Today’s creation is sponsored by the letters ‘B’ and ‘T’; all hail the beetroot and blue cheese tomato tarte tatin…

Let’s take a minute and have a spot of learning shall we?

A quick search on the internet reveals multiple definitions of a ‘tarte tatin’; an upside down tart and a classic French pastry dish are just two but I think the Guardian got it pretty spot on in their 2011 article about how to make the perfect version of it when they simply said it was a ‘glorious, sticky treat’. Ahhhh, those words alone make me want to stop typing, head to the kitchen and start banging about with pastry and tins while some jazzyily-Parisian dinner party music accompanies me.

Traditionally sweet, this is one of those dishes that also suits a savoury filling just as well. I consider it something of a cheat dish and by that I mean it’s looks are slightly out of sync with it’s difficulty rating. Of course if you make your pastry from scratch, that rating shoots up from a PG to an 18 but if, like myself and many, many, MANY chefs out there, you are using shop bought, that’s absolutely fine.

Just to compensate for how simple it actually is, I will of course have to post something next about a croquembouche or a consommé or a towering soufflé which will make both you and I dear reader, weep at the level of skill required…but later. Let’s not weep now unless it’s at the sheer and unmitigated deliciousness of this tart. Read More

The curious case of the custard apple…

I’m lucky enough to live somewhere that has a wonderful community feel to it…there are actual butchers and bakers and, no, not candlestick makers, but greengrocers whose shelves are constantly laden with various tubs of produce…ruby toned berries and velvety baby apricots and leafy bunches of greenery. It’s cheap, the produce is good, it’s been around forever and I walk past it every day on the way home.

Thus it was that I found myself in possession of my very first custard apple. Now, I like fruit. I like the fact that it tastes good and it’s healthy but you put the word ‘custard’ in front of it and hello sailor! I like it even more…hmm, perhaps this is how I will eventually like broccoli…

…no. No, that’s just never going to happen. Anyway, back to the fruit in question – here she is…

custard apple (1) custard apple (2)

Pretty, non? After rapturous exclamations of delight that made J think I’d found a £50 note on the shelves rather than a piece of fruit, he gamely agreed to try it with me. I have to be honest and say that it’s not the most visually attractive piece of fruit I’ve ever opened and eaten but she was actually quite lovely.

custard apple (3)

Creamy soft, thick flesh sprinkled with glossy black seeds, the flavour was evaporated-milky sweet and, crazy I know given it’s name, actually tasted like custard. Who’d have guessed?  The texture was peach like and much softer than your average apple and my only disappointment was that it took quite a bit of work to eat the thing and there wasn’t enough of it. It was a bit like eating watermelon when you find more time taken up with either digging out or spitting out (company allowing) the seeds and not enough time actually enjoying it.

I’d eat it again and I love trying new seasonal produce so it was exciting to find this but I’d buy a big bag of them a) to enjoy and b) can you imagine a custard apple crumble with crunchy brown sugar and rich yellow custard? Of course you can…

Enjoying a birthday buzz at the Beehive, Marylebone…

Birthday meal number 3 rolls round as, quite frankly, so do I. Still, this is a legitimate reason to be eating and drinking on a par with Henry VIII minus the legs of mutton, tankards of beer and err, beheading of wives, so I’m all on board to take full advantage of it.

The Beehive Pub in Marylebone has been on my ‘to visit’ list for a while. It regularly pops up on Top Table which means it’s bargainous, the menu always looks good and the fact that it’s a mere 10 minute stroll from the office confirmed it as the location of choice for a dinner with the lovely C. Last year’s birthday dinner involved a lot of French food, a considerable amount of free wine and a ridiculous amount of giggling on the tube home, exactly the way it should be on a Friday night. Except it was a Monday and the following day was, unsurprisingly, quite horrendous. Therefore, definitely a year older and questionably a year wiser, we took it down a notch, and a set menu and bottle of bubbly was our reward for making it to Thursday which is nearly Friday which is practically the weekend so hurrah! Happy weekend feasting! Read More