26 June 2013

A New Quick Bread ... and Discovery

Pistachio and Prune Bread

I spend a lot of time cruising the food sites and blogs, poking here and there on links that others share in their articles and blog posts. You come across some incredibly interesting sites that way ... you're on someone else's tour of interests, food passions, and discoveries. Follow a few links, research a few references that someone has written of, check out a few names that someone has dropped, and soon you have wound up on a website or in a blog that is an unexpected surprise! It can be so enlightening.

Chic Chick in a Cute Kitchen

My latest little discovery is a BBC Lifestyle show by a Brit chef called Rachel Khoo - she's a red-lipped little tart of a thing, on first look. Digging a bit deeper, though, I found that she's a Cordon Bleu-trained pastry chef based in Paris, but grounded in England at the BBC show called 'The Little Paris Kitchen' and the London Evening Standard food column. In addition, she has a couple French language cookbooks published as well as a cookbook that is an accompaniment to the BBC cooking show. She has a cute little blog that is food, fashion, lifestyle oriented too ... a fun spot. Yup, she's well on her way to 'establishing her brand', as they say.

I went to You tube, one of my favorite haunts, to see what I could find and happened upon one of her Little Paris Kitchen episodes. She was baking a quick bread that seems decidedly different to my rusticated hick palate ... this is no banana bread. No ... it's full of pistachios, goat cheese, and prunes ... hello! It kind of reminded me of that olive, ham and cheese bread that I got out of my French patisserie book  ... remember that one? Very French, very yum! Well, I must make Rachel Khoo's version!

First of all, these three ingredients sound so perfect for each other. Second, little Mamselle Khoo gives an alternate version, using the same batter with a more savory set of additions ... I love a recipe that offers extra mileage.

This first version, though, will be perfect for a hot afternoon and a glass of iced tea . If the mosquitoes would let me, I'd be sitting in the shade of the oak tree in the back yard having a little garden party; alas, the rains have brought hoards so we will hang out on the back porch. I'll crack my summertime read, and have a late afternoon snack.

Garden tea party another day, I guess ... in the meantime, have you heard of Rachel Khoo? Check out the links and think about making this bread ... drizzle a slice with a wee bit of honey ... a worthy snack!

Rachel Khoo’s Pistachio and Prune Cake

Makes 1 large loaf


250 g flour
15 g baking powder
150 g soft goat’s cheese, chopped into chunks
80 g pistachios, roughly chopped
100 g prunes, roughly chopped
4 large eggs
150 ml light olive oil
100 ml whole milk
50 g plain yogurt
a generous pinch Kosher salt
a pinch black pepper

Making the Quick Bread/Cake:

  1. Whisk the flour and baking powder together in a deep bowl.
  2. Add the prepared prunes, pistachios, and goat cheese and toss lightly to coat everything with flour and break the prunes and cheese chinks up just a bit.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C /350°F and place the rack in the center of the oven.
  4. In another bowl, whip the eggs until they are light and frothy.
  5. Gradually, drizzle in the milk and oil.
  6. Whip in the yogurt, salt and black pepper.
  7. Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry. Use a spatula to turn the batter together, being careful not to beat it. You want chunks of cheese so be gentle.
  8. Lightly grease a large loaf pan, line it with baker’s paper.
  9. Pour the batter in and pop the bread in the oven to bake for 40 minutes- until a cake tester comes clean.
  10. Cool the bread/cake in the pan for ten minutes and then lift the bread to a pretty platter.
  11. Serve sliced with honey for drizzling.


  1. Not sure about prunes, but wonder how this might be with apricots? Thanks for sharing.

    1. The ultra sweet and moist prunes work well here, Diane. The bread/cake needs some sweetness to offset the tangy saltiness of the goat cheese. I'm not sure that apricots would do the trick ... if you try it, though, let me know how your loaf comes out!

  2. Great combination of flavors & textures in this bread.


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