With Conor away on a lads shopping trip, armed with a list consisting of lamps, bulbs and an extension cord, I’ve been left to my own devices today. He plied me with junk food for lunch before leaving, with the promise of more junk food when he returns, because sometimes neither of us can be bothered to cook. I’ve only just recently wrapped my head around being responsible for what goes in both our bellies, let alone just mine, and 9 times out of 10 the meals aren’t half bad. My Sunday nights are now spent sitting with a notebook, armed with a ballpoint pen, to make shopping lists and a plan.
I have no idea how my Mother manages to feed a whole family, although last week she knocked my socks off by single handedly hosting a party and feeding 30 people. Super Mum.
When I recently tried to copy her efforts by hosting dinner for my family of 20 (!!!!), I spent most of the night by the sink, all too aware of the fact we didn’t have nearly enough cutlery or crockery for everyone to eat together. The waste bin overflowed onto the floor, my toddler neice thew up on our new rug, and my Dad was working. In his absence, my Dad sent a care package, mostly consisting of fruits (the apples still sit in my fridge and I hope Conor comes home with an apple corer today.) When everyone had left, I scanned the open plan living/kitchen room, mentally identified about 11 different types of mess, and burst into tears, babbling incoherently and crying “my Dad couldn’t come, I want my Dad!!!”. I went to bed early, woke up to the same mess, and left for work in a bad mood. With a mountain of tidying to do, I clocked off early to hurry home, only to find Conor had not only cleaned the entire flat, but laid out a pre-dinner picnic on the table. Super husband.
In a moment I’ll stop catching up on shows Conor doesn’t like to watch, and do some tidying of the flat myself. We’ve both been home for a week and whilst some may think the flat looks messy, I prefer the term “lived in”. But not before I share this recipe for bakewell tart!
After spending years baking for a family of eight, I’ve still yet to adjust to baking for two. I intended to make just 1 large tart, but quickly realised I still haven’t completely moved out of my parent’s, and my loose-bottom tart tin lies somewhere in my old bedroom. So instead I made 6 individual tarts, but feel free to pour the batter into a single 20cm tart tin if you prefer.
- For the pastry:
- 200g plain flour
- 1½ tbsp icing sugar
- 130g unsalted butter
- 1 egg yolk
- For the filling:
- 185g unsalred butter
- 155g caster sugar
- 3 eggs
- 175g ground almonds
- 1 tsp almond essence or extract
- 180g jam (strawberry or raspberry)
- Handful of flaked almonds
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4
- Seive flour and icing sugar into a bowl. Rub in butter until you get a breadcrumb consistency.
- Add egg yolk, followed by 1-2 tsp of water and work the mixture into a dough.
- Lightly dust the surface with flour, and roll out the dough. Press the dough into six 8cm loose-bottom tart tins, or one 20cm tart tin. Bake the pastry blind (10 minutes if making 6 small, 15 minutes if making 1 large). Then remove the baking paper and baking beads, and bake un-blind (5 minutes for 6 small, or 10 minutes for 1 large). Once baked, allow to cool.
- To make the filling, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, on at a time, and whisk well after each addition. Fold in the ground almonds and almond essence.
- Spoon jam onto the pastry case(s), following by spreading the almond filling on top. Finish by sprinkling flaked almonds on top.
- Place tart(s) in the oven to bake (25 - 30 minutes for small tarts, 35 - 40 minutes for 1 large tart). Once baked, allow to cool before serving.