Related Posts with Thumbnails

Something new

>> Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

One of many symptoms of being a foodie is that you never have enough of cookbooks or food magazines. Your bookshelves are full of cook-related stuff. No more spaces, they start to invade your desks, kitchen tables, bed side etc. Everything is adding up, but you still want more. Even when you decide that you will stop, a simple review from fellow bloggers or a magazine is enough for you to start searching in Amazon or your local bookstores. Before you know it, the purchase has been finalized and the new book(s) arrives. You may feel a bit guilty but the joy of possessing another cookbook surpasses all. And when the new recipes turn out well, you are more than pleased. Then, before you cook more from the book, a new one is purchased and appears in your house. You cannot help it. All is because you are a foodie!

Does it sound like you? I admit I buy new cookbooks quite often and these are besides the normal food magazine subscriptions. I am trying to slow down but it is not really effective. Sometimes I just fall in love with the book instantly and can’t help but buying it. The perfect example is this gorgeous book called French by Australian chef Damien Pignolet.

This book is the work of a lifetime. Everything is written in great details with a lot of explanations. Damien Pignolet is like a compassionate teacher, explaining all the basics of French cooking techniques and how he has applied those using Australian ingredients. Unlike nowadays celebrity chefs with the usual phrases of “quick and simple” or “the best (…)” or “fabulous”, Damien tells us the art of slow cooking with a great emphasis on techniques and methods. In his words - "It’s not just the recipe, cooking is much more than that.” I can go on telling you how much I treasure this book. The photography is of top quality. The text is excellent. And most of all, it is the author’s attitude and compassion that shine through the whole book.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

I have tried the first recipe, a simple one for pound cake. The technique here is quite different to traditional way of creaming butter and sugar then adding other ingredients. Borrowing Rose Levy Beranbaum’s techniques, this method is said to be simpler and “overcome the potential curdling of batter”.

The following recipe is very much similar to Damien’s. I have added dry figs for a contrast in texture and reduce the amount of sugar slightly. I have also baked them in individual cake tins instead of the 1 litre loaf as suggested. The cake is really beautiful – aromatic and rich. Do use the best saffron & butter you can find. For me, there is no substitution for Lurpak in this type of cake.

Pistachio, Fig and Saffron Individual Cake

Ingredients (yield 5 individual cakes)

45 ml milk

½ tsp saffron strands

3 large eggs, at room temperature

½ tsp of vanilla extract

150g plain flour, sifted

120g castor sugar

¾ tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt

180g soft unsalted butter, cut into pieces

60g pistachio, ach cut into 3 pieces

3 small dried figs, cut into small pieces


  1. Preheat oven to 175C. Grease your cake tin(s).
  2. In a small saucepan, warm the milk with the saffron to blood heat. Set aside for 5 mins to cool. Lightly beat the eggs and vanilla then add the saffron mixture. Mix well using a spoon (the stamens tend to caught up in a whisk).
  3. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Combine. Add butter and half of the egg and milk mixture. Mix at medium speed for 1 min. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add half the remaining mixture, beat for 20 secs. Scrape down again, pour the rest of the egg-milk mixture along with the nuts and figs. Mix for another 20 secs.
  4. Transfer to the greased pans. Gently tap on the bench to dispel any air bubbles. Bake until done (depending on the size of the tins. Mine took about 20 mins. The loaf may take 40 mins).
  5. Rest on a wire rack for 10 mins before turning out onto the rack to cool completely.


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

This post is my entry for Weekend Cookbook Challenge. The theme of this month is Something New and hosted by Sara of I like to cook.


SteamyKitchen 2:55 PM  

thats a new combination for me - saffron, pistachios and fig! I love it

SteamyKitchen 2:55 PM  

thats a new combination for me - saffron, pistachios and fig! I love it

Sharmi 10:44 PM  

Hi Dear, hope you are doing good. was a little busy with my little one's school so could not blog much.
Loved your pound cake it looks very pretty. I am going to buy the pound cake molds. figs might be tasting nice in the cake right?

Patricia Scarpin 11:33 PM  

Anh, I just love the ingredients you put together. So delicious. And what a beautiful color it is. I love making food/baking in individual portions. Looks lovely.

P.S.: If you ever start an anonymous society for cookbook addicts, count me in. ;)

Angie 12:13 AM  

Anh, I love small individual portions, looks so dainty :)

Gattina 6:09 AM  

'cooking is more than that', how ture!!! And Anh, my both hands (and feet too) up to agree with you about 'quick & simple'... I mean, living with ease is also part of living quality, but when it's said too much, and seems the only thing what they said, I'll lose my appetise.
And I feel your little beauty calling me name!!! Fig! Saffron!!! And butter!!! I don't know anything about this new method, but just looking at these breath-taking photos already worth me to try!

Susan 10:05 AM  

These are truly lovely Anh. The photos are so appealing and the ingredients are divine. I'm tagging this one right now!

Anh 2:37 PM  

Jaden, thank you.

Sharmi, take care dear. Dry figs are my daily snacks and I love them. It is really beautiful in the cake.

Pat, thanks sweetie. I will remember your name in my cookbook craze society.

Angie, I like individual portion too. :)

Gattina, *hug*. I like to expose to different cooking techniques and ingredients. But somehow the celebrity chefs fail to impress me with that... Love to go back to basic and learn about the hard but proper way. :D

Susan, thank you. These little cakes have all of my fav ingredients. Really lovely!

sher 4:27 PM  

I love all those ingredients! Saffron and figs and pistachios--I can't think of anything better, really. The pictures are wonderful--the cake looks so moist!

Sushma 4:05 AM  

Anh , thats a lovely combination of saffron , pistachios and fig..the pound cake looks divine

And I agree with you. they keep piling up :-)


Nora B. 7:54 AM  

I love the combination of pistachios and figs...your cakes so wonderfully moist. This cake would be a good excuse for me to start using the cute silicone mini baking moulds I purchased.

Eva 9:23 AM  

Wonderful cakes - I especially like the last picture! With this new technique, do you think it affected the texture in a particular way? Moister, bigger crumbs or anything of that sort? Or was is rather to overcome problems of the usual techniques? You see, I'm still looking for the perfect way to make pound cake...;-)

Anh 10:15 AM  

Sher, your comment always makes me happy :)

Sushma, thanks dear.

Nora, I just discovered your lovely blog yesterday through Eva. :)

Eva, thanks dear. I know you are a perfectionist! ;) In terms of texture, I notice that the cake is more moist. The crumbs are larger, too... I guess that it is because this technique prevents overbeating of the cake, especially after the egg mixture is added.

joey 3:25 PM  

I am familiar with the cookbook affliction! Sigh...but if you're happy then it's all worth it :) Now you have given me a new cookbook to check out!

That cake looks darling and the flavor combination delicious!

Amy 4:51 PM  

This is my first time seeing individual bundt cakes. They're sooo cute! The combination of fig, saffron, and pistachios sounds wonderful! I love buying new cookbooks too. Buying kitchen stuff is my guilty pleasure, replacing purses and shoes. :D

Freya and Paul 5:53 AM  

Tiny bundt cakes! But with an amazing combination of flavours! They look and sound wonderful AND you have a great blog!

eliza 6:32 AM  

i'm with you about the's a bad habit & with a family to feed certainly even worse :D
but look what you get when you buy too much book...another wonderful baked good!

Mallow 2:26 AM  

I've been looking for a recipe to try using figs - this may be it! Beautiful photos too!

Truffle 11:12 AM  

This sounds like a perfect combination and what a end product! I desperately want a slice!

Sandeepa 1:21 PM  

Saffron and Fig wow that must have been a great cake

Sushma 8:45 AM  

Dear Anh, wishing you a very Happy mothers day

Cookie baker Lynn 11:05 AM  

Beautiful cake, Anh. It looks tasty and I love that it's small - it looks more personal that way.

Ruth Daniels 8:15 PM  

Anh, I love the photos - gorgeous! And I couldn't agree more. I just packed 20 boxes of cookbooks and magazines (they're in storage until we get our own place) and having been at my daughter's for a mere 2 weeks, I've already bought 2 books and 8 magazines. And now I'll have to buy at least one more. French sounds awesome.

Culinarily Curious 3:29 PM  

What an intriguing combination -- and I love the little mini-cakes. And your photographs have me drooling on my keyboard!

christine 6:39 PM  

This looks amazing, and your pictures are gorgeous!

Mansi Desai 11:13 AM  

that looks great Anh! pistachio and saffron are favoured ingredients with indians, and adding figs to it is a neat idea..I think oranges would work great too!

wonderful pics, btw:)

Post a Comment

Thanks so much for dropping by my blog. Your comments mean a lot to me. Thank you!

Blog Directory for Sydney, NSW Image and video hosting by TinyPic

  © All contents copyrighted to Anh Nguyen unless otherwise stated

Template Simple n' Sweet by 2009. Modified by Anh Nguyen

Back to TOP