Yeah! You did it! You made it through January. I don’t know about you but my January was 178 days long and I’m pretty sure that it rained every day. But it’s February now which means that it won’t be long before we can start […]
You just can’t go wrong with a Chelsea bun. Soft enriched dough crammed full of rich, sweet fillings and covered in finger-licking sticky glaze. Always a winner! I love these warm for wintry breakfasts or with a cup of piping hot tea on a chilly […]
I’ve made this a few times now and it always gets a really warm welcome at the table. It’s what autumn puddings should be, rich and warming and packed with flavourful spices. The sponge is wonderfully light with a gloriously sticky crust, the pears are soft and fruity and there are occasional fiery little nuggets of stem ginger, just to keep things interesting. I like this best served warm, five or ten minutes after it’s come out of the oven (so you don’t burn your mouth on the pears) but it’s also delicious served cold and keeps for several days because the sponge is so moist.
serves 6 generously
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp very hot water
65g soft dark brown sugar
pich of salt
90g golden syrup
50ml warm milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
140g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
pinch ground allspice
2 pieces of stem ginger
1 tin of pear halves, drained (you can use fresh if you prefer but you’ll need to poach them first)
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and grease and line a springform baking tin. Dissolve the bicarbonate of soda in the hot water and set it aside.
Cream together the butter, salt and sugar until it is nice and fluffy and then beat in the syrup and egg. Stir in the milk, vanilla and bicarbonate of soda mixture. Sift together the flour, baking powder and spices to ensure that they are well blended and then briefly beat this into the wet mixture. Finely chop the stem ginger and fold it through the batter.
Pour the sponge mixture into the prepared tin. Arrange the pears on top and push them into the batter a little. Bake the cake for 45 minutes, covering the top with some foil if it starts to get a bit too brown in the last 15 minutes or so. Once the cake is done it should have risen up nicely around the pears and feel springy to the touch.
Serve warm with cream, ice cream or custard.
Before I lived in the States I only ever really thought of tacos as the hard, crunchy shells you buy from the supermarket and fill with chilli and cheese. I was utterly oblivious to the world of deliciousness which ‘proper’ tacos provide, there are so […]
When you get really good ingredients it’s worth using them in a recipe that really shows off their full potential. That’s how I feel about these beautiful heirloom tomatoes anyway.
So often the fruits you find in supermarkets are insipid and disappointing but if you come across tomatoes like these, or are lucky enough to be green fingered and grow your own then you’ll know they’ll be packed with flavour and worthy of a bit more love than just tossing them into your Bolognese!
Look at how pretty the colours look in this tart, it’s a picture perfect summer dish. It tastes pretty wonderful too. The fennel seeds in the buttery pastry crust really bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes. Delicious!
150g plain flour
50g wholemeal flour
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp fennel seeds
splash of ice cold water
5-6 heirloom tomatoes (different varieties if you can)
3 tbsp polenta/semolina
1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
seasalt, black pepper and fresh oregano
Whisk together the flours and then lightly rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Mix through the salt and fennel seeds and then use a little splash of water to bring it all together to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. If you prefer then you can do all this quite quickly and easily in a food processor, which also means there’s less chance of over-working the dough and ending up with tough pastry. Wrap the dough in some cling film and pop it in the fridge to rest for at least 15 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 230°c and cover a large baking sheet with some baking parchment. Wash, dry and slice the tomatoes, so that the slices are about 5mm thick. A serrated knife is the best thing to use here.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until you have a large roundish shape, a few millimetres thick. Carefully place this on the prepared baking sheet. Scatter the polenta or semolina (whichever you’re using) over the pastry, leaving a few centimetres gap around the edge. This will help soak up all those lovely tomato juices and stop the pastry becoming a soggy mess. Arrange the tomato slices on top, overlapping them as you go. Season really well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and then dot the surface with a little butter. Sprinkle over the parmesan and a little chopped fresh oregano. Carefully fold up the edges of the pastry, gathering it a little where you need to.
Bake the tart for 20 minutes before reducing the oven temperature to 190° and baking for a further 25 minutes. The pastry should be crisp and slightly golden when it’s done. Leave to cool to room temperature before serving.