fruit, which you can find everywhere in Singapore. I’d much rather we produced lemons though instead of dragon fruit. Lemons are so much more useful.
All sliced up and yellow.
A close-up of the poppyseeds and the buttery crumb.
Definitely one of my favourite cake recipes! Remember to leave the cake overnight before consuming for the lemoniest taste! The only problem with the recipe is the fact that it calls for self-raising flour, which is really common in the UK and its ex-colonies but I could not find it in the US. You can make it yourself by mixing a certain ratio of baking powder with all purpose flour though. Google it yourself.
NB: I should have added more poppy seeds. They provide a really nice crunch!