“There’s nothing quite like a simple loaf cake to reassure one that all is okay with the world.”

These are the encouraging words of Yotam Ottolenghi, at the start of his recipe for “Blueberry, Almond, and Lemon Cake” from his latest Ottolenghi Simple cookbook.

Blueberry, Almond, and Lemon Cake
Ottolenghi Simple
Serves 8

½ cup plus 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 lemon: finely zest to get 2 tsp., then juice to get 2 Tbsp.
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 large eggs, beaten
⅔ cup flour, sifted
⅛ tsp. salt
¾ cup plus 2 Tbsp. almond meal
7 oz. blueberries
½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Grease an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan, and line the base with parchment paper.

Place the butter, sugar, lemon zest, 1 Tbsp. of the lemon juice, and vanilla in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on high speed for 3-4 minutes, until light, then lower speed to medium. Add the eggs, in small additions, scraping down the sides of the bowl. The mix may split a little, but don’t worry; it’ll come back together. Add the flour, salt, and almond meal in three additions. Finally, fold in three-quarters of the blueberries, scrape into the prepared loaf pan, and smooth it out evenly.

Bake for 15 minutes, then sprinkle the remaining blueberries over the top of the cake. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes, until cake is golden brown but still uncooked. Cover loosely with foil and continue to cook for 25-30 minutes, until risen and cooked. Test by inserting a knife into the middle; it’s ready if it comes out clean. Remove from oven and set aside, in its pan, to cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the icing. Put the remaining 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice into a bowl with the confectioners’ sugar and whisk until smooth. Pour over the cake and gently spread out -- the blueberries on the top of the cake will bleed into the icing a little, but don’t worry; this will add to the finished look.

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I admit that a loaf-pan cake is the most stress-free of all cakes: pour it in, bake it, turn it out, eat it. Really.

Appreciate your nice yellow batter (almond meal, eggs, butter). The staggered blueberries are perfect.

Sweet and rich, with just enough lemon. A joy.

Next week, I’ll try Ottolenghi’s “Tofu and Haricots Verts with Chraimeh Sauce,” from the same Ottlenghi Simple. Come back to see what this “chraimeh sauce” is all about.

Tofu and Haricots Verts with Chraimeh Sauce
Ottolenghi Simple
Serves 4

1 lb. haricots verts, trimmed
1 Tbsp. sunflower oil
14 oz. firm tofu, cut into 1-in. cubes and patted dry
salt
¾ cup cilantro

Chraimeh Sauce
6 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. hot paprika
1 Tbsp. caraway seeds, lightly toasted and crushed
2 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. sunflower oil
3 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 tsp. sugar
2 limes (juice one, quarter the order to serve)
salt
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp. water

Fill a medium saucepan halfway with water and place over high heat. Once boiling, add the green beans and boil 5-6 minutes, until they are cooked but still retain a slight bite. Drain, refresh with cold water, drain again, and set aside.

Put the oil into a large sauté pan and place over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the tofu and ¼ tsp. salt and fry for 4-5 minutes, turning throughout so that all sides are brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.

To make the chraimeh sauce, mix the garlic, paprika, caraway, cumin, cinnamon, and oil in a small bowl. Return the large sauté pan to medium-high heat and, once hot, add the garlic and spice mix. Fry for about 1 minute, then add the tomato paste, sugar, lime juice, and ¾ tsp. salt. Stir to combine, then pour in the water to make a thin sauce. Once bubbling, stir frequently for about 2 minutes, until the sauce begins to thicken. Return the green beans to the pan and continue to cook for another 1 minute, until the sauce is thick and the beans are hot.

Remove from the heat and gently stir in the tofu and cilantro. Divide among four shallow bowls and serve, with a wedge of lime alongside.