Friday, 23 May 2014

Getting ready for SUMMER!

OK so you might be thinking to yourself that by using the "S" word that I'm acting prematurely (or jinxing it!) but as most Londoners will tell you we really can have the four seasons in a day so being ready for summer isn't necessarily a bad thing and lately it's been feeling quite warm so you know... lets keep positive and hope it lasts!

As a kid my cousins and I looked forward to my great aunties' picnic fare. She really is an amazing cook and made the most out of a very tight budget. I have to say that she was a magician in the kitchen. I must remember to ask her for a few of her recipes which work perfectly in the great outdoors!
And being outdoors is a great thing... so we really must make the most of it while it's hot warm.

And speaking of outdoors by far our favourite seasonal pursuit -apart from crafting in the sun of course!- is going to the park for a jolly old picnic where we can get a chance to enjoy some al fresco dining between the stitching and pasting... hopefully without the rain and the other remaining seasons thrown in!

So here's one of my all time favourite picnic recipes (sadly not one from my aunties' caché but still a good one!)... "Savoury French Cake"Ah Mais qui, cakes can be savoury too and this recipe serves as a great base which you can tweak and add other ingredients to make it your own. Try Smoked Salmon, boiled potato and dill for a fishy cake or a ham, pea, parsley and sun dried tomato loaf for a non veggie alternative.

Courgette and Goat's Cheese Cake... (V)
Makes one  loaf or about 10 mini cakes (muffin tray).

50g butter, plus a little extra for greasing the tin
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
100g plain flour
100g cornmeal or polenta
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp smoked paprika
200g - or 1 of each of carrot and courgette grated
180g feta, crumbled in largish chunks... you want some bite so don't crumble it too much!
Handful of sunflower seeds
3 eggs, lightly beaten
150ml milk

Melt the butter in a small frying pan over a medium-low heat and sauté the onion until soft and translucent. Add the paprika, stir, then set aside to cool.
Heat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.
Butter a 1.5-litre loaf tin and line with baking parchment. Butter the parchment, too (you can also make smaller ones in muffin tins or mini loaf tins, in which case simply butter the smaller moulds and dust with flour so they don't stick!).

Stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt and pepper. Mix in the cooled cooked onion, grated carrot & courgette, feta and sunflower seeds.
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk, then mix into the flour mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared tin (or tins).

Bake large loaves for about 40 minutes or until the top is a nice golden shade, smaller ones for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick or skewer comes out with no crumbs attached.
Leave to cool in the tin for five minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool.
Serve warm with a mixed salad.

(Based on a River Cottage recipe)

Other savoury cake recipes:

Tofu and sunblushed tomato loaf
Tofu and sun dried tomato cake

Arugula and pine nut loaf

Smoked salmon and leek loaf  

1 comment:

Holly Hollyson @ Full of Beans and Sausages said...

Great recipe! I am pinning it, thanks!