Week Eleven! Thursday and Friday.

What is a salad? For me, it should be either a side salad along with a main course, or it could be a small salad as a starter.

We were in Texas not so long again and our friend ordered a Cob Salad. I hadn’t a clue as to what he had ordered. IT came as a lump of lettuce ( Bigger than Baby Gem but along those lines) smothered in blue cheese dressing. Now I really like salads and I like blue cheese dressing but I have to admit that I thought this a bit weird.

Now the trend has spread across the Atlantic ( as these things seem to do), and I saw in the Middle classes favourite shop, magazine exactly that ( well almost) complete with a recipe and pictures! In fact it was a full page spread , with a picture of Baby Gem lettuces with a bit of dressing poured over them! Seriously, do we need a recipe for that? Apparently so. I’m not sure it would get top marks on Master Chef!

I have a new no flour cake recipe, it is to my mind, only OK but worth a try. Maybe better served with vanilla Ice Cream.

It is called Tarta de Santiago . Originating from Galicia in North-Western Spain during the time of medieval pilgrimage, this tart is traditionally decorated with the St James Cross.

You will need:-

  1. Oven to 160( fan), 22cm springform tin
  2. 300 grams, 10 oz, 1 1/2Cups caster sugar
  3. 6 medium eggs
  4. 300grams, 10 oz, 2 1/2 cups ground almonds. ( grams and oz do not compare with US cups, hence if you look the quantities for sugar and almonds are different in cup measurements. Do not mix and match, keep to grams, ounces or cups)
  5. Zest from 3 large lemons
  6. Icing sugar for dusting
  7. Butter or spray grease for the pan ( I use spray the one I have at home is available from Amazon, but in the UK, Lakeland now stocks something similar)

Grease the pan before you start. Whisk together the eggs and sugar until pale and thick. I have an attachment on my food processor but whisking either by hand ( a longer process) or by hand held electric whisk, also work. Carefully fold in the almonds and the lemon zest and pour the mixture into the Tin and bake in the middle shelf for +/- 50 minutes. A skewer when inserted into the middle should come out clean. Leave in the pan to cool.

This cake is fairly delicate so care should be taken when taking it out of the tin.

Dust with icing sugar.

Week Eleven Day Two and Three ( Monday and Tuesday)

June the First, my birthday and as such I actually did not cook, did not cook on Sunday nor Monday. Sunday we went on a wonderful picnic, my eldest grandchildren baked me the most magnificent muffins and made me birthday cards, whilst the youngest made me a photo album( as of course I haven’t seen them for over three months and newborns change rapidly).

I have an abundance of the most beautiful flowers, all my favourites, Peonies, they are available for such a short period of time, I chose them for my mother’s funeral and eldest had them at her wedding. Roses, who can not love roses? And Sweet William , memories of my childhood garden.

On my Birthday, Dentist daughter, the willowy brunette, came for dinner, we sat outside on the terrace and for the first time since the Lockdown began, we ordered and had delivered dinner from outside.

We ordered from a Michelin Starred Indian Restaurant not far from our home. We have walked past it on numerous occasions and as they are one of the finer restaurants offering a delivery service we thought, Why Not ?

We ordered 2x the seafood feast for two, it arrived right on time although the driver from Deliveroo, was confused by the number of entrances to our Mansion Block, but he eventually managed to find the right front door.

Himself set the table , chilled the champagne whilst we waited for the willowy brunette to arrive. Arrive she did, bearing gifts, Bubbles, Flowers and a most magnificent cake! As she said to a shopkeeper, when he commented on her grocery purchases ” Everyone seems to be baking” She replied ,” Well they must be, if even I am so doing “!

The cake was as light as a feather and contained pineapple and star anise. Not be thwarted by the lack of Star anise Powder in the shops, she ordered online, only to be thwarted again, as it cam in star anise form and not powder, so she bashed ( rolling pin) and ground ( pepper mill came in handy). As a dentist she has learnt to be innovative and also precise, although my memories of her wanting to bake as a child, cup cakes always a vivid blue! I must ask her for the recipe! She even bought a special pan to bake it ! I am impressed.

Dinner was really nice even though I am not too sure what we ate, a yellow sauce was delicious, full of shrimp and as there is plenty of sauce left over, I will recycle it this evening using salmon.

Week eleven Tuesday and Wednesday.

Lockdown eases.

Lockdown eases, so after Ten Weeks of a daily blog I am moving to 3/4 times a week, we shall see how it goes, hopefully we hope it goes well, we shall see. Meanwhile, I’m not changing anything. The lovely Betty can stay at home for the time being, government guidelines too silly for words, Cleaner can come into my house but daughter can pass through but not linger. BUT I have to ( so that cleaner can come) have to open all doors, windows, cupboards before she arrives and then wipe down all surfaces after she has gone. Does that make sense? Not really, and so we will continue as we were, well almost.

Tuesday saw me making a tart. Basically a Rhubarb and Custard tart, Himself loves Rhubarb and loves Custard, ( homemade of course). Growing up and I believe I have said this before I was unaware that custard could be made any other way than by using Birds Custard Powder. My mum cooked well, she baked well, nothing out of the ordinary, but at least we were not the household who could say ” Cold Meat on Monday, Shepherds Pie on Tuesday etc etc” her repertoire was not enormous but she would try to ring the changes. Sunday’s were special as she would spend the whole day baking and we always had a roast lunch.

As it happened I had Rhubarb that needed using and I also had a pack of puff pastry ( can’t remember why I bought that) that needed using.

I lined a quiche dish with already rolled out puff pastry and baked blind, for about 20 mins.

For the filling

  1. 200 mls milk
  2. 300 mls double cream
  3. 3 eggs beaten
  4. 100 grams caster sugar
  5. 2 tbsp cornflour
  • Now the next step can be done on the stove top with constant stirring or as I do ( as I’m basically lazy) in the microwave.
    • Mix the corn flour with a little of the milk to make a smooth paste
      Heat the rest of the milk, sugar and cream in the microwave until it is boiling, keep an eye on it otherwise it could boil over.
      Pour over the beaten eggs and whisk together,
      Return to the microwave and heat in one minute bursts and stir/ beat in between each heat, add the cornflour mix. Do this until the mixture is thick, if by any chance it does go a bit lumpy then just whisk hard.
  • Pour the custard into the pastry case. Cut the washed Rhubarb into equal lengths and arrange on top of the Custard and bake for about 20 minutes at 180 until the Rhubarb is soft but still maintains its shape.
  • Mix 2 tabs of caster sugar with some boiling water to make a syrup, gently spoon over the top of the Rhubarb.
  • Serve Luke warm with cream or ice cream, or by itself. If you have any left over, cut into portions and freeze them.
  • Rhubarb is native to Siberia cold, rain and nitrogen rich soil all found in Yorkshire. Plants are initially grown outside,mathematics replanted in forcing sheds. The stems must be removed from the root and the work is still done by hand, which is a highly labour-intensive process., and is picked/ gathered by candlelight , so that the stems do not turn green, which they would do if exposed to daylight. Yorkshire prides itself on their Rhubarb and the best has beautiful young pink stems.