It’s a well known fact to those who know me that I am a big, big fan of John Lewis and that I have been a very regular visitor to the John Lewis At Home store ever it opened in Swindon a couple of years back. I am so taken with it that I even worked there as a temp two Christmas’s ago! , now I’m truly a happy bunny as not only does Swindon have John Lewis but it now has a rather swanky new Waitrose store. I truly am in retail heaven! As yet I have only set foot in the shop with Mr R who does not believe in browsing and rushes around buying only what we need like a whirling Dervish. He is definitely a man on a mission! I, on the other hand, need heaps more time to explore and have set aside at least half a day in the school holidays to do just that. I may even treat myself to a bite to eat and as a Waitrose Card holder, sip at my complimentary free hot drink!

I’ve discovered that Waitrose publishes a free weekend paper filled with great articles and fab recipes. I’ve started quite a collection so that I can try the recipes now and again. This weekend I made a batch of delicious rose soaked pistachio and lemon cake. They tasted very yummy indeed and looked so pretty decorated with the dried rose petals which you can buy in Waitrose as part of the Cooks Ingredients range. I’m a great fan of polenta in baking and subsituted the semolina with it. They are pretty much the same thing anyway so I don’t think the end result would be too different  Why don’t you have a go at making a batch yourself. You know you should!


Rose-soaked pistachio and lemon cake

125g pistachio

4 large eggs, seperated

100g golden caster sugar

100g semolina

75g butter, melted

grated zest of 1 lemon

50g orange marmalade

1 tbsp rose petals


200g golden caster sugar

1 tsp rose water

juice of 2 lemons

1 vanilla pod split


1. Preheat the oven to 180C gas mark 4. Grease and line an 18cm square tin with baking parchment. Using a processor or blender, blitz 100g of the pistachios until finely ground and finely chop the remaining 25g and put both aside.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until a pale colour and thick and creamy. While the machine is running, slowly add the ground pistachios and semolina followed by the melted butter, lemon zest and marmalade and continue to beat until smooth.

3. In a seperate clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form stiff peaks. Gently fold this into the nut mixture in three additions so as to keep as airy as possible. Poor the batter into the tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

4.While the cake is baking, make the syrup by heating all of the ingredients together (scrape out the vanilla seeds from the split pod and add these along with the pod) and add 200mls of water. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 15 minutes until reduced and syrupy.

5. While the cake is still warm in the tin, cut into squares. Discard the vanilla pod and spoon about half of the syrup over the cake. Leave the cake to cook completely before removing from the tin. Sprinkle with the remaining chopped pistachios and rose petals and drizzle over the remaining syrup.