Friday, September 30, 2011

Marble Poundcake - Gâteau Marbré

For my French or francophiles readers, I am sure that if I bring up the Savane Papy Brossard-an industrial version of marble cake-, fond memories (or even water in your mouth?) will come back. I don't know why this one really sticked with us (my husband, me, my sibblings and our friends).... but there is always this happy-talk about it (French people LOVE to speak about food in case you had not noticed!)
Growing up, I remember being thrilled when it was served at birthday parties (yes! at birthday parties) since my parents were not purchasing it! Sure enough, it was loaded with sugar... and an a lot of artificial je-ne-sais-quoi that made it addictive. Truth be told, I can't remember the last time I had some... but since the brand reappeared in French supermarkets recently (they use the name Cake Savane with different flavors and different packaging now; they even sell Brownies!!), I now know that I could have some next time I go. However, tasting it again would maybe kill all the memories...
Le gâteau marbre is a valeur sure of French cakes but for some reasons, I had never baked one for my children (the reason being that my husband associates gâteau marbré with Savane Papy Brossard so much that however good the gâteau marbré is, it will NEVER give him the pleasure of the Savane Papy Brossard!!)
It was therefore quite a wonderful surprise to hear him say "hmm, pas mal le gâteau" when he ate some! It was indeed really good (the kids loved it in case you wondered!)
At least, I know that, except for the chocolate (dark but industrially-made) there is nothing industrial about this cake as opposed to the ingredients listed on the Brossard website... . so if my husband can enjoy my gâteau marbré, Brossard might not make money off me for a while... I'll keep my memories intact instead! Bon Appétit!

- 100g (3.52oz) dark bittersweet chocolate
- 4 
- 220g (7.7oz) light brown cane sugar
- 120 ml (4 US Floz or about 1/4 cup) plain yogurt
- 220g (7.7 oz) flour
- 2 ts baking powder
- 120g (4.23 oz or a little over one stick) salted butter (melted and warm)
- 1 TBS vanilla extract

- 1 TBS Baileys (optional)

  • Preheat oven to 165C (330F). Put the butter in the oven as it warms up to melt the butter. Make sure not to let it burn!
  • Use a little bit of extra butter to grease a cake mold
  • Melt the chocolate in a double-boiler or in the microwave (with a little bit of water)
  • In one bowl, mix in half the flour and half baking powder together.
  • Repeat in another bowl.
  • In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs with half of the sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Add half of the yogurt and mix well
  • Pour half of the melted butter, the flour and vanilla extract and mix well. Reserve
  • In another large bowl, beat the last two eggs with the rest of sugar until light and fluffy
  • Add the rest of the yogurt and mix well
  • Pour the rest of the butter, the flour, chocolate and Baileys and mix well. Reserve
  • Pour about 2/3 of the Vanilla batter in the mold.
  • Pour the chocolate batter over the vanilla
  • Cover with the remaining1/3 of the vanilla
  • Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.
My Personal Comments
  • You can play with the layers of vanilla-chocolate the way you want
  • You could add a few cocao nibs (or chocolate chips) to add a little bit of crunchyness to this cake.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Harvard Healthy Plate

There was once a Food Pyramid, then came My plate... together with the "you have to eat at least 5 servings of fruits or vegetable servings a day"... and all of that did not really make any sense to me (how big is a serving (I know, I know it's defined but it's really hard to remember, no?) I knew what the underlying recommendations were... but when it came to implement them on a daily basis, then I was a little bit confused. The new My Plate that the U.S Department of Agriculture came up with a few months ago was supposed to make things easier for people to understand. While I it was a little bit less confusing than the Pyramid, it did not give people a simple way to improve their diet. White buns and hot dogs and fries would qualify on My Plate while we all know that this would not qualify as as "healthy meal" by dieticians' objective eyes!!

I came across the new Harvard Healthy Plate the other day and I thought that I would share it with you because I think that it is a really good illustration of how we should all try to eat (and no I have not received it from Harvard to publish on this blog). At least, I believe that Harvard is honnest when it says that their Healthy Plate has not been influenced by lobbying groups from the food industry or agriculture policy (hmm why am I thinking about corn subventions?)...

The way I use it is to visualize how much of what I serve to my children (and to myself). My only problem is that being French, we tend to serve dishes in sequences (yes, that would be the three-or-four-course meal)... so it's not easy for me to visualize the proportion of the different types of food I serve and their relative "volume". Maybe I should go back to the cafeteria trays we used back when I was in junior high and high-school???

My advice to steadily serve meals that fit on that Harvard Healthy plate?
1) Incremental changes like, for example, increasing the amount of legumes (lentils, chickpeas, etc.) you serve along with whole grain food (bread, cereals, pasta, rice, etc.)...
2) Put this new Healthy Plate on your fridge
3) Carry a small print with you when you go grocery shopping, especially if you have not planned your meals (!)... this picture will give you ideas of what to purchase....
4) Talk about it with your children... this is a good way to get them acquire a good healthy diet! And it will give you a good excuse to limit sugar-loaded juices and to offer yet another serving of kale!!
5) Keep faith that your children will indeed enjoy Kale with wholegrain rice one day (I am still working on that one!!).
6) Enjoy your meals!
Bon Appetit!!

PS: You can read more about the Healthy Plate on the Harvard Health website.