Thursday, April 30, 2009

Let 'em eat...

Well, I finally figured out what poor Marie Antoinette meant when she said, "Let them eat cake!" Doesn't say much about her kitchen sense but it's also not as ironic/ stupid as one would think, it turns out.

Our friends Jean Pierre and Marian invited us over for a party the other week and having finally put the elder two munsters to bed, we headed out with the youngest, since we thought two is enough for any babysitter to cope with at once. It was a lovely party, reminiscent of those we had enjoyed in France, with loads of wine including a very nice white from Luxembourg, and some truly delicious dips and bread. Dinner was amazing - a huge spread with a sizeable vegetarian section; and several loaves of 'cake'.

Cake, it turns out, is the colloquial French for party bread. They're kind of cake-ey in the rich, dense feeling, and look like bread. A cake as we would call it in English, is termed a gateau. And the cakes Marian had come up with were superb - very flavourful, rich and dense, and very inviting to cut-and-come-again. When I asked her for her recipe, she was a little vague about it, like the best cooks are - a little of this, a little of that...

I hunted it up on google, and found that this truly was the kind of recipe I could go for - easily stirred up and very customisable. I'm always a fan of recipes that let me tweak them and add my own touch. So I made one batch for breakfast. Of course, my loaf pans had gotten misplaced in last year's house-shift, so it wound up having to make this in an octagonal cake pan, so it looked more like cake than 'cake', and I had to bake it a lot longer too. But the end result was pretty much as I had hoped for, so I'm definitely going to be making this again. I have no photos since it got devoured too fast, but I promise I'll post one the next time.

200 gm plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
100 ml milk
100 ml olive oil/ 3 tbsp butter

You can mix in any flavourings you like into this. I added some sliced green olives, a tsp of cumin seeds, 1 tsp red cayenne pepper, 3 tbsp grated cheddar, 2 sliced tomatoes and 1 onion, julienned and browned in the olive oil.

You can also add a dash of cream to replace some of the milk.

Mix well and pour into two greased and papered loaf tins and bake in a preheated oven at 220 degrees C for 20 - 25 minutes - remove from oven when top is brown and fork comes out clean.

This tastes great spread with cream cheese, tzatziki, hummus, roasted bell peppers, butter...anything basically!

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