Thursday, 19 August 2010

FRENCH-STYLE SAVOURY CAKES



My father hasn't been in the pink of health lately. I took the day off work today to accompany him to the hospital. They've now fixed him up for CT colonography early September.

We got home a little before 3 this afternoon and I made these French-style savoury (salty) cakes.

Savoury cakes, or cakes salés are quite the trend in Parisian bakeries. They're quick and easy, perfect for light lunches or picnics, or presented as amuse-bouche to accompany apéritif. They're a great way of using up leftover chicken, beef or cheeses. It's really worth a try. If you prefer individual portions, you can always bake them in mini muffins tins. The original cake salé recipe calls for Gruyère and ham. I used Cheddar and luncheon meat.


Savoury Ham and Cheddar Bread
Adapted from this recipe in nytimes.com

Makes two 16.5cm x 8cm x 7.5cm loaves or
two 18.5cm x 9.5cm x 5cm
one 20.5cm x 10cm x 5.5cm

250 grams all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
3 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/3 cup olive oil
170 grams luncheon meat, cut into 1/4" dice
200 grams Cheddar cheese, half coarsely grated and half cut into 1/4" dice

Place a rack in the centre of your oven and preheat the oven at 180 degrees C. Generously brush loaf pans with butter.

In a large bowl, whisk flour with baking powder, salt and pepper.

In a medium bowl, lightly whisk eggs, then whisk in milk and olive oil.

Using a rubber spatula, fold wet ingredients into dry until barely mixed. Fold in luncheon meat and cheese.

Scrape batter into loaf pans and smooth top.

Bake loaves until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 30 to 40 minutes.

Transfer to a rack to cool in pan for 5 minutes. Run a knife around edge to release. Turn out loaves onto rack to firm up before slicing, about 30 minutes; using a serrated knife, cut into slices.

Enjoy!



Sunday, 8 August 2010

TREATS FROM MAKI: PATISSERIE SADAHARU AOKI

Several years ago, as I was reading about the renowned Matcha Opera Cake at Pâtisserie Sadaharu AOKI, I had a strong urge to fly to Paris or Tokyo just for a bite of it.  Then one day I heard that Mr. Aoki has opened shop in Taipei.  Frankly I'm a little bit jealous of the Taiwanese.  They already have Paul and Boite de Bijou and now they have AOKI.

This week, Maki took great pains to ship me a Aoki's green tea goodie - a Matcha & Azuki Bean Cake - all the way from Tokyo!  How did you read my thoughts, Maki?

You can tell from the lovingly wrapped package that such pride is put into every item that leaves the premises. 


Of course, the thoughtfulness and sincerity of the giver cannot be ignored.  I only hope these photos will do the gift justice!




Let me assure you that it tastes as good as it looks! 

I was expecting the matcha to be slightly smoky and bitter in taste but there was none of that.  I also thought the azuki beans would be extremely sweet but they weren't.  I had no idea it would be so light!  Yummy!