So I promised you I would be back in September. A little later than I had planned originally before J and I moved back to Malta, but better late-ish than never. I am so happy to be back with my blog. I missed writing and I missed cooking. I still miss it to a certain degree to be honest, because only yesterday we managed to set the kitchen up properly, so until then meals were modest and simple. Not that I regret that. The produce here is generally very good and the heat doesn’t make me that enthusiastic to be in front of the stove! I am still getting used to the markets and shops, and the best places to buy ingredients, so I’m finding planning meals to be one of the many little challenges since the big move. I won’t bore you with the details. All I can say is this: it was stressful and I can almost promise myself not to do it again. Ever. Almost. I cannot count how many times we did that and it becomes tougher every single time. Change can be a good thing though.
During a recent visit to Malta, I went through an old recipe file, still in storage. I wanted to find the very first cake I have ever baked. I flipped through the many sheets of neatly printed papers and there it was. Found it. You see, back in the days when I started to feel at home in the kitchen I was extremely methodical about keeping notes, writing and printing almost every recipe I tried. I had so much time on my hands, enough to feel really lonely…it was unbelievable. (My only regret is that I had no interest in blogging back then.) Alas, things have changed during the past few years and I have not been that good about organizing my notebooks. J came up with a strategy: there is a simple solution to all this, but to me it’s sounding more of a battle plan. So I am postponing what I should have done ages ago. Not good.
I digress so back to the cake. The precious paper (no rings here) contains a recipe for a “Yoghurt Cake”. It has been ages since I made it so I won’t include it here; I might try it next week and take some pics. Right now I want to tell you about a similar bake, found in Nigellissima for another yogurt cake. Now I don’t know about you, but more often than not I tend to have a big pot of plain yogurt on the go in my fridge. I always get a 500g pot at the start of the week with the most basic, or rather, idealistic premise of a healthy breakfast. Of course, this plan goes completely awry by Wednesday, but not to worry: what remains of the pot goes into this cake. Well, 150 grams of it anyway!
When I bought Nigellissima, this was one of the recipes that caught my eye, and admittedly I thought that the savarin mould was irreplaceable. So this recipe was confined more towards the end of my list. However Nigella suggests using a 22/23cm springform pan, which I have; I just don’t like using it. So I used a normal non-stick round tin instead, which I still greased, and it worked well. (I always butter and flour non-stick pans when not using parchment paper.) A couple of weeks ago, I did get a savarin mould and I cannot wait to try it. I definitely will…very very soon…before my Maltese lemons run out. I’d better hurry! (If the lemons you have are not unwaxed, then don’t fret. Just rinse them with cold water, scrubbing them lightly as you go.*)
- 150g plain yogurt
- 150ml vegetable oil
- 3 egg whites
- 3 egg yolks
- 250 golden caster sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- zest of ½ an unwaxed lemon*
- 175g plain flour
- 75g cornflour (or cornstarch)
- 1 teaspoon icing sugar, for sprinkling on top of the cake before serving
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4 and grease the savarin mould or the tin of your choosing.
Whisk the egg whites till you get firm peaks and set aside.
In another bowl, tip in the egg yolks and add the yogurt and sugar, and whisk these well until airy.
Now, slowly add the vegetable oil while mixing the yogurt mixture; then add the lemon zest and vanilla extract.
Fold in the flour and the cornstarch in two or three batches, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl. When you have no lumps, stop mixing.
Gently fold the egg whites into the flour mixture. Keep it light. (It’s a bit like flicking and swishing a wand, if you’re a lovable show-off like Hermione.)
Tip the mixture into the greased cake tin or mould and bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Place it on a rack to cool. I would wait for another 15 to 20 minutes to remove it from the mould. Serve after sprinkling it with the icing sugar.
Enjoy! R xx
(This recipe is adapted from Nigellissima, Chatto & Windus, London, 2012.)