No pics this time because someone has moved my camera charger and I have lost my phone, aah! Still, it made me realise just how much I was staring at a very small screen and missing what was really going on around me - a sign perhaps that I could do more staring out of the window, or knitting, or reading all those books.....
I made some lovely little Bakewell tarts for the Jubilee. They were from The Daily Mail, sorry, I have mislaid the name of the cook, and are called Strawberry Frangipane Tarts. A little effort but everyone thought they were lovely.
Then I cooked a curry for friends last night and used Jamie's curries from his 'Great Britain' book. I have been searching for decent curry recipes; I am usually disappointed when they don't live up to Waitrose! But these were great, and well worth tackling the long ingredients lists.
It is my son's birthday 'party' today, with 7 of his 14 year old mates around for water bomb fights, Capture the Flag, and pizzas (in the clay oven!). I have made Chocolate Muffins (a great recipe!).
And finally, my friend Jane has got me on to Montezuma's latest chocolate offerings, including Sea Dog - dark chocolate with lime and sea salt, and Orange Geranium. Divine!
Strawberry Frangipane Tarts (Little Bakewells)
500g shortcrust pastry
30g caster sugar
30g plain flour
1500g ground almonds
50g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
100g cream cheese
60 almond flakes
6 strawberries, quartered
Cut the pastry in half. Roll one half large enough to cut 12 rounds and lay them in a 12-hole tin. Repeat with the other half. Put them in the freezer for 15 minutes (stops them shrinking in the oven). Then bake at 200 degrees C/gas mark 6 for 12-15 minutes. Cool.
Meanwhile, make the:
Coulis: Chop the strawberries and put in a pan with the 30g caster sugar. Simmer over a medium heat for about 5 minutes. Cool.
Frangipane: Beat together the butter, sugar, flour and almonds. Add the eggs to make a paste.
Topping: Beat the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and cream cheese together.
When the tart cases are cool, put a teaspoon of coulis into the base of each. Divide the frangipane between the 24 cases and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Push quarters of strawberries into each one. Turn the oven down to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4 and bake for15-20 minutes until set. Cool.
When cool, blob a teaspoon of icing on each one, a couple of almond flakes and a strawberry quarter.
Veg Vindaloo - Jamie Oliver
1 whole bulb of garlic, peeled
1 heaped tbsp turmeric and garam masala
2 heaped tbsp raisins
1 level tsp each sea salt and ground cumin
1 heaped tsp fennel seeds
2 dried red chillies
1 bunch fresh coriander
1 red onion, roughly chopped
200ml white wine vinegar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce and sunflower oil
Whizz these all together in a blender until smooth.
1kg ripe tomatoes (2-3 tins)
3 red onions
1 x 400g chickpeas
300g frozen peas and sweetcorn
natural yoghurt to serve
1 fresh red chilli, sliced
Roast the onions and aubergines in a little oil in a 200 degrees C/gas mark 6 oven for 25 minutes. Tip half the paste and the tomatoes, chickpeas in a large saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables, as much stock as you like and simmer for another 15 minutes. Finally, add the peas and sweetcorn for the last 5 minutes. Serve with a swirl of yoghurt and some chillies sprinkled over the top.
Chocolate Muffins 12
220g caster sugar
180g self-raising flour
6 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
150g butter, melted
120g chocolate chips
Mix the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Tip the wet into the dry with the chocolate chops, and stir until mixed but still lumpy. IT SHOULDN'T BE SMOOTH!
Divide between 12 muffin cases and bake at 180 degrees C/gas mark 5 for 20 minutes or until looking cooked on top.