For years, on hot and still afternoons (not unlike the one happening right now in good old Sydney town), Hilaire and I drifted in and out of each others offices spouting nonsensical rattlings.
“What did you end up eating for lunch?” one would ask, the lethargy of a stinking Summer’s day mingling with the slow churn of air-conditioning units and insipid bits and bobs of work that remained to be done.
“You know. The expected,” the other would answer, all the while spinning round and round and round.
“You should have gotten a pie.”
A small, slightly suspicious, burst of interest.
“What… kind of pie?” would come the response, a glimmer of understanding twinkling in their eye.
“Squid ink pie! With octopus legs and cherries!”
“Pumpkin pie! With licorice and anchovies!”
“Guava pie! With mushed up peas so it’s squishy and green and pink!”
And on we would go until one or the other of us became worn out by the nauseating combinations… or by unstoppable giggling.
“That’s… horrible!” the loser would declare. “Worse than horrible. More horrible than horrible… MORRIBLE!”
Months later, having been hit by yet another uninspired spell (there were, to be fair, a decent few of these), the conversation returned to all things lunch.
“What are you getting for lunch?” one would ask.
“I don’t know.”
A stifled giggle.
“You should get a pie.”
A joke crankily ignored.
“I don’t want a pie” came the petulant response. “I want cake.”
“Oh no. Not the cake too…”
“Beef jerky and banana cake!”
“Strawberry and clotted cream cake with ribbons of tripe!”
“Avocado and fish cake with layers of caramel cream!”
“Indian spiced chutney cake!”
“That could actually be really nice. You should make it sometime.”
“With mustard seed and onion and some sort of fruit?”
“Yeah. I think it would be pleasant. Savoury and sweet and spicy. Like a tea cake.”
“Maybe I’ll make it in a bundt.”
“A what?! Don’t be rude.”
“You’re being rude.”
“You’re being morrible.”
“You’re being a morrible bundt!”
Ripples of laughter tumbling into crying fits that had secretaries peering through the gaps in the door to see if we had finally lost our minds.
And so a morrible bundt. Rich and buttery and baked in a sharply accented bundt tin. Ruby red trails of my ruby red beet and ‘barb chutney peering through the icing sugared crust.
I gingerly cut a slice, not five minutes after it had emerged from the oven.
“I’ll try it” said I, to myself only half-convincingly, “If it’s terrible, I’ll blitz it up and drench it in ganache for some sort of cake ball thing.”
A pause. A sniff. A tentative bite.
The slice disappeared. And then three more. And then there was but three-quarters of a cake left for its intended recipients and, not being one to offer up a half eaten cake, a decision was made to keep it for myself.
It made for finer eating the next morning, lightly toasted under the grill and topped with a curl of whipped cream.
(All in spite of its rather unfortunate moniker).
the morrible bundt
you will need
2C self raising flour
200ml natural yoghurt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1C ruby red beet & ‘barb chutney
how to do it:
1. Grease and flour your bundt tin. To do this, make sure you get butter into every single nook and cranny of the tin before dumping a bunch of plain flour in and rustling it around until every single nook and cranny is covered with a layer of butter and a fine film of flour. Discard any additional flour.
2. Cube the butter. Beat it together with the sugar until it is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time.
3. Stir half the flour (and all of the spices) into the mixture, followed by half of the yoghurt until it is combined. Repeat until all of the yoghurt and flour and nutmeg and ginger and mixed in.
4. Plop about 1/4 of the mixture into the tin. Dollop about 1/3 the chutney into the tin on top of the mixture and use a butter knife to swirl it around a bit, being careful not to scrape the sides of the tin at all. Plop about half of the remaining mixture into the tin on top of the chutney. Dollop the rest of the chutney into the tin on top of the layer of mixture. Do not swirl! Plop all of the remaining cake mix on top of the chutney and give it a final swirl with the butter knife.
5. Bake in a 180C oven for about 40 minutes. Let the cake stand for about 5 minutes before turning it out to cool.