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Posts Tagged ‘pastry’

Apple and mincemeat galette

Mince pies have been filling up the supermarket shelves for the last few months and jars of ready-made mincemeat have sneakily taken their place amongst the baking ingredients ready to jump out and berate you for being completely unprepared for Christmas months in advance. If you’re one of those wonderfully organised souls you’ll have made your own batch of mincemeat several weeks ago. I, on the other hand, found myself baking with the tail-end of last year’s jars until my lovely mum kindly handed me a jar she’d made the other weekend. (more…)

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My love for tartiflette knows no bounds: tender slices of potato, smoky bacon and browned onions melded together by hot melted cheese sets my heart a-flutter (and, if I consumed it as frequently as I wished, would probably also stop my heart). Designed to revive hard-working mountain dwellers in the Haute Savoie, nowadays it’s also the perfect calorie-fest after a hard day’s skiing. It’s hearty, rich, warming and utterly, utterly delicious. The cheese of choice is Reblochon a mildly pungent, nutty cheese from the French Alps which has a melty, soft texture and turns bubbly, golden and crisp around the edges when baked. During three lovely months spent in the Haute Savoie, living in the lake-side town of Annecy, I worked my way through a good number of tartiflettes made with all sorts of cheeses. Whilst they were all great (especially the goat’s cheese ones) the classic recipe is definitely the best. If you should find yourself in the area you can’t go far wrong at Le Freti, cheese shop by day and restaurant by night. Just be sure to book a table in advance. (more…)

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It’s another Avignon-inspired recipe for you today! Going back to Les Halles market – the one to give you foodie dreams for years to come – I mentioned the boulanger who sold apple pie by the slice. His pie/tart was not the usually fancy affair with neatly sliced apples delicately arranged in concentric circles but a handheld, picnic-friendly pud.  A sweet apple compote was sandwiched between two layers of flakey, buttery puff pastry while the top was covered in a crackly layer of golden sugar. Thin squares of pie were sliced up and wrapped in a napkin for eating on the spot. The perfect end to a simple lunch of cheese, bread and tomatoes eaten on a sunny park bench overlooking the Rhone river. (more…)

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Horray! It looks as though we’re through the ‘hungry gap’ where the last of the winter vegetables are running low and the first of the spring veggies are not quite ready. If you subscribe to a veggie box or community agriculture scheme the hungry gap can play havoc with your menu plan: unexpected frosts can spoil crops, supplies can run out early and you end up with the occasional unexpected substitution. Last week was one such occasion when I had made planned to make pumpkin falafels and ended up with a cauliflower. Granted, it was a lovely cauli but I struggled to come up with an interesting idea for dinner that went beyond the standard cheese pairing. (more…)

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Every so often I find myself craving a particular food after reading a (non-cook) book. Joanne Harris’ Five Quarters of the Orange made me yearn for fruit tarts and cherry liqueur and Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson brought on a porridge fest. From a very early age I found recipe inspiration from literature; I remember asking my mum to let me make stone soup and trying my hardest to imagine what the Hot-Cold Goodies in Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree tasted like. I wonder how many foodies start off this way, obsessing about food before they even start school? I even used to get excited by pictures of food; I adored the idea of the Very Hungry Caterpillar munching his way through fruit, ice cream and cake. (more…)

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Apple crumble pie was my Valentine’s gift to my husband (I’ll make an effort not to bore you with adulation but he’s awesome). He’s an excellent crumble maker and connoisseur and it’s rare that I can produce a crumble that measures up to his; he also makes a mean pie, mainly of the chicken variety. Perhaps I was setting the bar rather too high when I aimed to woo him with his signature dish? To my mind I was aiming to produce the ultimate in desserts by combining two of his three favourite puddings (there was no way I was trying to fit a cheesecake into the mix but, having said that, I’m now plotting some kind of apple crumble cheesecake). So, in order to surpass his best efforts, I knew I had to go further than just sitting a plain old crumble atop a pie crust.

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The orange trees in Rome were covered in fruit, I was so tempted just to reach up and pick one. But having already attracted attention by taking pictures of a tree  I don’t think stealing oranges would have done me any favours! Fortunately I picked up some lovely oranges which were on offer at the greengrocer back home and used them to make this gorgeous twist on a custard tart. (more…)

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