Asparagus and smoked salmon tartlets

asparagus and smoked salmon tartlets

asparagus and smoked salmon tartlets

Months and months ago I purchased in Lakeland a mini quiches perforated silicon baking tray. Guess who never used it until last week? That’s right! Yours truly! I don’t really know why I got out of the swing of baking quiches as I love them, particularly if the pastry is light and crispy. Anyway, I decided the time had come to resurrect the humble quiche and christen the tray so it so I plumped for these smoked salmon and asparagus tarts which I had never made before. You’ll be glad to know the baking tray was a resounding success. The pastry was cooked to perfection with no soggy bottoms. Of course you can make a whole quiche rather than 6 individual ones. But I thought the individual ones looked more professional. I shall definitely make them again, that’s for sure. Continue reading ‘Asparagus and smoked salmon tartlets’

Eve’s pudding

Eve's pudding

Eve’s pudding

This is another classic recipe which I baked for my brother when he came to visit us last weekend. I hadn’t made it for donkey’s years! He liked it so much he wanted to know how it’s made so here it is. As usual there are loads of different recipes out there but basically an Eve’s pudding (no idea why it is called that) consists of stewed apples at the bottom and a sponge mixture at the top. It’s simple but nice. Ideally it is served hot with either cream or custard. My recipe -slightly adapted- comes from the BBC website. Continue reading ‘Eve’s pudding’

A hearty cavolo nero, beans and pasta soup

cavolo nero, beans and pasta soup

cavolo nero, beans and pasta soup

Winter is coming so let’s bring back the wholesome soups on the menu. I had bought a bag of cavolo nero recently and didn’t know what to do with it so decided to  put it in a soup. Apparently it is very good for you: full of vitamins and antioxidant properties. The soup lasted me for DAYS but it was very nice reheated. You can do it with the addition of the pancetta or without it, if you are vegetarian. Simple but tasty and filling. Just what the doctor ordered on a cold, autumn night. Continue reading ‘A hearty cavolo nero, beans and pasta soup’

Lemon meringue pie: my atonement

lemon meringue pie as it should be

lemon meringue pie as it should be

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Yes, my dear friends, I was really peeved at my disastrous attempt at making this classic dessert last time I blogged so I had another go. This time I decided to make 6 individual little tarts rather than a large one, which I was very pleased with. As you can see from the pics  this time the experiment was successful. No offending liquid oozed out nor were there any soggy bottoms in sight when I cut the tarts.  Success! Tomik the cat was clearly happy, unlike the last time. :-) Obviously I made sure the custardy mixture was dense before I poured it in the pastry cases. I also  made a couple of other changes: I thought the Mary Berry’s recipe for the shortcrust pastry was a bit too rich (and far too soft) so I changed the proportions: I used half butter to flour, put only an egg yolk rather than the whole egg, a couple of tablespoons of icing sugar and enough cold water to bind it. It was much better and didn’t shrink as much when I baked it blind.

Lemon meringue pie: a misdemeanour

lemon meringue pie: a misdemeanour

lemon meringue pie: a misdemeanour

I had been meaning to make a lemon meringue pie for a long LONG while. It is, after all, a classic dessert here in the UK and one I really like. Inspired by one of the episodes in the Great British Bake off , I decided to have a go. Oh dear, oh dear! DISASTER! My creation would have come bottom of the pack in the Bake off competition by a mile and would have raised a few incredulous eyebrows. How Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry would have laughed!  To look at it ( see picture at the bottom) it wasn’t all that bad but once you cut into it  liquid started oozing out. ARGH! What an almighty mess! I know where I went wrong. I failed to cook the lemony custard that went inside beforehand thinking that it would solidify while cooking in the oven. WRONG! Ironically I used a Mary Berry’s recipe but clearly didn’t follow the instructions properly. Oh well! Back to the drawing board. On the plus side: it actually didn’t taste that bad and the meringue at the top was spot on, despite my reservations. At least it didn’t end up in the bin! Another thing I will do next time round: I will trim the pastry at the top AFTER I have baked it blind. I did notice that that’s what the Bake off contestants were doing but failed to learn by their examples. As a result it shrunk too much. I really didn’t do myself proud with this one. SORRY! :-( But, as the blog demands, I have to share the failures, not just the successes! Continue reading ‘Lemon meringue pie: a misdemeanour’

Pasta and cauliflower cheese bake

pasta and cauliflower cheese bake

pasta and cauliflower cheese bake

First of all apologies for the rather messy and unprofessional picture. I remembered I needed to take one when I had already served a couple of people. OOPS! Still, what counts is the taste, right? And this dish was so comforting it deserves to be shared. How could I not blog it? I am not a fan of cauliflower but if you add a bechamel sauce to it and bake it I could eat it every day. This is a variation on cauliflower cheese but I think the addition of pasta works really well. An ideal dish to have now that the days are getting shorter again and autumn is knocking at the door. Continue reading ‘Pasta and cauliflower cheese bake’

Tzatziki

tzatziki

tzatziki

While we were gallivanting in the Greek islands in September we became quite fond of tzatziki, which is a staple Greek starter/mezze dish made with Greek yoghurt, cucumber and LOADS of garlic. Please don’t go kissing anyone afterwards, that’s my advice!! Unless they have also eaten it, of course!  The ingredients are simple and straightforward and so is making it. The only problem was that  the first time I made it I failed to strain the cucumber  so it was a bit on the liquidy side. Still, very edible and refreshing. It’s ideal to have with some pitta bread or crudités. There are various versions out there. I noticed, for example, that in some restaurants in Greece they were also adding some grated carrots. So I followed suit. I got my basic recipe from good old Jamie Oliver, and slightly adapted it.  Continue reading ‘Tzatziki’

Plum and almond cake

plum and almond cake

 plum and almond cake

A  very kind friend of mine with an orchard and a surplus of plums donated a few kilos of them to me recently. We ate quite a few of them straight out of the bag as they were so delicious, but I’ve also used some to make this lovely cake. The inspiration came from Nigel Slater , although I slightly adapted his original recipe. I didn’t add any walnuts to the mixture, for example, which he does. What is particularly nice about it is the tanginess of the plums in combination with the sweetness of the almonds. My husband took it to a fellow group of volunteers and it pretty much vanished amongst lip smacking sounds of appreciation. I’d like to add that apparently the store bought butterfly cakes that someone else brought in weren’t even touched. Home made wins every time, it would seem!…:-) Continue reading ‘Plum and almond cake’

Courgette and feta cheese bake

courgette and feta cheese bake

             courgette and feta cheese bake

I have had much better luck with my courgette plants this year then in previous years when they looked sad and mouldy (see pic below of my happy babies!) so I had to come up with some recipes in order to use my beloved organic zucchini. I invented this simple bake using what I had in the house at the time: courgettes, eggs, flour, onions and feta cheese. BINGO! Really quick to make but so delicious! I’ve already baked it three times with success. As I invented the  recipe I’m kind of guessing the quantities. I’m sure that if you slightly adapted them not much harm would come to it. Do try it if you are in a hurry. Serve it with a nice salad. Voilà! Continue reading ‘Courgette and feta cheese bake’

La “torta appiccicosa” ai lamponi: ovvero un fondant alla svedese (Kladdkaka)

IMG-20160820-WA0002Ecco qua a cosa serve mandare i figli a studiare all’estero. Una tortina svedese di Laura: la Kladdkaka. Continue reading ‘La “torta appiccicosa” ai lamponi: ovvero un fondant alla svedese (Kladdkaka)’