- For The Pastry:
- 100g butter, cut into cubes
- 225g plain flour
- 25g icing sugar, sieved
- 1 egg, beaten
- For The Filling:
- 175g soft butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 175g ground almonds
- 40g plain flour
- 1tsp almond extract
- 6–8 ripe Williams pears, peeled, cored and halved
- For Decoration:
- apricot jam, melted and sieved, for glaze
- 25g flaked almonds, toasted
- If making the pastry by hand, rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the beaten egg and bring together to form a dough. If making in a processor, combine the butter, flour and icing sugar in the bowl then process until the mixture resembles ground almonds. Pour in the beaten egg and pulse the blade until the dough starts to form a ball around the central stem. Form the pastry into a smooth flat cake, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 minutes or until manageable.
- Make the filling in the unwashed processor. Cream the butter and sugar together, then gradually add the beaten eggs (do not worry if it looks curdled at this stage). Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. Add the ground almonds, flour and almond extract. Process for a few seconds until well incorporated. Leave this mixture in the fridge until required.
- Roll out the chilled pastry on a lightly floured work surface and line a flan tin 28cm in diameter, about 2.5cm deep. If possible, chill for a further 30 minutes.
- Spoon the frangipane mixture into the pastry case and level the top using a small palette knife. Arrange the pear halves, cut side down, attractively on the filling. Be sure to leave enough room between them to allow the frangipane mixture to rise.
- Preheat the oven to 190C, gas 5 and put a heavy flat baking tray into the oven to preheat. Place the tart on the tray and bake for about 45–50 minutes until the almond filling and pastry are golden brown.
- OR to bake in an Aga, lift the tin on to a baking sheet and bake on the floor of the roasting oven until pale golden, about 15-20 minutes. Then transfer to the centre of the Baking Oven until set and golden brown, another 15–20 minutes. In a two-oven Aga, lift the tin onto a baking sheet and bake on the floor of the roasting oven for 15–20 minutes until pale golden. After this time, put the cold plain shelf on the second set of runners and continue to bake for a further 15–20 minutes until the almond filling is set and golden brown. If the pastry is becoming too dark, place a ring of foil around the edge.
- Cool slightly, brush with hot apricot glaze and sprinkle with toasted flaked almonds. Serve warm with cream or crème fraiche.
A quick cupboard rummage one night turned up a packet of red split lentils, tinned tomatoes, sweet smoked paprika and chilli. Ta-da, a new soup was born! Quick and easy to prepare, this became one of our favourite new comfort foods. And thanks to inexpensive ingredients it’s not only kind on your body, but on your pocket too.
Store cupboard essentials should always include tinned tomatoes (great in curries, stews and soups) and red split lentils. Keep a variety of dried herbs and spices to hand, and, if you’re anything like us, there’s always garlic, onions and lemons knocking around – so no need to shop on the way home to get this meal onto the table.
- 1 tbsp of ghee or coconut oil
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
- 750g split red lentils
- 1 can of tomatoes (or 1 tbsp of tomato puree + 400ml extra broth)
- 1 tbsp of fresh thyme leaves or 2 tsp of dried thyme or oregano
- 1 tbsp of ground sweet smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp of ground cumin
- 2-2½ litres of home-made bone broth or vegetable stock*
- 2 large pinches of sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Juice of1 lemon
- Chilli flakes
1. In a large saucepan, gently fry the onions in ghee/coconut oil for 5 minutes until softened, adding a little more ghee/coconut oil if you need to.
2. Add the garlic, thyme, cumin and paprika (plus chilli if using) and continue to fry for a further 30 seconds, being careful not to let the spices burn.
3. Rinse the lentils and add to the pan with the tomatoes/puree and bone broth.
4. Cover and bring to a medium simmer for 20 minutes or until the lentils are tender.
5. Add 2 large pinches of sea salt and black pepper to taste.
6. Turn off the heat, check for seasoning and stir in the lemon juice to serve.
- FOR THE FILLING:
- 2 rashers of quality smoked streaky bacon , roughly chopped
- olive oil
- ½ a whole nutmeg , for grating
- 1 heaped teaspoon ground allspice
- 4 fresh bay leaves
- 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 onions , peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 tablespoon marmalade
- 2 tablespoons plain flour
- 4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 750 ml organic beef stock
- 2 tablespoons tomato purée
- 500 g chuck steak , cut into 2.5cm dice
- a little butter , for greasing
- 250 g kidneys, pork or lamb , halved, trimmed and cut into 1cm dice
- 2 carrots
- 6 button mushrooms , wiped clean and quartered
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 50 g Cheddar or Stilton cheese
- FOR THE PASTRY:
- 350 g self-raising flour
- 75 g unsalted butter
- 100 g Atora shredded suet
- sea salt
- A steamed meat pudding is so traditional, so comforting and so completely British I just love everything about it. I’m revisiting the classic savoury combo of steak and kidney for this one.
- Put a large casserole-type pan on a high heat and add the bacon and a lug of olive oil. When lightly golden, add the nutmeg, allspice, bay, rosemary sprigs and chopped onions, turn the heat to medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often. As the onions soften, add the marmalade, plain flour and Worcestershire sauce. Fry and stir until it is quite dark, then add your stock, tomato purée and diced steak. Simmer for 1 hour with the lid on.
- Put the self-raising flour, butter, suet and a couple of pinches of salt into a bowl and use your fingers to rub the fat into the flour. Once the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, add roughly 100ml of cold water to bring it together until you have a soft dough. Cover with clingfilm and place in the fridge. When the stew has had an hour, pour it into a large colander over another large pan, so the gravy drips into the pan below. Discard the herb sprigs. Tear off a large sheet of greaseproof paper and rub both sides with butter, then push and flatten it inside a 1.5 litre pudding bowl.
- Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out 80% of your dough so it’s about 0.5cm thick. Loosely drape it over the rolling pin, then unroll it over the pudding basin. Push and pat it in, letting a couple of centimetres hang over the edge. Gently mix the diced kidneys, carrots and mushrooms into the stew that’s in the colander, season with salt and pepper, crumble in the cheese, then pour that dense stew into your pudding basin – don’t worry if it doesn’t quite fill it. Put the pan of gravy aside. Roll out the last bit of dough, put it on top of the filling, fold over the overhanging pastry to seal and pack it down, then put a sheet of buttered greaseproof face down on top, followed by a piece of tin foil. Get 2 metres of string, wrap it round the rim of the bowl twice, tie it in a double knot twice, then attach the other end to the opposite side with a double knot to make a handle – this will make pulling the bowl out at the end much easier. Go to www.jamieoliver.com/how-to for a quick tutorial on this if you like. Put the pudding into a large pan that the pudding basin will fit inside with the lid on, then half fill it with water. Put the lid on, boil, then simmer with the lid on for 3 hours. Set a timer, and top up with water every now and then.
- When ready, carefully pull out the basin, cut away and discard the string, greaseproof paper and foil, and place a nice serving platter on top. Carefully and confidently turn over and leave upturned while you warm up the reserved gravy and get any veggies ready. When you’re ready to serve, carefully ease the basin off, peel away the paper and pour over a little of the hot gravy. Take to the table with your seasonal veg.
To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour, then mix in the sugar and a pinch of salt.
Combine the pastry into a ball – don’t add liquid – and knead it briefly.
The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C. Line 18 holes of two 12-hole patty tins, by pressing small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole. Spoon the mincemeat into the pies.
Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal – you don’t need to seal them with milk or egg as they will stick on their own. (The pies may now be frozen for up to 1 month).
Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack.
To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.
- 225g cold butter
- diced 350g plain flour
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 280g mincemeat
- 1 small egg, beaten
- icing sugar , to dust
For the marinade, strip the thyme leaves into a non-metallic dish with the oil and lemon juice. Season the tuna, then add to the dish. Cover and marinate for one hour, turning once.
Put the tomatoes, sweetcorn, coriander, onion, and pepper in a bowl. Squeeze one of the limes into the mixture and season. Leave to stand.
Heat a griddle pan. Cook the tuna for two to three minutes, turn, and brush with marinade. Griddle for two to three minutes more. The tuna should be rare in the centre.
Put the tuna on to four warmed plates. Serve the salsa and lime wedges on the side.
- 4 skinless tuna steaks, about 250g each
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tomatoes, skinned, deseeded, and chopped
- 200g canned sweetcorn, drained
- Leaves from 1 bunch of coriander, finely chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 red pepper, diced
- 2 limes
For the marinade
- 2–3 sprigs of thyme
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Juice of 1⁄2 lemon