Posts Tagged 'lemon'

hummus

well thats no way to say goodbye. i dont even like fish. and i dont go fishing. harmonious, still, silent lakes are not place for a child of mtv. gone into hibernation might have been a more appropriate sign off. gone to see about a doctor would have been a more honest representation of reality. and if i were to be completely, boldly, offensively frank, ‘uninspired….gone to watch five series of dr who under a blanket’ would have been the most apt explanation of my absence. but you tugged at my heart strings (smoo, im talking to you) and i couldnt help myself. i realised as i began to re-watch an entire series in the hope of “picking up on things i might have missed the first time round” that there are more important things to be doing and eating. over the past month i was introduced to the world of the chip – hot and cold. and it had such an impact that for a brief moment there, never turning on the oven again became a conceivable possibility. but like all good things, it started to take its toll, first around the hips, then around the heart. besides, chips are very loud. i cant hear the doctor talk with the chip crunching and the bag scrunching and the munching and the bunching and i was missing vital plot developments. so i decided it was time to return because the jagged little chips were tearing a hole in the diaphanous fabric of my reality. and all the while i heard the sweet dulcet tones of the doctor whispering to me “be magnificent”. magnificent was a bit much to ask but i did make some hummus. (yes, into which chips were dipped). i made too much but so it goes. and it was good.

ingredients

500g chickpeas

250g tahini paste

50ml lemon juice

6 garlic cloves crushed

salt

put chickpeas into a food processor (keeping a few aside for end presentational purposes) and add the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and some salt. blend until its completely smooth. it should be very soft and verging on runny. taste and add more salt if you think it deserves it. drizzle with some olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. finally tumble some chickpeas atop. or pine nuts. whatever floats your boat. you can serve it with some of your homemade sourdough (unless you went and got so hibernatory that you killed your starter…in which case, chips will do fine.)

lemon meringue tarts

…and then there were more. the life of a bobo, in between academic pursuits, stuck between boredom and fulfillment and forever somewhere in between the gutter and the stars, is no walk in the park. transience and aimlessness can make a girl do strange things. 20 tart tins being the most poignant manifestation of such interminable ennui. it is, happily, also the most practical. and then there are more…including but not exclusive to: mrs peabody, this blog, days of research on the ground, hour upon hour toiling in the field of pastry, pastry sampling, pastry dreams, pastry chilled and pastry blind baked, questions such as ‘how can i get passionfruit into a pre-baked tart case?’, and ‘is it day four or five of my starter’s feeding schedule?’, ‘is currency an acceptable substitute for baking beans?’ and ultimately ‘is this my life?’. apparently it is. and as a tough canadian cookie once said to me “suck it up princess.” so not only do i suck it up, i embrace it. all of it. wholeheartedly. if it takes a fragmented subjectivity to create a lemon meringue tart as exquisite as this…then bring on the alienation. these tarts were quite surprisingly easy…so i suggest you try them. the hardest bit was letting them go, setting them free into the mouths of my sprawling eating community (to whom i am very grateful and without whom i wouldnt be here today) and to say goodbye to the children of a great pastry bonanza. but as they say ‘partir c’est mourir un peu’. so i let them go, and in some way, in fact in so many ways, let some of myself go too.

ingredients

1 quantity short crust pastry – this should be divided into mini tart tins. it will make about 18 pastry cases.

…for the lemon curd

220ml lemon juice (6 lemons)

zest of 4 lemons

200g caster suar

4 eggs

4 egg yolks

180g unsalted butter in cubes

…for the meringue

120g caster sugar

2 egg whites

first make the lemon curd. put all the ingredients, leaving out half the butter in a saucepan. turn on to medium heat and whisk constantly as you cook out the curd. once it gets to boiling point (large alarming bubbles will form) continue whisking crazily for a minute and remove it from the heat. take it off the heat and put in the remaining butter. whisk until it has all melted and then strain it through a sieve. cover with gladwrap and let it cool down before refrigerating it for 6-8hours. better yet, overnight.

preheat the oven to 200 degrees. spoon the chilled lemon curd into the tart cases – filling them about three quarters of the way up. leave these in the fridge while you make the meringue. with your KITCHEN AID.

first spread the sugar over an oven tray covered in baking paper. put into the oven for 5 minutes (make sure the sugar doesnt dissolve). remove and turn the oven down to 150degrees.

just before you take the sugar out, begin whisking your egg whites until they start to get frothy. then pour the hot sugar onto the whites, whisking all the time. keep whisking for 15 minutes until the meringue is firm and shiny.

remove the tarts with the lemon curd from the fridge and get ready for the whackness

put the meringue into a piping bag and pipe onto the tarts.

then put in the oven for about 2-3 minutes until very lightly brown.

some feedback so far…

“tart but refreshing, im sure” -fran drescher (the nanny)

“im giving it two stars…and did i ever tell you about the time i peed on fellini” – david strattan

“oh david. you can’t. oh really david. well five stars from me. i was deeply moved” – margaret pomeranz

“can we have a lie down now” – friend in need

“do we have to eat them all” – scared onlooker

“what do you know about tarts, you ignorant little pipsqueak” – ms svars (english teacher/life coach)

“seriously conceptually flawed” – academic “superior”

“i like tarts, me” – farkinell

….should you like to comment on anything you have seen here, or should you have any questions, quandries, digestive complaints, suggestions, or just looking for an ear to bend, please drop us a line in your nearest comment box.

lemon tartlets

its like i always say, if life gives you lemons (and a 12 cup muffin tray), make lemon tarts. personally i am partial to a single big tart as opposed to the poncy tartlets you see here..i think they encourage a sense of community. if you like that kind of thing. but then there are some eaters who believe little tartlets to be preferable because apparently they provide a false sense of security in moderation. you can eat four and still feel ok because, after all, they were only little. and so it was – little tarts. this also meant i could experiment with some highly unorthodox techniques and make one of my biggest messes to date. But at least it can be said by the secret eater of these midnight snacks, “that’s what i’m talkin’ about”, by way of announcing that here, finally, is the lemon tart the sides of my jaw have dreamed gnashingly about. Quoth the eater, “evermore” – a literary twist of lemon, as it were, for those with a penchant for gothic fiction.

shortcrust pastry

350g plain flour

pinch of salt

125g cold unsalted butter

100g icing sugar

3 eggs

preheat oven to 180 degrees. in a food processor, if you have one, pulse flour, salt and butter until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. add the sugar, then the egg yolks and pulse again. the mix will combine and leave the sides of the bowl. if it doesnt, ive been known to add an extra yolk. then wrap the ball of dough in glad wrap and chill for at least an hour.

then, using a cheese grater, coarsely grate the pastry into your tartlet tins (or muffin tray) and press it evenly into the sides and base. prick the base with a fork and chill for a further 15 minutes.

blind bake for 10 minutes and then remove the weights and bake for a further ten minutes until very lightly brown. set these aside to cool

lemon filling

3/4 cup lemon juice

zest of 1 lemon

1 vanilla bean split and scraped

3/4 cup sugar

3/4 cup cream

3 eggs lightly beaten

turn the oven down to 140 degrees. in a heat proof bowl over simmering water stir lemon juice and sugar until sugar has dissolved. add cream and then the lightly beaten eggs. stir continuously for 5 minutes and then strain. pour this into your pre-bake tart cases and bake for 20-25 minutes. when they come out they should be a bit wobbly but sort of just set. they should look exquisite…save for a few troubled ones which are for immediate consumption.

you can, if youre ambitious, take this one step further and brulee the top, making what we could call a lemon creme brulee tart. if you have a blow torch then all will be well…if you are limited to and by a griller then just be on your toes (or more accurately sit down facing the oven and watch every step of the way because burning will happen and will happen quickly. i wouldnt advise this however for people with melancholic, plath-like tendencies or for that matter tired people who have been baking for too long and are looking for a dark warm womb-like place into which to crawl.)

so first, take your most muntered tartlet. sprinkle over a good teaspoon of sugar (you do need a lot – and dont panic, when you later bite into it, that pain which will shoot through your teeth, up into your gums, and finally settle between your eyes for the next twenty four hours is a perfectly normal reaction). stick it under a burning hot grill and let it do its thing. remove when they are bubbling and blistering on top. this will most certainly burn the edges. personally i like that look. i also, amongst other things, have a penchant for the charred taste of grissle and its carcinogenic properties. but you can, and probably should, hack away at the black top crust and you should be left with quite a sexy looking lemon brulee tart.

pine nut pasta

this is my own theme and variations of a walnut pasta which is essentially the same but i have substituted walnuts for pine nuts and parsley for basil. this, snow, is my hook. and this is what i found:

ingredients

1 clove or garlic (ie. 2)

1 tsp salt

200g pine nuts (toasted…but only very lightly because inspite of my own fabricated version of common belief, pine nuts very lightly toasted will give off an unprecedented creaminess – one which you just cant get from your pine nuts toasted to golden colour.)

150g sourdough

100 ml mik

1 bunch basil roughly chopped

100ml olive oil

juice of 1/2 lemon

200 g tagliatelle

100g parmesan

in a mortar and pestle bash up garlic with a pinch of salt to a paste. add the pine nuts and pound until its a rough paste. you could, i realised after accidently sticking my finger in and putting it in my mouth, leave it at this stage and eat straight from the mortar itself. be reasonable they say. but then as mae west said, too much of a good thing can be wonderful. i guess the bottom line is if i were pounding nuts and garlic into some sort of sickeningly sublime paste for my own personal consumption this wouldnt be much of a blog and you wouldnt be reading it. but then according to my stats, you arent. not that i look at that kind of thing. i digress. then transfer into a bowl depending on the size of your mortar and add the bread which has been soaked, along with the remaining milk. mix again, then add the parmesan and the olive oil and finally a squeeze of lemon. (the lemon takes this from creamy, heavy, stodgy and potentially bland to something entirely different…because thats what lemons do.)

Cook the tagliatelle for 3 or so minutes and drain. return pasta to the pot and keep some cooking water back. then pour in your pine nut sauce (pesto/paste/stuff) and mix until all the pasta is coated. sprinkle with parmesan cheese, some torn up basil and some toasted pine nuts (not too many in spite of what the pine nut enamoured voices in your head might say…its just to echo whats happening in the sauce and adds texture for those who like that kind of thing.