Thursday, 30 August 2012


So I'm continuing on with my Great British Bake Off inspired tarts and this is a sweet one.  I've used pineapple but most fruit works well.  Apple is particularly good too because the flapjack topping is like chewy toffee so a perfect match. 

I usually make one large tart but opted for individual portions purely so I could try out my new silicone mould.  I'm quite new to silicone for baking and not sure if I quite like it but I have to say, they were very easy to get out.  It can be a bit hit and miss sometimes using metal baking tins, especially when cooking something with bubbling sugar that sticks but I'm too old school I think.  When making a victoria sponge I can only do it in pounds and ounces, my husband says that's because I'm classically trained.  I quite liked that.

Anyway, back to the recipe.  It's just a case of making a pastry shell, fill it with fruit them bob the flapjack mix on top and bake.  I could not believe how unctuous and cosy these were.  My Mother used to make Pine Tarts which were a triangular jam tart with pineapple jam, these are like the pimped up version of those.

200gPlain Flour                           
75g Butter                                    
1 Egg                                           

500g Pineapple in small chunks (Fresh or Tinned)
50g Butter
2 tbsp Golden Syrup
50g Light Brown Sugar
75g Porridge Oats

Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour to make a light crumb, add the egg and form into a dough.  Knead slightly till soft and smooth.  Line a muffin tray with the pastry and bake blind at 180C for 15 minutes.  I used cup cake cases in each tart shell to put the baking beans in.

When the shells are baked mix the flapjack topping.  In a pan warm the butter, sugar and syrup till they have melted then stir in the oats.  Don't mix the flapjack till you are ready to use it as it gets stiff and difficult to use as it cools.  Fill the pastry with the pineapple and top with a spoonful of flapjack mixture.  Bake for a further 15-20 minutes till the flapjack has browned.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


I'm really enjoying the new series of The Great British Bake Off, it makes a big difference being able to relax and watch someone else get stressed about their soggy bottom.

This week is all about tarts and it's inspired me to bake some of my own.  I'm starting with a savoury Tart Tatin.  Traditionally it is sweet and made with apples but if there is something that the Bake Off has taught me - you don't have to stick to tradition.

I'm using shallots for my Tatin and it's great hot or cold, not complicated and to make it even easier I've used bought puff pastry (Ssh).

500g Shallots, peeled
25g Butter
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tsp  Light Brown Sugar
Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
Salt & Pepper

250g Puff Pastry

Cook the onions in boiling water for 10 minutes then drain well while you heat the butter and oil in a heavy based frying pan.

Once the butter starts to sizzle add the shallots and fry gently for 10 minutes, turning the onions to colour all over.

Season with salt and pepper and add the fresh thyme then sprinkle over the sugar.  Cook for a further 5 minutes so the shallots are well coloured.

Roll out the pastry to form a round a little bigger than the pan then pop it on top to form a lid and tuck the edges of the pastry down the side of the pan.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200C.  Once the pastry is golden and cooked remove it from the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes before inverting it onto a plate to serve.

I can't tell you how much I enjoyed eating this and so pleased to have tried something a little different.  We had it with a very simple salad of spinach, goats cheese and the most delicious Sweetfire Baby Beetroot with a drizzle of garlic infused olive oil

Tuesday, 21 August 2012


I couldn’t give you a Portuguese recipe without using Piri Piri.  This spice mix is readily available in many different forms from the supermarket these days but there’s nothing like home made and it will take just 5 minutes to make.
You can cook the prawns on a griddle but they are also brilliant on a barbecue or roasted in the oven at 220C for 20 minutes.  If the shells are crispy enough I have been known to eat the lot but you can shell your prawns leaving just the tails on before adding them to the marinade.
12 Large Raw Prawns or Crevettes
3 Cloves Garlic
2 Red Chillies
1 tbsp Smoked Paprika
Juice of 1 lime
2 tbsp Olive Oil
2 tbsp White Wine Vinegar
1/2 bunch Fresh Corriander
Chuck all the ingredients apart from the prawns into a food processor and whizz them till they form a smooth marinade.
Tip everything into a sealable bag and give it a good mix up making sure that all the prawns are coated in that lovely spicy mix.  Leave it in the fridge for an hour to marinade.
Heat a griddle pan till it’s good and hot then cook the prawns for about 4 minutes on each side till they are cooked through and pink.

Thursday, 16 August 2012


I was asked recently to make some Portuguese Custard Tarts - Natas  and jumped at the chance.  There are lots of recipes out there but I find these work every time guaranteed.  You make the custard first so when it’s baked you have a lovely caramelised top.

Portuguese food has the warmth of it’s mediterranean neighbours with an added kick of north african spices.  Cinnamon and vanilla are very popular and this recipe calls for both.  The pastry has a lovely swirl of cinnamon running through it which means it looks great and tastes very special indeed.
I have used a cinnamon paste from the supermarket but if you can’t find it just sprinkle the pastry with sugar and ground cinnamon to cover it.
500g Puff Pastry
1 tbsp Cinnamon Paste
80g Sugar
80ml Water
500ml Milk
2 tbsp Corn Flour
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
2 egg yolks
Over a low heat warm the water and sugar till the sugar has dissolved then simmer for a further 2 minutes.
Mix the corn flour in a bowl with a little of the milk to form a paste then add the remaining milk.  Add the milk to the water along with the egg yolks and vanilla.  Whisk over a low heat till it thickens.
Remove the pan from the heat and cover with clingfilm to stop a skin forming.  Leave to cool.
Roll out your pastry on a floured surface to form a square roughly  35cm x 35cm.  Evenly spread the cinnamon paste over the pastry, not too thick, think of it as marmite.  Then roll it up tightly to form a long sausage.  

Cut the roll into 12 even pieces then roll out each piece flat on a floured surface to about 10cm/4” diameter.  
Lightly grease a muffin tin then line each hole with pastry.  Fill the shells with the cooled custard and bake for 15-20 minutes at 200C