Broccoli, Lemon and Pine Nut Loaf

I had thought that the craving for cake would wane.

It’s time for a confession. It hasn’t.

I’ve been generally lucky in this whole – building something that’s now the size of a head of broccoli caper. I haven’t had insatiable cravings for gravel or pickles. I can still be trusted to take a litre tub of ice cream from the fridge without finding myself ten minutes later scavenging against the cardboard at the bottom for the last ribbons of half- melted dairy.

The stomach churning aversions to slow cooked meats, rosemary and wilted greens that haunted me for the first 13 weeks have left the building.

And these days I can even bear to sit within sniffing distance of  The Hungry One while he’s nursing a small tipple of whiskey at the end of a night.

The latest fun guest at the party is the heartburn. It’s warm and sour. It rises up through my lungs like muddy suds from a shower that just won’t drain. That’s one I could do without. And the heartburn tablets I’ve turned to for help taste suspiciously like fruity, fizzing concrete.

But something I still can’t do without, is cake.

Me, circa 1982. Nice tracksuit, huh?

It seems I have completely reverted to childhood. My comfortable clothes these days are more likely to dark grey yoga pants and a voluminous v neck t shirt than cuffed pink velour, but if there’s a social gathering, that’s where you’ll find me. Sitting down (potentially on the floor), legs splayed and stuffing my face with cake.

I’ve become less picky about flavours. A few months ago it was all about apple and almond, though carrot or something studded with berries would suffice.

These days anything that fits on a fork and gives itself up to soft crumbs will do- though there was a very special specimen recently consumed; crafted from blueberry and cream cheese, it was as though a bagel and a sponge cake ran away and had a torrid affair.

Meanwhile, I should probably be eating more greens.

This loaf is in honour of the thirtieth week of gestation. It feels like hump day- like we’re on the downward slope- though I think we all know that the the distended lump in my stomach is not growing anywhere but out.

This creation satisfies my need for cake, but also gives a good dose of greens. It’s not too dissimilar in theory from a zucchini, or courgette loaf. It’s sturdy and dense and mildly sweet- though you can make it much more savoury by omitting the sugar all together, perhaps replacing it with grated parmesan. It packs some pine nuts and lemon along for the ride. It’s the sort of thing you should serve in smaller slivers as part of a wider spread of treats , or pack in brown paper to accompany you on an extended stroll. You can eat it on its own, but I think it really starts to shine when glossed with a good schmear of cream cheese and some extra lemon zest.

It may not be the prettiest thing around- and the smell of roasting broccoli may not be your thing (particularly if you’re less than 12 weeks pregnant)-  but I can say this; it’s a sound thing to have in your arsenal when you’re trying to keep the cake baby at bay.

Broccoli, Lemon and Pine Nut Loaf

Makes one loaf, with around 10 slices


1 medium head of broccoli (300g), cut into florets and steamed until the stems are soft
2 eggs, beaten
75 ml of sunflower oil
50 grams of sugar (optional- it will give a sweet/savoury loaf. If you want something  more savoury, leave it out, or potentially substitute with grated parmesan cheese)
40 grams of pine nuts, toasted
Zest of half a lemon
250  grams plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarb soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

To serve; cream cheese and extra lemon zest

Here’s how we roll

1)Preheat the oven to 150 C/300F.

2) Steam the broccoli florets until the stems are soft, but the colour is still bright green. Set aside to cool.

3)  Use a stick blender, food processor or blender to blitz the broccoli until smooth.

4) In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs and the sunflower oil.

5)  Combine the cooled broccoli puree with the toasted pine nuts and lemon zest.

6) Mix the broccoli puree with the eggs, sunflower oil and the sugar. Stir to combine.

7) Sift in the flour, bi carb soda and baking powder.

8) Stir to combine.

9) Pour the batter into a greased loaf tin and bake for 1-1 and a quarter hours- until a skewer comes out clean and the top is brown.

10) Allow to cool in the tin for 5-10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

11) Serve slices topped with cream cheese and some lemon zest.


Forty Weeks of Feasting

Each week mad websites and baby books will tell you how big your baby now is in comparison to a seed, fruit or vegetable. It starts as a poppy seed and goes from there. To make this process a little more palatable, join me as I bake my way through. Here’s the journey so far.

Week 29: Red Cabbage, Fennel and Pear Slaw with Pork Chops. Recipe here.
Week 28: Coconut and Almond Bread Pudding. Recipe here.
Week 27: Szechuan Pork Noodles with Smacked Cucumber Salad. Recipe here.
Week 26: Jicama, Chicken and Cashew Salad. Recipe here.


Week 25: Corndogs. Recipe here.
Week 24: Eggplant Moussaka. Recipe here
Week 23 Candied Grapefruit Peel and Dark Chocolate Cookies. Recipe here
Week 22 Roast Carrot and Hummus Soup. Recipe here.
Week 21. Spiced Pomegranate Meatballs with Mint and White Beans. Recipe here.
Week 20 Banana Berry Flax Muffins. Recipe here.
Week 19 Mango Pudding. Recipe here


Week 18 Sweet Potato, Red Onion and Feta Pie. Recipe here


Week 17 Red Pepper, Chicken, Onion and Date Tagine. Recipe here.


Week 16 Avocado Mint Salsa with Pea and Mozzarella Quesadillas. Recipe here.


Week 15 Orange, Polenta and Rosemary Cake. Recipe here.




Wk 14 Lemon Creme Fraiche and Parmesan Pasta. Recipe here


Wk 13 Clementine/Mandarin Curd. Recipe here.
Wk 12 Plum and tomato tartines. Recipe here


Wk 11 Sprout and mushroom gratin (in which we come out of the closet). Recipe here
Wk 10 Date tart. Recipe here
Wk 9 Roasted grapes with baby chickens. Recipe here.


Wk 8 Raspberries and elderflower spritz. Recipe here.


Wk 7 Blueberry pancakes. Recipe here
Wk 6 Lentil and Ginger Soup. Recipe here
Wk 5 Sesame Miso Crisps. Recipe here
Wk 4 Poppy Seed Scrolled Loaf. Recipe here.
  1. Congrats on getting to 30 weeks (I am now 31) and yes lots of cake from me. I figure with no (ok limited) alcohol you need a vice right? love the baby pic!

  2. The photo of you eating cake is HYSTERICAL! I love it. I’m not too sure about broccoli cake, but must admit you’ve never steered me wrong.

  3. You are sooo cute! 🙂
    Broccoli loaf sounds amazing – trying it soon!

    gemma @

  4. What a great idea! And the color is lovely 🙂

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