Tuesday's Letters Eat 33S: Strawberry Cake, Jammy

The result of the Sweet or Savoury: What Shall I cook? poll is in and the winner is Sweet!! 10 votes to 5.

And so I am cooking a strawberry cake, inspired by the Strawberry Summer Cake.

The recipe calls for two punnets of strawberries, but you could get away with one. You also need a deep and/or large tin. I used a 22cm cake tin, but I put a tray underneath it in the oven and it almost, almost overflowed. I think a springform tin would be a sensible choice!!

My cake rose over the strawberries on the top of the cake, but their delicious jammy goodness was still contained within.

 

Jammy Strawberry Cake   serves 8 or 10

  • 90g butter, softened
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 tbspn caster sugar extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 125ml milk
  • 190g plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tspn baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 250-500g strawberries, hulled and halved

Preheat the oven to 180*C and grease and line a round 22cm deep cake tin.

The beginning
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy and then add the vanilla extract and the egg. Whisk briefly till combined and then mix in the milk.

And then
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together and then fold into the creamed mixture. Instead of proper hulling, I cheat and just gently rinse the strawberries and then cut the top off and halve them.

Almost ready
Spread the batter into the lined cake tin and then top with the halved strawberries, covering as much of the cake as possible. Then sprinkle with the extra caster sugar. This is the step which makes the strawberries jammy.

Baking, making, cooking
Bake at 180*C for 10 minutes and then turn the oven down to 170*C and continue to bake. It should take 50-60 minutes in total. The cake is cooked when it is golden brown on top, it has come away from the sides of the tin and when prodded, the skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the pan, on a rack, and then slice and serve. I ate this slice, dusted with icing sugar and some runny cream. I forgot I had the cream and after that, the cake slice was eaten, so there was not time for a picture!! This would not keep well, being jammy, and is best eaten within a day or two. In hot climates it would probably benefit from refrigeration too.

Jammy strawberry cake


Tuesday's Letters Eat 32: 'S' is for Sweet Corn

More corn than you can poke a stick at: sweet corn and polenta. Today I made Stephanie Alexander's Sweet Corn Brunch Fritters. I am not a terribly big fan of polenta, I have used it in cakes and once a lovely Dutch lady made proper polenta, in a tray, that was then deep fried and served with a mild curry. That was delicious!! The polenta has an unusual texture and I think I am just not used to it. It made the fritters very corn-y.

I do think these are at their best when served with some crispy bacon and pure maple syrup. These can be kept warm in the oven on a low heat until the whole batch is cooked and ready to serve. It makes between 16 and 20 fritters so you get a lot of bang for your buck.

 

Stephanie's Sweet Corn Brunch Fritters    makes 16-20

  • 3 corn cobs
  • 275g coarse polenta
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tspn salt
  • 2 cups of buttermilk
  • 40g unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, separated
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • crispy fried bacon
  • real maple syrup

Preheat your pan on the stove over a medium heat. I used my new electric fry-pan!!

Corn
Cut the corn from the cobs, you'll need about 1 1/2 cups, and set aside.

Polenta
Sift the polenta, flour and bicarb soda together and make a well in the centre.

Batter up
Pour the buttermilk, melted butter and the egg yolk into the well. (You are going to whisk the egg-white anon) Stir gently till combined. Add the corn and stir through.

Stiff batter
In a clean glass or metal bowl, whisk the egg-white until stiff peaks form and then gently fold it into the corn batter.

Fritters
Lightly oil the pan and then fry 1/4 cups of the batter until tiny bubbles form on the top. Flip them over until browned on the other side. Keep warm in the oven and then serve with crispy bacon and maple syrup.

Sweet corn fritters bacon and maple


Tuesday's Letters Eat 31: 'R' is for Rice, Sticky Chilli

This is a quick and spicy dish. Jamie Oliver serves it with seared scallops, but I think it would be great with fish, chicken or even some sliced Asian-style beef or pork. I ate it with some salad for my lunch!!

It takes about 20 minutes from start to finish, so it is friendly fast food. I thought I had spring onions but alas, no, so I used finely sliced red onion and I added a small chilli (de-seeded) for a little extra zing. That's the good thing about this recipe, you can add whatever takes your fancy.

 

Jamie Oliver's Sticky Chilli Rice   serves 2 as a snack, or 4 as a side

  • 1 1/2 cups basmati rice
  • 2 1/4 cups of water -  refer to your rice packet for absorption method amounts
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tbspn soy sauce
  • 1 tbspn sesame oil
  • 3 or 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 1/2 a lemon, juiced
  • parsley or coriander, chopped
  • sweet chilli sauce
  • pepper and salt, if needed

 

Rice cooks
Follow the instructions on the packet for the Absorption Method and set your rice cooking. My packet said to bring the rice and water to the boil in a pan and then to cover and simmer on a low heat for 14 minutes. I added a layer of baking paper under the lid, just to make sure it was well sealed.

Set the timer for 5 minutes before the rice is ready. When the timer rings, gently fork the rice to fluff it up.

Fork through
Whisk the spring onions, oil, soy and eggs together, and then pour in the egg mixture along with the lemon juice. Return to the heat and cover. Cook for a further 4 or 5 minutes.

Flavour the rice
Fold through the chopped parsley/ coriander.

Almost ricey ready
To serve, spoon into a dish and season. Garnish with a little extra green and top with some sweet chilli sauce.

Spicy Rice


Rondo The Twist

Have you read any Paul Jennings?  If you haven't he's very good, a kind of older children's Roald Dahl, the slightly scary and weird Roald Dahl!! Or, you can watch the DVDs, Round The Twist, also very good. I quite like Wunderpants, Santa Claws, Spaghetti Pig-Out and Little Squirt. His stories are wicked and slightly rude,sometimes scary but always riveting!! have been to a dinner where he spoke and read excerpts from his books.

Rondo
I bought some Rondo, a 100% highly twisted wool, from Bendigo Woollen Mills. It is Lime Zest, it could be a little zestier for my taste, but it was only $10-50 a ball so I bought four. I am not sure what I will knit as yet. I found three balls of Classic 5ply in Poseidon I think. Maybe I will make Deco??

Third of another sock
I have been knitting the nameless sock, I am almost to the heel. It is hard going in the dark blue Patonyle.

Peri and Gilly have special ritual games that must be played before they put their harnesses on to go for a ride in the Dog Car. The game is played this way: Gilly has a toy and Peri must try and take it from her.

Peekaaaaa
There is much running, hiding, dodging, growling and general mayhem.

BOO
Sometimes I am standing there feeling as useful as a hip pocket on a singlet  while they have a lovely time playing. Still, once we are there, they trot along together as cute as can be.

Trit trot

I used more of the rosemary from Tuesday's recipe to make some roast potatoes. I finely chopped the rosemary, added some grated garlic and a little lemon zest, salt and pepper and oil and then roasted them at 220*C for about 45 minutes. Perfect!!

Rosemary roast potatoes
I have two new books. The first is a biography of Terry Nation, the man who invented the Daleks and wrote Blake's 7 and Survivors, and contributed to many more famous TV shows. I am really enjoying it and I am reading a chapter or two every night to make it last longer!! The other book is Nancy Bush's Vintage socks. Wow, so much information and so many patterns. I will definitely have to read it thoroughly before I decide to knit anything. Thank you MrsDrWho, excellent choices!!

Books
What I did with my psychologist this week:

Really too busy
We looked at next week in my diary and I learned why I am feeling so tired and sometimes find it difficult to cope. I need to lower my expectations of what I can do. I do so many things, well too many, and I have to rationalise somewhere. I have DW dog walking, *blogging, light blue housework, red squares going to the supermarket or shop, green social interactions and yellow something else I can't remember!! Now I am feeling better mentally, I want to do the things I like, but I am more tired than usual. I looked at the week and saw Fridays are usually free and decided I would vacuum then: Wrong!! I should be having a rest them and trying to eliminate other things.

Maybe I can have the heavy non-perishable groceries delivered once a fortnight.

I could have my drugs posted to me from the hospital because there are NO parking places. Ever. It is worth paying $4 to have my drugs posted to me, rather than spend half an hour driving up and down the road looking for a parking place and becoming more and more frustrated and upset.

And maybe even have a box of fruit and vegetables delivered as well. Lots to think about, and I am going to work on a way of using a chart to help me plan my weeks more carefully.

If I have 10 'units' of energy each day for doing tasks or coping with things that happen, then my day might look like this:

  • 2 units: dog walking
  • 2 units: showering, getting dressed 
  • 2 units: making breakfast for everyone and tidying up
  • 4 units: talking to my mum

And there are none left for anything else. I did know this, but now I understand why an hour or so of sewing that requires concentration wears me out.

MrsDrWho has lent me her Wii and so I am relaxing with some yoga and deep breathing!!!

This is my 1000th Typepad post, but not my 1000th over all. I started blogging way back on 8th October 2004, so this is probably my 1100th post. I like to talk, even when it is written down!! I average a post every 2.5 days which is more frequent than I thought. I have found that having my blog, and interacting with other people and other bloggers, has stopped me feeling so isolated after I had to leave work. I spent every day of every week for forty weeks a year with my class, and I still miss it so much, miss the children and working with them, and them being My Class for the whole year.

Life is never what you expect, but there is always a silver lining and in our house it is Golden: The Labradors!!!

And if you've read all the way to the end here, you deserve a medal!!!


Tuesday"s Letters Eat 30: 'R' is Rosemary Potato Pizza

MrsValley gave me some rosemary from her garden a few weeks ago and I have been impatiently waiting for 'R' to arrive. I opened my Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion and there was the perfect recipe: pizza with rosemary and potatoes. I didn't make my pizza dough. A bakery chain makes a lovely fresh pizza base ( 2 for $4) and the lady serving me said it was ready to be rolled out thinly if I so desired. It has no preservatives so the other base is going in the freezer for later on.

You don't need much rosemary at all, but it packs a delicious punch. I used waxy potatoes, and they cooked perfectly. This is so quick and so tasty I want to make it again straight away!!

 

Rosemary and Potato Pizza   makes 2

  • 3 potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
  • 1/3  cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 x 4cm springs of rosemary
  • salt, pepper
  • pizza dough or bases

Preheat the oven and the tray you will be using in the oven at 250*C

Dough
Roll out the pizza dough as thinly as possible.

Potatoes
Coat the potato slices with the oil.

Rosemary
Strip the leaves from the rosemary and finely chop.

Ready
Arrange the potato slices, overlapping, on the pizza. Press them into the dough a little. Then sprinkle over the chopped rosemary and the salt and pepper.

On the rack
Place on the hot oven tray and bake for 15 minutes. Then reduce the temperature to 200*C, remove from the tray and bake for 5 minutes more just on the oven rack. The edges should be golden and the base crisp. Stephanie says they eat this as a morning snack in Rome, but I could eat it any time!!

Rosemary and Potato Pizza


Tuesday"s Letters Eat 28: 'Q' is for Queen Pudding

I have also seen this called Queen of Puddings, but when I talked to my mum on the phone last night she said that it was a cheap and easy recipe and used up stale bread and ingredients that she always had in the cupboard. It is a pudding with a sort of baked bread and butter base, then raspberry jam and finally a meringue topping. It is lovely hot or warm, but we also ate it cold and it tasted just as good. I have halved the recipe, but my mum always made enough for eight, that meant leftovers. This recipe serves 4 but it is easily doubled. The recipe was in Imperial measurements so I have made it be manageably metric. If you don't have 2 large eggs, I suggest using three ordinary sized ones, just to make sure the custard will set.

The little black dots in my pudding are poppy seeds from the day old bread. They get everywhere when you trim the crusts!!

 

Queen Pudding  serves 4

  • 600ml of milk
  • 100-120g day old bread, made into breadcrumbs
  • 5 tspn of caster sugar
  • 15g butter
  • zest of half a lemon
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • raspberry jam, always raspberry or strawberry. Never apricot.
  • 5 tspn caster sugar plus a little extra for sprinkling

You will need a baking dish of some kind, I am using a 1.7 litre pie dish.

Milk
Bring the milk to the boil, that means it doesn't quite boil. You will see tiny bubbles around the edges and the milk thinks about rising in a froth in the centre. Take off the heat.

Bread milk and other things
I sliced the bread and then rubbed it to make breadcrumbs, but you could whizz it in the processor, or even grate it. Add the breadcrumbs, 5 tspns of sugar, the lemon zest and the butter, stir till combined and then leave to cool for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180*C now.

Eggs and dish
Separate the eggs, and mix the yolks into the custard and then pour into the oven proof dish and bake in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes.

Baking baking baking 

Heat the jam in a pan or in the microwave. This makes it easier to spread on the top of the custard so it is not broken. The amount of jam you need depends on the size of your dish. I used about 2/3 cup.

Jam
The custard is ready when it is set and doesn't wobble in the centre. Mine only took 25 minutes. Remove from the oven. Spread the runny warm jam over the pudding very carefully.

Spreading the jam
Meanwhile, whip the egg-whites till they are fluffy and then add the caster sugar and beat until all the sugar is dissolved. This isn't a proper meringue, as long as the mixture isn't gritty when you rub a little between your fingers, it is fine.

Meringue topping
Spread over the top of the jam, I find a fork is best. Go right to the edge and perhaps over the edge a little. Sprinkle a teaspoon or so of caster sugar over the meringue.

Meringue on top

Place back in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the meringue topping is golden brown.

Cooking and done
Serve hot or warm. Once refrigerated, the custard may weep a little, that is, there will be a liquid in the dish. You can pour this off, or eat it, it makes no difference. One taste, and I remembered being small and eating this on a cool Winter's evening. I love the contrast between the custard and the meringue and then the hit of sweetness from the jam.

Queen Pudding

 


Tuesday"s Letters Eat 27: 'P' is for Pavlova, Chocolate Raspberry

Nigella's Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova is a staple at our house and always a hit at dessert time. It has only 50g of chocolate but packs a big chocolatey punch. You can make this on the day, but it will keep in an airtight container for a week or even two and can then be assembled with cream and raspberries at one's leisure.

The secrets to a good pavlova include-

  • a squeaky clean metal or glass mixer bowl and beaters, I rub a cut lemon over the inside of the bowl to make sure there is no oily residue
  • separate the eggs while they are cold, but bring the whites to room temperature before beating them
  • beat the mixture really well so that all the sugar is dissolved, I beat this pavlova for 15 minutes
  • use a metal spoon to incorporate any sugar on the side of the bowl or to fold in any other ingredients
  • leave the pavlova to cool completely in the oven after it is cooked

I use frozen raspberries when they are not in season and they defrost quite quickly once they are added on top. I find I use less cream than the recipe calls for, but go with what you prefer.

I needed to turn the oven temperature down as mine is fan-forced. The recipe says 150*C when you put the pavlova in the oven, but I actually turned it down to 130*C. Don't worry about cracks, as Nigella suggests you invert the pavlova onto the serving plate!!!

 

Chocolate Raspberry Pavlova   serves 8-12

  • 6 egg whites
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 1 tspn balsamic vinegar, but I have used malt or even white at a pinch
  • 3 tbspn cocoa, sifted
  • 50g good dark chocolate, chopped finely
  • 500ml thickened cream, whipped
  • 500g raspberries
  • a little extra dark chocolate, grated

Preheat the oven to 180*C and grease and line a large baking tray. If you want to make a round pavlova, draw a circle the size you want on the underside of the baking paper before you place it on the tray, then you can use it as a guide.

Bowling  whites
After the egg whites are a room temperature start beating on a high speed until peaks form.

Eggs and sugar
Then begin adding the sugar. Add one spoonful at a time, and then beat for a minute. Repeat until all the sugar is used. This took 15 minutes for me. Also, keep an eye on the sides of the bowl as some sugar will collect there. Scrape down the sides to incorporate the sugar a few times.

 

Actual pavlova mixture
The mixture will be very thick and glossy and when you rub a little of the mixture between your thumb and forefinger it should be smooth and not gritty at all. I stood there with a book and a timer and just resigned myself to a 15 minute, often interrupted, reading session!!

Adding one Folding one
And that's the hardest part done. Add the vinegar, chocolate and cocoa and, using a metal spoon, gently fold it in until well combined.  I use the slowly go round the bowl side and then scoop down and then up into the middle method. It takes a few minutes but it is worth the extra effort.

Pav to oven
Spoon the mixture onto the tray and form it into the desired shape. It does spread, so make your pavlova higher then you think you need too, smoothing the edges and the top. Put into the oven and turn the temperature down to 150*C or 130*C for a fan-forced oven.

Bake for 1 - 1 1/4 hours. It is cooked when the top and sides are crisp and dry, though it may still be a little soft in the centre. Turn the oven off and with the door slightly ajar leave the pavlova to cool completely.

At this stage you can place the pavlova in an airtight container and keep it in the cupboard for 1-2 weeks if you so choose. Or you can invert it onto the serving plate, pile it high with cream and raspberries and sprinkle it with the grated dark chocolate and eat it with delight!!

Chocolate raspberry pav


Tuesday"s Letters Eat 26: 'P' is for Peach and Custard Cupcakes

Because I am all-powerful on my own blog I am having just one 'O' week, and going straight to 'P'. So to speak.

There is a bakery franchise here which sells peach and custard muffins for approximately $3-60 each. I am sure that these are far less expensive, I made 16, and I know exactly what is in them.

I used bought custard, very good bought custard, but I am feeling extra tired so it was one less step. There is nothing wrong with bought custard, it's just that I feel I have failed, bakingly. In the same vein, it's not peach season so I used tinned peaches. In Summer I would buy a fresh peach and use it, but tinned peaches are very good quality.

 

Peach and Custard Cupcakes    makes 12-16

  • 125g unsalted butter, diced and softened
  • 1 1/4 cups caster sugar
  • 2 tspn orange or lemon zest
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 3 tspn baking powder
  • 1/2 tspn nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 440g tin of peaches, drained and diced
  • purchased custard

Preheat the oven to 180*C and line a 12 hole muffin tin with papers.

Start

Cream the butter and sugar until it is pale, creamy and light. Beat in the eggs one at a time.

Mix
Then beat in the vanilla and zest.

Flour and milk
Sift the dry ingredients together and then gently fold them into the batter this way: add 1/3 of the flour, 1/2 the milk, 1/3 of the flour, the rest of the milk and finish with the flour.

Mix in parts
Place one tablespoon of the cake mixture into each paper case, then some of the diced peaches and two teaspoons of custard, and then divide the remaining cake mixture between all the cupcakes.

Tinning up
Bake for 25-30 minutes and then cool on a rack. You can top them with some whipped cream or cream cheese icing, but I just dusted these with some icing sugar. These won't freeze at all and will keep for just a few days in an airtight container in the fridge.

Peach and custard


Tuesday"s Letters Eat 25: 'O' is Oaten Rolls, Irish

Special flour My kind friend, the BionicKnitaWoman gifted me some lovely organic stone-ground flour from the Callington Mill in Oatlands. What a thoughtful gift!! She has been asking me when it will be O's Tuesday, and the day is here!! I also happened to have some oats from the Mill, so I searched for a recipe. All the bread recipes had yeast (my Nemesis) and all the oat recipes were flourless. And then I found it. Nigella's Irish Oaten Rolls. Perfect.

Apart from the stout/beer, you'll probably have everything in your pantry to make these. Obviously not my special flour and oats, but as long as they are proper oats and not the quick cook ones, they will be fine!! I tasted the stout as I waited for it to go flat and wow, I can really understand why Nigella uses it in her Chocolate Guinness Cake. The flavour is so rich and almost chocolatey, so dark, but not overpowering. I would never drink it, but I shall definitely be experimenting with stout in a cake soon.The stout, combined with the buttermilk and the bicarb soda makes the bread rise, not as much as yeast, but it definitely rises!!

This recipe is so easy, in 30 minutes you will have these rolls whipped up, baked and on the table ready to eat.  I shall definitely be making them again. Often. In some small way I have conquered baking bread!!

Thanks again BionicKnitaWoman!!

 

Oaten Rolls, Irish   makes 6

  • 1 1/3 cups plain flour, sifted - strong**
  • 1/2 cup whole rolled oats plus a tad more for sprinkling
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
  • 150ml flat stout or beer
  • 75ml buttermilk or plain runny yoghurt
  • 1 1/2 tbspn vegetable oil (not Olive)
  • 1 1/2 tbspn honey

Please note,I use an Australian tablespoon which is 20ml, in the UK and USA it is only 15ml.

**The recipe says strong flour, which has lots of gluten, I am not sure how glutenous my flour was but it worked very well.

Preheat the oven to 220*C and line a tray.

Stout
If you have not has time to flatten the stout, pour it from a height into a container so a head forms, and the beer goes flat quickly.

Ready and set
Place all the dry ingredients into a bowl and mix well. Place all the wet ingredients into a jug and mix well. You may need to warm the honey to make it runny so it will combine.

Go  

Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet and combine until a batter forms. It is quite wet.

Rolls on a tray Flattened rolls
Take about 1/4 of a cup of mixture and form into a round roll shape, using floured hands helps. Place on the tray and flatten slightly and sprinkle a few oats over the top. Repeat until you have used all the mixture. I made 6.

Perfectly baked rolls
Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, turning the tray once if you like and then cool on a rack. They are delicious warm with butter, but for my money they're perfect with a little cream cheese, fresh lemon juice, smoked salmon and salt. I have read on The Internet these will keep for up to a week in an airtight container.

Perfectly delicious rolls


Tuesday"s Letters Eat 24: 'N' is for Neenish Tarts

Neenish Tarts are not for the faint hearted or the time poor!! But they are so wonderfully delicious, that when I tasted one I forgot how long it took to make them. They are worth the extra time and effort for a special occasion.

There are many variations, but I stuck more or less to the AWW version, but we always had jam in ours so I put jam in the base of mine. I also used Vanilla Essence and not a vanilla pod or extract, just to try and be true to the recipe.

The tin to use is called a dome patty tray, but I know it as a patty pan tray. It has 12 almost hemispherical indentations.

Do not be put off by anyone mentioning Mock Cream. Some recipes cleverly call it Vanilla Cream, but it is made of butter, milk, vanilla, sugar, water and gelatine: all very user friendly ingredients. My Cream refused to mix and was just two discrete parts, as it was too cold inside for the butter to properly assimilate the other liquid. I did not panic, I simply warmed the base of the bowl over hot water and whisked the mixture by hand till it started to come together. Then back into the mix master and it whipped up perfectly.

Icing the two halves proved easier when I drew a knife across the half way mark to use as a guide. I have seen some people use squeezy bottles to ice the tarts.  I have had both Pink/White and Chocolate/White icing, so I made both.

I found I was multi-tasking, and moving from one part of the recipe to another while waiting, so I have written the process I followed, which seemed logical to me at least. Some of my pictures are a bit fuzzy today because I was tired when I was making these, so please excuse, and point out, any errors!!

NB Our Australian tablespoon is 4 teaspoons, while the UK and USA decided upon 3 teaspoons.

 

 Neenish Tarts   makes 24

Pastry

  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 100g butter, cubed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2-3 tbspn lemon juice

Vanilla Cream

  • 1 1/2 tbspn milk
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tspn powdered gelatine
  • 1 1/2 tbspn water, extra
  • 180g unsalted butter
  • 1 tspn vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam

Glace Icing

  • 1 1/2 cups pure icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbspn milk
  • 1/2 tspn vanilla essence
  • 1/1/2 tbspn cocoa
  • 1 1/2 tspn milk, extra
  • pink food colouring, one drop

1 2
Step 1: Start the Vanilla Cream but putting the milk, sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a saucepan over a low heat and stir without boiling until the sugar is dissolved. Meanwhile sprinkle the gelatine over the extra water and stir. When all the sugar is dissolved, tip the gelatine mixture into the pan, stir till well combined and pour into a bowl and cool on the bench.

3 4
Step 2: Begin making the pastry. Rub the butter into the flour until there are no lumps at all, make a well in the centre and add the egg yolk and about half the lemon juice. Mix with a fork, adding more lemon juice if needed, then bring together by hand. Knead till smooth on a floured board and then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

5 6
Step 3: Back to the Vanilla Cream - cream the butter and vanilla until it is as pale and white as possible. Gradually pour in the cooled gelatine mixture and continue to whip until it is light and fluffy and looks like whipped cream. Cover and refrigerate.

7
Step 4: Grease the trays, if necessary, and preheat the oven to 180*C. Roll out the dough to be quite thin. The recipe says 3mm, but I found a little thinner was better. Dock the pastry all over with a fork and then cut out 7cm diameter circles.

8
Press into the tin to fit the shape and bake for 12 minutes turning the tray half way through,  or until the base of the pastries is golden brown. Mine took 16 minutes. Cool on a rack.

9
Step 5: Make the icing by mixing the sifted icing sugar with the milk and vanilla essence. Beat till smooth, then divide between 2 or 3 heatproof containers. I used my measuring cups and left half of the icing plain white. To another quarter I added the cocoa and the extra milk, and then a drop of pink food colouring to the other quarter. I put the little cups into a dish and poured some almost boiling water around them, to keep the icing nice and runny. If it does set on top, just mix well.

Step 6: Heat the jam for 30 seconds in the microwave, cool slightly and then spoon half a teaspoon or so into the base of each tart. Leave for 5 minutes to set.

10 11
Step 7: Fill each tart with the Vanilla Cream and level off the top with a spatula or knife. I found the best way to fill them was to use a dessert spoon to scoop up some of the Cream, and then turn the spoon upside down and scrape the Cream off into the tart case.

12 13

Step 8: Mark the half way line across each tart and then ice half with the white icing. I found it easiest to use a teaspoon and to run a line of icing beside the centre line, easing it right to the line, and then spreading the icing back towards the edge. It sets quite quickly. I used a hot knife to clean up the edges.  When it is set, ice the other half in the same way with the coloured icing. Again, use a hot knife to even out the edges and the centre.

FInally, your Neenish Tarts are ready to eat. They will benefit from an hour or so in the fridge. They will keep, in an airtight container, in the fridge for 2-3 days. If they last that long. Mine won't!!!

Neenish tarts