Special Dish for the Week: Savoury Fig Cake

This week I do another instalment of being French in Vancouver, inspired by a “Lunch in Paris” recipe for my Special Dish for the Week—which thus far has been getting great reviews from all my friends and neighbours with whom I shared a slice:

Savoury Fig Cake

Savoury Fig Cake

Savoury Fig Cake

I find myself with an abundance of organic eggs in my fridge this week, and contemplate making quiche, but then I discover that a French savoury cake takes a good number of eggs—and I even double up on the recipe.

As usual, not being a great baker on account of not sticking to recipes too closely, I “Maggify” the suggested ingredients—and surprisingly, the savoury cake turns out really well—it sets, doesn’t crumble, and cooks through evenly.

It even tastes delicious, with a good balance between sweet, salty, spicy, and creamy.

Success!

Savoury Fig Cake Ingredients

Savoury Fig Cake Ingredients

The batter ingredients include:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cup flour (spelt, whole wheat, unbleached white, etc.)
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

The recipe calls for first whisking the eggs on their own, then adding the fluids and whisking until light and foamy. I achieve some foam, but would not call the mixture light. I proceed regardless, adding the flour and baking soda next, not overworking the batter (some lumps are apparently just fine).

As in a quiche, various veggies and cheeses provide the hardiness of the dish.

Savoury Fig Cakes when Baked

Savoury Fig Cakes when Baked

The veggies include:

  • 8 dried figs, thinly sliced
  • onion, thinly sliced and sautéed in some olive oil
  • broccoli, finely chopped
  • cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • feta cheese, crumbled
  • kalamata olives, sliced
  • smoked cheddar cheese (optional, pan fried bacon bits could be used instead)
  • thyme
  • black pepper, to taste
  • red Thai chili pepper

The suggested baking time and heat is 1 hour at 325F, and it works for me, even with two baking dishes in the oven at once.

Savoury Fig Cake Dish

Savoury Fig Cake Dish

For one of my meals, I add a side salad of spinachcilantro, whole kalamata olives, and dry crumbled cottage cheese in a vinaigrette of apple cider vinegarolive oil, and a splash of habanero chili sauce and another of maple syrup—once again balancing the flavours for a taste sensation. On the side, I serve a small piece of smoked mackerel—from a whole fish is best, but for a last minute compilation, canned smoked mackerel stands its ground.

With this meal, I enjoy my recent favourite roasted dandelion root tea that helps support the liver cleanse the body—and with its delicious and lightly sweet flavour of graham crackers, it is also a treat for the palate.

Meal ideas & recipes from “Lunch in Paris” book.

Special Dish for the Week: Creamy Carrot Soup

With a little delay in posting as a result of travelling to the Pacific Gulf Islands for my birthday week, for this extra Special Dish for the Week that is close to being in paradise, I make another “Lunch in Paris” inspired recipe:

Creamy Carrot Soup

Creamy Carrot Soup

Creamy Carrot Soup

As I plan to travel with some of the soup to share it for our meals with my travel companion and Island host, I opt for a vegetarian version of the soup, using lentils for the base, while the recipe calls for chicken broth.

The secret ingredients of this soup are TLC and one cashew nut for that extra special touch!

Creamy Carrot Soup with TLC and One Cashew Nut

Creamy Carrot Soup with TLC and One Cashew Nut

Creamy Carrot Soup Ingredients

Creamy Carrot Soup Ingredients

The other ingredients include:

  • red lentils, pre-soaked and cooked in the main soup pot (alternative to bone broth for a vegetarian version of this soup)
  • coconut oil, for sautéeing the onions
  • onions, coarsely chopped
  • garlic, minced
  • ginger, finely chopped
  • finely shredded wakame
  • carrots, diced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • broccoli flowerettes, finely chopped and added raw as garnish
  • cilantro as garnish
  • black sesame seeds as garnish
Creamy Carrot Soup Dish

Creamy Carrot Soup Dish

I use my hand blender to purée the soup, adding extra coconut milk to obtain the desired consistency.

I try a little of the soup for my evening meal before heading out for my birthday week trip with more of the soup in a jar, packing the broccoli flowerettes, cilantro and black sesame seeds to assemble as garnish.

Naturally, I serve it with a glass of red wine and flowers!

Creamy Carrot Soup Birthday Week Feast

Creamy Carrot Soup Birthday Week Feast

The soup is delicious and hardy, and tastes even better during the week when enjoyed with my host after frolicking around in the Island outdoors—and as the first course to my birthday week feast of smoked mackerel and olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipped artisan bread.

We sip on a thimbleful of Insomnia Red Wine for the flavour and medicinal benefits of resveratrol in the skins of red grapes.

Creamy Carrot Soup in the Pacific Gulf Islands

Creamy Carrot Soup in the Pacific Gulf Islands

Meal ideas & recipes from “Lunch in Paris” book.

Special Dish for the Week: Chickpea and Sweet Peppers Salad

Another dose of French inspiration is presented to me by a friend during our rendez-vous at a local French café in Vancouver when she hands me to read her new copy of “Lunch in Paris”, which includes a chapter with a recipe from the author’s next book, “Picnic in Provence”, from which I concoct the second of this week’s two Special Dishes for the Week:

Chickpea and Sweet Peppers Salad

Chickpea and Sweet Peppers Salad

Chickpea and Sweet Peppers Salad

As I prepare this dish to marinade in the spice-infused olive oil over night, I can nearly taste how much even more alive and delicious it would be with these ingredients picked up in season at a Provençal market.

But alas, I make do with what I currently have available to me, incorporating organic and local ingredients where possible, adding an extra dose of TLC to fill in for the Provençal freshness.

I do treat this dish to authentic herbes de Provence, and serve it with a rosé wine from the south of France, Le Petit Chat Malin (the cunning little cat).

Chickpea and Sweet Peppers Salad Ingredients

Chickpea and Sweet Peppers Salad Ingredients

The marinade for this warm salad includes:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil, infused with a few spices
  • red Thai chili pepper
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp herbes de Provence
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • black pepper and sea salt, to taste

The spice-infused olive oil marinade could be made one day before, or simply on the day of marinading the veggies.

Chickpea and Sweet Peppers Salad Marinading

Chickpea and Sweet Peppers Salad Marinading

I tenderly douse the salad ingredients in the marinade, putting my heart as well as my hands into the heap of veggie morsels, consisting of:

  • large can of organic chickpeas
  • 1 of each yellow and red onions, chopped and sliced to different thicknesses and sizes
  • 1 of each green, orange and red peppers, coarsely chopped
  • cilantro, on the side for garnish

I leave the marinading veggies over night in the fridge, loosely covering the oven glass dish with a baking sheet to let the veggies breathe but not dry out.

Chickpea and Sweet Peppers Salad Dish

Chickpea and Sweet Peppers Salad Dish

The next day, I bring the marinaded veggies to room temperature, and shortly before my lunch guest arrives, I place dish in the oven for about 1 hour at 350F (180C).

I suspect that the cooking time could be decreased when the veggies have marinaded over night, resulting in a more crispy onions and peppers. As it is, the “salad” turns out to be more of a “stew”.

Nonetheless, it is very tasty, and where lacking in crispness, the spiciness gives this warm salad a kick. Garnished with chopped raw cilantro, it is both a taste and visual sensation!

Peanut Butter Apple Crumble

Peanut Butter Apple Crumble

Though it is a rainy and chilly day in Vancouver, the colours and spices of this Provençal dish, enhanced further by the rosé, bring out the sunshine from within the feasting diners.

The dessert of gluten- and dairy-free peanut butter apple crumble—my lunch guest’s creation—rounds out this delicious meal, one that begins with a short guided meditation and ends with a lovely walk through Vancouver’s West End neighbourhood when the rain subsides for the afternoon.

Meal ideas & recipes from “Picnic in Provence” book.