Wednesday 30 September 2009

Grape Pie

When I saw Girlichef's grape pie recipe, a lightbulb went off over my head. We've got a couple of grape vines in the garden, and this year quite a lot of bunches have ripened. They are quite small and not very sweet - not too good for eating out of hand but I knew they would be just the thing for making a grape pie!
The technique of squishing the seeds out of the skins and then combining the strained pulp back in with the skins was a new one to me. It was a bit sticky and very satisfying ina messy sort of way - and I thought that it would be just the task to set a child to, if you had one to hand.
I followed the quantities and method pretty closely. No really, I did. I used bought puff pastry instead of home made shortcrust because I had some and I was feeling lazy. I added an extra spoonful of flour because my filling was looking really wet and juicy. I added a few cloves to the pulp when it was heating, so they infused a bit of warm spice into the mixture. Instead of melting the butter for the filling separately I just added it cold, and counted on the heat of the pulp to melt it (which it did). And for the topping, I did a rubbed-in crumble topping and added some ground almonds to it, instead of the melted streusel topping with slivered almonds on top.

It was a revelation! We ate it just warm (and then cold for breakfast) and totally plain, without cream or icecream or anything and it was absolutely gorgeous. I have no idea why grape pie is not as famous as apple pie. Somehow the squeezed out skins plump up to juicy deliciousness and add just the slightest tanin bitterness to the sweet filling. And fortunately there are enough grapes on the vine for me to make another.

Sunday 27 September 2009

Jamie's Green Chilli

On the back of his new series, there have been a lot of Jamie Oliver recipes in the paper lately.

When I spotted this recipe for a green chilli my tastebuds were tickled. A friend of mine made it first, and she said the flavour needed some boosting, so I went with her suggestions.

Instead of seasoning with salt, I used a beef gel stock cube. I used 2 of my hot serrano chillies. I chopped together the spring onions, mint and a big handful of coriander, mixed it with the lime juice, and stirred it in a couple of minutes from the end, in the spirit of a gremolata with osso bucco, to freshen up the flavour. I served it in tortillas with sour cream and guacamole. It was very good - and Jamie's American Road Trip isn't as cringe-inducing to watch as I was expecting - but it won't replace a red chilli in my heart.

Saturday 26 September 2009

Collapsed Marmalade Cake

At work, we have adopted a new policy on birthday cakes. It's previously been ad hoc, and some people had cakes bought for them, some didn't, some had presents bought, some were told they couldn't even sign the freaking card because it was "just in our team" and the whole thing led to ill-feeling and elitism. If you can have an elitist cake. It certainly felt a bit like a popularity contest. So, after a Dilbertian amount of discussion, we adopted a new policy. BYO birthday cake.

On my birthday, I decided that I would bake a cake. I thought that marmalade cake would hit the spot, using some of my home-made whiskey marmalade. The last time I made this buttery, light, delicious cake, it looked like this:But on this occasion it looked like this:

Even cream cheese frosting couldn't hide the cavity in the middle. I have no idea what went wrong. At half time in the baking I had a look at it (without opening the oven door) and it was rising beautifully and looking perfect. By the end of the cook-time it had collapsed like a pancake and by the time I turned it out of the tin a hole had developed in the middle and it broke in half in my hands. Then when my back was turned the edge somehow fell off and disappeared...

I bought a supermarket cheesecake to take into the office.

Thursday 24 September 2009

Walnut Artichoke Dip

Wow, can you tell I've just bought a 2kg jar of artichokes at Costco?

This heaped bowlful of heaven is my (less healthy) version of Deb's Artichoke-Walnut Spread.

I used marinated artichokes, no added oil, no extra cheese and full-fat cream cheese instead of tofu in my version. It's absolutely gorgeous spread on crackers, and I had a thought (that didn't come to anything) of using it as a stuffing for a chicken breast. Or maybe as a sandwich filling with slices of cucumber?

Wednesday 23 September 2009

Bacon-wrapped artichoke salad

Here's a shout-out to my fellow blogger, the lovely Hot Garlic, for her most excellent salad. Her blog is so pretty and she comes up with some really delicious-looking things!

Anyway, the thought of wrapping artichoke hearts in bacon had me drooling. I made mine with roast acorn squash (the things that look like avocado wedges) , the artichokes, baby spinach and some red pepper. The dressing had grainy mustard and sour cream in it, but I cannot for the life of me remember why it was pink. I don't think I had red wine vinegar...

It was delicious. The acorn squash was a bit too dry and mealy; I would have been better off with butternut. And Paul wasn't too sure, he thought it was over complicated and I should have just put the artichoke hearts on top and cooked him bacon for breakfast. But what does he know?

Monday 21 September 2009

Meat-Free Mondays: Saag Paneer & Tamarind Chickpeas

This was the most delicious meal!

I sort of followed this recipe for the paneer, using bought paneer, and a mixture of curly kale, spinach and coriander as my greens.

I knew I wanted a pulse on the plate, and I knew I wanted it to be red to contrast with the deep green of the saag paneer. I also thought that something quite highly spiced and a bit tangy would be good, which led me to thinking chilli and tamarind. This recipe fit the bill from all angles.

I could have served it over rice, but I decided that the chickpeas provided enough bulk to be completely satisfying. And it was.

Saturday 19 September 2009

St Clements Friands

In England, desserts are described as "St Clements" flavoured when it is orange & lemon, because of the old rhyme/song, which contains the line "Oranges and lemons say the bells of St Clements". I just thought I'd point that out in case people didn't know.

In our house, discovering that I have 6 eggwhites in the freezer is my cue to make friands. These delicious little buttery almond cakes are one of the few baked goods that Paul will happily eat, so I might as well indulge him.

They are normally made in little oval tins, where they rise to a very appetising slightly cracked peak, but I decided that this very obedient batter would be the last chance saloon for my silicon rose moulds. And indeed, they justified their continued existence in my home by turning out beautifully. Of course, now I am tempted to buy some red sanding sugar, or pink edible glitter.

St Clements Friands

75g plain flour
240g icing sugar
125g ground almonds
grated zest of 1 orange
grated zest of 1 lemon
6 eggwhites, beaten until frothy
180g butter, melted and slightly cooled
flesh of the orange, segmented and chopped

Preheat oven to 210C.

Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Add the zests, then stir the eggwhites and butter into the mixtures. Gently fold through the chopped orange.

Spoon the mixture into greased tins, to fill about 2/3 of the way up.

Bake 15 minutes at 210C then reduce to 200C and bake another 10 minutes.

Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack.

Makes 8-12, depending on tin size. Don't even think about frosting these - they are utterly perfect as they are.

Thursday 17 September 2009

Borscht & Piroshki

We've had a lot of beetroot in our vegetable box recently! And after not getting around to using them for a couple of weeks, I had a lot to try and use up and not all in its first freshness. Which says soup to me.

Paul was very sceptical when I mentioned making borscht. When he has had it before it has been a plain, thick, red puree. Which personally I like, but he doesn't, so I knew it had to be meatier and chunkier and altogether more substantial.

Beef Borscht (serves lots)

1tbs olive oil
150g smoked bacon lardons
500g cubed stewing beef
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic
1tsp dried dill
1tsp celery seeds
2 bay leaves
3 tbs sherry vinegar
500 ml beef stock
1kg beetroot, peeled and chopped
salt & pepper
bunch of parsley
sour cream to serve

In a very large saucepan, brown the lardons and beef in the olive oil. Add the onions and cook until translucent. Add the garlic, herbs, beef stock, vinegar and beetroot. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer on a low heat for about 3 hours or until everything is tender and delicious. Correct the seasoning, stir in a bunch of chopped parsley and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

I also decided to make some mushroom piroshki following this recipe but the pastry was such a bastard to work with that I lost patience and ended up only making a few. But the hot little mushroom pies were absolutely delicious, and worked very well with the earthy beef and beetroot flavour of the borscht.

Tuesday 15 September 2009

Duck Soup

Paul and I really miss Vietnamese food. There is an area of London that is noted for Vietnamese restaurants, but somehow we are never in Shoreditch at dinner time. So I realised that if I wanted pho I was going to have to make it myself.

This isn't a proper pho. It doesn't contain noodles or the table salad of herbs and it's made with duck and chicken stock. It's a faux pho. A faux pho duck. A phuck? But it had the fresh crunchy vegetables, the fragrant broth and the spike of citrus and chilli, so it was a pretty fair substitute.

I blanched a bag of bean shoots and divided them between the bowls, with slices of chilli, the leaves of baby bok choy and wedges of lime. I pulled a tub of home-made chicken stock out of the freezer, simmered it with star anise and cinnamon, and corrected the seasoning with a little sugar and fish sauce, then I added the fleshy stems from the bok choy and some baby corn spears and cooked them for another couple of minutes. I rubbed the skin of a couple of duck breasts with Chinese Five Spice powder and cooked it in a hot pan until crisp on the outside and medium rare in the middle. Then I poured the hot broth over the raw vegetables and topped it with the sliced rested duck breasts. Not a proper pho, but a very good meal.

Sunday 13 September 2009

Market Kitchen

Last week a friend and I were in the audience for the taping of Market Kitchen, and I tell you that if you are anywhere within cooee of London, this is just about the best and cheapest day out I can imagine.

We don't actually have a TV at home, so although I have seen the odd episode of Market Kitchen, I wasn't totally familiar with the format.

The set is like a large country-style kitchen cum cafe, with a couple of hobs, small tables and chairs dotted about and an espresso machine. The presenters cook a few dishes, interview a few people, chat about interesting food facts, and there is a presenter down at Borough Market who does a spiel on seasonal food and cooks something down there.

The thing that makes it different is that the studio audience (referred to as "the diners") get to taste plates of all the dishes that are made, and then comment on them. We spent a lot of time being shifted to different tables and grouped in various formations - it was much more interactive than I was expecting!

Another thing which surprised me was that everything on set was real - the crates of herbs were fragrant under the hot lights, the espresso machine was manned by baristas Dan & Liz (I ended up switching to tea, after a bit too much espresso gave me the shakes) and the ovens actually work (I've always been sceptical about the way they stick a dish in the oven and whisk another out - how long has it been sitting there?).

So what did they cook? Matt Tebbutt made stuffed cabbage balls (underseasoned), the blogosphere's famous No-Knead Bread and an absolutely gorgeous apple and blackberry pie. Galton Blakiston made a very simple and extremely delicious plaice fillet with gruyere and leeks. Tom Kerridge braised poussin with minestrone and pesto.

It was a long day - we were there for 7 hours - but it was so much fun! I'd be very keen to do it again.

Friday 11 September 2009


Of course, once you have a few kilos of boerewors made, you have to think about how to preserve it.

A bit of it we ate straight away (quality control, of course). A bit more we ate later that evening. Most of it, we portioned into coils, tucked the coils into freezer bags and stuck them in the freezer as soon as possible. But we just couldn't resist turning some into droëwors. We're both suckers for this intensely spicy, chewy dried sausage. It's the best thing in the world with a glass of cold beer and it ranks up with biltong as one of Paul's favourite snacks to take fishing.

It was really straightforward. We took a couple of lengths of fresh boerewors, sluiced it down with vinegar and hung it in the kitchen over a chopstick over night. We wanted to get the worst of the dripping done in the relative hygiene of the kitchen.

The kitchen is, however, too humid to do all of the drying - droëwors needs to be made with quite thin sausages and needs to dry rapidly so it preserves before it spoils. So once the surface was quite dry, we shifted the MacGyveresque wire-and-chopstick array to the spare bedroom wardrobe.

Our portable dehumidifier completed the job.

It took 5 days to achieve the properly dessicated finish - dark brown, slightly shiny, with knobbly bits where the casing contracts against residual peppercorns and bits of coriander.

And it was absolutely perfect! It had just the right texture - almost honeycomb - and the flavour of the vinegar and spices was really intensified in the drying.

I can't begin to tell you how long drying will preserve the sausage for - ours didn't see the end of the day.

Wednesday 9 September 2009

Birthday Treats

Last week it was my gorgeous little Urchin's first birthday. We have retained just enough sanity NOT to have a party for her, but we did get her a present and gave her a special birthday tea.

She adores sweet creamy things (takes after me, clearly). We don't let her have very much, because a cat who has drunk the milk at the bottom of the Rice Krispy bowl is a very strange animal, but we thought just a little taste would be nice for her.

As it happened, we had some clotted cream in the fridge from a not-very-successful scone making episode, so I made her a little clotted cream quenelle. She knows that treats come on white china saucers (normally she eats straight off the newspaper) so as soon as she saw it come out of the kitchen she bushed up her tail and ran ahead of me to her eating spot.

The cream was considered acceptable.

Her birthday present - a hammock that sits over the radiator - was also found to be quite comfortable. Just wait until we actually have the central heating on!

Monday 7 September 2009

Meat-Free Monday - East Meets West

Last week, our veg box contained this little punnet of deliciousness - a selection of 8 interesting and unusual kinds of tomatoes.
I knew that tomatoes that pretty deserved some really kick-arse mozzarella. I meandered up to the cheese shop at lunch time and came away with a luscious ball of Laverstoke Park buffalo mozzarella. I think it is brilliant that Jody Scheckter has decided to use his retirement to develop organic farming in Britain. And even more brilliant that it means I can get (for the small sum of an arm and a leg) absolutely fresh, gorgeous British buffalo mozzarella.

But woman can't live on mozzarella alone. Especially when married to a man who really prefers warm meals at dinner time. So what to put on the other side of the plate? I decided to pull out a recipe that I pulled out of a Delicious magazine about 18 months ago, but never made - Soy Caramel Roasties.

I thought the unorthodox pairing of very Asian-flavoured hot vegetables and very European salad would work well. My theory was that you get butternut and aubergine in Europe, and you get fresh cheeses and tomato salads in Asia, so there was something of a common language for the flavours. I also thought that the dribble of balsamic that I was putting on the mozzarella would have the right sort of dark caramel flavours to tie the plate together. I was right. It was a brilliant combination!

I didn't have parsnips or carrots, so I just used butternut, sweet potato and aubergine. I also reduced the amount of sugar used to 2 heaped tablespoons, and added a sliced hot green chilli to the sauce. I left out the lime juice because I didn't want that sharpness to compete with the acid of the tomatoes or balsamic.

Unfortunately the tomatoes were a little disappointing. They didn't have the amount of tomato-y flavour I was hoping for, and there wasn't much variation in the flavour between the types. I think if they had been warm from the sun it would have been better. But from every other angle this meal worked really, really well. The creamy, curdy, stretchy cheese cut through the salty, sweet, spicy soy and had enough flavour of its own to stand up to the powerful Asian flavours. The sweetness of the roasted veg cuddled up to the fresh, juicy, slightly acid tomatoes. The various reds, oranges and golds all complemented each other. A very successful fusion.

Saturday 5 September 2009

Boerewors - the old fashioned way

My father in law has an old piece of paper. It contains his mother's hand-written recipe for boerewors. We've been meaning to have a go at it for the last 3 years, ever since Paul took a picture of the recipe while we were in Cape Town.

Over the bank holiday weekend, we seized the opportunity.

We've made sausages before, but not for a long time, so we were very careful to flush the mincer and sausage maker through with copious amounts of boiling water, to make sure it was spanking clean after 2 years packed away in the garage.

We stuck pretty closely to the recipe, because we wanted to see what the balance of flavours was - but with some minor variations.


1.2 kg (trimmed weight) fatty pork. We used a pork belly joint & removed the skin and rib bones before cutting the meat into small cubes
2.3 kg (trimmed weight) lean beef. We used 2 rolled briskets for the beef, and Paul spent a long time trimming off every scrap of sinew and silver-skin.
3 tbs sea salt
2 tbs white pepper corns
1 tbs black pepper corns. We wanted both the clean heat of the white pepper and the fragrance of the black pepper.
3 tsp ground nutmeg. I'm sure freshly grated would have been better but there is no way my fingernails would survive grating 3 tsp worth of nutmegs!
1 tsp ground mace. For one thing we're a bit addicted to mace at the moment, but we also thought that the slightly different nutmeggy flavour would round out the seasonings.
2 tsp ground cloves
4 tbs whole coriander seeds
150g stale bread, soaked in water & wrung out. We used a supermarket sourdough loaf, on the theory that most bread now can sit in the desert for a week and still not get stale.
75 - 100 ml white wine vinegar
Sausage casings. We used natural, salt-preserved sheep casings. In the past we've used hog casings, which are a wider gauge and easier to work with.

Roast the coriander seeds in a dry frying pan, shaking them around a bit, until they darken in colour and begin to crackle and smell really fragrant. Allow them to cool, then put them in a mortar and pestle with the salt, peppercorns, nutmeg, mace and cloves. Grind to a fine powder.

In a large mixing bowl (or, in fact, our largest saucepan, because we don't have a mixing bowl big enough) combine the beef & pork with the spices and moistened stale bread. Get in with your hands and make sure everything is distributed really well. We prefer to do a single pass through the mincer, mincing and stuffing at the same time to keep a coarser texture in the sausage, so this is the point where you are making sure your sausage will have the right amount of meat, bread, fat and seasonings the whole way through.

Sprinkle some white wine vinegar over the meat and again use your hands to combine it. It shouldn't smell too strongly pickled, but there should be a definite tang to the aroma. If you are my husband and of strong constitution, at this stage you stick your finger into the raw meat and taste for seasoning. If you are more delicate (like me) mince a bit of the mixture, fry it and taste it.

Soak lengths of casing in cold water to get the salt off them and run the water through them to make sure they are intact. We find pieces about 75cm long work the best for us, but it isn't very precise. The casings get softer and easier to work with after they have soaked for a few minutes.

Ease a length of casing onto the stuffing attachment and try not to giggle.

I'm sure it is possible to do this by yourself, but we find it to be a 2-person job - 1 to feed the meat into the mincer and turn the handle, the other to regulate the flow of the meat into the casing and form the coils of sausage.

Boerewors isn't separated into links, you always see it as long coils.

Fry coils of sausage in a drop of oil or cook gently on the barbecue (or should I say braai) until they are golden and delicious.

That first night we went the whole ethnic hog and had our fried boerwors with mielie pap (that's polenta to most of us), although it isn't one of Paul's childhood memories.

The sausage texture was excellent, and the flavour was very good. A minor variation - I think next time we'll add maybe 1/2 tsp less of the ground cloves and the same amount more mace. But overall a very successful and very economical batch of sausages. The freezer is looking very well-stocked!

Friday 4 September 2009

Ask Foodycat - Hollandaise Sauce

Recently Ms Crankypants asked for some help with Hollandaise sauce. She said "Hollandaise, florentine biscuits and fudge are the three things I just can't cook without them turning to culinary disaster zones."

Florentines are delicious, but a mystery to me too. Fudge I don't have the patience for (except the easy kind with condensed milk). But Hollandaise I can help with!

The first thing you need to know about Hollandaise is that I cheat. What I am happy to call a Hollandaise is not what a purist would acknowledge.

My cheating comes, however, with Elizabeth David's blessing. In French Provincial Food she notes that, when made with just butter, egg yolks and lemon juice (as it is supposed to be) it is apt to be insipid. Yes. Yes it is. So she suggests starting as for a Bearnaise, and making a reduction of white wine vinegar as the foundation of the sauce. It doesn't have tarragon, and it doesn't have shallots in it, so it doesn't taste like a Bearnaise, it just tastes much better than the plain version.

My second cheat is that I don't follow the traditional method. I find adding cold butter, cube by cube, to the eggyolks in a double boiler is far too fraught with tension. To get the eggs hot enough to incorporate the butter without scrambling is a knife-edge that I just can't walk. So I melt the butter, drizzle it into the yolks in my double boiler as if I were making mayonnaise and then cook it until it thickens.

So - without further ado - I present:

Hollandaise Sauce (makes an unhealthy amount for 2 or a good amount for 4)

3 tbs white wine vinegar
1 bayleaf
a few peppercorns
2 eggyolks
120g butter ( I use slightly salted)
Juice of half a lemon

In a small pan, combine the vinegar, bayleaf and peppercorns. Reduce over a high heat until there is only about 1tbs of liquid left. Strain the reduction into a pyrex bowl and allow to cool. For the sake of the washing up, use the same small saucepan to gently melt the butter and allow to cool slightly.

Beat the eggyolks into the cooled vinegar with a wooden spoon - not a whisk, I don't want the froth to hide any changes that indicate scrambling is about to happen.

Set the pyrex bowl over a pan containing a bit of simmering water, on a low heat. With one hand stir the eggs continuously, with the other drip the melted butter in, little bit by little bit, making sure each addition is incorporated before you pour the next bit in.

When all the butter is added, keep stirring. Make sure you are getting all round the base and sides of the bowl, wherever they are exposed to steam.

This takes a while. Don't lose heart, don't be tempted to turn the heat up.

The moment the sauce shows the slightest sign of thickening, turn the heat off under it (and if you are on an electric stove, take the pot off the heat).

Keep stirring! After another few seconds it'll be showing definite intention to thicken. Then whip the bowl off the pot of simmering water and keep stirring. At this stage it'll keep thickening, but you want to make sure you haven't got any hot-spots that'll scramble the bottom.

Pretty soon, you will have a lovely thick coating consistency. Add a little lemon juice and taste for seasoning. For this demonstration I added a bit of grainy mustard because I thought it'd be nice with my salmon fillets. If you were serving it with poached eggs and ham for an eggs Benedict, you won't need a lot of seasoning, but if it is with eggs and spinach for a Florentine, you'll want a bit more.

The last thing about Hollandaise is that it is a breeding ground for disease. Good-o. Either make it just before you serve it, or cover and chill it quickly and serve it cold (honestly, if you serve it on hot food and flash it under the grill at the last minute, no one will know!). It really isn't worth it to keep it warm for any length of time before serving.

Thursday 3 September 2009

Paprika Chicken

When I was a little girl I didn't go much for picture books. I either had a selection of aunts to read me proper books until I could read myself, or cook books with colour pictures. Food is an obsession for me that has, as they say, come early and stayed late.

I've posted before about my fascination for my mother's St Michael's cookbook. I have still never used the techniques for boning and stuffing a turkey, filleting a sole or dressing a crab, but it did contain some darn good recipes. The Keema (curried mince) is very good, the bramble mousse is delicious and the paprika chicken is easy, economical and very tasty.

I don't usually re-publish other people's recipes, but since I am fairly sure it is out of print (although available second hand on Amazon) I will do this one.

Paprika Chicken

Butter or oil for frying
1/2kg onions, peeled and finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
4 chicken thigh cutlets
1 tbs paprika
150ml chicken or vegetable stock
Sour cream to finish

Melt the butter in an ovenproof casserole & add the onions and garlic. Cover and cook over a very low heat, stirring frequently, for 45 minutes until golden and soft, almost a puree [this is not the time to take shortcuts and add sugar to caramelise the onions. You need it to be really properly cooked otherwise the onions are quite indigestible]. Raise the heat slightly, add the chicken & paprika. Spoon the onion over the chicken and add the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer, then cover and cook in a moderate oven for 45 minutes or until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear. Most of the sauce will have evaporated, leaving you with a thick red puree coating the chicken. Adjust seasoning (probably no more salt but a bit of pepper).

Serve with a dollop of sour cream.

For this meal I cut a cauliflower and an enormous pattypan squash into chunks and roasted them with olive oil and cloves of garlic

Tuesday 1 September 2009

Key Lime Pie

One of the best things I have seen on TV in recent years is Dexter. It amazes me how sympathetically they can write a psychopathic serial killer. Even more so since I read the books the series is based on and discovered that they are really pretty shit.

I thought Season 3 was derailed a bit by the wedding subplot, but in honour of the start of Season 4, I decided to make a dessert inspired by Dexter. Key Lime Pie. Another subplot - not as irritating as the wedding - has an old friend of the family, Camilla, asking Dexter to euthanase her AND bring her the perfect slice of Key Lime Pie. Her life's ambition has been to eat the perfect Key Lime Pie, but as she says "And what do I get when I’m about to croak? Fucking pie crust, Reddywhip and green Jell-o".

Now, I have never had Key Lime Pie before - good, bad or indifferent - so all I really had to go on were the things that Camilla said while giving her directions to Dexter. Definitely no fucking pie crust, reddywhip or jell-o. Even if she didn't lay down the law on that, I have seen what is in reddywhip and I wouldn't eat it if my life depended on it. It also must have condensed milk in it, can't have whipped cream folded through the filling and definitely must not contain green food colouring. So that wrote off 75% of the recipes floating around the internet.

I ended up following this recipe which turns out to be incredibly quick and easy - about 10 minutes of effort, a few minutes in the oven and a couple of hours to chill produces a stunningly good dessert.

Normally I would use digestives when I do a crumb crust, but we've had a tin of funny Chinese coconut cookies in the pantry for a while, so I used them instead - didn't sweeten it, but added and extra couple of tablespoons of coconut.

I couldn't get Key Limes (known as Tahitian Limes in Australia - smaller, yellower, thinner skinned than normal limes) so I used what I had in the pantry - a lime and a lemon. I also didn't sweeten the cream for the topping, although I did add the merest hint of Cointreau. I didn't spread the cream all the way to the edge because I wanted to show the pretty pale yellow of the filling. Garnished with some crystallised lemon and lime zest.

Well, I don't know what Camilla would think, but I thought it was pretty perfect. The filling isn't as tangy as a good tart au citron, but it has a wonderful curdy texture and the nutty crust and billowing bland whipped cream are the perfect foils for the lime filling.


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