Friday, 6 November 2009

Curious combinations.

I always get a little frisson of excitement when confronted with a recipe that challenges the conformist view of what ingredient goes with what. At the moment, I'm salivating at the thought of baking Ottolenghi's Apple and Olive Oil Cake with maple syrup icing. Just typing out the words is enough to induce something akin to an orgasm. And Nigella's Rosemary Rememberance Cake is reported to be a joyous eating experience, though herbs in this context may appear a tad unsettling.

It's all a bit Willy Wonka, and that can only be a good thing in my book.

In much the same way, it seems like a strange contradiction that some of my most coherent baking musings happen whilst I'm at my thrice weekly Bikram Yoga classes. Clearly there is something about attempting a 360 degree backward bend in a room heated to sauna temperature, that induces a weird kind of clarity in my brain. I can calmly plan menus for tea-parties, create a shopping list, and even visualise my forthcoming cake-making session with extraordinary accuracy. I'm guessing that when Bikram Choudhury developed his ground-breaking yoga method in the misty hills above Calcutta, the ability to multi-task in this fashion whilst doing so, was not necessarily a priority for him. And I doubt that the class instructor will imagine that my beatific smile is less to do with finding inner peace than having a Eureka moment about where I might source some hemp flour.

Tomorrow, I'm going to make a stoned fruit and yoghurt cake with a whole plethora of plums that I have lying around - nothing remotely challenging in that combination admittedly, but it does include semolina which I've not tried before, and I love the sound of that. I'm saving the Ottolenghi cake till next weekend, when I'm having a little birthday soiree. I'm not sure what else I'll be preparing for the party - I'll wait till my next yoga class, and decide then.

PS. The snap is actually a Gruyere and Rosemary cake - another Ottolenghi recipe, and a rare savoury moment for me.

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