Well hello there! Remember me? It’s suddenly been more than three years since my last post, don’t ask me how that happened. For now let’s discuss these Portuguese Custard Tarts. This is a recipe that I have been playing around with a for a few years, and after many trials (I made 3 batches this week!), I think I have finally cracked it. I’ve combined various elements of multiple recipes to create my favourite type of tart; a crunchy caramelised surface that cracks with the first bite, giving way to a a creamy custard filling that is laced with vanilla bean, cinnamon and orange zest, all encased in a shell of crispy golden pastry (using store-bought puff pastry, because sometimes making pastry from scratch isn’t your priority!!). I’ve included as much detail as possible in the method, to help you master this decadent little treat. You can then eat 5 with a steaming cup of tea, as you mull over your latest isolation realisations…
‘Peach and pistachio; genius.’ I sat shaking my head, half in awe and admiration, half in disbelief that I didn’t come up with the idea myself. Over a lunch of falafel and bean salad and hommus and chocolate cake, I sat brainstoming baking ideas with a clever friend when she dropped this bombshell of a flavour combination. This particular marriage of fruit and nuts is something special; the sweet, ripe flesh of the peach is perfectly partnered by the distinctively charming flavour of pistachios, and the vibrant orange and green is so darn alluring and exotic. Served warm, this delightfully soft cake quite literally falls apart as undertones of almond, walnut and lemon zest blossom with each mouthful, all swathed in a delicate drizzle of lemon icing. Yes.
I never get tired of trialling new ways to jazz up the faithful brownie, and this devilish little recipe is no exception. Using my favourite soft and fudgey brownie recipe, I’ve swirled slatherings of salty and crunchy peanut butter through the batter; the result is a bloody irresistible black and gold masterpiece.
I have no idea where the past two months have gone. I am always vaguely aware that the older we get, the smaller a proportion of our life a month becomes. When we were five years old, a year felt infinite. But now, I’ve already made plans that lie six months ahead, and that time seems hardly a blip in the scheme of things. The years have become busy and blurred, and I often seem to find myself looking forward to a point several days or weeks or even months ahead. I’m trying vigilantly to stop this pattern, because it becomes too easy to wish life away trying to attain the next goal, experience the next milestone and arrive at the start of the next adventure. Life is now, and now is fantastic.
Layers of crisp brown sugar and almond meringue nestle between clouds of whipped honey cream, fresh dates and soft dried figs, as warm honey cascades down the sides of this beastly yet elegant mountain of texture, colour and soulful flavour. And it’s easy. I’m all for easy recipes lately. Life is flying by way too fast, but I’m still determined to bake wherever I can. So that means I’m turning to recipes that can be planned ahead, prepared in sections and offer a low flop-risk. So voila!
A flower-adorned Lemon and Raspberry Naked Layer Cake! I made this delightfully pretty tower for a recent pot-luck dinner, after dreaming about its creation for a few months. Layers of light and zesty lemon cake are enveloped in slatherings of raspberry cream cheese frosting; the combination of sweet and zingy flavours is so simple but absolutely foolproof. And yum. Very yum. I also love naked cakes. They’re so unassuming and modest, sitting delicately in their light coat of frosting, giving admiring passers-by a peek at the beauty of their concealed layers. They also lend themselves wonderfully to decoration, and I had such fun arranging these seasonal blooms from my local florist atop the cake’s surface!
Spoiler alert: this here is a little cheat’s dessert. Prep is done in under an hour, no fancy qualifications required, looks pretty as a peach, and is so much fun to just absolutely demolish. Also it tastes pretty darn good. The slight tartness of the roasted rhubarb is offset by the honey mascarpone cream. Then there’s the slightly salty pistachios that flirt with the vibrant syrup drizzling down the sides. And did I mention that the crisp brown sugar meringue cradling the whole thing has a slightly caramelised flavour, and is so devilishly light and delicious? Who’s complaining?
This cake definitely deserves an exclamation mark in the title. And a few more here!!!!!! Because it’s just so darn happy! And pretty! And bright! This big guy is a mountain of rainbows and sugar, but his true beauty is in his simplicity. Four layers of my favourite soft chocolate cake sandwiched together with vanilla bean swiss meringue buttercream, millions of sprinkles and some ever-so-fancy chocolate freckles from Australia’s own Haigh’s Chocolates. It’s the kind of cake you bake when you’re buzzing and bursting with glee, but can’t be stuffed with extravagant flavours and technical flourishes. It’s just simple, honest, delicious goodness.
Another swanky savoury recipe for your Sunday! I’m enjoying sharing these with you occasionally, because I do have some nifty dinner dishes stashed up my sleeve thanks to my foodie family. This is another one of Ma’s recipes, and always holds a special place on the table at family lunches, BBQs and picnics. I packed up a big container of this Brown Rice Rainbow Salad, topped with grilled salmon, and shared it with two of my most excellent friends as we lay sprawled out on a picnic blanket in a forrest garden a few weeks ago.
Happy Easter friends! I was strolling through the quaint little country town by my house this morning, and turned a corner to be met by the warm, spicy smell of fresh hot cross buns floating through the crisp air from the bakery nearby. My gosh it was lovely. For me, the start of Autumn is marked by dark and misty mornings, gentle forest rain and a warm hot cross bun, dripping with melted butter, aside a tall steaming mug of tea.