Lucky cat, lucky fish

I’ve been a little slow at getting into the stride of 2013 but I hope that readers have all had a good start to the New Year.

Muji maneki neko and lucky koi silicon tray

One of the lovely Christmas gifts I received, from a dear friend in Japan, is a silicon mould from Muji with the shape of a maneki-neko (lucky beckoning cat) and luck carp*. If you’ve never heard of Muji before they make a lot of amazing home products with simple and effective design ethos and at reasonable prices.

It comes with a simple recipe book, which I took as good starting place to try out the mould. As I’m unable to read Japanese characters I asked my friend to translate a recipe for me. These turned out to be moist, delicious savoury cakes derived from the traditional French cake olive salé.

As I’ve been unable to find an English language version online, I decided to share this recipe based on my friend’s translation. Olive salé recipes are available on many French language cooking sites but are generally for a larger, traditional loaf-shaped cake. The quantities below make ten bite-sized cakes which makes them ideal for a snack or canapés.

Cake olive salé. Original recipe by Muji.

If you don’t have a silicon mould with deep shapes then you can try doubling the below quantities and using a mini-muffin tray instead.


60g/2½ oz. Plain white flour

One flat teaspoon of baking powder

One large egg

30ml/⅛ of a cup Milk

20ml/ just under ⅛ cup of Olive oil

20g/¾ oz. de-stoned green olives, finely chopped

30g/1½oz. Parmesan, grated


Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C/375 degrees F.

Sieve together the plain flour and baking powder into a mixing bowl. Add the large egg, milk and olive oil to the flour and whisk together until you have a smooth batter. Add the finely chopped olives and grated Parmesan and fold them into the batter with a silicon or wooden spatula. When mixed thoroughly; spoon the mixture into the silicon moulds or mini-muffin tray. If you’re using a muffin tray, do grease it first with a little olive oil.

Put your silicon or muffin tray in the oven for thirteen minutes, or until you can see the mixture has risen and is turning golden at the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes. These are best eaten warm, so serve immediately when they are cool enough to handle.


Alternative ingredients can be other grated hard cheeses, chopped herbs, finely chopped ham or bacon, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped peppers. I’ve made some with bacon, herbs and cheddar cheese and they were delicious!

*Since originally posting this: I’ve had people ask where they can buy the Muji ‘Lucky’ tray. Unfortunately, this product is only sold online for Japan-based customers and is not available internationally. The only suggestion I can make is if you know someone who lives in Japan, or travels there regularly, is to ask if they can buy one and either post it as a gift or bring it back with them.