I love coming across recipes in blogs, so here is my own contribution to this excellent practice.

I first came across cake au jambon (cheesy ham cake) when we were invited for an apéro by Roger Bleron and his wife. M. Bleron is head of the tourist office in Boussac, and also of the Comité Departmentale de Tourisme de la Creuse, and also of the Conseil Général. He’s a very important man locally, and also extremely pleasant. His wife, a very modern Granny, has bought the petits-enfants to see our llamas any number of times. Although incredibly busy, they found time to welcome us into their home when we were still very new newcomers.

Apéros are interesting. For us, still sticking to Irish eating hours, they’re actually after dinner (we eat around 5), or instead of. But of course for French people, they’re just a little warm up snack. The trick is not to stay too long. Your hosts will inevitably be too polite to tell you to sling your hook so that they can finally have their dinner. So, stay for the time it takes you to drink a glass of wine while chatting, have a few nibbles, and then get up to leave. You’ll definitely be asked back! Don’t get between a hungry neighbour and their food.

I couldn’t get over how delicious Madame Bleron’s cake au jambon was. She had cut small chunks for us to help ourselves to. My children demolished most of it, delightedly urged on by our hostess. I was thrilled when she gave me the recipe as we left.

The chef in wellies, daughter Caiti, whipped up some yesterday, and it is melt in your mouth gorgeous. You really must try it.

Cake au jambon

120 g flour

1 coffee cup milk

1 coffee cup oil (the cake comes out quite oily, so you can adjust this amount down)

1 sachet levure chimique

200g of grated Gruyere (or other cheese)

300g of diced ham.

Mix and leave to rest for 15 minutes. Grease a baking tin/flan dish, pour in your mixture. Cook for around 45 mins at gas 6-7, 200-220 degrees C (hot oven).

The oil in the recipe makes for a light, crispy crust. The ham tends to sink to the bottom but that doesn’t matter. This cake is all about the taste.

Serve it on its own as an apéro, or with salad and mashed potatoes or chips as a main course.