A foodie family's diary of travel, food, and photos

Rosy Cheeked Apricots

June 17th, 2012 | Posted by Ruby in Cakes | Dessert - (Comments Off on Rosy Cheeked Apricots)

It’s apricot season and rosy apricots from the south of France have just arrived in London, unfortunately not bringing the sunshine with them.  So to add a little sunny cheer to my kitchen I’ve made my old standard apricot tart.
Apricots remind me of my childhood in South Africa where we had a small orchard in the back garden growing peaches, plums, apricots and a few citrus, but the apricots were always my favourite.   Small, cheerful rosy cheeks with the sweet taste of summers spent playing in the garden, dipping into the pool whenever it got too hot.
I sometimes jazz this recipe up with almonds.  See note below recipe.
Recipe for Apricot Tart
For the pastry
150 grams all-purpose flour
50 grams caster sugar
pinch salt
80 grams butter
¼ cup ice water
For the filling
10-12 apricots
3 Tablespoons caster sugar
2/3 cup water
1 vanilla pod (split down length)
For glaze
3 Tablespoons apricot jam
Crème Fraiche, Whipped cream or ice-cream for serving
1.     Butter pie or quiche pan well and shake with flour.
2.     Place all dry ingredients in bowl and rub butter into mixture till bread crumb texture is reached.  Add iced water 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture adheres together and can be formed into a ball.  Be careful not to put too much water the mixture should not be tacky.
3.     Press pastry into pie dish using your fingers to work the dough into an even spread across the bottom and up the sides.
4.     Place in fridge for at least 30 minutes.
5.     Wash and halve the apricots, then remove stalks and stones carefully to avoid damaging the fruit.
6.     Place sugar water and vanilla pod into shallow frying pan over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Then plan apricot halves cut side down in liquid.  Simmer for about 10 minutes on a low heat until liquid is a little syrupy. Turn heat off and allow apricots to cool.
7.     Lay apricots into the pie dish cut side down filling all the available spaces.  Cut a few in half to fill smaller gaps if necessary.  Pour half the syrup over the top.
8.     Place slightly above centre in a preheated oven (180 degrees C) and bake for 30 minutes or until pastry in lightly browned.
9.     While the tart is cooling heat the apricot jam in the remaining syrup and then brush the top of the tart, including the pastry with the glaze.
For a variation replace 1/3 of the flour with almond flour and garnish the top of the tart with flaked almonds



A visit to Cafe Mila – Godalming

June 17th, 2012 | Posted by Ruby in Favourite Places - (Comments Off on A visit to Cafe Mila – Godalming)

Whilst Jacques was over in London for the weekend we took the opportunity to go to Godalming to visit Stephen and Jane at their eclectic Cafe Mila.  What once seemed a pipe dream is now a reality. They’ve found the chapter what was the lacuna in the Godalming manuscript.  With the downstairs area the designated kids space, there’s also quiet space for the non-kids upstairs and a spacious yoga studio for the yogis and yoginis.


With lots of creative vegetarian dishes it also manages to satisfy the carnivores amongst us.

And then took a stroll along the banks of the River Wey.

Returning to Café Mila for coffee and a slice of their wheat free chocolate brownies – oh so yum.


Scallops and Cauliflower Puree

June 17th, 2012 | Posted by Ruby in Snacks | Starters - (Comments Off on Scallops and Cauliflower Puree)
There was a time when the thought of cauliflower always brought to mind roast sunday lunches with all the veggies, and in particular cauliflower with cheese sauce. Preferably served with a very cheesy cheese sauce, and more on decadent cheesy sauces in another blog.  But not anymore, it seems that since I discovered the heavenly combination of Panfried scallops served with a cauliflower puree this has become my preferred mental picture.
And since it is still cauliflower season, I stopped off first at the Veggie man for a perfect cauli and then on to the fishmonger to pick up some very fresh scallops.
This recipe can be served as a snack, in single mini portion servings.
Or more usually as a not so run of the mill starter.  Of course more often than not I just serve an extra big helping as by main meal.
Recipe for Scallops with Cauliflower Puree and Pancetta
Ingredients (to serve 4 as starter)
1 medium cauliflower
30 grams butter
1/2 cup double thick fresh cream
salt & white pepper
12-16 scallops (3-4 scallops per person depending on size)
50 grams butter
1 clove garlic minced
4 slices pancetta (or streaky bacon)
1 Tablespoon of flat leaf parsley chopped
  1. Bring a pot of water to the boil and add a little salt
  2. Break cauliflower into florets and drop into boiling water, cook for about 8-10 minutes until just tender (don’t overcook)
  3. In a suitable container (I usually us a 1 litre glass jug) place the butter, cream cauliflower and seasoning and blitz with a ??? until smooth, set aside and keep warm
  4. Line a baking tray with buttered baking paper and lay the slices of pancetta on the paper
  5. Cover with a further later of buttered baking baking and then place anther baking tray on top
  6. Place under the grill for approximately 8 minutes or until crisp
  7. In a saucepan melt the half of the remaining butter over medium heat
  8. When the butter starts to bubble place the scallop gently into the pan
  9. Cook for about 2 minutes or until they’re just starting to caramelise then turn, add the remaining butter and garlic and cook for a further 1-2 minutes
  10. To plate up – spoon the puree on the plate, place the scallops onto the puree, drizzle a little of the garlic butter over the scallops and garnish with a slice of pancetta and a sprinkling of parsley