Having sent all my academic books, folders and files down to Edinburgh with my mum about two weeks ago, my bookshelf here in St Andrews is now looking rather empty. There’s something awfully desolate about empty bookshelves, don’t you think? Although I’ve kept all my cookery books with me, so at least it’s not entirely empty yet, but it’s still a very sorry-looking bookshelf. To be honest, I could easily survive for a month without recipes in book format, so I don’t need my cookery books with me, but they make the bookshelf look less depressingly empty and it also means I can take part in this month’s Random Recipe challenge (asking my mum to dig through several boxes to find the relevant recipe book, then a random recipe and then sending me a copy of said recipe would be a little bit over-complicated).
So, to justify keeping my cookery books up here with me, it’s time to do this month’s Random Recipe challenge, which has to come from our newest gifted cookery book. In my case, this happens to be a lovely little book entitled Mini cakes, which was a present from one of my mum’s friends in France for my last birthday. What we call cakes in France translates to loaves and quick breads in English rather than actual cake, which has occasionally lead to some serious confusion between my mum and I when discussing food whilst switching back and forth between languages. Anyway, back to the recipe book – it contains both savoury and sweet recipes, and those that I’ve tried have all been yummy, so I was rather excited about trying out a new recipe from it.
When I was given the book, it also came with a great set of silicone mini loaf moulds. Mini versions of things are (almost) always automatically adorable, and mini loaves (or “loaflets” as I sometimes like to call them) are no exception, so I was a little bit more excited than I probably should have been about trying out a new recipe from the book. The random number button on my calculator directed me to page 26: a recipe for black olive and sun-dried tomato mini loaves, an appropriately summery-sounding recipe which I feel has “picnic food” stamped all over it. I decided to bake these with a couple of modifications for lunch, and also decided to test the picnic theory by having lunch out in St Mary’s Quad. They turned out so yummy that I will definitely be making them again soon, and the added bonus is that their mini loaf shape makes them very practical to take as part of a packed lunch/picnic.
Black olive & sun-dried tomato mini loaves
Makes 6-8 mini loaves
Adapted from Mini cakes
The original recipe calls for grated gruyère, but I used parmesan because I thought it would go better and I conveniently had some in the fridge anyway. I also added oregano, to keep with the Mediterranean flavours. These are tasty both warm or cold, and would make an excellent picnic food, perhaps accompanied by some chilled white wine… If you want to make a single loaf of 26cm in length, add an additional ¼ of the ingredients and an extra egg, and cook for a little longer.
100g drained sun-dried tomatoes
100g drained & stoned black olives
70 ml milk
70 ml olive oil
120g all-purpose flour
2 tsp dried oregano
1 heaped tsp baking powder (equivalent to 5.5g or ½ a French sachet)
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C. Butter and lightly flour the mini loaf tins or set out silicone moulds.
2. Thoroughly drain the sun-dried tomatoes before roughly chopping them. Drain the olives. Slice 5-6 olives thinly and set aside to use for garnishing. Halve the remaining olives. Grate the parmesan.
3. In a large bowl, gently beat the eggs, olive oil and milk together. Add the flour, grated parmesan, tomatoes and halved olives along with the oregano and some salt and pepper and mix. Gently mix in the baking powder.
4. As soon as the baking powder has been incorporated, split the batter between the mini loaf tins. Lay some olive slices over the top of each mini loaf and bake for about 30 mins, until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly on a wire rack (they’re tasty both warm and cold).