Drunken Plum Frangipane Tart

Plum Frangipane Tart

Soft, sweet frangipane studded with drunken plums

After all the festivities of the past week or so, it might seem a little indulgent for my first post in 2013 to feature ‘drunken plums’. But rather than being anything overtly boozy, this fruit is roasted in just a little brandy, butter and sugar, improving on the flavour and sweetness with such subtlety that it’s pretty difficult to detect. So difficult, in fact, that I could have simply called this ‘Plum Frangipane Tart’. However, there’s something wonderfully satisfying about the sound of a drunken plum . . . Continue reading

Apricot & Pistachio Tartlets

apricot tart

Toasted pistachios, crème d’amandes & sweet apricots fill each delicious little tart

Summer is coming to an end.

While the last few days have seen warmer temperatures and clear blue skies, there’s an autumnal note in the air. Darkness draws in earlier each evening and there’s a coldness first thing in the morning,  a reminder of frosts to come in the not too distant future. Holidays in Spain and Italy are fading to a distant memory of long, lazy days, hazy heat, bare limbs in the evening breeze.

But I’m not letting go without a fight. Continue reading

Dark Chocolate Tart with Salted Caramel Ice Cream

chocolate_tart

A thin slice of this dark chocolate tart is all you need (though you might want more)

This Saturday morning, the sun shining bright despite patches of cloud hanging heavy in the sky, I rolled myself out of bed and headed down to the farmer’s market. Although I love a lazy Saturday morning as much as the next person, there’s something so invigorating about the bustle of an early morning market and so satisfying about bringing home the freshest food to be eaten on the day it was bought that I just couldn’t resist.

Lemon Curd & Mascarpone Cream Tart

lemon_cream_tart

Crisp pastry, a sharp layer of lemon & pillows of light mascarpone cream

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better – Samuel Beckett

I think that awful moment when a recipe goes wrong is one that we can all relate to. While some people may have many more of these moments than others, whether you’re working in a Michelin starred restaurant or a Bridget Jones-type sheepishly scooping string from a blue soup, you’ll have experienced the horror of a major recipe fail in one way or another. Be it an overflowing tart tin, a sunken cake, a loaf left in the oven too long or mistakenly substituting sugar with salt, everyone is subject to these kitchen mishaps once in a while. Not everyone admits to them, of course, but they definitely do happen.

While no-one wants their cooking to be a catalogue of complete disasters, failure isn’t always such a bad thing. Experimentation – whether planned or otherwise – leads to innovation, and some of the world’s favourite foods can be attributed to the fortuitous mistakes of their creators – just think of Ruth Wakefield’s discovery of the chocolate chip cookie when pieces of chocolate in her Butter Drop Dos failed to melt properly. A world without the chocolate chip cookie would be a very sad place indeed. Continue reading