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I adore frangipane and am wild for fruit pies and tarts – putting them together is a dangerous thing. This tart is incredibly simple and quite gorgeous looking, but takes a little while if you chill the pastry twice like you are supposed to. I should probably admit that it never gets two full chillings at my house, and still comes out just fine.

This recipe is a version of the one on Simmer Boston. Image

Ingredients

Pastry
1 1/4 cup plain flour
125 grams butter cubed
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Cold water as neccesary (2+ tablespoons)
Good pinch of salt

Plums and frangipane
Plums – about 10 depending on size, not too ripe so they hold their shape.
I used a mix of colours which was quite pretty.
125g butter, softened
125g caster sugar
2 eggs
125g roasted ground almonds/almond meal
1 tablespoon plain flour

Make the pastry (use your Kenwood/KitchenAid)
Put sugar, flour, butter and a good pinch of salt into your stand mixer with the paddle or K attachment and mix till nice and crumbly,
Whisk egg and water together in seperate bowl and add into stand mixer, mix on medium until a smooth dough. Wrap dough into ball in plastic wrap and chill for an hour or so or for as long as you can bear.

Make the frangipane filling.
Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl with your hand mixer (or use stand mixer again) until light and fluffy.
Add eggs a bit at a time till combined then turn off mixer
Use a wooden spoon to fold in the almond meal ground almonds and flour.

Prepare the plums
Cut plums in half to remove seeds, then slice into even segments – about 12 per plum is nice.

Grease your tart tin, I used a rather unattractive bright green silicon one which I sprayed lightly with oil spray because I am lazy and YOLO. It worked just fine – I might be coming around to these silicon thingamajigs.

Take dough out of fridge and place onto floured bench top and roll out so it would overlap edges of your tin. Transfer over with your rolling pin like the clever clogs you are. Patch up any holes with spare pastry. Oops! Then put back in fridge for half an hour or as long as you can bear.

Have a cup of tea, and nibble on extra or wonky plums.

Preheat oven to 200c, and assemble tart.

Pour frangipane into tart, stick plums into it in some semblance of a pattern.

Bake at 200c for about 30 minutes – until it is nicely burnished on top. Serve hot or warm or cold (I prefer it cold) with some double cream.

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I never understood the attraction of ‘upside down cakes’ when I was younger, mainly because they often had tinned pineapple on them in our neck of the woods. Why anyone would do that is beyond me.

With this however the magical flip and reveal is a beautiful moment, set off nicely by the terror of burning yourself on scalding hot caramel.

The result is so exquisite that the ridiculously easy prep and short shopping list seem almost unfair. This is the perfect thing to do with that spare sheet of puff pastry hanging about in the freezer..

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Isn’t that the prettiest thing you ever saw?

Ingredients

1/2 cup of caster sugar
40 grams butter cubed
3 corella pears (or beurre bosc) peeled, cored and quartered
1 sheet frozen puff pastry (yes I will learn to make this myself one day!)

You will also need a smallish oven proof pan – I used a 17cm enamel cast iron pan like this. If you use a bigger pan just up the ingredients a smidge, it’s not rocket science.

Method

1. Take out sheet of puff pastry to defrost
2. Heat oven to 190c
3. Put sugar in base of pan and place onto medium heat, watch carefully – try not to panic that you are essentially frying sugar. It will start to melt, shake it around until its all melted and let it colour to a rich caramel (darker than a Werther’s original), then remove from heat
4. Add in cubed butter, put it back on the element if if needs help melting, swirl it around but don’t stir.
5. Add your pear quarters, round side down (this will be the top) putting in as many as you can, they will give a little as they cook
6. Take your pastry sheet which will be almost defrosted by now, cut a rough circle a bit bigger than the pan and put this on top, use a knife or spoon to tuck it in around the edges & slash it a few times to let steam out.
7. Bake for about half an hour – you want the top to be a nice dark brown.
Then remove and rest for a few minutes while you grab your icecream & plates.
8. Shake the tart gently in the pan to dislodge it. Put a plate on top and using oven mitts flip it over, et voilà!

The pastry should be nice and dark when you remove it, this will mean the pears are nice and tender.

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Scotch eggs are one of my favourite finger foods for a party – they are kind of retro and kitch, but also delicious and travel well if you slice upon arrival and can keep them relatively cool. They can also be prepared in advance.

This was my first attempt at making vegetarian scotch eggs. When I ate meat it was easier, buy sausages and squoosh out the filling then wrap this around boiled eggs and fry. The vegetarian option however involved a little more prep, but the results were most definitely worth it – these were good and just about healthy enough to consider as an occasional week night dinner with a salad on the side.

Some of the vego recipes online involved buying vegetarian sausages but that seemed both a bit expensive and overly processed. I was inspired by this recipe, which I tweaked a little to make it simpler and to match it to my palate and what was in the cupboards.

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Ingredients 

8 eggs – 6 medium hard boiled, about 5 minutes or so, then peeled, 2 beaten in a bowl*
1/2 a red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 grated carrot, as rough or fine as you want
2 tins chickpeas
2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
3 teaspoons of chilli flakes
1 teaspook cayenne pepper
100 grams flour
100 grams panko (preferred) or breadcrumbs or quinoa flakes
Enough oil to medium shallow fry

Method 

1. Fry onion, garlic and garlic in olive oil until soft
2. Add chilli flakes and paprika and fry for another minute before removing from heat
3. Drain chickpeas and add both tins to the onion mix and plenty of salt and pepper
4. Get a stick mixer (or appliance of your choice) and blitz the mixture so that it’s still a bit chunky but all sticking together – then let the mix cool
5. Arrange 3 bowls in order – flour, then beaten egg, then panko with cayenne and salt and pepper
6. Get the chickpea mix and divide it into 6 balls
7. Place one ball onto a small piece of clingfilm then put another on top, flatten it out gently with your fingers – you want it big enough to just wrap around an egg
8. Coat one egg in flour, then remove the top piece of clingfilm carefully and wrap the mix around the ball. Put it to the side and repeat 7-8 with the remaining 5 eggs and mixture
9. Each chickpea wrapped egg should now be dipped in the beaten egg, then in the panko so that it is well coated. You can double dip them if you have time. Then pop in fridge for 10 minutes. 
10. Heat the vegetable oil in the pan you intend to fry in, make sure there’s enough oil that it will come at least halfway up each scotch egg. I use a little pot that has room for 2 scotch eggs at a time. Make sure the oil is hot enough before putting them in, should immediately sizzle. Once nicely golden remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.

I like my scotch eggs cold, so would then pop them into tupperware and slice before eating. If you’re taking them to a picnic or something pack them uncut and they will travel better. Normally you would cut them in half but as they are quite big I also served some cut into quarters, if you make them with quail eggs then just cut them in half.

* If making with quail eggs I’d suggest a pack of 10 or a dozen, and two regular chook eggs for coating them.


I love food shopping – particularly for specialty things, spices and herbs, pickled vegetables, sauces, fake meats and more. It’s frivolous because really “do I *need* a tube of Harissa?” but practical because hey, it’s food and I will eat it.

Gewurzhaus in Melbourne is lots of fun for this, it’s a spice shop, but so much more.

Wonders include:
Hot chocolate mixes
Gingerbread & mulled wine spices
Curry spices & blends
Every kind of salt ever
Marinade blends
Flavoured sugars
Loose leaf teas
Gorgeous tableware & spice accessories
Bacon candy
Stone ground Mexican vegan chocolate

Black lava salt. Amazing.

20130625-093847.jpgBacon candies sound gross but gumballs is a new low. Great stocking fillers though..

20130625-093907.jpg Ground chocolate – we tried 3 just to be sure. Delicious, though the graininess took some getting used to.

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We bought “Bratkartoffel” spice – package said to fry it up with butter, potatoes and onions. We did, and it was amazing.
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Gewurzhaus
342 Lygon Street
Carlton VIC 3053
tel:+61 3 9023 1028

http://www.gewurzhaus.com.au/



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