Saturday, December 8, 2007

Another update

The berry-ness continues.....

Black and White Tart (in our case, red and white)
4 out of 5
Since white currants and fresh black berries are impossible to locate here in Perth, I substituted some beautiful strawberries for this simple tart. The crust was lovely although very crumbly to deal with, the filling was easy to prepare and made a lovely, simple and fresh dessert. This is my favourite kind of tart.

Blackberry Galette
3.5 out of 5
This looks like a forensic investigation but was actually quite yummy. Pity about the poor presentation, but I don't think there was a lot you could do with this one to improve it. A freeform tart with such liquid ingredients makes for a total blood bath when you try to serve it. Maybe not one to serve for a dinner party.

Double Apple Pie
3.5 out of 5
This was a great apple pie, with two different types of apple prepared in different ways to add texture. The crust was delicious but extremely annoying to roll out as it was so crumbly. In fact I have found this with a lot of Nigella's pastries. Perhaps it's the chef and not the recipe?

(Blackberry) Raspberry and Apple Pie
4 out of 5
Since raspberries are more readily available in season, I substituted these instead for this delicious pie. Again I had trouble with the pastry being very crumbly when rolling it out but the end product was most delicious.

Peach Cream Pie
2.5 out of 5
This should be Peach "Cream" Pie as it was not really that creamy. It was quite easy to make and felt relatively healthy next to the other pies in this chapter, with quite a bland filling and not much sugar content. My toddler loved it and it's actually become a staple in our freezer for play lunch at daycare as it freezes really well. I don't think I'll be making this again.

Redcurrant Meringue Pie (No Photo)
4 out of 5
Another delicious pie, with a meringue top. Again I had to substitute the berries (raspberries), because of the availability of berries in Australia. The end result was delicious but very thin. I would recommend doubling the filling ingredients to make a 'high pie'. Since raspberries are a lot less robust than redcurrants I didn't cook the filling on the stove for as long as the recipe suggested, but it still turned to a jammy yummy mess. Again, the pastry was a nightmare to roll out and get into the tin without breaking into pieces. No matter, as the finished product was wolfed down by my extended family.

And that completes the pie chapter. Next up, puddings. And we are at the beginning of summer in Australia!

Saturday, October 6, 2007


It's spring here in the southern hemisphere, making it perfect timing for these berry tarts

Bitter Orange and Blueberry Tart
3 out of 5
Seville oranges are not easy to come by so I used a dash of lime juice with regular orange juice for the filling, which was quite yum. The blueberries on top were not of the greatest quality, which may account for slightly lower score on this one, but the real killer was the glaze. It was made using arrowroot, and created something along the lines of halloween goo, than a lovely pastry glaze. If I made this again I would drop the glaze altogether and use gorgeous fresh berries on their own.
If you are hungry, the recipe can found here

Baked Summer Fruit Tart
4.5 out of 5
This outstanding flan was a gorgeous sweet pastry case, baked with a whole egg custard filling and summer fruits on top. This was my first every attempt at making egg custard from scratch. It was a lot less painless than I anticipated and well worth the effort, if you are so inclined. These were superb and look very impressive.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Sweet Stuff

The update continues today with the sweet pies I've made recently.....

Key Lime Pie version 1
5 out of 5 !!!
This was so easy, a cheesecake style biscuit base, with lime egg custard filling. Spectacular!

Key Lime Pie version 2
5 out of 5
OK I am cheating here because the photo is actually of version 1 again, but I forgot to photograph the second one, and they did look almost identical. The only difference with version 2 is that it's a no bake pie, just condensed milk, cream and lime juice & zest. How easy is that! It almost doesn't count as cooking.

3 out of 5
It was never going to be easy to follow two complete successes, and I had high hopes for this pie, as it's something completely different. But alas, it was not that great. The pastry was very dry and really needed a topping of something more moist than just baked jam. I ate it with loads of cream to try and get it past my wind pipe. Not a good look. I think the cooking time in the recipe was slightly too long, as it was overcooked.
Apologies for the bad mobile phone photo

Rhubarb Tart
4.5 out of 5
As the recipe suggested, I made this across several days, which made it incredibly easy and so worth the effort. The cream cheese in the pastry makes it firm and with a slight tang, not a hint of that buttery shortcrust taste, which I do not like. The smooth cream cheese filling was perfect with the uber sweet rhubarb. I gifted a large version to a friend who's just had twin girls. They served up slices to all of their guests popping in to see the babies. Apparently it didn't last past the first few visitors. I also made a small version (in my mini pie tins) for Miss P and I. Deelish!
Not sure about the copyright rules but the recipe is reprintedhere

And now we are up to date.

Friday, September 21, 2007

For those who've just joined us...

My quest is to cook every recipe, in order, from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess. So far I am 30.85% complete, in the pies chapter and thoroughly enjoying the challenge.

To date my successes and failures have been chronicled on my other (knitting) blog. But as the Domestic Goddess project progresses I realised I am spending less time knitting and more time baking. Over the next couple of posts I'll provide some recap to bring this blog up to speed.

But here's what's been happening lately...

Spinach Ricotta and Bulgar Wheat Pie

2.5 out of 5
Tasting Notes: Quite dry, needed extra salt or seasoning/stock for flavour. I would have prefered a lighter pastry e.g. filo. This was no
spanakopita, of which I am a huge fan.

Courgette and Chick Pea Filo Pie

2 out of 5
Tasting Notes: Very plain, the less said the better.

Steak and Kidney Pudding

4 out of 5 (if you like that sort of thing)
Tasting Notes: I do not do offal, so this one was coordinated with a visit from my Yorkshire father in law. He loved it, and that is all that matters. One thing I have learned so far is that food, and particularly baking, can be a very special gift. The trials of grating solid animal fat for the steamed pastry was completely worth it to see the looks of reminiscence on the faces of my father and mother in law. This is a dish they ate as children and rarely see in the "tropics" of Australia.

Cornish Pasties

3 out of 5
Tasting Notes: The pastry let this down, as it was beyond crumbly. Assembling one pasty was a matter of delicately placing small slivers of crumbly mess next to each other, just to cover the filling. Not sure if that was the cook or the author's error. Filling was surprisingly delicious though.

Cheese, Onion and Potato Pies

3.5 out of 5
These were a delicious weekday lunch, although the pastry was (again) a bit of a let down. I think I just don't love shortcrust. The filling was lip smackingly deeeeelicious, perfect vegetarian fare. Also perfect party finger food, but perhaps with store-bought puff pastry so they'd be a little more robust.

Small Tomato Tarts and Small Mushroom Tarts

#55 and #56
3 out of 5, and 5 out of 5 respectively
Tasting Notes: Finally a pastry I loved, made with polenta and Italian 00 flour, these were delicious. I also love little food, cute portions are so charming. I think I'll be using these small pie tins often. The mushroom filling was definitely heads above the tomato. They are also surprisingly easy and would be a fantastic entree for a dinner party as all prep can be done ahead of time.

Phew! Next time I'll update you on my latest sweet pies. I'm off to scout some blueberries...