Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Basil Pesto and Tomato Tart

This is a really really easy way of making an impressive (not to mention yummy) dish. Make sure you use the best quality tomatoes possible. The UK tomato season is from around June to October so even though tomatoes are widely available all year round, I think they are a little bit firmer and a little bit tastier during the summer. You can also get a much wider variety of tomatoes during the summer, I used sugardrop tomatoes for this recipe, which are sweeter than your regular tomatoes and when roasted for the 15 minutes that this recipe needs taste amazing. Some recipes tell you to remove the seeds to stop it getting all soggy, but using small cherry tomatoes means that they don't give off too much liquid.

You can use a jar of pesto but I think a good homemade one is a hundred times better (that's right, 100 times!). If the pesto was for a pasta sauce I would make it a bit chunkier and chop everything by hand or use a pestle and mortar, but for this tart a smooth pesto works better so using a food processor is fine (and much easier!)

Serve the tart with a simple side salad, topped with a few shavings of parmesan and serve as soon as you take it out the oven to keep the pastry nice and crispy. I haven't given exact amounts of each ingredient as it doesn't make too much of a difference whether you have 10 extra basil leaves or an extra pine nut or two, just make sure it has the taste and consistency that you are looking for.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Posh Tea at Fortnum & Mason

After we'd allowed the brunch which formed part 1 of our lazy Sunday to go down we moved on to part 2, high tea at Fortnum & Mason's St James's Restaurant.

First up, the canapes. The gazpacho soup was particularly good!

Next up were the finger sandwiches, with the crusts cut off of course! Can't have posh tea with crusts.

Then we moved on to the yummiest bit of the meal; freshly baked scones with clotted cream and jam

And last but by no means least we made our way on to the cakes and petit fours.

All in all we had a particularly yummy afternoon. If you have a special occasion to celebrate that would only be complete with copious amounts of delicious cake and baked goods (or just feel like treating yourself for an afternoon) go to Fortnum's and remember to bring your appetite!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Arm-Ache free Hollandaise Sauce

I really don't believe that making a sauce should leave you feeling like you've just been to the gym which is why I definitely think that this blender method is so much better than having to spend half an hour whisking the eggs and butter together over a bain marie. It still gives the same thick, buttery end result and doesn't need you needing a shower and a lie down to recover.

Sunday Brunch - Eggs Royale with the Easiest Hollandaise Sauce

My wife (Hannah) and I recently found ourselves with a Sunday with absolutely no plans - bring on day of yummy food! Deciding that having breakfast, lunch and dinner felt far too much like any other day we decided that brunch and tea were called for. First off was home made brunch of Eggs Royale (much like eggs Benedict but with smoked salmon instead of the ham or bacon).
There are many disappointing things in the world, but few things ruin experiences as much as tucking into a poached egg only to find the yolk as solid as the plate you're eating it off of. So even if the other elements of the dish aren't perfect, as long as you have a nice oozy yolk all other faults can be forgiven.
This recipe is ideal if you're not very good at timing various elements of the dish to all come together at the same time as the eggs are part cooked and then just finished off before serving. Make sure that the eggs are fresh and have been kept out of the fridge (or at least allowed to come up to room temperature before cooking). 
Serve with tea or orange juice for the perfect start to a lazy Sunday!