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Author Archive | Rasa Pelham

Pinterest challenge: broccoli, cumin and yogurt soup

Broccoli, cumin and yogurt soup So the chill is on and I thought to better start the soup season (well... I have started it a while ago actually). Joni cooked this soup last year for Lukas dedication and I have been revisiting it ever since. Its my favourite soup at this moment! Whats not to like, its flavoursome (sorry to say it is better than stilton and broccoli soup), kids love it, packed with all the green veg and its freezable (lunches sorted in advance). It's found on Pinterest but it is not challenging at all ;-).

BROCCOLI CUMIN AND YOGURT SOUP  adopted from Trois Fois Par Jour (thank goodness for Google Translator)

serves 12 adults or makes many many portions for kids lunches

  • 50g butter
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 2 large potatoes, sliced or cubed
  • 1-2 tsp cumin
  • 2 large handfulls spinach
  • 2 large broccoli heads, chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • 2l vegetable stock
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 200ml yogurt

1. In the largest pot you can find, melt the butter and fry the onions for 3 to 4 minutes. Add potato and cumin, continue cooking for about 3 minutes.Broccoli, cumin and yogurt soup2. Add broccoli, spinach and garlic then mix well so that broccoli is soaked in spices and spinach has wilted. Cover everything with vegetable stock, then add maple syrup and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.

Broccoli, cumin and yogurt soup3. Blend the soup and stir in the yogurt. Season and serve it while still hot! Broccoli, cumin and yogurt soupEnjoy xx

Rasa :)

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Forest in patterns

Forest in patterns I have been so busy this year that I forgot when was the last time I have been creative. So no wonder when we went on holiday and walked around in the forest in Lithuania I was amazed once again how beautiful nature is! After taking detailed pictures of fern, moss, wild blueberry bushes and pine bark all I wanted is to create, create and create. So I did what I do best (I believe) is to make patters inspired by woodland of course!Forest in patterns First I used watercolour to make these backgrounds. It was hard to begin with (It's been sooo long since I touched any paint), but the more relaxed I got I was able to produce decent textures. I used to dislike water colour when I was a kid as it is difficult to control the colour merging with each other accidentally.  But I fell in love with it when I went to art college as I realised you need to treat water colour completely differently. You need to be free with it. It is very therapeutic if you try ;-).Forest in patterns Once the water colour dried I cut it into shapes and mix and matched with the other backgrounds I created earlier.Forest in patterns Forest in patterns fern pattern I love how this bark pattern turned out, its not exactly like a bark, but it is very pretty to me :-).wood bark pattern Forest in patternsHope this post got you inspired, you are welcome to use these patterns I created anywhere you like (I am thinking to use it for my desktop if you ask me)

Rasa xoxo

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How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestation

How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationSo as you may know for me this year was all about organising. Because there are lots to tidy up after doing (still doing) so much DIY! Few months ago I started working on my craft supplies and sadly I came across a horrifying moth infestation which made things a little bit more complicated... arghhhh!  Not only did I have to untangle my very messy yarn I also had to get rid of these unwanted creatures... yuck! This is how my yarn basket looked like when I discovered the sad reality...How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationFirst I googled if it was really moths I was dealing with. Pictures online matched with mine which confirmed that it was indeed what I feared most.  I realised I had to just get on with it, quick! So I read and I read about different methods how to kill the moths, larvae and it's eggs (this article was my favourite), but the only one that seemed practical to me was to freeze all my yarn. Hmm... that will need lot's of freezer space! So I did it in batches which caused some problems with the yarn that was waiting in the queue. You see these evil moths are very quick to breed! I started with eggs and one moth and after just a day it turned into more eggs, moth and larvae...arghhhh!!! I ended up freeing up as much space as I can (that meant using up some of the frozen food) so I can stuff leftover yarn into freezer. Luckily we were going on holidays so I could just leave it there and forget it for a bit and deal with it later... phew!How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationHow I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationOnce I was back from holiday (all relaxed and all) I went back to sorting out my precious yarn. I cleaned the basket where I store my yarn with vinegar. I ordered some moth cedar and distributed it around the house. I organised the yarn and I think is so far so good. I think I won!  How I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationHow I saved my yarn stash from a moth infestationHope you found my story comforting if your yarn got infested (to be honest I just hope it does not happen to you).

Rasa xoxo

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How I camped with a baby and toddler

How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) When I was little I had the most amazing memories from camping trips and sleeping in the tent is not the only one. I loved swimming in the lake when raining (because I am soaked in water anyways), exploring nature, finding wild strawberries and most importantly going for a walk at night in the woods and finding fireflies on the grass (magical!!!). Things are little different here in UK of course (mostly because of camping restrictions sadly), but I think there is still plenty of fun to be had. This is why I set out to camp with my boys, toddler and a baby (eeek!!!).

First we tried Lithuanian camping in the campsite near the a lake which turned out to be more equipped and modern to compare to my days camping. However I though that it will do for our first time experience with kids. My mum recommended not to do it but I held strong and did it anyways (now she wants to join me next year after I told it was actually pretty good). Luckily I had Joni to help me out so it turned out to be less stressful. We only did one night just in case I do not sleep at night and I become like a zombie next day. We were also very lucky with the company. Camping with my mum's church felt like being part of community where everybody help each other by lending necessities to each other or keeping an eye on your children (which meant that me and Joni could go for some canoeing alone). The only negative part of camping with kids was that Lukas refused to sleep till around 11pm. In the pic bellow he is in his pj still playing outside! But I have been told by other campers that the kids usually go back to sleeping better after few days of camping. So I guess it is worth to camp for a week at least so you can properly enjoy it. Unlike us, we had to settle in the camp one day and pack up the next. How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) Few days ago we tried camping here in England as well. Mostly because we wanted to get out as we had building works happening in the house again (now we are working on new kitchen, yey!). So Joni was not with us to give a hand. Luckily the company was great and I received plenty of help. The sleep was ok, I managed to put both boys to bed at the same time (very impressed with myself and only one hour late). I had a relaxing evening, I only wished I picked up a book with me to read. However lots of chocolate consumed and some wine too! Overall it was a great trip. Lukas enjoyed exploring (as well as sitting in the mud) and running/screaming together with other kids. I think once Tomas grow older, camping will be even better fun!   How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip) When it comes to advice, I would say same applies as holidaying with a baby alone. Most importantly is to keep your expectations low and the rest of the advice you can read here, how to holiday with a baby.How I camped with a baby and toddler (pics from Lithuanian camp trip)Hope you enjoying the last days of summer!!

Rasa xoxo

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Cheesecake for breakfast

Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipe When in Lithuania we were eating loads. No wonder I gained so much weight! Never the less I am missing Lithuanian food, especially the cheesecake (technically it's a curd cake) that is fit to eat for breakfast. I was so eager to try and make one myself that as soon as I got home I tried making it using more available alternative, Ricotta (so it is a cheesecake after all!). I would personally say that I could not notice any difference between two. I love that it is not too sugary and can be dressed up as you like. I love it with cream fraiche and pureed strawberries. Next time I shall try with honey me thinks ;-).

FIT-FOR-BREAKFAST CHEESECAKE

makes a very small cheesecake that makes up breakfast for two (feel free to double up)

  • 2tbsp semolina
  • 4tbsp full fat milk
  • 50g butter
  • 2tbsp sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 250g ricotta cheese

1. soak semolina in milk for at least 30min or overnight in the fridge.

2. Cream butter with sugar than gradually add egg yolks, soaked semolina, ricotta cheese and mix everything to combine well. Carefully fold in whisked egg whites.Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipe3. Spoon the cake mixture into lined spring form. Bake in 180C preheated oven for 25-30min.Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipe4. Meanwhile prep your toppings. I pureed strawberries with a little sugar (you need it somewhere sometimes).Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipe5. Serve it warm or cold the next day. Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipe Fit-for-breakfast cheesecake recipeEnjoy!

Rasa xoxo

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Year three with books: “Bridget Jones’s Diary”

My thoughts on Bridget Jones's Diary book I bet everyone knows this book! It's a classic cringe comedy as Joni would call it. Oh, and it made into the movies! To be honest I felt like the movie actually polluted my imagination as I was reading this book as I could just imagine Bridget as Renée Zellweger (there is no way from running away from that image now!). Although as expected there are plenty of differences between the book and the movie.

What I liked about it? Writing style of course! As you know me well, I really like casual chatty writing style ;-). Besides, I could really relate to Bridget and all her awkward moments. Not her lifestyle thankfully although I do envy her freedom a tiny weeny bit. One think I couldn't agree more with Bridget is the subject of Christmas gift giving. This sums it up exactly how I feel: "Ugh. Would that Christmas could just be, without presents. It is just so stupid, everyone exhausting themselves, miserably haemorrhaging money on pointless items nobody wants: no longer tokens of love but angst-ridden solutions to problems...". There you go, I said it!

What I did not like about it? Hmm... nothing really. I must be a fan of cringe comedy then (lol).

Is it worth buying? Certainly! it's an easy read, perfect for holidays. Even if you watched the movie million times!My thoughts on Bridget Jones's Diary bookHave fun while reading!

Rasa xoxo

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BBQ Lithuanian style (volume 2)

Chicken Shashlik recipeWe are off to Lithuania today so I thought to I will share another Lithuanian recipe for the barbecue (last year we shared a recipe for these pork shashlik that was a hit).

Few weeks ago we had some family over and of course we wanted to do bbq again since the weather has been great. Was not sure about pork so I thought of making them with safer meat option such as chicken (who does not like chicken?!). These are lovely and moist, can be served with rice and salad, same way as the pork ones.

CHICKEN SHASHLIK feeds about 4

  • 1kg chicken breasts, chopped into chunks
  • 4 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large onion, finelly chopped
  • 1 handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • salt and pepper

1.Place all the ingredients into a large bowl, mix it well and cover it with plate so it is well compressed. Refrigerate the meat overnight.Chicken Shashlik recipe2. The following day, put the meat onto the skewers and you are ready to bbq.  Chicken Shashlik recipe3. Serve it with plain rice, green salad and good quality ketchup or tomato salsa. Chicken Shashlik recipeEnjoy those lovely summer days while it last ;-)

Rasa xoxo

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How John Smedley knitwear is made

John Smedley factory tour A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to be able to look around the John Smedley knitwear factory. I left Lukas with Nanny and took Tomas with me on the tour all the way to the beautiful Peak District. It felt like my fashion years are back again!!John Smedley factory tour For those who don't know John Smedley knitwear I really recommend to visit their website where you will find more detailed info (the whole history if you want). John Smedley is a family business that is owned by many generations of the same family. They still handcraft finish their garments and still maintain many traditional craftsmanship methods. So buying their knitwear is really worth the money if you want to add some staple jumpers and cardigans to your wardrobe as they are made to last ;-).John Smedley factory tour John Smedley factory tour John Smedley factory tour John Smedley factory tour John Smedley factory tour John Smedley knitwear starts with a good quality yarn, mostly made with sheep hair (or cotton for summer) which I was quite surprised by. My memories of sheep wool is not great and I remember it being rough and stingy on the skin. But wait, this yarn comes from special sheep that come from New Zealand (called merino sheep). Their hair is softer because of better weather conditions. John Smedley factory tour The yarn then gets washed and conditioned to achieve maximum softness.John Smedley factory tour As I was visiting John Smedley factory it was obvious that the quality is the top priority here. The knitting is checked and checked again at many different stages and gets rejected when it does not meet these high standards. But it does not go to waste. These clever machines unravel the knitwear so this beautiful yarn have another chance to become a piece of knitwear again. Pfew! Thats good to know ;-).John Smedley factory tour John Smedley factory tour I especially loved some of the older machinery that although it is vintage is still very well maintained and making quality garments(however these are a little louder than modern ones). John Smedley factory tour John Smedley factory tour Every piece of knitwear is kept on needles as you would expect (If you are knitter yourself you would understand what I mean here). There is special compartment for trims as you can see here that get later attached to the main body.John Smedley factory tour John Smedley factory tour John Smedley factory tour This is where the garment gets its handcraft finish. The neck hole is cut by hand and then a special machine knit stitches the body and the trim together.John Smedley factory tour John Smedley factory tour John Smedley factory tour Finally each garment gets a final steam press.Smedley garments are beeing pressedThe factory building has it's old charms as well. The original water mill is still here, although it is no longer used to power the machinery it still makes a very pretty feature.  John Smedley factory tour John Smedley factory tourHope you found this post interesting as much as I did when visiting this fine knitwear factory ;-).

Rasa xoxo

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My favourite kids lunch on the go

Full of veg savoury muffins recipe We have been traveling lots lately (I am talking day trips not an actual holiday) and to have something handy for lunch is essential (unless you want to spend the money at the cafe or something). This is why these muffins are amazing for obvious reasons. They are dry meaning the mess don't stick to clothes, they are full of hidden veg (so hard to make Lukas eat veg these days) and they can be frozen for whenever you need them. Besides, they are carbs that children love to eat, su no fuss here ;-). Full of veg savoury muffins recipeFULL OF VEG SAVOURY MUFFINS

makes 12 muffins

  • 2 handfuls of chopped veg of your choice (I had broccoli and cherry tomatoes)
  • 230g plain flour
  • 3tsp baking powder
  • 140g grated cheese
  • 200ml milk
  • 3tbsp olive or sunflower oil
  • 1 egg, beaten

1. First, finelly chop all the veggies. Especially broccoli as it needs to cook through when baked.Full of veg savoury muffins recipe Full of veg savoury muffins recipe 2. Combine the veggies with the rest of ingredients.Full of veg savoury muffins recipe 3. Mix everything well before spooning the mixture into 12 hole muffin tin (all lined and ready). Bake for around 30min in 180C preheated oven.Full of veg savoury muffins recipe Full of veg savoury muffins recipeEnjoy your lunch!

Rasa xx

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Caribbean chicken curry with pineapple

Caribbean chicken curry with pineapple recipeThe other day I tried curry on the waffle? What? Yes, me and my sister in law visited waffle house few weekends ago and this is what Waffle House had on offer! I absolutely loved it and tried to repeat the same at home. Except I did not have so much luck with waffles, but otherwise it makes a great family meal. Mild and sweet, something that is ok with kids. Caribbean chicken curry with pineapple recipe CARIBBEAN CHICKEN CURRY WITH PINEAPPLE

makes 3 meals for a family of three

  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • 5 chicken tights, diced (about 1 kg)
  • 2 large red onions, chopped
  • 2 red peppers, sliced
  • 3 tbsp mild curry powder (could be more if prefer more spicy)
  • 2 X 400g can coconut milk
  • 2 X 400g can black eyed beans, drained
  • 1 pineapple, pealed cored and diced
  • small bunch coriander, chopped
  • cooked rice or waffles to serve with

1. First fry the chicken, then transfer to the slow cooker or a large pot (if not using slow cooker). Add the onions and peppers to the same frying pan, and cook for 5 mins until the veg starts to soften.

2. Transfer the veg to the slow cooker together with chicken. Then add beans, curry powder and the coconut milk. Season and cook as required. If you are using slow cooker then cook it on low all day, medium half day or on high three hours. If its in the pot then for about 40min-1h. You get the idea?Caribbean chicken curry with pineapple recipe3. Serve it with chopped pineapple, coriander and rice or waffle if you are brave ;-). Caribbean chicken curry with pineapple recipe Caribbean chicken curry with pineapple recipeEnjoy!

Rasa xx

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Year three with books: “The 80/20 Principle”

My thoughts on "The 80/20 Principle" bookThis book turned out to be exactly what I expected to be. I am not sure if 20/80 principle is common sense or if I knew it deep in me but I feel like I have not learned much. I have been reminded of few things, but certainly it have not been ground breaking! The 20/80 concept states that the world is unbalanced and 20% of what we do and have are more important (produce the main results) than the rest of 80%. So essentially we should focus on those 20% and try to do more of it to improve productivity. Doesn't it sound a bit familiar to you? Don't we all try to prioritise anything that we see is producing highest results or enjoy it best?

What I liked about it? Although it was not life changing, I loved authors honesty. He often writes how you should not read everything in his book and learn to skip pages. It is true only about 20% of this book is important and applicable personally! I also liked that data is not everything in finding out what is efficient and worthwhile. The book strongly suggests to use intuition when making decision and not to be afraid to experiment and not persevere with losing solutions. Which is what I kinda knew, but not put it into practice much. I now know that is best not to act immediately, but do some quiet thinking first.

What I did not like about it? I think writing style was my biggest dislike here. It made me drowsy every time I read this book (or was it sleep deprivation?). It was too repetitive and had many dry technical words that I did not even understand.

Is it worth buying? Yes and no. It depends if 20/80 principal familiar to you. If you have never heard of it then it is definitely worth reading about it.My thoughts on "The 80/20 Principle" bookHope you found my little review useful!

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Pinterest challenge: savoury waffles with blue cheese and bacon

Savoury waffles with blue cheese and baconLately we have been very tired. One moment I thought we were handling our lot as parents of two really well, the next day I feel like I am back at square one. Tomas is going through a bad sleep patch (hope thats temporary) and I for the first time ever have got a painful back.

At least one thing have not changed! We are still having our luxurious breakfast every Saturday that have become a tradition in our family. We always start our weekend with something special ;-). Here is what we had last weekend, savoury waffles with blue cheese and bacon, from Pinterest of course! I thought they were little rich so serving it with tomato salsa or salad is perfection.Savoury waffles with blue cheese and bacon SAVOURY WAFFLES WITH BLUE CHEESE AND BACON adopted from What Should I Eat for Breakfast Today

serves two exhausted parents

  • 130g flour
  • 1 egg
  • 250ml buttermilk (or 125ml milk mixed with 125ml yogurt)
  • 3 slices bacon, fried and cut into small pieces
  • 50g blue cheese, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 30g butter, melted
  • tomato salsa or salad to serve (optional)

1. Mix all the ingredients in the bowlSavoury waffles with blue cheese and bacon2. Heat the waffle iron pan or the waffle maker, grease it liberally (I do it with butter) and pour the waffle mixture in ready to fry (1-2 spoons at the time). I use fork to detach the waffles from the pan but this probably would not work with the non stick pans, so be careful.Savoury waffles with blue cheese and bacon Savoury waffles with blue cheese and baconHope you all have a fab weekend!

Rasa xx

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IKEA hack: custom laundry baskets

Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsWell.... hello here looking through my never ending laundry pics. I never quite manage to have all baskets empty completely! This is why I was looking for ways to organise my dirty clothes while I work my way through it if you know what I mean. I thought under the sink in the bathroom would be the most convenient for them since this is where we get undressed and changed most often. Except I struggled for a while to find a right size baskets.... until one day it occurred to me that the storage boxes from Ikea we already have fit perfectly! I know I know, they are storage boxes, not a laundry baskets, but I saw a vision how I could alter them a little. All it needed are some handles, a little bit of lettering embroidery and its done! Yey!Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets So this is how I did it. I purchased some fabric storage from Ikea. I know I know I said I had them already, but wanted in different colour and it's not like £2.50 breaks the bank! Then I found my fabric pencil, embroidery tread & needle + some ribbon to match. Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsFirst I marked the writing I wanted to embroider. You don't have to use special pencil for it, but it helps since you can rub it off if you make mistake. Otherwise regular pen mark would be hidden behind the stitches (I have gone this risky route too many times before).Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsFor embroidery I chose my favourite stitch which is the chain stitch. You can get more inspiration for your embroidery here.Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Next I stitched the handles. I folded the ribbon at the ends so it does not fray ;-).Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry baskets Ikea hack: custom laundry basketsHope you found this inspiring

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Chocolate oat porridge with dates and bananas

Chocolate oat porridge with dates and bananasAfter drowning my post pregnancy sorrows in sugar (as I often say) for past few months, I finally feel like ready to go sugar free again. Ok, maybe not totally cutting out sugar just yet, but definitely reducing it by at least removing added sugar. Here is what I have been having for most of my breakfasts past two weeks, which is a simple porridge that is sweetened with just dates and bananas. Chocolate for breakfast have not been more satisfying than this, yum!

CHOCOLATE OAT PORRIDGE WITH DATES AND BANANAS serves one

  • 1 sachet of 27g oats porridge + milk according to package instructions
  • 1 tsp coco powder
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 3-4 dates, chopped
  • 1 banana, sliced

1. Place all ingredients into microwavable bowl (except dates and banana) and mix briefly to combine.

2. Microwave for 2min or according to the oat porridge package instructions

3. Top the porridge with chopped dates and banana

Chocolate oat porridge with dates and bananas Chocolate oat porridge with dates and bananasSorry but not sorry that it is so simple. I thought I need to share this recipe anyways as it makes a very satisfying breakfast, without giving into sugar

Rasa :-)

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Nicola’s birthday cake

Nicola's birthday cake Last weekend we headed down to Devon again to celebrate my sister in law Nicola's 30th birthday and I was asked to bake a cake (what a privilege!!). It had to be gluten and dairy free so it was a fun challenge to accept. If you have been following me on social media then you probably have seen me doing bake tests over the past few weeks. I originally wanted to make a matcha cake, but was not sure if that would have been a crowd pleaser. At the end I decided to go with more simple flavours such as lemon and poppy seed. I used a very similar method to this chocolate orange cake which essentially uses citrus fruit pulp instead of butter or oil. This method has never let me down producing a very moist and tasty cake. I just need to find a way to reduce the amount of sugar (hmmm...a tough one to do in cake!).Nicola's birthday cake GLUTEN AND DAIRY FREE LEMON POPPY SEED CAKE WITH COCONUT BUTTER FROSTING

(for the cake)

  • 16 lemons
  • 18 eggs (it's a very large cake!)
  • 750g golden caster sugar
  • 750g ground almonds
  • 6tsp baking powder
  • 4tbsp poppy seeds + for decorating

(for the frosting)

  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (butter)
  • juice from 2 lemons
  • about 1kg icing sugar

1. First things first, cook the lemons as that takes the longest. Peal them and try to pick out any pips out of them (I know I know this might take forever, but its worth it as your cake might end up tasting a little bitter). Boil the lemons for about 30 min. Once they are cooked, drain them and check any leftover pips. By now your lemons should look like puree, but whizz them anyways with the hand processor just to get it extra smooth.

Baking with cooked lemon2. Whisk the eggs with sugar till its pale and creamy. Add the rest of ingredients into eggs (including lemon puree) and mix to combine everything well. Split the cake mixture into three lined baking springform tins. Bake the cakes in 150C preheated oven for 1.5h.Baking with cooked lemon3. Meanwhile make the frosting. Sift the icing sugar into the coconut oil and add lemon juice. Mix everything using electric mixer until smooth and creamy.Lemon poppy seed cake with coconut butter frosting4. As for frosting the cake I did it very lightly. I applied thin layer of frosting between the layers and more on the sides so I could scrape it off later (still keeping a natural "naked" cake look). Lemon poppy seed cake with coconut butter frosting5. Decorate it with poppy seeds, berries and flowers in keeping with the "au naturel" look ;-).Lemon poppy seed cake with coconut butter frosting Lemon poppy seed cake with coconut butter frostingHope you are feeling inspired.

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