And...I'm back! I've cooked so much since I last shared something with you here and eaten even more. I've paid a visit to my new favourite place in the world, La Bretagne (or Brittany as is it known to the Anglophone world) where I fell head over heels in love (more on that later!). We ate our first "proper roast dinner" in a rediential neighborhood of London complete with dog under the table and a poster worthy wooden platter of beef and all the fixings (how sad I forgot my camera that day). More recently I cooked my first Porchetta, that dreamy Roman style pork roast covered in cracklin', as festive as it gets! And alongside a traditional bowl of broth filled with tiny handmade tortellini. A bowl of dreams I call it. I'm looking forward to 2012 and getting back into sharing my adventures with you.
But for now, lets deal the present task at hand - New Years Eve! I'm sharing one of my best kept secrets - Cake, en Francais!
I first discovered Cake Sale 4 years ago. If I could figure Typepad you'd see an accent on the last "e", which changes things entirely. No this isn't cheap cake, but rather savoury cake. We were staying in a lovely B & B in the medieval village of Beynac in the Dordogne region. Jean Claude and Francoise Fleurie were the perfect hosts, and living my dream. Breakfasts and dinner we enjoyed there still remain memorable so many years later. Each morning a new dish and always a different cake, for breakfast! With my competent but limited French and her non existent English, we managed to strike up conversations about cooking, obviously her passion too. She spoke to me of the many regional foods that I had never enjoyed before such as Duck gizzard salad (turns out quite delicious), Vin de Noix, a sweet nutty dark aperitif and foie gras. When I told her of some of my own baking loves, she spoke of Cake and lent me a fantastic cookbook filled with savoury loaves.
This is one of my most popular appetizers and you'll be surprised at its ease. Serve it alongside some pepper jelly or a favourite chutney or my favourite - tomato jam. And while I love the way chorizo adds a nice smokiness to the loaf feel free to experiment adding ham or sausage. I have added chopped sundried tomatoes, all different kinds of nuts, and thrown in basil, chervil and thyme for the herbs. As long as you keep the chunky items to roughly the same measurement, you can make it different each time.
Happy New Year to all my loyal readers. May I see you shortly in 2012!
makes 1 large loaf or 4 mini loaves
adapted from recipes by Dorie Greenspan and Clotilde Dusoullier
1 3/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/4 cup green onions
1/4 cup chopped parsley
100 g air dried chorizo, diced
1/3 cup chopped green olives
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 8 inch loaf pan or 4 mini loaf pans with butter. Line with parchment if desired.
Whisk together flour, baking powder and spices in a large mixing bowl.
Put eggs in a medium bowl and whisk together until blended. Whisk in the milk and olive oil.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir together gently just until combined and now flour is visible. A few small lumps are fine and you want to avoid over-beating which will create a tough dough.
Spoon into prepared pan(s) and bake forr about 40 minutes until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into middle of the pan. It should be golden. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
These freeze beautifully and keep at room temperature 3 days. When serving, slice into 1cm thick slices or 1 inch thick cubes.