Sunday, July 26, 2009



We are settled into our new apartment, as you all know, and oh ever so happy to be here. Do we miss our old apartment, the one that we so lovingly renovated to our own taste and lived in for 5 years? No! Our new building and neighborhood are wonderfully quiet and relaxing, our floor-to-ceiling French windows are flung open to catch the breeze and let in today’s gorgeous summer light. I am slowly getting used to working in our tiny galley-sized kitchen and only pause for a second or two as I try and remember where each baking utensil, measuring cup, mixing bowl or cake pan has been stashed.

And it has been an incredibly busy time since our move, what with unpacking and shuffling everything we own from one end of the apartment to the other until everything has found its place, waving our arms, stomping our feet and screaming over the telephone trying to correct the errors made by the phone/internet/tv, insurance and parking garage companies (are we the only people who have ever moved in this city?), struggling to keep up my blog and get back into the swing of visiting all the other food blogs on my list and now with a visit from the lovely Clare.

JP, I am so fed up with these damn French utility and insurance companies, I'm going to explode!

In the midst of all the craziness, I was honored with a food blog award by a fellow food blogger. Now I ask you, what draws people to each other, what makes us take the first step, say the first friendly word, and decide that we have everything needed to becoming good friends, no matter the distance between? I stumbled upon the fun food blog Mom’s Cooking Club and found a fellow Floridian named Jamie who owns not one but two Boston Terriers. That was all I needed! We had too much in common for us not to become foodie friends! And just before I moved, while I was at the height of my craziness and angst, she awarded me the Kreativ Blogger Award! Thank you, Jamie! It really made everything worth while!

So here are the rules :

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

I am passing on this award to 7 food blogs and these deserving food bloggers :

Lien of Notitie Van Lien (Lien’s Notes)

Ilva of Lucullian Delights

Heavenly Housewife of From Donuts to Delirium: My Life as a Housewife

Simone of Junglefrog Cooking

Deeba of Passionate About Baking

Mary of One Perfect Bite

Sophie of Sophie’s Foodiefiles

I love these food blogs and the women behind all of them are great and truly creative!

And you really want to know 7 things about me that you don’t already know?

1. I spent over 5 years researching my genealogy and organized 2 huge family reunions with all of the formerly unknown relatives I discovered.

2. I have a degree in Psychology with a minor in Art History.

3. I do not wear gold jewelry.

4. I “collect” Opera Houses, trying to see an Opera everywhere I go; Palais Garnier in Paris , La Scala Opera House in Milan, The National Opera House in Budapest, the Nantes Opera and the Metropolitan Opera House in NYC.

5. I bumped into Andy Warhol on a street in NYC. My husband and I have a running competition of who saw the most famous person on the street, in airplanes, etc.

6. I love chocolate-covered marshmallow Santas, Easter Bunnies and Valentine’s Hearts.

7. I still refer to (and think of) my mom’s house in Satellite Beach where I grew up as “home”.

Now it’s your turn, ladies. Enjoy the award!

Clare and I spent hours racking our little brains for what we could bake for this month’s Bread Baking Day challenge. I participate in this great bread event created by Zorra of 1x umr├╝hren bitte every month and just didn’t want to miss it. This month’s challenge BBD #22 is hosted by Stefanie of Hefe und mehr and she has invited us over for a potluck breakfast, sweet breads only, thank you very much. This is perfect as I only eat sweet for breakfast!

Jamie and Clare putting on their thinking caps and trying to come up with the perfect recipe.

We thought long and hard, pushing aside the thought of bringing Clare’s No-Knead Bread because seeing this fabulous bread it is hard to imagine that it is actually amazingly sweet! But she and I put our heads together, one so dark, the other so blond, and decided to bake a Plum Cake.

Again, names can be deceiving. The base of this cake is a very slightly enriched, barely sweet bread dough, pushed into a pan, topped with whatever seasonal fruit you like, snuggling down deep into the soft bread dough under a cozy blanket of not-too-sweet crumble topping. Eaten warm from the oven, the dough is tender yet dense like the perfect slice of homemade bread, the greengages that we had chosen bursting out in a sweet, tangy flavor sensation, the crunch of the chopped pecans in the crumb topping adding a wonderful texture and nuttiness to this ideal of all breakfast treats.

Straight from Nigella Lawson’s How to be a Domestic Goddess (and aren’t we all just a little bit Domestic Goddess, after all?)

Dough :

1 ½ tsps rapid-rise yeast
2 ¼ cups (280 g) white bread flour + more as needed
½ tsp salt
2 Tbs sugar
¾ cup + 2 Tbs (@215 ml) milk, tepid
1 medium or large egg, beaten
2 Tbs (30 g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

Filling :

1 ¼ lbs (600 g) plums, we used greengages (Reine Claudes) *
1 – 3 Tbs sugar **

Crumble Topping :

1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour
scant ½ cup (80 – 100 g) light brown sugar
½ cup (115 g) unsalted butter, diced or cut in pieces
1 cup walnut or pecan pieces, very coarsely chopped

* Any fruit will do, whatever is in season, always pitted, sweet, tart or mild. We happened to stumble upon a fruit stall at our market with the most flavorful, sweet greengage plums and scooped them up! I so want to try this with pitted, halved cherries. In the winter, apples will be great!

** Nigella Lawson calls for 3 tablespoons sugar and I thought that this was outrageous! I wouldn’t want to cover up or drown out the beautiful sweetness and rich, full flavor of the plums with sugar. Use your discretion. How sweet do you want it and how sweet is the fruit that you are using? We stirred less than a tablespoon into the greengage plums.

Make the dough :

Place the yeast, flour, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Slowly pour in the warm milk, stirring. Add the beaten egg and the cubes of very soft butter and, using a wooden spoon, stir until you have a well-blended, sticky dough.

Turn out onto a well-floured work surface. As we felt that our dough was much too soft and gloppy, we stirred in just enough flour until it was at least slightly workable and would hold together rather than slither all over the work surface.

Knead by hand for 10 minutes, adding flour a little at a time until you have a beautiful, soft, silky and satiny dough that barely sticks to the work surface. (Don’t forget that different flours absorb liquid differently, so just feel your way).

Place in a lightly buttered glass bowl, cover with a clean dish towel and allow to rise for 1 hour at room temperature.

Prepare the filling :

Toss the halved and pitted plums into a bowl with a bit of sugar (see note above about quantity). Set aside to infuse.

Make the crumble topping :

Combine the flour with the sugar in a medium mixing bowl, then work the butter in with your fingers (I find it easier and more enjoyable to use softened butter for this and I like the results better) until you have worked in all the butter and have pea-sized clumps of dough. Stir in the coarsely chopped nuts and set aside.

Put it all together :

Preheat the oven to 375° F (190°C). Butter a 9 x 13-inch (23 x 33 cm) baking or roasting pan.

Knock down the dough with your knuckles and put in the baking pan. Using your fingers, push out the dough to fill the pan, pushing up the sides to form a lip all around. Make sure the dough is even across the bottom of the pan.

Top the dough with the plums, cut sides up, then sprinkle with the nutty crumble topping.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the dough is risen, the edges golden brown all the way around, the fruit meltingly tender and the crumble golden.

As this is really a bread dough, not sweet at all, and the topping is not overly sweet either, all of the rich, tart flavor comes from the fruit and is really the ideal breakfast food. Cake or bread, whatever you call it, serve this delicacy with hot coffee and milk. Just slice and pass it around.

The dough is tender, dense yet light and springy.

Though the dough is cooked all the way through even to the center of the pan, the fruit is beautifully cooked, melting in your mouth, yet doesn't make the bread/cake base soggy.


Ilva said...

Thank you Jamie, I am flattered! This means that I have to have another watermelon daiquiri to celebrate!

bethany (Dirty Kitchen Secrets) said...

Cake looks Delish! I must make this soon! Lovely x

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Congrats on the award! It's great to learn more about you... I also don't wear gold jewelry.

That cake looks hyper scrumptious! I love yeasted treats!



Stefanie said...

The cake sounds delicious! Would be perfect for my boyfrind, how loves plumcakes so much.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Congrats on your blog award! I know moving is tough work, but glad you can squeeze in a bit of fun. Your cake looks gorgeous, and hey, those green plums r beauties. Never seen those in the supermarket.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Ooops, senior moment, forgot to thank u for the award daaaahling *kisses*

Reeni♥ said...

Congrats on your award. I loved getting to know you better. I've never had these kind of plums. They look truly delicious baked in this cake!

Barbara Bakes said...

Congratulations on your award! If you love chocolate covered marshmallows, you should try the DB cookies this month.

Elra said...

Congratulation on the award jamie! Fun to learn a little about you.

That plum sounds like delicious treat to celebrate the award.

scraps said...

Jamie, out did yourself again, looks great!! I love all kinds of plums. Most summers I make a plum-raspberry jam and I put two-three types of plums in the recipe. My grandmother came up with the recipe and I added to it. I will be making your recipe this week, looks delicious!

scraps said...

Congrats on you award!!!

Susan/Wild Yeast said...

Wow! re the cake; Congrats! re the award; Great choices! re your award winners; and Cool! re your 7 things. My husband will forever claim he saw Christopher Reeve in a sailboat in a Maine harbor, but I know otherwise.

girlichef said...

Beautiful...just beautiful!! Congrats on your award :D

Junglefrog said...

Thanks so much for the award Jamie! And for you congratulations on winning it ofcourse... :))
I will be posting about it soon!

Sophie said...

Congrats on your recieved award!! Well deserved!!

Thanks so much, Jamie of thinking of me!! Much appreciated!! It's my second Kreativ blogger award!!

Your plum cake looks outstanding!! So delicious!!


It was lovely to know 7 things about you,..

♥Deeba @Passionate About Baking♥ said...

Oh you are so good to moi jamie, I ♥ it! Congrats on this wonderful award & a zillion thanks for thinking of moi! You are too good. BTW, I don't weat gold jewellery too, other than 1-2 bits from my Mom. I'm in love with ancient oxidised silver & stone stuff.The more rustic, the better.No Queen jewels for moi! U are so good to organise a family reunion!
I ♥ this cake/bread.Never knew there were green plums...(Middle age syndrome)My only exposure to greengages was abook I read when I was young...Anne of Greengages, I think! I have rapid-rise yeast...woohoo!
OK...better shut up! xoxox

Fuji Mama said...

Congrats on the award! Your Plum Crumble Cake looks absolutely divine!

Donna-FFW said...

Congrats on your award!! This plum crumble looks so delicious!! I would love some topped with ice cream.

chocolate covered marshmallows.. yum!

Mary said...

Congratulations on your award and my thanks to you for sharing it with me.
I'm really most appreciative. Your bread/cake looks delicious. What a great time you must have had baking together.

vegetarianzoe said...

The recipe seems really nice! It's a bit like a cake isn't it? That's a great idea! I believe I'll have a try with raspberries (which is what I have in my fridge).

the ungourmet said...

Moving can be so frustrating!

Your bread looks delightful! I love the plums in there!

Congratulations on you award. Your blog is really lovely! ;0)

burpandslurp said...

I'm not a big fan of plums, but now I know why? They were born to be baked into THIS cake! Oh my! Gorgeous!

Chef E said...

Jamie you deserve this award, as when I step over here I enjoy your blogs so much!

I want a piece of that crumble cake...please :)

Heavenly Housewife said...

Just letting u know that i tagged u in my most recent post :). Have a fab day.
Love, HH

Sirenoftitan said...

Congratulations on your award Jamie.

Loved the cake !

I can't wear any gold or silver jewellery (apart from wedding ring) as it brings me out in a rash :{

asiangrrlMN said...

Jamie and Clare, another brilliant post. You guys sound like you're having a blast. I hope you're eating extra for the rest of us! The plum crumble cake looks simply mouthwatering. Yum, yum, yum.

Jamie, you deserve every award and accolade that comes your way. You rock!

Lisa said...

I saw your yummy photo in Stef's BBD #22 roundup, and I'm so glad I did. I LOVE your blog! Great write-up, great old photos (Sophia Loren et al), and love the fact that you 'bumped' into Andy Warhol in NYC!!!

OH, now on to your mouth watering plum crumble..WOW. That looks so delicious, and the photos are sublime! Green plums aka greengages? I don't think I've ever seen those before!

Finally, congrats on your move and award! Well deserved!

scraps said...

Just wanted to let you know I tried this recipe and delicious!!! On my blog.

Lien said...

Thanks for the award Jamie, I've a post in the making about it (don't know if I'll make it today tho)

Jamie said...

So glad you accepted the award and passed it on to seven other deserving blogs. You are going to laugh...something else we have in common besides our name, our Boston's and Florida. I also got my degree in Psychology.

Well, I need to catch up on your blog. I have some reading to do.

scraps said...

don't know if you look at older post or not, but did want you to know I finally made this with plums. I think you are right, this yummy recipe can be made with any fruit. The grandkids and I really like it! I didn't blog it with the plums, since I already did with the berries. Thanks again for the recipe.


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