When you get to opening your tin you will find a thick caramel that holds its shape and can be spread onto a biscuit base. My favourite tart is to mix chopped nuts into the toffee before spreading it onto the biscuit layer, then decorate the top with whole or half nuts. I’ve made this with Pecan nuts and with Hazelnuts, both are very good. You can also put the a neat toffee layer onto the biscuits, then top that with banana slices and whipped cream for a Banoffee Tart.
The little tart pictured is made in a 10 cm wide loose based tin, which makes 6 my size mini portions or 4 larger ones. For a 15 cm wide tart tin double all the amounts in the recipe.
60 grams biscuits – finely chopped in a food processor
20 grams butter
200 grams toffeed condensed milk
100 grams hazelnuts
Just in case you have never made a biscuit base, melt the butter in a pan over a low heat, add the biscuits and mix well. Tip into the tart tin and spread into an even layer, tamp down firmly with either your fingers or something flat. Put to cool in the refrigerator.
Cut enough hazelnuts in half to decorate the top of the tart, then roughly chop the rest.
Mix with the toffee, then once the biscuit base is cooled, spread over this in an even layer, and then decorate with the hazelnut halves.
This is a vegan version of a traditional recipe that I had in a little Polish restaurant in Doncaster. The soup was a thin clear broth with sauerkraut in it, and on the side of the dish a pile of mashed potatoes that you mixed into the soup as you ate it to thicken it. The original version was made with a meat stock, and the mash thickener had finely chopped ham in it and maybe some fried onions as well. The additions to the mash can be changed depending on what you have in your cupboard, just fried onions and or garlic would work well, finely chopped fried peppers too.
For 1 portion
250 – 300 ml clear stock
70 grams sauerkraut plus a tablespoon of its salty liquid
1 medium potato – peeled and cut into smallish cubes
1 medium sized strongly flavoured mushroom – chopped into small dice
1 clove garlic – finely chopped
20 grams hazelnuts – roughly crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a small saucepan and once hot add the garlic and mushrooms. Fry stirring regularly for about 5 minutes.
Add the potatoes, stir to mix in, the add enough boiling water to only just cover the potatoes. Cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked and soft.
While the potatoes are cooking, put the stock and sauerkraut in another pan and bring to a simmer. Check the seasonings adding salt and black pepper as needed.
Once the potatoes are cooked pour off any excess cooking liquid into the soup. Mash the potato mix. Add the crushed hazelnuts and mix in.
Serve the soup with a little mound of the potato mix to one side.
In this summer heat, lunch for your friends wants to be a light and fresh affair, Watermelon Gazpacho followed by three salads served with freshly homemade bread. To finish a small pot each of intense dark chocolate sorbet and crispy ginger biscuits.
BEETROOT & RADICCIO SALAD WITH PURPLE BASIL
The beetroot was roasted for an hour with whole cloves of garlic, a generous splash of balsamic vinegar, sprigs of fresh oregano and olive oil, season well with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Let the beetroot cool before mixing with shredded chicory and purple basil leaves.
LENTIL & POMEGRANATE SALAD WITH FRESH CORIANDER
His salad is cooked green lentils, a good amount of the little pomegranate jewels that I have plenty of in the garden this year, then finely chopped cucumber, tomatoes and celery. Add a generous amount of roughly chopped coriander leaves and dress lightly with lime juice and olive oil.
I’m a fan of soaking dried grains so that when you come to cooking the grains are already re moistened in the centre, and so require less cooking. Pour boiling water over the lentils and leave an hour or so to steep before cooking until just tender. Drain the lentils and let them cool before adding them to the salad.
SALAD OF FRESH FIGS, ROASTED RED ONIONS AND HAZELNUTS
This is a Yotam Ottolengi recipe which has a lovely contrast of flavours with the sweet roasted red onions and figs, and the peppery watercress and rocket. His recipe uses radiccio rather than rocket, but as I have both I decided that the more peppery rocket suited this recipe better. I was surprised to find that what I thought was weeds in my vegetable patch is actually rocket, and it hasn’t become overly peppery in the strong Spanish heat. I haven’t used roasted red onions in a salad before, and I have to say, I’m a total convert. I shall be roasting a tray full regularly so that I have them at the ready in the fridge.
This amount serves 4
2 small red onions – peel them and cut each into 6 wedges
50 grams hazelnuts with skin / or ready dry roasted unseasoned hazelnuts
1/2 small head of radicchio / or a similar amount of rocket
good bunch of fresh basil – either the green or purple
bunch of watercress with the stems removed
6 ripe fresh figs, cut into quarters
Roast the onions drizzled with olive oil at 180 C for 30 minutes. Leave to cool.
If you are roasting hazelnuts, turn the oven down to 140, and once it has reached this temperature, spread the hazelnuts in a shallow pan and roast for 20 minutes. Leave to cool then break up into pieces with a pestle and mortar. If you are using the ready roasted hazelnuts break these up as above.
To put the salad together, start with the leaves, rip them into pieces and put in a large bowl, add the onions and figs.
Dress with the oil and vinegar and gently toss. I like to do this with my hands as it’s more gentle than using implements.