To see the Summer Sky
Is Poetry, though never in a Book it lie –
True Poems flee.
~ Emily Dickinson
Bircher muesli with mango, mint and macadamias*
1/2 cup rolled oats
zest of 1/2 orange
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (1 orange should do)
1/4 cup unsweetened yoghurt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
handful of mint leaves, chopped
handful of macadamias, chopped
2 tbsp shredded coconut**
1/3 mango, cubed***
1 tsp light brown sugar
dribble of milk
1/2 tsp honey (I used J. Friend and Co’s Beechwood Honeydew Honey)
Combine the rolled oats, orange juice, orange zest, yoghurt and cinnamon in a bowl. Stir well, then cover the bowl with cling wrap and place it in the fridge to chill for at least 1.5 hours.
When ready to serve, stir in the other ingredients. Simple, gently sweet and so good when the sun is attacking your face and you want a cold, wholesome breakfast.
* The alliteration here is entirely serendipitous – I picked the ingredients based on what I had left at home yesterday.
** I unfortunately forgot to add in the shredded coconut… but I know it would have been even better with it!
*** I find it easiest to dissect a mango this way: cut into three parts leaving the seed in the middle. Make deep diagonal cuts in the top and bottom third, so you get diamond-shaped mango pieces sitting in the skin. Invert and let the cubes fall into the bowl (you may need to coax them out with a knife if your mango isn’t ripe/soft enough – I had to do this yesterday). Eat the middle section while standing at the sink, letting the juices run merrily down your arms.
May your apartment possess a powerful air conditioner; may your evening be filled with the best of company, and may your cakes be always light and lemony.
~ Molly Wizenberg, Orangette
Cakes have personalities. You get motherly carrot cakes; seductive chocolate and berry cakes; dreamlike chiffon cakes… you catch my drift? According to Molly Wizenberg (and I am sure others would agree), this type of [yoghurt] cake “is an old classic in France, the sort of humble treat that a grandmother would make”… I am inclined to nod and go one further – it’s the sort of humble treat that warm and beautiful grandmothers with good humour would make… also, it’s not a cake I’m prepared to wait till I am grandmother-age to bake and serve!
Like a few other recipes I’ve tried from Molly’s impressive repertoire, this cake is at once down to earth and beautiful. Nothing immediately fancy; patient, accommodating. Happy to be served alone, or adorned with fancy hats of berries/icing/whatever. Yet it’s timeless, classy – Coco Chanel in cake form.
I served it unadorned save a light brushing of lemon glaze and dusting of icing sugar. Oh, and yes, with cups of tea.
Gâteau au Citron or French-Style Yogurt Cake with Lemon
Recipe adapted from Orangette
For the cake:
1/2 cup Greek honey yoghurt
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
3 jars unbleached all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1/2 cup light olive oil
For the glaze:
juice from 2 lemons
1/4 cup icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 176°C.
In a large bowl, combine the yoghurt, sugar, and eggs, stirring until well blended. Add the flour, baking powder, and zest, mixing to just combine. Add the oil and stir to incorporate. Keep stirring until it comes together to form a smooth batter. Pour and scrape the batter into a greased 9-inch round cake pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake feels springy to the touch and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.
Cool cake on a rack for about 20 minutes; then turn it out of the pan to cool completely.
When the cake is thoroughly cooled, combine the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small bowl and spoon it gently over the cake. The glaze will be thin and will soak in like a syrup.
Serve at any time of the day.
PS. See Molly’s quote above? I am happy to say that came true for me… I ate slices of this cake with friends in our house, and left the heater off. :-) A nice feeling indeed!
I know I’m an acquired taste – I’m anchovies. And not everybody wants those hairy little things.
~ Tori Amos
To put it nicely – it was a definite acquired taste. To say it bluntly – it was begging to be tipped down the sink.
What I am talking about is (my version of) a drink composed of yoghurt, water, mint and salt from Tessa Kiros’ “Falling Cloudberries”:
#43 Airani – Page 148
John, my flatmate, seemed to eye it with suspicion as I sat on a nearby couch getting ready to drink it. My face probably confirmed every last suspicion he might have had. It wasn’t toxic, don’t get me wrong, but… well, I’m really not in a hurry to taste it again. Even if half of Cyprus drinks this on hot summer afternoons the same way I dive eagerly into amaretto gelato here on lazy evenings.
I had a burger for dinner as I haven’t in awhile. After the airani, beef in a bun never tasted so good.