Custard Tarts

When I visited Portugal I had a real love for these!  It is a good job I do not live there, otherwise I might be packing on more than a few pounds.  However, as a treat they are delightful and great to share with friends, if you can steal them away from yourself.

portuguese custard tarts

  • 320g Ready Made Puff Pastry
  • Butter for greasing tin
  • Plain flour for rolling out on the surface
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 2 Large Yolks
  • 120g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Cornflour
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 400ml Whole Milk

Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tin with butter.  Then roll out the pastry, with a little flour on the surface.  Roll until it is around 2.5cm thick.  Cut out rounds that will fit your muffin tin.  For a nice rustic look, just press the pastry up the inside of the tin, until the pastry fits.  This rustic look reminds me of the custard tarts that you get in Portugal, whereas in the UK they have dessert pastry and are smooth.  Place in the fridge whilst you make the custard filling.

Into a heavy bottomed saucepan, place the egg yolks and whole egg, along with the sugar and cornflour.  Mix together. Then on a gentle heat add the vanilla and gradually add in the milk.  Make sure you keep stirring so that it does not catch the bottom of the pan.  Eventually you will get to a nice smooth but thickened custard.  Remove from the heat and place this custard into a bowl with clingfilm over it.  Allow it to cool with the clingfilm on, so that it does not get a skin on top.

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan).

Once cooled down, spoon the custard into the pastry and bake in the oven for around 25 minutes.  The tops will be golden and blister slightly and the pastry will puff up.  Allow to cool in the muffin tin before placing on a wire rack.

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Quick Tiramisu Pots

What is there not to love about these gorgeous pots of tiramisu?  Great to eat at parties as they can be made well ahead of guests arriving, and these are no cook, just putting together!  This recipe makes around 3 depending on the glass or pot you use.  Just alter the amount of ingredients to the number of people you are making them for.  Decorate as you want.

tiramasu

 

  • 125g Mascarpone cheese
  • 284ml Double Cream
  • 70ml Marsala Wine (Or you could use Amaretto)
  • 3 Tbsp of Caster Sugar
  • 150ml of Boiling Water with 1 Tbsp of Instant Espresso Granules mixed together
  • Pack of Sponge Fingers (Lady Fingers)
  • Dark Chocolate – Few Chunks grated.
  • 1Tsp Cocoa Powder

Whisk the double cream and the sugar with the Marsala/Amaretto until thick.  Fold in the mascarpone cheese.  It should be the consistency of whipped double cream.  If it isn’t, just whisk for a little longer.  Set to one side.

Get your pot/whiskey glass or other tumbler ready, and then dip the lady finger sponges into the coffee, gently lift out and then make a layer in the bottom of the glass.  Then spoon a layer of the double cream over, followed by a layer of the grated chocolate.  Repeat this process a couple more times until you end up with your last layer of cream mix, where I dust over cocoa and the grated chocolate.  Place in the fridge for a couple of hours before serving.

Mushroom Curry

Do I miss meat in a curry?  Well, certainly not when I make this one.  The mushrooms seem to take on a meaty taste.  Please feel free to add as much heat with the chilli flakes and curry paste as you wish.  Also experiments with different vegetables such as peppers and butternut squash.  I also like to add chickpeas as well.

On the subject of curry pastes, the one below is one that I picked up from Waitrose a while back.  I have to say, I really like it and its one of my favourites.  Occasionally I make my own but this one comes in useful for when I am too busy to make my own.  I find using 2 teaspoons of this paste is more than enough heat for me.  The rice I have used is a whole grain rice with quinoa, which is very filling!

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Ingredients 

500g Mushrooms – Use a mixture. I slice plain white mushrooms and then I quarter some chestnut mushrooms.
2 Cloves of garlic crushed
5cm Piece of ginger grated
1 Onion Chopped
Pinch of chilli flakes
Olive Oil
2 – 4 tsp of good quality curry paste (depending on how hot you like it. I like a Medium Moglai curry paste for this dish)
4 Tomatoes roughly chopped
1 Tbsp of Mango Chutney
1 x 400ml of Coconut Milk
Splash of double cream (optional)
Salt and Pepper

Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

In a heavy bottomed cast iron pan place in the mushrooms and dry fry them to get some colour for around 5 minutes. They squeak in the pan when dry frying, but this gets them a nice colour. If you put oil at this stage, the mushrooms just absorb it and sort of steam. Then add a tablespoon of olive oil and add the chilli, onion, garlic along with your curry paste. Stir round for 3 minutes and then add the tomatoes, mango chutney and coconut milk. Add some salt and pepper, put the lid on and place in the oven for between 20-30 minutes. Check after 20 minutes that it is not drying out and stir round. You can add a splash of hot kettle water if you feel it needs more liquid. Once cooked transfer to the stove top and taste to check that you are happy with the spice heat and seasoning. I like to add a splash of double cream, but you could eat it without.

Serve with rice and other items such as poppodums.

Tomato & Bean Soup

This is such a lovely hearty soup, that almost verges on being a vegetable stew.  We eat this most weeks throughout the year.  It warms you up in the winter, and is somehow refreshing in the summer months.  You can add some croutons if you like, which gives a lovely crunch.

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Ingredients

Olive oil, for frying

1 Large onion, chopped

1 Large carrot diced small

2 Sticks celery, diced small

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 Tin of cannellini beans

1 x 400g can of good quality chopped tomatoes

Good pinch of sugar

4 Leaves of Cavolo Nero cut into thick shreds

Good handful of Parmesan Cheese

400ml of Vegetable stock

Pinch of dried chilli flakes

Salt and pepper

Fry off the onion, carrot and celery for 5 minutes gently in a little olive oil.   Then add the garlic cloves, tomatoes and simmer for a further five minutes.  Then add a generous pinch of sugar (this helps to stop the tomatoes tasting too sharp) then add the chilli flakes, cannellini beans, parmesan, cavolo nero, vegetable stock, plus seasoning of salt and pepper. If I have a rind of parmesan then I will add that too, making sure that I remove it before serving.  Gently cook for around 20 minutes or so with a lid, until the carrot is tender.  If you need more stock then just add it.  Taste for seasoning.  Then serve.

 

Christmas Recipes

It is almost Christmas, so please forgive me for plugging my seasonal recipe book available from Amazon on the last day of November.  Quite a few people over the years have asked me for some of my seasonal recipes for the festive period, so these are a batch of my favourites.  Each year I add recipes to this collection, and so if you have purchased through Amazon previously, they usually give you the opportunity to download the latest version for free.

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You can purchase the book on a special offer here from Amazon.  Click here for book

Just in case any of you think I have fallen off the end of the earth, I haven’t.  This year has been a particularly busy one, engaged in writing, cooking, tv stuff and another project which I am super excited about for 2017.  I shall be revealing all in due course, but hope to have my venture up and running by the Spring.  It has taken a lot of time, but then again if you want to do something good then you have to put the effort in.

So in the meantime, thank you to everyone who has supported me on here, on my social media pages and of course purchasing my books.  Without you I am nothing!

I do hope that you have a fabulous Christmas and New Year, and I also hope (time permitting) to put a couple of video clips on here, with recipes from the Christmas book.

Happy Christmas, enjoy eating!

Emily