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Thursday 15 October 2015

Egg Custard Tart

 That's puréed mango by the way. You're welcome.

I remember when I was young that I thought custard tarts (I only ever remember the mini versions, not full size, sliceable pies like this) were beyond repulsive. I think it was the name that really did it for me: 'egg custard tarts'. I mean, who'd want sweet eggs?

It was only me who felt like that though - my brother and mother loved them, and ate them often. I think it was out of a strange sense of nostalgia for the food of my childhood that I decided to make one recently, and  - I am a man converted - it was so good I thought I should share.

(I'm not going to lie - the desire to make this recipe was also born out of the need to use my beautiful new tart pan which you must agree, is really quite lovely).

The recipe is actually one of Edd Kimber's. I haven't made one of his recipes for ages (possibly since the carrot cake cookies of the 'He Eats' days, which dates me considerably), but it was what I'd expect from him: foolproof. I changed the proportions of milk and cream slightly, but it still works fine.

Is there something you like as an adult that you hated as a child? Let me know in the comments!

Custard Tart

You will need:
225g plain flour

150g chilled butter (unsalted)
50g caster sugar
pinch of salt
1 egg

300ml single cream
150ml milk, full fat is best
a vanilla pod
8 egg yolks
100g caster sugar
Nutmeg, to taste

  1. For the pastry, I use a mixer, but your hands would be fine. Put the flour and butter into a large bowl and rub the flour and butter together (or beat with the flat paddle, if using a mixer). When the mixture looks like fine crumbs, add the sugar and salt.  
  2. Crack in the egg. Mix together using a fork and then use your hands to work the pastry together. Or, if using the mixer, just carry on at low speed with the paddle beater.
  3. Once a dough has formed, wrap in cling film and chill for about an hour. This little cool down makes the rolling easier, and I wouldn’t skip it, so plan ahead. 
  4. Roll out the pastry  until it’s about an inch or so bigger than your tart pan. I use a 9 inch metallic one with a removable base, lightly greased with butter. 
  5. Line the flan tin, pushing the pastry into the corners carefully but firmly. Refrigerate again for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180°C. 
  6. Line the chilled pastry case with baking parchment. Bake blind for 20 minutes, then remove the baking parchment and bake for a further five minutes to make sure the base is properly coloured. Turn down the oven to 130°C. 
  7. Make the custard next, in the usual way: heat the cream and milk with the seeds from the vanilla pod. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar together. When the cream and milk is simmering, add it to the yolks and sugar, constantly whisking as you do so. 
  8. Pour the custard into the pastry case and  grate lots of nutmeg over the tart. Bake for around 35 minutes, until the custard is set but still slightly wobbly in the very centre. Take the tart out of the oven and let it cool completely before serving. I ate mine with mango purée, but you don’t need to add anything.

Monday 13 July 2015

Coconut Tea Cake

I know that coconut is a bit of a divisive thing. There's no doubting its current popularity as a healthfood: you only need to look at the chilled aisle of any supermarket to see the dozens of different branded coconut waters available, as well as the curious yet delicious vegan coconut yogurt that seems to be in everyone's lunchboxes these days. Then there's the jarred coconut oil, with its exotic fragrance and myriad of uses. Everyone loves it. And yet, when you put coconut in a cake, people seem disappointed that you didn't go for chocolate instead.

Imagine my surprise then, when the photo you see above got more than 200 'likes' on Instagram over the course of a few hours. Are people coming over to the dark (and tropical) side, finally?

They'd be right to; that cake is divine. But it's also not the coconuttiest slice of happiness I have ever turned out, so is probably a good place to start if you're wanting to see if you, too, oh coco-shy sweet lover, like the good stuff as much as the rest of us.

It's a cake I have heard tell of for the last few years, and been curious about making. The method is unusual and so are the quantities of ingredients - most of the fat in the recipe is from tinned coconut milk (it contains only a smidgen of butter), and there are lots of eggs, which means a gorgeous close crumb and texture.

Sadly, I am not going to be giving you the recipe, because it's from a book by Dorie Greenspan that I really want to encourage you to buy for yourself: Baking: From My Home to Yours.
I know that it's not exactly a little-known title. It's more that I was given a copy of the book for my birthday recently (33 - don't tell anybody) by my parents-in-law, and it is, in all honesty, more than worthy of the hype. It's simply stunning: full of clearly explained and delicious sounding recipes for cakes, cookies, pies and all manner of desserts, I'll be baking from it for years.

Coconut is amply covered (I think Dorie might be a fan), so the book is in keeping with modern diet trends (if we're calling desserts healthfoods - I'll leave that up to you).

I think the book would suit anybody who has in interest in baking, whether an absolute beginner or a more advanced sweet maker. Dorie is American, but has lived in Paris for years, so there is a nice balance between US style recipes and European classics. Buy it. You'll love it!

But while you wait for it to arrive, try these coconut recipes from around the web:

 What's your favourite baking book by the way? Does it include lots of coconut recipes?

Thursday 5 March 2015

Blueberry and Lime Bizcocho

A friend of mine recently sent me a message via WhatsApp telling me that she had one of my yogurt pot cakes in the oven as she typed and loved how easy they were to make; she has a baby and so can't exactly start busting out gâteaux St. Honoré at the drop of a hat.(Though who can?)

Anyway, it got me to thinking: we haven't had a bizcocho around here for ages!

I followed my classic (and much used - I have had loads of emails about this recipe over the years) recipe and added the zest of a lime along with vanilla extract and half a tub of blueberries, and used one measure of cornmeal and two of flour instead of the usual all flour version. It baked in a 23cm deep tin for 35 minutes at 180°C and I used the juice of the lime to make a glaze with some icing sugar.

It is a triumph.

I know I blog less and less these days, but I'll get back into it when we start having some decent daylight hours, I promise!

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Tamarind Fish Curry

The way to my heart.

Valentine's Day is on it's way: make your restaurant reservations now!

Or, don't. I might be in the minority here, but there are so many reasons why eating at home is more romantic than eating out (which, even those in the minority like myself have to accept is what most couples seem to want to do for this red-and-pink paper heart scattered holiday).

Chief among these is my belief that nothing - that's right, nothing - says 'I love you' like cooking someone a meal. Ironing for them will come a close second, granted, but that simple act of preparing something to eat for someone other than yourself is the ultimate expression of love. It's about sharing, caring and nourishing; it tells your lover, friend or family member that you value them. It's a beautiful thing to do.

It's also a great way to show off, which you might find yourself wanting to do if you're newly attached at this time of year. We've all been there.

This, for me, is the ultimate food for the occasion. It's exotic (and be honest with yourself: you need that at this time of year), it's simple (I made it in my Multicooker REDMOND RMC-M4502, so it almost made itself, truth told) and it will wow.

One day, I am going to travel to Southern India and taste this sort of seafood curry for myself. I might even take my Valentine (so long as he pays half). But until then, I'll make it in my little Cardiff kitchen on dark, dreary February days and dream.

The red utensils around my Redmond may make it seem like I am a Valentine's aficionado. 
But do not be fooled. I am still bitter. :)

You can vary this quite a bit. If you don't have any cod, use another white fish. Or use prawns (straight from frozen will be fine). Vegan? Throw in a tin of chickpeas.

Happy Valentine's Day. (And don't worry - I will be back to the sweet stuff soon enough!)

Tamarind Fish Curry

You will need:

1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 large onion, chopped
1 chilli (red or green), finely chopped
a thumb-sized chunk of fresh ginger, finely chopped
2 tsp ground turmeric
1 x 400g tin coconut milk
tamarind paste (to taste; I added a generous tbsp)
2 fillets of cod
chopped fresh coriander, to serve

  1. Set the multicooker to fry. Add the oil, mustard and cumin seeds and fry until the mustard seeds splutter and pop. This takes around a minute. 
  2. Immediately add the chopped onions and fry for 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft.Add the ginger and chilli, and fry for another minute.
  3. Add the turmeric and stir well. The mixture will dry a little. Now add the tin of coconut milk and tamarind paste and stir well.
  4. Switch the multicooker to the cook function and set the temperature to 120C. Close the lid and set the cooking time for 10 minutes.
  5. Stir the curry sauce well, add the fish fillets and cook with the lid closed for 5 minutes.
  6. Check that the fish is cooked through and serve with rice and fresh coriander.

Delicious Delicious Delicious received a sample multicooker courtesy of Redmond and was commissioned to write a recipe. My opinions are, as always, my own.
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