Saturday 25 July 2020

Making the most of garden beans and peas

Bean, Pea and Bacon Tart

I’ve been spending some time recently looking through all the cook books I’ve collected over the years. I came across my copy of Castleford Born and Bred : Recipes from Queens Mill from my visit there last year. I’ve already made a few recipes from the book, including Yorkshire Mint Pasties, which the volunteers put together to tempt visitors to try out their special Castleford stoneground flour. 

I’d been wondering what to cook with the sudden glut of broad beans and peas in my garden this week, so I was delighted to see a recipe for Bean, Pea and Bacon Tart which fitted the bill perfectly.

Whole-wheat Shortcrust Pastry

400g/1lb Castleford Whole-wheat flour
110g/4oz butter (cut into small pieces)
110g/4oz lard

Water to mix

Rub the butter into the flour to the consistency of fine breadcrumbs. Mix with water to form a ball. Leave to rest in a cool place for 30 minutes.

What you need

400g/1lb whole-wheat pastry

150g/6oz podded broad beans

150g/6oz podded peas

150g/6oz smoked lardons or bacon

300ml/10 fl oz double cream

100ml/4 fl oz milk

12 basil leaves with extra for decoration

4 large eggs

50g/2oz parmesan

How to cook

Heat the oven to 200C/ Gas 6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until large enough to line a 280mm/10 tart tin or flan dish. Press the pastry snugly into the tin. Line the pastry case with baking paper and dried peas and chill for 30 minutes. Place in the oven and bake blind for 25 minutes. Remove the paper and return to the oven for 5 minutes to dry out the pastry on the base.

During this time, boil the peas and broad beans for 5 minutes until tender, Drain and rinse off any forth. Tip into a bowl with the basil, 3 tbsps double cream and seasoning, Puree in a food processor or blender until smooth,

Dry fry the lardons/bacon until golden.

Beat the remaining cream with eggs, milk, parmesan and seasoning. Smooth the pea and bean puree over the base of the tart case and scatter with the bacon. Carefully pour the egg mixture over this. Turn the oven down to 180C/gas 4 and bake for 35 minutes until set and golden. Cool slightly and trim any overhanging pastry with a sharp knife. Scatter with the extra basil.

Serve with salad for a picnic or summer buffet or have a slice for lunch while it’s still warm. Omit the bacon for a vegetarian option. I think I’ll add a few olives for a Mediterranean summer feel. Perfect  picnic food. Formidable!

Friday 3 July 2020

Dreaming of Cake

Dream Cake

I have to say that baking in #lockdown has been a bit strange.   I’ve heard more people talk about baking than ever before and the quest for easy recipes is a constant theme. 

Grandma’s recipe for Dream Cake has been a firm favourite when I’ve made it for events in the past so I’ve been dreaming about baking it in #lockdown. Grandma had some bizarre names for cakes and the reason for the name of this one is lost in the mists of time – but it’s a dream if you like cherries and walnuts.

Dream Cake

5oz/150g butter

5oz/150g sugar

Vanilla extract

3 eggs

8oz/225g self-raising flour

1 level tsp baking powder

3oz/75g cherries

3oz/75g walnuts

Pre heat the oven to 350F, Mark 4, 180 C. Line a square or round cake tin approximately 21-22cms with baking paper. Cream the butter and sugar. Drop in the eggs and beat thoroughly. Add a few drops of vanilla extract. Add the flour, adding the baking powder last of all. Fold in the walnuts and cherries, which have been rolled in flour, saving a few for the top of the cake. Bake in a moderate oven for about 1 hour. 

Meryl says : Don’t forget to wash and dry the cherries before you add them to the mixture so they don’t fall to the bottom of the cake.

Make a dream come true with Dream Cake!