Saturday, 30 June 2012

Pear and walnut tarts with walnut crumble and some news!

An obsession of both of ours is Masterchef, any global version will do. You either love it or hate it and for us 'lovers' it divides us on Twitter, takes over our dinner table conversation and keeps us coming back for more. Over the years, I've been green with envy watching the Australian contestants meet and cook for or with the likes of Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson, Tetsuya, Shannon Bennett, Christine Manfield, Rick Stein, Donna Hay.....and the list goes on. Even the judges themselves imparting their knowledge would be enough for me (George, Matt, Gary - feel free to come round to my place for dinner - you're cooking by the way).

Anyway, the current Australian series has had some awesome Masterclass Fridays so far. Gary Mehigan (one of the judges) recently made an amazing fig and pistachio frangipane tart with a pistachio crumble. I immediately started thinking of all the possible flavour combinations that would work with this recipe concept. I started texting M and of course she came back with chocolate stuff but having just made pear puree for my little man, pears were on my brain. Pears of course do lend themselves to chocolate (one day M!), but they also go beautifully with nuts.

For this recipe, I used Gary's as a base (his original one is here). We didn't make a nut paste for the frangipane but instead just added some additional ground walnuts to the mixture. We also added cinnamon everywhere we could because I'm a bit of a cinnamon freak and the pear and walnut combo needed a spicy hit somewhere.

Though I am loathe to write OMG in any form of text......OMG! This is so yummy! Okay so the flavour combo was a winner (even if I do say so), but mainly the concept of a fruit frangipane tart with the addition of a nut crumble is delicious. It's hard to stop eating it and would go so well served warm with a dollop of thick double cream.

AND in some exciting news, Maude and Betty is featured in this month's GRAM Magazine (Brisbane edition - Issue 4). For those of you in Melbourne and Brisbane who haven't yet discovered Gram - get on board now. Available here online and the full hard copy version in heaps of our favourite and yummiest places around town, Gram is a free street magazine about the food and drink stories of these two cities as told by local food bloggers.

Pear and walnut tarts

Sweet shortcrust pastry (yes, c'mon do make your own - so worth it!)
  • 120g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 30g icing sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 240g plain flour
  • 1egg, plus 1 yolk
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
Walnut crumble
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 40g plain flour
  • 30g chilled butter, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
Frangipane filling
  • 120g unsalted butter, softened
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon almond liquer (or essence)
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 120g ground almonds
  • 40g plain flour
  • 2 tablespoons ground walnuts
  • 6 fresh pears, cored and cut into thin slices
  • 1/2 cup honey, warmed, to glaze
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon, added to honey for the glaze
For the Pastry:
1. Preheat the oven to 160°C.

2. For pastry, place butter, sugar and salt into a food processor and process until creamy. Add flour and cinnamon and process until coarse breadcrumbs. Add egg and yolk and process for 10 seconds or until the dough comes together to form a ball.

3. Tip pastry onto a lightly floured bench and bring together with hands. Flatten gently into a flat rectangular shape and wrap in plastic film. Refrigerate for 20 minutes to rest.

4. Roll rested dough to 3mm thick and wrap loosely around a rolling pin. Gently roll over a 35cm x 7cm rectangular fluted tart tin with a removable base and press pastry into tin, moulding pastry up the sides of the tin with your fingertips, fill in any cracks with excess dough. Remove any excess pastry with your thumb by pressing down along the edges of the tin. Refrigerate for 30 minutes. (Note: we ended up using 6 x 11cm round fluted tart tins - but use whatever you like being careful you have enough pastry).

5. Place a sheet of baking paper into the chilled pastry in the tart tin, half-fill with baking beads or rice and bake for 12-15 minutes until edges are light golden. Remove weights and baking paper and bake for 5-10 minutes or until base is dry. Set aside.

For the Walnut Crumble:

6. For the walnut crumble, place walnuts in the chopper attachment of a stick blender and process to a meal. Add sugar, flour and cinnamon and process to combine, transfer to a bowl. Rub in butter with your fingers, leaving some small lumps of butter.

7. Line a baking tray with baking paper, tip crumble over tray and spread evenly. Bake for 5-7 minutes or until just golden. Set aside to cool.

For the Franipane Filling:

9. For frangipane filling, whisk butter and sugar in an electric mixer until creamy. With the motor running, add eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, continuing to mix after each addition. Add almond liqueur, lemon zest, ground almonds, flour and ground walnuts and whisk until combined.

10. Spoon almond mixture into tart shell until ¾ full. (Left over frangipane can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week). Gently press in pear slices, placing them at regular intervals along the tart or fanning them out as you prefer. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden.

11. Remove tart from oven, brush with warm honey and cinnamon mixture and leave to cool. Sprinkle the crumble generously over the tart and serve with double cream on the side.

So delicious! Enjoy with a cup of tea and Issue 4 of GRAM magazine!!!

B xx

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Curried Chickpea and Vegetable Balls/Patties

Another BIG thank you to our guest blogger "Mother" of Maude and Betty, these were a welcome treat for our Indian feast!

A little something extra for a curry night or maybe for that vegetarian finger food or even served up as a light lunch with a sweet chilli sauce and salad. Very versatile. They can be made as hot or mild as you like and as patties or balls, as small or as big as you prefer. This recipe has been adjusted from "Best Recipes" to suit my clan. Master M, being a bit of of a foodie has given the thumbs up to patties about the size of a flattened golf ball. I find they cook better this way as well. The good thing is there is no frying. Just pop them in the oven on baking paper like a biscuit.


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
800 g potato (I use about 400 g of each orange sweet potatoes and 400 g of normal potatoes..........?your choice))
1 tbs grated ginger
2 garlic cloves crushed
1 onion finely chopped
1-2 tbs curry powder (I opt for 1)
1 cup each of frozen or fresh corn, peas, diced carrot and red capsicum (I use frozen peas but steam 2 cobs of corn and 2 carrots until just crispy. The capsicum is just seeded and diced)
1 x 400 can chickpeas, rinsed thoroughly and drained. (I mash or maybe I should describe it more as smash - not to a mashed pulp - as I prefer this texture). 
2 tsp margarine or butter
2 tsp garam masala (optional)
1/2 cup chopped coriander or parsley
salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 180 C
Whilst potatoes are cooking, heat oil in large pan and add garlic, onion and ginger and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add curry powder and cook for further minute or until fragrant.
Add corn, peas, carrot and capsicum and cook for 5 minutes stirring constantly. 
Remove from stove and allow to cool.

Add mashed potato and garam masala, butter, coriander or parsley and salt and pepper.
Mix thoroughly and add chick pea mixture. Shape (with wet hands if preferred) mixture into balls and place on baking paper on baking trays. Flatten if patties preferred.

Cook for 30-40 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
I find that I like to turn them after 40 minutes and cook for a further 10 -15 minutes to get that golden brown tinge. 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Orecchiette with pumpkin, broccoli and cauliflower

In our house we tend to eat more pasta than we probably should (can you say 'carb-addicts'?) but I guess I could say the same about our Indian obsession and of course my chocolate obsession. When my first little darling (Miss 10) was born I was lulled into a sense of false hope thinking she would LOVE my cooking when I was busy making all those purees that you do for babies, but boy was I wrong about her down the track! I think PLAIN pasta (yes, no sauce, no cheese.....maybe a little butter) was her staple diet for at least 12 months straight (anyone else have/had a 'white' diet child?). Oh and also tomato sauce, but in a separate bowl of course so she could do her own double dipping!

Thankfully she has reached great heights by allowing her meat balls and pasta sauces to actually touch the pasta now. Somthing I thought would never happen and was thinking she'd be 30 years old asking a chef to separate them for her! Now my Miss 5 is suffering the same debilitating disease, but not to the same extreme as her sister. But don't be alarmed B, as it's not contagious because my Master 8 has taste buds that Jamie Oliver would be proud of so there is hope for your little bundle (Master 6 months!).
We normally just have a quick spaghetti bolognaise most pasta nights but I wanted to try something a little different that I had come across in my Neil Perry - Good Food book which was just as easy but with some vegetables instead of traditional meat. Listed in the ingredients are anchovies and seeing my gang can all tick this particular ingredient off their bucket list of "things to try" list, I was determined to see if they were all going to try it for a second time. I can see some of your faces now at the thought of "anchovies" but in both recipes they actually melt into nothing and it's more about the flavour it adds to the dish than eating little hairy fish.
It was definitely about the flavour with this dish and I did what Neil recommended and roasted my pumpkin instead of boiling it as stated in the actual recipe. I would make this again in a heart beat and having 4 out of 5 enjoy this meal is great odds......I'm hoping my Miss 5 will change one day.

You will need:
400g orecchiette - (I couldn't get this pasta so I used medium shells instead) 
400g butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1cm dice - I roasted mine instead of boiling it
100 ml extra virgin olive oil
6 anchovies
5 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes
sea salt
200g broccoli, cut into florets
125g cauliflower, cut into florets
freshly grated parmesan 
freshly ground pepper
serves 4

Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook the pumpkin until it is just tender. (This is where I roasted my pumpkin for about 30 mins or until browned and tender). Drain and reserve the pumpkin.

In a large frying pan , heat the oil and add the anchovies, garlic, chilli flakes and a pinch of salt. Fry for about 3 minutes, stirring continuously, until the anchovies start to melt in the oil.

Add the broccoli and cauliflower and a dash more oil, cover, and slowly braise for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are well cooked and soft.

Add the cooked pumpkin and check the seasoning.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a saucepan of well salted boiling water, until al dente, then drain. Combine with sauce in the frying pan and continue to cook for a further minute.

Divide among four large pasta bowls and finish with freshly grated Parmesan and pepper.

Enjoy! M x

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Bakewell Tart with Blueberries

Today's post is another great recipe made by our Mother......keep up the baking MUM!!!

This used to be a family favourite. Thanks to the ABC delicious baking collection it is once again. Of course, as with a lot of things, there have been some changes over time. It must have been a couple of years since I had baked my tart, when I came across this version in the "Delicious baking" book titled Champion bakewell tart. It surely brought back the fond memories. If you like almonds then this is the tart for you. I have actually varied the add ins at times. I am rather fond of berries,........... blueberries and raspberries mostly, and either or both of these may be added. Another variation is a delicious drizzle of lemon icing as a criss-cross pattern over the top when cool...........yum. Then of course, it can be left as the plain almond flavour and this also, is a favourite for some.

1 1/3 cups (200g) plain flour
2 tbs icing sugar
100g chilled unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg lightly beaten

150g unsalted butter, softened
150g caster sugar
3 eggs at room temperature, beaten
150g almond meal
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup (110g) strawberry or raspberry jam
2 tbs flaked almonds
blueberries or raspberries if adding


Sift flour, icing sugar and pinch of salt into bowl. Rub in butter with fingertips until resembles breadcrumbs.

 Add the beaten egg and stir until mixture comes together. Wrap with cling wrap and place in fridge for 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 180* Roll pastry out on a lightly floured surface to about 5mm thickness. Line a loose bottomed tart tray with pastry (approx 22 -24cm) Trim excess a little above rim and prick base all over with fork.

 Place baking paper on pastry and fill with rice or baking weights and bake in oven for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and remove baking paper and weights and return to oven for a further 10 minutes or until pastry is dry and golden. Set aside to cool.

For filling, beat butter and sugar together until thick and pale. Add the eggs in 3 batches beating well after each addition.

 Fold in almond meal and lemon zest and then berries if required .

Spread the jam evenly over the base of the pastry case, then spoon over the filling, levelling the surface.
Scatter over the almonds and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden, has risen and is set in the middle.

 Cool for 10 minutes before removing. Cool completely before slicing and serving.  


Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Indian Lamb Curry

This post is brought to you by "Mother" of Maude and Betty......."Love your work Mum" x

Of course, it doesn't have to be winter for a good curry to go down well, but let's face it, a bleak winter night and a tasty curry with steamed rice and the naan bread. What could be better than that? There are many versions of this "Indian Lamb Curry" recipe. I have come across some dating back 10-15 years, some hotter that others. I have adapted this from a 2002 entry in to suit our majority. It has survived down the years.


1 kg boneless lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into 2 cm pieces
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 bay leaves
2 cardamon pods
1 cinnamon stick
8-10 peppercorns
3 whole cloves
1 1/2 large onions finely chopped
1 tbs fresh ginger paste
2 tsp minced garlic
1 green chili (long) optional
1/2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
1 1/2 tsp garam masala
1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
3 cups water or stock plus a little extra
1/3 cup plain yogurt
2 tbs chopped fresh coriander leaves


Heat oil in large pan, add bay leaves, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick, peppercorns and cloves.

When leaves begin to sizzle and fragrance starts to release, add onions and saute until light golden, stirring frequently.
Stir in the ginger paste, garlic, chili and lamb.

Season with salt, continue cooking and stirring occasionally for 20 minutes, adding a little water if necessary to avoid food from sticking.
Add tumeric, coriander powder, cayenne, and garam masala. Stir for 5 minutes adding 2 tbls water.

Add diced tomatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.

Add 3 cups of stock/water and simmer for 30/40 minutes or until meat is tender and to your liking.

Whisk yogurt with fork and add very gradually to curry on very low heat.
Continue cooking until meat is to your liking and sauce is thickened.
Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with steamed rice and Indian breads.  

This curry was lovely.....thanks for sharing it Mum!