I’ve really fell out of routine with my blogging, during the summer I had so much free time and a lot more daylight (good for photography) so creating blog posts was fairly easy and a fun thing to do, then I got sucked into the world of work as a recent graduate and found it hard to find the time. However things are looking up and not only that but they are looking exciting. I have now been offered a job from my internship, and am enjoying having my weekends off after working a part time job at the weekends.
I have also FINALLY bought a new camera, lens and tripod. Something I’ve been saying I want to do since my second year of university. I never had the funds, as it is jolly expensive. With spending a lot of money (especially when you don’t have much) comes a lot of consideration and thinking. I finally jumped in though and got myself a beautiful Nikon D810 and a 50 mm lens. I used it last weekend and photographed these delicious brownies and my, is it a beauty of a camera. I’m excited to continue using it to create lots of beautiful images that I’m proud of.
This post is less of a recipe and more of an update of stuff, because sometimes I need to remind myself of what I’m doing and achieving. I’m currently doing some freelance design/photography work which is going well and it’s lovely to know that others think my work is good enough for them to use for their own endeavors.
I also have just entered the Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year competition. I know that my chances are slim (or pretty much impossible) with the tough competition out there but as my mum says, to be in it to win it you have to play the game (or something like that, if any of you know my mum she has a saying for EVERYTHING).
I’ll leave you to feast your eyes on these delicious brownies, which were a Meringue Girls recipe from their book, ‘Everything Sweet’. They are made with coconut flour, which is a great gluten free alternative (but still taste extremely guilty). I swirled in some peanut butter and added in some frozen raspberries for some added peanut butter and jelly time. (I used to love that cartoon). They are extremely decadent and are in good competition to my go to Thornton’s brownie recipe.
I will promise to try and be better with this blogging thing!
I am starting to get a handle on my job lists, after having parties and a trip to the Isle of Wight. I see a lot of you liked my Amaretto Gelato post last week, and next week I’ll have another alcoholic ice for you adults to enjoy (sorry kids!) but here’s a recipe you can all enjoy… a beautiful berry tart, perfect for using our beautiful British berries, that you may have picked yourself, with children or bought from the market or supermarket.
This weekend just gone, after getting back from a completely over indulgent trip to the Isle of Wight (what Grandma’s do best) I threw a small Barbecue to celebrate my sisters results from University. She got a 2.1 and I am so so proud of her, as along with studying, she worked full time, kept up a flat, found time for the gym and socialising with friends. There was about 10 of us, and we had a BBQ with the usual stuff, and then this tart, the biggest trifle you’ve probably ever seen and a surprise peanut butter and chocolate cake, which would have remained secret had my sister not gone in the garage! I had an amazing time with friends, food and drinks and we were also spoilt rotten. We each received a beautiful bunch of flowers, a Links of London Graduation charm, a Spa Weekend and £100. Thanks Mum & Dad! I may post up the recipe for the cake soon!
Berry, Custard & Mascarpone Tart
225g/8oz Plain Flour
50ml (aprox.) Water
Custard (I only used half of this mixture, but why not use the rest in homemade ice-cream, or with sponge pudding. You can use all of it for a more custardy taste, or fill the extra tartlets with this mix and top with fruit)
300 ml Milk
2 Eggs + 1 Yolk
1 Vanilla Pod (or 1 tsp paste/extract)
75g Butter, diced
1 Tub of Mascarpone
Assortment of Berries I used a 400g tub of Strawberries, and a mixed berry pack from Sainsbury’s (raspberries, strawberries and blueberries)
1. Start by making the pastry. In a food processor (or by hand)blitz/rub together the flour and fats until breadcrumb consistency, then add the water until a dough forms, you may not need all the water, likewise you may need a little more, I’ll leave this up to you! Once combined, tip on to a surface, form a ball, flatten and wrap in clingfilm and leave to rest and chill.
2. Once chilled, roll out the pastry. Lightly flour the rolling pin and surface and roll out the pastry to a few mm thick. You want it as thin as you can make it, for a nice crisp result. I used an oblong tin, but a round one is fine. Roll the pastry onto the rolling pin and place carefully in your flan tin. Press the pastry into the edges using a wooden spoon handle, or your fingers being careful not to rip your base. Don’t worry if you do, just patch it up with some spare pastry. With any left over trimmings, you can make some mini jam tarts, or tartlet shells to fill with left over custard. Place the flan tin back in the fridge to relax, while you make the custard and remember not to trim the pastry right to the edge as otherwise it will shrink back.
3. To make the custard, place the milk, and split vanilla pod (scraping out all the lovely seeds) in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, sugar and cornflour until smooth and creamy. Once the milk has come to the boil, leave to infuse for ten minutes.
4. Brink the milk back up to the boil, then whisk into the egg mixture. Return back to the saucepan and whisk continually until boiling, and really thick. Then add the diced butter and whisk in until melted and smooth. Place in a bowl, and top the surface with clingfilm (ensuring its in contact) to stop a film forming. Leave to cool then refrigerate.
5. While the custard is chilling, preheat the oven to 180c fan/200c, fill the pastry case with parchment, and baking beans/rice/pulses and blind bake for 10-15 minutes. After this time remove the paper & beans and trim down your pastry if you so wish. Return to the oven and bake for another ten or so minutes until the pastry is nice and golden. Leave to cool.
6. When ready to assemble, mix half the custard with the mascarpone, you may want to use an electric whisk to get a really smooth consistency or just use some muscle and burn the extra calories. Spoon in the tart and smooth evenly over the pastry – don’t worry about this looking neat as you are going to pile it with berries.
7. Add your berries, I chopped the strawberries in halves and quarters for the bottom and added the raspberries and blueberries! This creative bit is up to you! Which is why I love to cook. Make it your own!
Keep your eyes peeled for next weeks post, a refreshing G&T sorbet! Time for me to go back to the job hunt! Wish me luck!