From Sweet

Lemon, fennel and ginger tart

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I love the change of seasons and arrival of the cool, crunchy mornings- but I would actually skip winter in a heartbeat were it not for lemons. Lucky us, arriving here to find a lemon tree right next to our house. We enjoy a steady stream of lemons most of the year from a little tree that barely so much as makes a squeak.

However, it turns out there is a catch with the beloved lemon tree. Around this time of year, we have to share it with the possums. I hear them gorging themselves at night, and arrive to a graveyard of de-gloved lemons scattered under the tree in the morning.  It makes me mad. Mad enough to pick in a wild frenzy, taking waaay more than I need.

Like this particular day. Which is why I needed to rustle up something justifiably ‘lemon’ to account for my pocket-filling greed. And a great use of those precious lemons, if you ask me.


L E M O N ,   F E N N E L   A N D   G I N G E R   T A R T :

  • 100 ml / 3 fl. oz lemon juice
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger

Place lemon juice in a small saucepan or microwavable bowl. Crush fennel seeds with a mortar and pestle. Grate ginger [or powdered ginger will do] and add to lemon juice. Bring to a gentle simmer and allow to sit for a few minutes. Remove from heat, strain and set aside.

  • 1 sheet of flaky pastry [or any shortcrust pastry you wish]
  • 1 egg white

Heat oven to 220°C / 420 °F / gas mark 7. Line small pie dish with baking paper. Press pastry into dish and prick base of tart. Brush with Place a sheet of baking paper over base of tart and fill with baking weights or a layer of rice. Place in oven for about 10 minutes, until the sides are lightly golden. Once out, remove baking paper and weights/rice and brush base of tart thoroughly with remaining egg white. Reduce oven temperature to 150 ° C / 300 ° F / gas mark 2

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream / unsweetened yoghurt

Whisk eggs, sugar, sour cream and lemon juice together. Pour into tart tin and bake for around 20 minutes, or until filling has set. Better to slightly undercook than over- if it’s a little bit wobbly in the centre, it will cook further while its sitting. Cool at room temperature before placing in the fridge. Served here with ginger cream [1/2 tsp grated ginger in whipped cream] and a dusting of powdered ginger. Sourbunga! caravan1

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Chia pudding could be the easiest [and yummiest] thing you ever make

We went out for dinner recently. AND a gig. Pretty smug, that we still ‘got it’. Until we lined up to settle the bill for dinner. When asked what we were doing afterwards [and who was playing], the friendly restaurant dude [probably half our age] grinned and exclaimed: “old school!”. I was at a loss for words. How did I find myself in this age bracket? Yes, I am here, I have arrived. Officially OLD SCHOOL.

So, it only seems right that I denounce all attempts at wannabe-cool and admit to being completely late off the blocks with this one. I might be late, but she’s goodie and has revolutionised mornings around here: I am officially obsessed with chia. A bit tired of breakfast, I find it the hardest meal of the day to be excited about. Not strictly limited to any meal time [thankfully], this ‘pudding’ preparation requires so little fuss, it just needs enough time for the seeds to soak and swell. Keeps for about a week in the fridge [if it hangs around that long]. Wink, wink.

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C O C O N U T   A N D   L  I M E   C H I A   P U D D I N G  [ F O R   A N Y   T I M E   O F   T H E   D A Y] :

[makes 2 cups]

  • 250 ml / 8.8 fl oz milk*
  • 50ml / 1.7 fl oz maple syrup
  • 2-3 kaffir lime leaves, crushed slightly in your hand [or feel free add some lemon or lime peel; star anise or a cinnamon quill].
  • 250 ml / 8.8 fl oz coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds [I used black]

[*or substitute for coconut milk if you’d prefer dairy free].

Place first 3 ingredients into a saucepan over low-medium heat. Bring milk to a gentle simmer, then turn down the heat to low. Leave for around 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. This just gives the lime some time to infuse. Add coconut milk to saucepan, heating through gently and dissolving any lumps of coconut.

Add chia to milk mixture, stir through and cover. Leave seeds to soak and swell, stirring occasionally. I often leave overnight, but you could have it ready in 2-3 hours in a rush. Once cooled, place mixture in the fridge. I like to leave kaffir lime leaves in the chia mix, they continue to add flavour. [They are big enough to fish out prior to serving].


P O A C H E D   F E I J O A   A N D   L I M E :

[loosely based on David Lebovitz’ caramelised pineapple]

  • 1 kg feijoa [about 10-15 feijoas]
  • 125 ml / 4.4 fl oz maple syrup [or to taste]
  • zest and juice of 4-5 limes [about 100 ml / 3.5 fl oz]
  • 1 tsp each cardamon, cinnamon and mixed spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste/essence
  • 2 tablespoons marmalade or apricot jam
  • 75ml / 2.6 fl oz malibu liqueur [optional]

Heat oven to 100 deg C. Peel feijoas and place them in a shallow oven dish [you want them packed in snugly together, in a single layer]. You can either slice feijoa into large chunks, or of late, I have been leaving them whole. Pour liquid over feijoas and bake for around 2 hours, until feijoas soft. Place into preserving jars or into an airtight container once cooled. Will keep in the fridge for a good week or so.

Served here with poached feijoa and honeycomb, but any fresh or preserved fruit will be delicious. Of course, honeycomb is entirely optional [but just for the record, it still tastes as good as it did in school science].

Three cheers for chia! Four cheers for old school, [I may or may not be in denial].

xx

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Date and coconut caramel sauce

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Date and coconut should probably get married.

D A T E   A N D   C O C O N U T   C A R A M E L   S A U C E :

  • 1/2 cup chopped dates
  • 1/2 cup / 125ml /  4 fl oz fragrant tea [I used stir tea coconut cream, but any fragrant black tea, or chai will be delicious]

Leave dates to soak in tea for 30 minutes [the longer the better].

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 100ml / 3 fl oz coconut milk
  • 1/4 tsp salt [or to taste]

Melt butter in saucepan. Spoon dates into butter, try and squeeze out as much of tea mixture as you can. Fry dates in butter for a few minutes until fragrant and mushy. Add remaining tea liquid to saucepan and simmer for around 5 minutes. Add coconut milk and salt. Cook briefly until coconut incorporated. Using whizz stick [or food processor], blend until mixture is smooth and most lumps have gone.

Served here with caramelised bananas and a dollop of vanilla creme fraiche. Use poured over yoghurt, ice cream or cake. [Or just eat it straight, it’s delicious]. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Makes about a cup.

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