Decadent Chocolate Tart.

One could be forgiven in thinking that Folly Towers has been a little quiet in the kitchen of late, but you would be wrong! I have been playing with all things Chicken, but have not finished as yet so will report my findings in the very near future.

Meanwhile, I had decided to make a tart. I started put by making my oat meal pastry , but then decided I would make it chocolate oatmeal pastry. But the next question was, What kind of tart, well, it became obvious , with chocolate pastry it had to be chocolate. And who doesn’t like chocolate , eldest grandson for one. When they lived in Mexico City, he tried oh so hard to like chocolate cake, he was at an age, when little kids went to lots of birthday parties. In Mexico City they were completely over the top, with the crowning glory being an extravagant Cake, and Chocolate of course. So he tried very hard to like chocolate, so that he wouldn’t miss out on cake, and he does have a sweet tooth, especially super nice doughnuts, but all to no avail.

However, my tart of choice yesterday, had to be chocolate. Actually it became chocolate and chilli tart. Other flavours that go really well with chocolate are, Orange, Mint, Lavender, peanut butter and salted caramel.

  • 140 grams coarse toasted oats
  • 140 grams plain flour
  • 60 grams fine caster sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 150 grams cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup dark cocoa

Heat oven to 170 C.

Using a food processor, place the oats, flour, salt, sugar, butter and cocoa into the bowl, switch on and give it a quick wiz and then with the motor running pour in the egg and mixture will go Bonk Bonk and form into a rough ball. Turn onto a cocoa surface and knead for a couple of minutes to form a smooth ball. Roll out carefully into a round about 2” larger than your dish. ( I used a 23 cm non stick tart tin with a loose base). Carefully hang the pastry over the rolling pin and drap it over the dish and mould into the sides using your knuckles. Line the tin with greaseproof paper and fill the time with beans or rice to bake blind for only about 10 minutes. Remove the beans and paper and bake for another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and trim the pastry that might be overhanging the tin. Reduce the oven temperature to 150C.

For the filling

  • 600 mls double cream
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes or 1/2 tsp of chipotle paste ( or more if a stronger chilli taste is wanted.
  • 400 grams of 70% dark chocolate
  • 3 beaten eggs
  • To serve some lime or lemon zest, vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche

To make the filling heat a small amount of the cream and add the chilli and leave it to infuse for 15 minutes or so. pour the cream into either a saucepan or microwave bowl add the chocolate broken into bits along with the chilli infused cream. Bring to the boil, stir until the chocolate is well incorporated, cool slightly and add the beaten eggs, whisking all the while. Pour into the pastry case, pop bake into the cooler oven and bake for another 20-30 minutes until just set ( gently press the top with your fingers). Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Sprinkle the top with zest of lime, or according to you filling, bits of lavender, zest of an orange, chopped peanuts etc.

Serve at room temperature and in small slices. Himself served, huge chunks ! Beware! Extremely Rich!

Mackerel or Shrimp with charred corn and a spicy tomato salsa.

I have often written that Himself really likes mackerel, whereas I am not so keen. Coming from the south coast in the UK, I surprisingly did not eat much fish to loving all ( almost) things fish but not mackerel ( not so keen on Shark either). My first encounter with mackerel was in Berlin, many many years ago, but best forgotten, it was certainly not memorable, except I didn’t like it !

Therefore, I buy mackerel for Himself and Shrimp for me, these I love. But what I needed was a recipe of sorts that will be good for both of us. This was planned for a Saturday night, however having three little people to stay, soon put paid to that idea. Likewise for the Sunday night. Having been on a picnic, with said little ones (2 1/2, 5 & 7) to the Wonderful Kew Gardens , Himself queuing for 25 minutes to get coffees and ice creams ( wrong they don’t serve Ice Cream but Hot Chocolate brownies with ice cream ). Then a round trip of about 60 miles to deposit little ones back to their appropriate parents, it was then just too late, so Sunday dinner was a “ make do” …… Smushed avocado with poached eggs! Actually not bad at all.

Fast forward to fish or shrimp with charred corn and spicy tomato salsa. 2-3 fillets per person, 6-8 large shrimp per person

  • 2-3 mackerel fillets and / or 6-8 Shrimp
  • A spring onion ( scallion) cut into thin rounds
  • Olive oil and sea salt
  • A cob of corn per person with kernels removed or 1/2 tin corn, patted dry, or a handful of frozen corn defrosted.
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 2 finely chopped red chillies
  • 2 teaspoons Nduja or Rose Harissa for a less spicy salsa
  • 1-2 crushed/ chopped cloves of garlic. A squeeze from a tube, will also work
  • 2 tablespoons of good olive oil
  • Juice of a lime
  • 1 lime cut into wedges to serve
  • Salt to taste


  • Prick the tomatoes, put into a bowl or jug and pour over some boiling water. Leave for a few minutes, and with a sharp knife, peel off the skin. Chop finely.
  • Heat the 2 tablespoons of oil and add the tomatoes, garlic, Nduja/Harissa, lime juice and a pinch of salt, sauté gently until the ingredients are well married.
  • Heat a griddle pan or cast iron pan until hot, lightly grease and add the corn, stir occasionally until the corn is charred. Remove from the pan and put in the tomato mixture.
  • Reheat the griddle pan, lightly grease and when Hot , place the mackerel on the pan, skin side down. Keep an eye on the fish, and the flesh will change colour when it is cooked through and only maybe 5 minutes max. Cook the shrimp in the same way.
  • Spoon the salsa onto the plates, garnish with the spring onions and top with the fish. Serve with some bread to mop the salsa or with some new potatoes.