Cakes are sweet right? Apparently not necessarily. When I first moved to France to live, I stayed with a family in the lovely northern town of Lille.
One of the children needed to take a contribution to a class picnic and their mother asked me if I would make a cake for him to take to school the following day.
I was surprised when I saw ham and cheese amongst the ingredients that she had left out for me, thinking she had meant to say ‘quiche’ and not ‘cake’ I rang her (as there was also flour, eggs and milk so to me quiche made more sense)
No no, she said, make a ‘savoury cake’ you will find a recipe in one of my cookery magazines (to which I now subscribe)
I was at a christening at the weekend, the father of the baby was a chef and his colleagues had prepared a buffet, there on the table I was very happy to see a savoury cake made with goats cheese and tomato
I now often serve a ‘savoury cake’ as part of an aperitif, and I always get the same initial reaction from guests trying it for the first time. “What is it?” “I’ll just try a little ‘nibble to see if I like it.’”, but then I always get the same response also “This is delicious.” “Let me have another piece.” “You must give me the recipe.”
I have just served it for the first time to one of my very good friends who has recently spent a long weekend with me – needless to say, she also had the same reaction!
While she was in Paris, I took the opportunity to go out with my camera and take a few snapshots of Paris that I am going to share with you before I leave for a holiday in Tuscany at the weekend
As with all my recipes, I change and adapt what I make depending on what I have at hand, so ham could be swopped for salmon, black olives for green, gruyere for goat’s cheese. Peppers, capers and a variety of herbs also make guest appearances.
This dish is also perfect as part of a picnic.
150 g of plain flour
4 eggs, beaten
100 ml milk
1 dessertspoon (cuilliere a soupe) of olive oil
1 sachet of dried yeast (levure chimique)
150 g of ham cut into small squares or cubes (I used a smoked ham, which worked perfectly)
75g Grated gruyere cheese
75g black pitted olives sliced in two
Freshly ground sea salt and black pepper to taste
A teaspoon of mustard (optional – I used mustard with tarragon)
season the flour with the salt and pepper
Add the yeast to the flour
Stir the flour into the beaten eggs
Add the milk a little as a time to avoid lumps (If lumps occur, just use a hand whisk to beat them out)
Add the oil and mix well
Add the cheese then the ham add the olives
Pour into a buttered (1lb) loaf tin (moule)
Cook for around 45 minutes at 180 (gas mark 4)
(test that it is cooked in the centre by piercing it with a metal skewer, if it comes out clean, then it is cooked, if some moist ingredients stick to it, then the cakes requires a little longer in the oven – if the top begins to brown too much, cover with foil for the remainder of the cooking)