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Monday, 24 September 2007

Goodbye Summer..... With a Fruit Tart

nigella pod

With a nip in the air and the trees turning colour, summer is almost over.
Just time for a last summery treat - a fruit tart for my mum's birthday. Not a birthday cake I know - I still don't have an oven.

I would have liked to have done this with a sweet pastry case, but ended up melting 100g of butter and mixing it with 250g of crushed digestive biscuits, which generously lined a 10 inch tart pan.
Then I made about 3/4 of the amount of cream filling from this recipe, subbing the orange liqueur with a teaspoon of vanilla paste. This was spread evenly on the biscuit base and was left to set in the fridge while I sliced the fruit.
After layering the fruit onto the cream, I brushed a redcurrant glaze on top.
I'll be making this again, it was very successful - and a good twist on the traditional pastry base.

fresh fruit tart 1390

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2009 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

I ate figs for SHF #35!

And I liked them!!

fig 1385

Really! Not in the same way that I like chillies or chocolate, but they aren't so bad.
When I was very young, I remember being on a family holiday in Menorca, and my mum was picking juicy, ripe figs from a tree at the harbour. I tried them along with my brother and sister, but they weren't for me.

I was hesitant when Ivonne at Cream Puffs in Venice announced that figs were the theme for this month's Sugar High Friday. Would I still feel the same way about them? I decided to make a fig tart, something similar to the beautiful creation I had seen on Ivonne's page and as luck would have it, my local supermarket had some fresh figs on sale. My luck then ran out as my oven decided to die on me.
Instead, I toasted a few pine nuts and mixed them with some mascarpone. I sliced the figs in quarters down to the base and put the mascarpone inside. I drizzled them with some local honey and a little balsamic glaze. They were surprisingly delicious!

fig 1374

P.S. I went a step further with this left-over fig and added some Stilton to the mascarpone. Not bad, not bad at all! These would make a great little appetizer.
And I'm going to see if there are any more when I next go shopping, because.... I really like them!

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Chocolate Caramel Nuggets

caramel nuggets 2

Whenever I go to the garden nurseries, I always take a look at the bargain book stand. It's usually a mixture of books by TV chefs that have since faded from the screen or books that were best sellers 10 years ago! Occasionally I strike lucky and snap up a great bargain.
Chocolate Caramel Nuggets is a recipe that comes from one such book called The Cookie and Biscuit Bible. It's a hefty little number that weighs a ton, with 500 pages - and if there's a cookie recipe you are looking for, it's probably in this book.
These cookies are a bit like a soft shortbread, which encases a gooey chocolate caramel centre.

I just discovered Weekend Cookbook Challenge, being hosted by Sara. It's a great way to see what cookery books other food bloggers have on their kitchen bookshelves. This is my contribution to this month's challenge, Show and Tell.

caramel nuggets 1 Cookie & Biscuit Bible

Chocolate Caramel Nuggets
Adapted from The Cookie and Biscuit Bible.
The recipe says it makes 14 cookies but I usually get a couple more out of the mixture.
The cookie dough may crack when sealing the edges, just gently close up any big cracks. I put the cookies into the fridge for half an hour or so before cooking.

150g self raising-flour
90g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
50g caster sugar
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large bar of caramel chocolate, or 14 soft-centred caramels
Icing powder and cocoa powder for dusting

Put the flour and butter into a food processor and process until you have fine crumbs.

Add the sugar, egg yolk and vanilla extract and process to a smooth dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough out fairly thinly on a lightly floured surface and cut out rounds using a 2 inch cutter.

Place one chocolate square on a cookie round and then lay a second round on top. Pinch the edges of the dough together to seal and enclose the caramel chocolate. If the edges don't stick together, you can wet the edges of one of the circles with a tiny smear of water to seal. Place on a baking sheet and put in the fridge while the oven heats up.

Bake at 200ºC for about 10-12 minutes until just turning golden.

Cool on a wire rack and then dust with icing sugar and cocoa powder.

(Printable Recipe)

caramel nuggets 3

Monday, 3 September 2007

Puttanesca Tomatoes

We have all done it - flicked through the magazines in the dentist or doctors waiting room and found a recipe that catches our eye.
There are those who dare to rip it right out of the magazine, not even taking the bit with the photo - just the recipe! Leaving the rest of us with just the tantalizing vision of something beautiful on the vandalized page. If you are a 'recipe ripper' - I hope you don't do it before I get there, because I'm already feeling stressed waiting to go to that chair!

I have an endless supply of scraps of paper in my bag, in case I have to scribble down the directions for what could be my next creative offering, rather than ruin the magazine for the next person.
My last dentist obviously agreed with me and provided specially printed cards and pens for the patients to write down the recipes. They even had a small table with a variety of cookbooks!

A few months back on one of my routine visits, I copied a recipe, knowing that it would be perfect for later in the summer when our tomatoes would be red, ripe and juicy. This is also my contribution to La Festa al Fresco 2007, being hosted by La Mia Cucina and Cream Puffs in Venice.

Chilli Plant 1317

Remember my chilli plant? Well here it is now and the chillies are turning red. They are certainly hot and fiery, as predicted, and added a certain zip to these tomatoes. I know I recently did roasted tomatoes, but these are completely different, crammed with delicious flavours.
I bet these would also be really good served in a pastry case, which has some pesto under the tomatoes.

Puttanesca Tomatoes
Adapted from an unknown magazine

1lb 2oz plum tomatoes, I used medium round ones as ours were ripe

2 cloves garlic
3 anchovy fillets
8 black olives
1 red chilli
Couple of spoons of olive oil

2 teaspoons capers
2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese

Finely chop the garlic, anchovies, olives, red chilli and mix together.
Slice tomatoes in half and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet.
Spoon the mixed chopped ingredients over each tomato and add a drop of olive oil on the top.
Roast in a medium oven for about 40 minutes.
Top with the capers and Parmesan cheese for the last 5 minutes.
Add salt and pepper to serve.

(Printable Recipe)

Puttanesca Tomatoes 1270 B