Saturday, 14 May 2011

lovely lemon and almond frangipane tart.

shopping list
340g ready to roll sweet pastry
100 caster sugar
100g unsalted butter
zest of two lemons
two eggs
♥ 30g plain flour
90g ground almonds
eight tbsp lemon curd
30g flaked almonds
icing sugar for dusting
double or clotted cream





preheat the oven to 180 degrees, gas mark six.this is best served in a 9" tart tin so grab one of those, or something similar and line it with a little butter. a good tip for this is to use the butter wrapper to spread it around the tin evenly.

roll out the sweet pastry block with a little flour to prevent it from sticking to your side board. be gentle and try to do it in your first attempt as the pastry can be quite crumbly and get a little tired. if bits do break up, don't worry, just use a patchwork effect with the leftover pastry and use your thumb
to blend it in to fill the gaps, as in my picture.
ignore the lemons, they were there to make it look pretty.


to make the frangipane, beat the butter, sugar and
zest until creamy and airy. use the smallest sized side of the grater for a subtle lemon taste, with perhaps a few larger shavings for a really fresh flavour. now the next part is a little bit of a juggling act. and perhaps time to bring in your glamorous assistant/mum/unsuspecting (but also quite hungry) housemate.
for best results, add the eggs one by one, beating as you go, with a spoonful of the ground almonds each time. lastly mix in the remaining ground almonds and flour. rather fiddly yes, but worth it for a really light and tasty, sponge-like filling.


now back to the tart base. the lemon curd acts in the
same way as a bakewell
tart would have strawberry or
raspberry jam layer. spread lemon curd over the tart base
and spoon the frangipane on top. use the back of the spoon to spread evenly.


in fact, i haven't tried it yet but i'm sure if you could adapt this recipe with different types of jam. but don't hold me to that.

serve with whichever cream takes your fancy, slice (or don't slice) and enjoy!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

posh pub grub: the wick at both ends review.


With its midnight black exterior, vintage gold gates and elaborately painted sign, The Wick at both Ends looks like it could well be Harry Potter’s local.

Step inside to be greeted by an array of mismatched stools, quirky lamp shades and comfortable, well-loved armchairs. The friendly staff stand behind the bar stacked with a hodge-podge of curiously shaped bottles filled with alcoholic potions and poisons. I am told by head chef Nick Booth that from traditional beers to their signature sandcastle bucket cocktails, there will always be something to compliment whatever I choose on the menu.

As I gaze along the endless list of dishes from pan fried pork fillet with wholegrain mustard mash to baked polenta with stir fried broccoli, fennel and spring onion, the well presented menu tells me which dishes are “perfect to share,” what I can “add” and that “vegan options” can be ordered at the bar. I am already convinced that with these interesting ingredients and intricate combinations this is going to be so much more than a pub lunch.

“I would say that our food is classically English with a modern twist, with elements of Mediterranean food.” Nick, former senior sous-chef at Sheffield’s awarding winning tapas bar Platillos explained. Chef at The Wick’s sister pub, The Harley, who previously worked at The Wig and Pen, he tells me his influences include Marco Pierre White and Jason Atherton.


Monkfish wrapped in Serrano ham on a bed of samphire, olives and new potatoes
I choose the monkfish dusted with saffron wrapped in Serrano ham and butter fried. It is served with new potatoes, in a herb and caper butter with spring onion, rocket, samphire and kalamata olives. The lemony almost dressing-like butter with a distintictive yet subtle taste of caper berries has melted through the fresh tasting samphire. Delicately placed parcels of Serrano wrapped monkfish are at first crispy to bite and then soft inside. It is no coincidence that the seaweed family vegetable samphire, lemon and capers are the perfect compliment to a fish based dish.

The previous chatter with my friend turns into that “I’m-enjoying-my-meal-silence” as I glance over at her tucking into a platter of salt and pepper squid, Serrano ham, manchego cheese, hummus, tzatziki and rustic bread. Charming taster portions of this posh dipping platter
serve as a great light lunch or, I’m told, a shared starter.

With locally sourced ingredients from Sheffield’s All Seasons Fruit and Veg, Ray Woodward’s Yorkshire beef and Derbyshire’s Herb Table, there is no doubt these dishes have been made with loving care.

“I have recently designed this new menu to add more seasonal salads and Spring inspired dishes. My particular favourite dishes are the fish and the squid and grapefruit salad. But then we also have the hearty pies and enchiladas too.” continues Nick.

I finish with a duo of white and dark chocolate mousses served with shortbread. And instantly decide that I’ll be going back for seconds.

Like The Wick on Facebook

The Wick at Both Ends, West Street, Sheffield.


Square Meal

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

easy peasy red pepper and goats cheese tart.


shopping list
250g savoury ready to roll shortcrust pastry

a handful of cherry tomatoes
one red pepper
one small red onion
200g mini goats cheese
a clove of chopped garlic
a couple of squirts of tomato purée

preheat the oven to 200 degrees.

begin by rolling out the pastry, sprinkling a little flour over your worktop and prevent sticking. do not feel guilt in buying pastry from a shop. i mean, by all means make it from scratch. but even delia herself has proved making basic pastry is seen as no feat these days when you can get such good ready made products. and besides, this recipe is supposed to be easy peasy

lay the pastry into your chosen dish, press into the
edges
(click on the picture for a closer look) and if
there are gaps
just use excess pastry to patch it up.
use a sharp knife
to trim the edges.

cut up your onion, tomato, de-seeded pepper and garlic and toss into a pan with a little oil or butter. keep a couple of slices of pepper for a topping. squirt in your purée to thicken it up and if the mixture begins to stick don't be afraid to add a little more. keep it on quite a low heat and simmer until the red pepper in particular has softened.

spoon the pepper and tomato filling into your pastry
and layer slices of goats cheese and the extra red pepper on top.

put in the oven to bake for around twenty five minutes or until the pastry is hardened and golden and the cheese looks melted and delicious.

this particular dish made two servings. one which i had fresh and warm, the other i had cold with salad.
the tart will also be perfectly fine to reheat or
keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

other ideas for fillings or toppings could include mushrooms, bacon, ham, spinach, other colours of pepper, different cheeses. the possibilities are endless.

but most importantly, easy peasy.