Monday, 3 June 2013
Je vous présente le cake! Sun dried tomato, Olive and Basil 'cake'
Because I couldn't wait...
Regular readers of this blog will know all about my love affair with France. From 'Joie de Vivre' through to 'Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité', I am a fan of all things Français. If some of my ancestors had stayed put a couple of hundred years ago I could have been French, but then messing around with the past affects the future and swapping my happy existence now for some kind of Frenchness is not what I am about, so I will just embrace that little part of me that is French and cook like a French woman, which brings me to cake, or should I say 'le cake', for that is what today's blog post is about.
Savoury cake might sound just a bit weird but allow me to convert you. Firstly, it sings Provence, particularly this one with its glorious flavours of olives, tomatoes and 'des herbes'. Secondly, as it cooks I swear the glorious smell escaping from the oven will transport you to some little bistro somewhere in the south of France where you are sipping pastis (or something) and looking suitable chic and thirdly, cut into little slices or cubes, maybe on cocktail sticks with some French sausisson and cold, cold glass of Chablis and you have a suitable 'Apero' experience and if you are one of those lightweight drinkers like I am and you've hurled a large glass of wine down your neck and are already feeling at best 'confident' or at worst 'other people', then a couple of slices of this contains suitable ballast to retain your equilibrium and natural 'French chic'. C'est genial, n'est ce pas?
So, this recipe is loosely based on one that I cut out of a magazine but I really couldn't tell you which one. I think, to be honest, once you have the basic dough down you could hurl anything you wanted at it, as the dough, or cake, is merely a vehicle for savoury treats, but you would have to go a long way beat the combination of sun dried tomatoes, black olives, herbes de provence and chopped basil not just for taste, but for bespeckled warm colours through every golden slice.
So, embrace your inner Frenchness, and make...
Sun dried tomato, olive and basil 'cake'
Serves 6 (maybe...)
175g plain flour
1 tbsp baking powder
3 large eggs
100ml olive oil
100g Gruyere cheese, grated (You could probably get away with a decent mature cheddar)
100g sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained and roughly chopped
60g stoned black olives, chopped
2 tsp herbes de provence (you could also use other Mediterranean herbs if that is what you have).
a small handful of basil leaves, roughly sliced
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat the oven to 180c Gas 4
Sift the flour and the baking powder and season well with salt and pepper
Whisk the eggs, the milk and the oil together. Add the liquid to the flour a little at a time, beating after each addition.
Next, mix in the Gruyere, tomatoes, herbs, olives and basil, then tip the mixture into a prepared (greased and lined) standard loaf tin.
Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes or until a skewer put into the middle comes out clean. If you are concerned that the top is browning but the middle seems uncooked, then place some foil over the top of the loaf, though bear in mind that the nature of the ingredients in the loaf will produce something that will be quite dense and damp whilst cooking.
Leave to cool and then remove from the tin. You can keep this wrapped in foil in the fridge if you are not using it immediately but when you do serve it, make sure it is at room temperature.