The kitchen is not my favourite room in the house. No room that is home to dishwashing will make anyone smile with glee. There’s always something spilt that needs cleaning, something mouldy that needs quarantining and the knives and fire thrown in don’t take from the stress.
But I love food. I love rich flavours that take my attention away from whoever’s talking. I love the way it plays with my senses from colour to smell to touch. And my reactions sometimes get a little carried away.
I recently had to leave a table of friends to eat my chocolate pie alone.
Apparently I’m a moaner. I don’t notice, until my ‘mmmmm’s of pleasure become slightly too… enthusiastic. I recently had to leave a table of friends to eat my chocolate pie alone. I wanted to be loud. And their looks of horror were off putting to say the least.
So when it comes to the kitchen? Quick and simple so I can spend more time tasting in the bedroom.
- . 175g Plain Flour
- . 2tbsp Icing Sugar (vary according to taste)
- . 100g Butter (cubed/cut into slivers)
- . 1 Egg
- . Splash of milk
- . 1tsp mixed sweet spice
- . Two punnets of berries or Jam
- Before you begin rinse hands under a cold tap and dry (cold hands make for better pastry – you don’t want the butter to melt).
- Sieve the flour into a bowl, add sugar, throw the butter on top and crumble into the flour/sugar mix (or put in food processor). Add spice or lemon zest. Add egg and a little milk – work in and form into a ball (don’t over knead – it should be crumbly not elastic and chewy).
- Flour lightly then wrap mixture in Clingfilm and place in fridge for thirty minutes. While waiting preheat oven to 180°c, grease or line tray and slice fruit (if desired).
- Roll pastry and cut into small circles (about 10cm in diameter). Use thumb to flatten most of the centre and build up a crust (alternatively use tart tins). You may want to use a fish slice to move to baking tray. Weigh down the middle with dry beans to stop rising. Cook for ten minutes.
- Remove beans and return to oven for five minutes.
- Spread 2tbsp of jam into each pastry case and return to oven for fifteen minutes (they should be golden and fairly firm on removal).
- Allow to cool then arrange fresh fruit on top.
These look impressive, but are truly easy to make and easy to vary. In the winter replace the fruit and jam with mincemeat. Play around with the fruit used in the topping – replace berries with sliced plums or apple compote (stew cooking apples with sugar in water until soft). Try cooking the berries glazed with jam. Try grating on chocolate (or pouring it on melted), adding a mint leaf to garnish, serving with crème frêche. Or skip adding the jam, and at the end fill the pastry case with custard, allow to cool and add fruit.
Then make some noise! Mmmmmm!
Image courtesy of Chele