Post-election goat cheese and pistachio loaf

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Australia has a new Prime Minister-elect. Before the election, some people planned to move overseas (unil the next election) if one political party won; and some others planned to leave the country if either of the main political parties won – guess they must be somewhere far away by now.

Political ‘stuff’ aside, if I was choosing a place to live for the next three years, where would I go? Would I be able to find goats cheese, fresh mozzarella, figs and quince in season? How far is a good vendor of xiao long bao, or pho, or green papaya salad or hor mok? What about crusty sourdoughs? And would I miss Clive Palmer’s Titanic II?

I probably would take an extravagant round-the-world trip instead.

The first stop? France. All that cheese, wine, and women who don’t get fat (what about the men?), and all that kuign amann.

After France, the possibilities are (almost) endless – Bolivia, Guatemala, Cuba, Argentina, India, Vietnam, Thailand, China, Spain, Portugal, Russia (with a ride on the Trans-Siberian railway), Iceland, some corner of the Middle East (Syria, I wonder if I could go back to Syria), Japan, and let’s not forget that blogger feast in a Medieval feasting tent I’ve been planning with Laura.

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In the meantime, I’ll bask in the sunlight, clear sky, reading at the beach and riot-of-colours flowers that come with a Sydney spring. And bake things with a French accent. Such as this savoury goat cheese loaf (still working on that kuign amman…).

Reading the recipe for this loaf, my mind couldn’t imagine what it would taste like. Is it sweet, with prunes (or dates or figs)? Is it savoury, with goat cheese and olives? Is it healthy, with olive oil and pistachios? Do I serve it pre-dinner or post-brunch? And baking goat cheese into a loaf? What if I didn’t like the loaf, and – quel horreur – there goes good goat cheese!

The proof, as they say, is in the pudding. And what a pudding (or loaf)! It was predominantly savoury, but with bites of sweetness from the dried fruit. The goat cheese was creamy, pistachios slightly crunchy, and the loaf overall smelled like a Mediterranean picnic rolled into a handy snack. The loaf is made with olive oil and yoghurt, giving it a clean, fresh flavour and a crusty exterior that reminded me of the fougasse. I added a few sprigs of thyme to the batter and on top of the loaf, which complemented the fruity olive oil.

The loaf reminds me of those people who manage to look casually sophisticated, and you find out really, they had five minutes to get ready, their hair just fell into place like that, and they just happened to wear the right thing for that last minute lazy lunch or casual cocktail.

We had friends drop by on Sunday, and it was an afternoon where we talked about everything except politics. We nibbled on the loaf with glasses of crisp white wine, and then sat in the park and watched dogs and children frolic / collide / fall over.

Next stop, blogger feast in Medieval feasting tent. Who wants to come?

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Rachel Khoo’s cheese, pistachio and prune cake / loaf

(available at BBC Good Food)

Ingredients

250g or 9oz plain flour
15g or 1/2 oz baking powder
150g or 5 1/2 oz soft goat cheese, cut into small pieces
80g or 2 3/4 oz pistachios, roughly chopped
100g or 3 1/2 oz prunes, roughly chopped (I subbed dates and some olives)
4 free range eggs
150ml or 5 fl oz olive oil
100ml or 3 1/2 fl oz milk
50g or 1 3/4 oz plain yoghurt
1 tsp salt
pinch freshly-ground black pepper

(I also used 4-5 sprigs of fresh thyme)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.  Line a medium 500g/1lb 2oz loaf tin with baking paper (note my loaf pan was larger, so I ended up with a flatter loaf, but it didn’t seem to affect the taste).

2. In a medium mixing bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, goat cheese, pistachios and prunes (or dates/olives). At this stage, I added the leaves from a couple of thyme sprigs.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs until fluffy and pale in colour. Then gradually whisk in the oil, milk and yoghurt. Season with the salt and freshly-ground black pepper.

4. Fold the flour mixture into egg mixture until the batter is just smooth and there are no flour lumps. Try not to over-mix as this will make a tough loaf. Pour the batter into the loaf tin. Here, I also sprinkled bits of thyme on top of the batter.

5. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until a metal skewer inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool in the tin until warm to the touch, eat.

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23 thoughts on “Post-election goat cheese and pistachio loaf

  1. Liz 14 September 2013 at 12:46 pm Reply

    What a curious dish! I’m sure I would love it–so many flavors mingling 🙂 Enjoyed your comparison of this loaf to the casually sophisticated folk who seem to get it so right without much effort 🙂

    • saucygander 17 September 2013 at 9:23 am Reply

      This was fun, and the flavours worked really well together. Must be the French influence!

  2. Cucina Amore 14 September 2013 at 1:35 pm Reply

    great recipe! take it from me living on a french west indie island as a woman..all the women eat are salads..trust me! not goat cheesey breads! lmao 😉 try Italy, if you love food & want to enjoy life without being on a diet, you’d love it there 😉

    • saucygander 17 September 2013 at 9:24 am Reply

      Ohh I would love to go to Italy!! 😀

  3. Experienced Tutors 14 September 2013 at 5:34 pm Reply

    Great post – entertaining and delicious at the same time. 🙂

    • saucygander 18 September 2013 at 1:49 am Reply

      Thanks! Interested in our tent feast? 😀

  4. laurasmess 14 September 2013 at 9:22 pm Reply

    I adore goats cheese and pistachio, particularly with fruit like pomegranate or raisins. I’ve never tried the combo with prunes but your photographs are entirely convincing! Yum! That golden brown top had me at first glance. I’m going to try this soon xx

    • laurasmess 15 September 2013 at 3:33 am Reply

      P.S I forgot to comment on the Medieval feasting tent. We HAVE to do this soon! People, sign up! Sign up! We shall be fabulous hosts (note to self: reserve land for tent pitching)

      • saucygander 18 September 2013 at 1:47 am

        Yes, the tent feast is such an exciting idea, I’m sure there will be lots of people signing up…right??

      • laurasmess 18 September 2013 at 11:09 am

        Of course! How could they resist? Blogger gathering, good food, TENT (that is appeal in itself!) and… the clincher… WE will be there. Everyone will want to meet us… right??

  5. yummychunklet 15 September 2013 at 5:43 am Reply

    Your loaf looks golden and delicious!

    • saucygander 18 September 2013 at 1:48 am Reply

      Thanks, the goat cheese worked really well!

  6. johnnysenough hepburn 15 September 2013 at 11:01 am Reply

    Will have to try something like this as I’ve been meaning to do a bread with olive oil and yoghurt. Now, what do I have in my cupboards for tomorrow??

    • saucygander 18 September 2013 at 1:51 am Reply

      I think the olive oil makes this kind of good for you? I quite liked it as a counterpoint to very sweet cakes. Let me know what you think, if you make this (or something similar).

      • johnnysenough hepburn 18 September 2013 at 2:10 am

        Well I did, sort of. I ended up playing around with my existing yoghurt quick bread, this time adding half yoghurt and half olive oil. And the crumb is sensational. I do want to further the use of olive oil where it would be one of the main wet ingredients. Possibly with citrus. Too many breads and stuff to bake right now 🙂

      • saucygander 18 September 2013 at 7:49 am

        Some days I think there are too many recipes to try out. I just remembered it’s the Moon Festival, and I’ve missed the chance to make moon cakes. Oops!!

  7. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella 15 September 2013 at 6:14 pm Reply

    What an interesting recipe! And definitely work on that kouign amann-it’s fabulous! 😀

    • saucygander 18 September 2013 at 1:55 am Reply

      Kouign amann post in the works!

  8. Anne ~ Uni Homemaker 15 September 2013 at 6:20 pm Reply

    Aren’t goat cheese fabulous to bake with? This loaf looks delicious!

    • saucygander 18 September 2013 at 1:55 am Reply

      Goat cheese is fabulous indeed!

  9. Sofia 16 September 2013 at 2:24 am Reply

    A food trip to get away from politics sounds like a great plan!

    • saucygander 18 September 2013 at 1:56 am Reply

      Yep, the only difficulty is deciding on the countries to visit! 🙂

  10. pépère the cat 15 October 2013 at 11:40 am Reply

    This looks amazing. I love Rachel Khoo’s recipes – they’re so inventive, and yet they actually work. I’m lucky enough to be in London with a Parisian boyfriend so I get over there all the time. You should visit London on your travels too!

    Loving the blog.

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