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Rhubarb Bakewell Tart

May 30, 2011

I adore Bakewell Tart – it must be up there as one of my all time favourites so with my recent glut of rhubarb, I though I’d combine the two.

rhubarb bakewell tart

Pastry is my nemesis. My Mum always says it’s good (she has to say that –  she’s my Mum) but I’m never happy with it! The pastry case in this recipe is blind baked before the filling is added. I used some of my rhubarb and ginger jam but you could also use sweetened, cooked rhubarb.


For the pastry

150g plain flour

25g icing sugar

75g unsalted butter, chilled

1 egg, beaten

1 egg white, beaten

For the filling

2 tbsp rhubarb and ginger jam or sweetened cooked rhubarb

100g unsalted butter, softened

125g caster sugar

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

125g ground almonds

25g flaked almonds

1. Sift the flour and icing sugar into a large bowl, dice the butter and add it.

2. Either use your fingers or a pastry blender to rub the butter into the flour and icing sugar until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. You could also use a food processor to do this.

3. Add the beaten egg, a little at a time and bring the mixture together to form the pastry using your fingers or a palette knife. You don’t want the pastry to be sticky so you may not need all the egg. If there isn’t enough egg to bring the mixture together, add some water, a little at a time until it does.

4. Roll the pastry into a ball, wrap it in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

5. Preheat the oven to 180°C about 15 minutes before you are ready to bake the pastry case.

7. Lightly dust the work surface with some plain flour then roll out the pastry into a circle approximately 12″ (30cm) in diameter. Place the pastry into a 9″ (23cm) flan dish and gently press it into the edges so it moulds to the shape of the dish.

8. Trim off the excess pastry from the edges and prick the bottom of the case all over with a fork. This helps to stop it from rising.

9. Line the pastry case with some greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or rice. To make it easier to line the case, scrunch up the greaseproof paper into a ball before lining, which helps it take the shape of the dish better.

10. Bake for 15 minutes then remove the baking beans/rice and greasproof paper, brush the bottom of the pastry case with the beaten egg white and return to the oven for a further 3 minutes. This seals the base of the pastry case and stops it becoming soggy when you add the filling.

11. Remove the pastry case from the oven and allow to cool slightly before spreading with the jam or rhubarb. Turn the oven down to 170°C.

12. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and almond extract.

13. Lightly beat the whole eggs and extra egg yolk in a small jug then add it, along with the ground almonds to the butter and sugar.

14. Mix until the ingredients are well combined then pour the mixture into the pastry case.

15. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes then scatter the flaked almonds over the top. Return to the oven and bake for a further 15-20 minutes until it is golden and the filling is set.

16. Allow to cool in the flan dish or serve warm.

rhubarb bakewell tart

May Bake It! Club

May 29, 2011

Bake It! Club

So, I thought this was going to be a quick and easy recipe but it seems have caused all sorts of problems! We’ve had collapsing cupcakes and failed meringues galore! It is very strange as I’ve tried this recipe many times and home and it has worked every time. The main culprit for the sunken cupcakes is probably oven temperatures, which vary wildly and are hardly ever what you think they are. Meringue is a tricky customer and I’ve only just got the hang of it after many, many attempts. It is very easy to slightly over-whisk it and cause it to turn to liquid when you add the sugar.

Thank you everyone who joined in this month, I hope the failed attempts weren’t too stressful. I am going to have to think of something fail-safe for next month! If you have baked the lemon meringue cupcakes, please feel free to add a link to your blog post below and add a photo to the Flickr group. I’ll leave the inlinkz tool open until the 5th June.

Weekly Meal Plan – 23rd May

May 24, 2011

I really must get organised as the badge says ‘Meal Planning Monday’ but I never get round to posting mine until Tuesday every week! Last week’s plan went well, apart from the Lamb Tagine – the less said about that the better. Lets just say a combination of stringy lamb and forgetting to cover the dish did not produce a pleasant meal. Despite this little hiccup, I stuck to the plan and saved money as I didn’t have to do any extra shopping. Yippee!

This week I am trying out some recipes from a new book I got this week – My Daddy Cooks. Nick is a great twitter friend and I’ve been eagerly awaiting his recipe book – at first glance, it certainly lives up to, and exceeds my expectations. Nick and his son, Archie also video blog lots of recipes over on their blog – well worth checking out if you haven’t already. The book contains lots of good old family classics, that have been given a My Daddy Cooks twist as well as breakfast dishes, speedy desserts and a whole host more.

When my copy of the book arrived, I sat down and showed Faith, who took a great interest as she had watched Nick and Archie cooking in their videos. When I told her the name of the book is ‘My Daddy Cooks’ she looked at me blankly and replied, “Oh! My Daddy doesn’t!” Out of the mouths of babes….

Anyway, here’s my plan for this week. We are visiting my Dad at the weekend so only 5 days to plan for:

Monday – Bacon and tomato pasta

Tuesday – Glazed salmon and noodles

Wednesday – Chicken, leek and tarragon pie with a rosti topping (from My Daddy Cooks)

Thursday – Lamb and vegetable kebabs with couscous

Friday – Turbo-quick shepherd’s pie (from My Daddy Cooks)

As always, check out At Home with Mrs M’s linky for more ideas and inspiration. Happy meal planning!

Baked fish

May 23, 2011

Firstly, I must apologies for the quality of the photo in the post – everyone was very hungry and I had to take a few quick snaps before it was gone! I can assure you though, this was much more delicious than it looks and went down very well at dinner time!

baked fish

The recipe is based on one from the Little Dish Favourites Cookbook, a book that we use quite a lot. It happily fed our family of 4, although if you have older children you may want to use more fish.


Approx 600g (2 large/4 smaller fillets) white fish fillets (we used River Cobbler but you could use any white fish)

400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 clove of garlic, crushed

Freshly ground black pepper

100g mozzarella, sliced or grated

6 tbsps breadcrumbs

1 tbsp parmesan, finely grated

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease a baking dish large enough to lay your fish in.

2. Check the fish for bones then lay the fillets, skin side down, in the baking dish, side by side.

3. Combine the tomatoes, lemon juice, garlic and black pepper in a bowl then pour over the fish.

4. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the fish, or lay the pieces over if you have sliced the mozzarella.

5. Mix together the breadcrumbs and grated parmesan then sprinkle over the fish.

6. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until the fish is cooked through and the cheese and breadcrumbs are golden and bubbling.

We ate ours with lots of green vegetables and everyone agreed it was a delicious meal and one we will definitely have again. Well, almost everyone… Faith has suddenly decided she doesn’t like fish and gags when she eats it. Kids, eh? 😉

Rhubarb and ginger jam

May 19, 2011

After visiting my Mum a few weeks back, I came home with 2 bags full of rhubarb! I adore rhubarb and was ridiculously excited about trying out some new recipes. First up I thought I’d make some jam by combining the rhubarb with one of my other favourite ingredients – ginger.

rhubarb and ginger jam

I am a big fan of using ingredients you have to hand instead of spending a fortune on specific things, so I decided to use a jar of stem ginger I had in the cupboard instead of buying crystallised ginger.

Ingredients (makes about 3 jars)

1kg rhubarb

1kg jam sugar

Juice of 2 lemons

2 tbsps ginger syrup (from the stem ginger jar)

3 pieces stem ginger

A quick heads up – the rhubarb needs to macerate overnight so start this the day before you want to cook it!

1. Wash the rhubarb and cut into pieces approximately 2cm long. Place in a large bowl with the sugar and lemon juice, give it a quick stir then cover and leave overnight to macerate. The sugar and lemon juice will draw out the juices from the rhubarb.

2. Place the rhubarb mixture in a large saucepan or preserving pan over a medium heat.

3. Put a saucer into the freezer – I haven’t gone mad, you’ll need this later to test the setting point of the jam! Also make sure you have some jam jars sterilised (you can do this in several ways – here are some ideas).

4. Bring the rhubarb mixture to the boil and boil rapidly for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove any scum from the surface every so often.

5. Chop the stem ginger (or use crystallised if you prefer) and add it to the pan with 2 tbsps of syrup from the jar.

6. Boil for another 5 minutes. Test to see if the jam has reached its setting point by dropping a teaspoonful onto the chilled saucer. Push your finger through it and if the surface wrinkles then the jam is ready. If it doesn’t then continue to boil and test again after a few minutes.

7. Once the jam is ready, leave to cool until the jam and the jars are roughly the same temperature. Spoon the jam into the jars, cover and leave to cool. Never put hot jam into cold jars or vice versa!

8. Label up the jam and store in a cool place until you are ready to use it. Once opened, keep in the fridge.

rhubarb and ginger jam

I’m a MADS Finalist!

May 18, 2011

MAD Blog Awards 2011

Yesterday, something very exciting happened – I found out I had made it as a finalist in the Best Family Food Blogger category of The MAD Awards! I was totally and utterly gobsmacked and completely overwhelmed. Thank you so much to everyone who nominated me – I am astounded and so grateful for your support. My blog is like a 3rd (or 4th if you count my husband!) child and that other people actually enjoy reading it is the best feeling ever.

I am proud to be in this category with some of my favourite food blogs, which makes it even harder to ask you all to vote for me in the final! I know the care, attention and hard work that we all put into developing our recipes, writing them up and getting the best photos we can. My neighbours must wonder what on earth I’m doing as I appear in the garden, plate of food or cake in one hand and the camera in the other! But, having made it this far, obviously I WANT TO WIN!

So please, please (yes, I’m not against a little begging!) if you enjoy my blog and my recipes head across and vote for me to win the title of  Best Family Food Blog. Also, check out some of the blogs in the other categories – there are some brilliant ones and I have loved discovering new ones I hadn’t heard of before.

A huge thank you must go to Sally and Jen whose hard work behind the scenes makes all this possible – you guys are the best!

Now, go vote… are we allowed to use bribery…

sunflower cupcakes

Mmmm... yummy cupcakes for you, lovely readers....

May Bake It! Recipe – Lemon Meringue Cupcakes

May 18, 2011

Bake It! Club LogoSorry, I’m a little (or a lot!) late this month posting the recipe! I hope the lemon meringue cupcake recipe – delicious for these sunny Spring days, will make up for it. There were only a couple of entries into the club again last month so congratulations to Lucy, who I picked randomly as the ‘winner’ of a signed copy of my book. Please email me your address Lucy.

This lemony cupcake recipe with soft meringue icing is absolutely delicious and it has gone down so well with family and friends that I have made several batches in the past few weeks! If you are a super domestic goddess then you can use the egg yolks left over from the meringue to make the lemon curd. If you are lazy like me then you can use lemon curd from a jar and chuck your extra yolks into your scrambled egg!

lemon meringue cupcake

Ingredients (makes 12 cupcakes)

150g butter/baking margarine (I always use Stork for cupcakes)

1 tbsp lemon curd

150g caster sugar

150g self raising flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

For the topping

12 tsp lemon curd

2 egg whites

100g caster sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and place 12 muffin/cupcake cases in a muffin tin.

2. Cream together the butter/margarine, lemon curd and sugar until light and creamy either by hand using a knife or wooden spoon, or using a food mixer.

3. Sift together the flour and baking powder. Add 1 egg and half the flour to the butter and sugar mixture and beat to combine. Repeat with the other egg and the rest of the flour and mix until the ingredients are well combined.

4. Divide the mixture equally between the cupcake cases – a spring loaded scoop is a useful tool but a couple of teaspoons will do the job just fine.

5. Bake for approx 15 minutes until the cakes are risen and golden. If they still don’t looked cooked then bake for a few minutes longer. Remove from the oven, allow to cool in the tin for a couple of minutes then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

6. Spread a teaspoon of lemon curd over the top of each cupcake.

7. To make the meringue, whisk the egg whites with an electric whisk until they have formed stiff peaks – you can hold the bowl upside down over your head to test if you’re feeling brave! Don’t over-whisk as the mixture can begin to go back to being a liquid.

8. Gradually add the sugar, a tablespoonful at a time, whilst continuing to whisk, until it has all been added. It should become glossy and should be able to hold its shape.

9. You can either spoon the meringue onto the top of each cupcake or pipe it on using a large star tip nozzle to make a pretty swirl.

10. Preheat the grill and place your cupcakes onto a baking tray/grill pan (make sure it is something that is suitable to go under a grill!) Place the cupcakes under the grill and keep a close eye on them. Once the meringue is nicely browned all over, remove them and leave them to cool.

These little beauties are best eaten with a fork and really need to be eaten the same day they are made – what an excellent excuse!

As always, please grab yourself a blog badge from the sidebar if you’d like, and add your photos to the Flickr group to show off your brilliant baking. I will add a link list on Friday 27th May, which I’ll leave open until Friday 3rd June for you to add your blog posts to.

Happy Baking!