The story doesn’t change much after all. You have a bunch of apples which you will surely hate if you don’t do something with them. That’s how this recipe came to be. If I had to choose a fruit as a mid-morning snack I would most definitely not go for an apple. How can that be, you might ask? I can’t give you a valid reason for that I’m afraid. (Although, come to think of it, this might be indicative of having to eat boiled apples when I was a child every time I got sick.) However give me an apple pie and I’ll devour it. Add a couple of ice cream scoops and I’ll polish it off till the last crumb. Come on, admit it, won’t you do the same?
Although the temperatures have reached what I would now call scorchio levels (and I was told never to go live in the desert), some readers are still asking me for cake recipes. Of course, I will always do so when I have a few lined up. I made this a few weeks ago, before my almost-baking embargo. I just can’t have the oven on for too long when it’s in the high 20s. Inside.
Hold on, hold on, I hear you say. I know! Today I am giving you something which doesn’t normally appear much here at C&T HQ. When people ask me for alternative ingredients, or diet related recipes I usually give them links to some of my favourite blogs. I don’t do that out of laziness. Most of the time I go out of my way to look for good nutritious recipes that don’t take loads of time and faff to make. This doesn’t apply to food allergies or any other health issue. I do take issue with those who look down on others because they don’t eat “clean”. What? Are the rest eating dirty? And this is not one of those recipes, so there’s a sigh of relief! I can hear it from here.
But that is another story, or rather another blog post. Having said that I am waiting for some books on the subject to arrive through the post very soon, which I hope to be reviewing in the next few weeks. If they decide to get here, that is. I’ve been waiting for over a month now.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. It’s all about family and friends, and everything that should be celebrated about life. My year has been full; to be honest I really don’t know how quickly it passed by. Someone once told me that the older we get, the more we feel that. I think it’s true. For me it’s so important to stop once in a while and appreciate all the good things that come my way. My year has been like a yo-yo, like everyone else’s I guess, but still I feel thankful for the dearest people in my life. Especially those friends with whom I reconnected. You know who you are. Also a special shout-out to Sadie from Sadie’s Nest, Julie from Hostess at Heart, Anna from Life Bellissima and Sarah from Sarah’s Attic of Treasures. Four lovely ladies right there!
There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!
Thorin Oakenshield (from J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit)
I know that these past few days have been all about Writing 101 and today is no different, but I wanted to combine three things at once. I know you won’t mind, mainly because there’s a recipe at the end. You have all been so good. Even though many of you come here for the food and photos, you have been so positive and supportive of my other non-foodie ones. I’m thankful. Truly. On to the quote.
Happy Monday! This post will be a short one (I will be back later in the week) but I wanted to post a new pic I should really have published together with Ms. Khoo’s recipe. The picture may seem the same to you,
and perhaps to me, however the savoury cake you see here was made with ground almonds (I simply added them to the flour but you could substitute say around 100g from the original flour quantity), walnuts and dates. These reminded me of home. You can read the post before this one for the ingredients. The cake turned out to be a little crumblier than the original one, which is noticable in the way the cubed sausages fall to the side, but tasted just as good, if not a little sweeter. R xx
OK…for the last few weeks the weather drove me insane. On a recent visit to Malta one of my friends said that there is always a grey cloud over the UK. There has been some windy and rainy weather around this Spring, and let me tell you, it can get to you after a pretty dismal winter. J loves stormy weather because it makes photos look good. He’s right of course. But that doesn’t make you want to go out for a picnic, does it? Mmm?
Today though, the Sun’s finally out once more. Great for all those lucky tennis fans in Wimbledon, and also good for the rest of us mere mortals, watching the action on the internet! For a taste of the grass, out with the boots and in with the flip flops, good food, an ice-cream or two, a picnic basket and off we go.
For an outing such as this it’s always good to opt for food which is very easy to make and very portable. I find that simplicity and portability always work well together and the following recipe was just that. While waiting for Rachel Khoo’s next book I made her cured sausage, pistachio and prune cake, from her charming third publication The Little Paris Kitchen, changing absolutely nothing from the original recipe. Removing the pistachio shells was the biggest faff and to be honest their taste got kind of lost in the end. I thought the smoked sausages were quite chewy, but the saltiness was what the cake needed. Mademoiselle Khoo said that salami would work well here and I know for a fact that friends who have tried it with cured chorizo, loved it.
I tried it again with dates and walnuts, two ingredients found perpetually found in my pantry, and I bet it would also work well with whole toasted almonds. That would certainly give it a more Mediterranean feel.
- 250g plain flour
- 15g baking powder
- 150g cured French sausage (or whatever you can find – chorizo or cured Maltese sausages are good options), chopped in little cubes
- 80g pistachios (or toasted walnuts or almonds), shelled and roughly chopped
- 100g prunes (or dates), roughly chopped
- 4 large eggs
- 100ml milk
- 150ml olive oil
- 50g plain runny yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- pinch of pepper
Grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 180 degrees C. Measure out all the the flour, baking powder, cubed sausage, pistachios and prunes, and give them a good mix in a large bowl.
In another large bowl, whisk the eggs until they turn pale. Add the milk, olive oil, yoghurt, salt and pepper and whisk again.
Now, making sure not to overbeat, slowly add and fold the dry flour mixture into the wet ingredients. Remember: some lumps in the batter is a good thing.
Pour this lovely cake mixture into your diligently prepared loaf tin and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
I like this best when served with a fresh salad. Picnic anyone? What’s your favourite picnic food?
(Recipe adapted from Rachel Khoo’s The Little Paris Kitchen, Michael Joseph, 2012.)