Category: Apricot

Dishiest Dish – Apricot and Rhubarb Frangipane Tarts

It’s been a while since we have had a dishiest dish – I thought it was timely that we had  look at some I had cooked successfully!  I made these Apricot and Rhubarb Frangipane Tarts over the break.  They were pretty easy to make and tasted delicious!

Rhubarb and Apricot Frangipane TartsAnd who says you can’t play with your food?  These are perfect for a little game of tic-tac-toe!

Or you can give them to people you like as little kisses and hugs.  Valentine’s day’s a-coming.  Why give someone flowers when you can give them some delicious almondy fruity deliciousness?

Who doesn’t love

  • Crisp buttery pastry – no soggy bottoms here!
  • A lovely sweet almond filling
  • The apricots and rhubarb, both of which have a natural tanginess help to make the tarts not too cloying or heavy. 
  • An amaretto and apricot glaze

Never mind saying it with flowers.  Proclaim your love with pastry!

Rhubarb and Apricot Frangipane Tarts2

My Six Week Challenges

This year, instead of setting a series of resolutions, I was inspired by my friend Ali to try a series of smaller challenges over the course of the year.  I started mid-January with 6 weeks of no alcohol.  The start of February sees me trying to build a meditation practice!  I am aiming for 42 days straight of meditation.  I haven’t figured out what I will pick up in mid-Feb but that’s half the fun – deciding what to do next!  Hopefully some things I will stick with and some things I may do another six weeks later in the year! 

Reading

I have been on a reading binge –  I have had a real spurt of books I have  enjoyed.

Disclaimer by Renée Knight

Imagine if you started reading a book that had mysteriously appeared in your house only to find out the book was about you.  Specifically about you and an incident from your past which you have kept hidden from everyone – and the only other person who knew about it is a long time dead….

I would give this one a 7/10.  The plot required a hefty suspension of belief on a couple of major points but all up, a fast paced enjoyable read.

All These Perfect Strangers – Aiofe Clifford

I loved this.  But I am a big fan of the mystery set in academia.  The Secret History is one of my favorite books and there are some similar themes here.  This is not released until March – I was given a free copy for review but it is certainly one I can heartily recommend. 

Funnily enough, the book in Disclaimer was called The Perfect Stranger.  It was a really weird but totally cool coincidence!

9/10

The Grown Up – Gillian Flynn

This short story (it’s just over 6O pages on my Kindle) has more twists and turns than a spiral staircase.  I loved it.  And you can read it from start to finish in about an hour!

9/10

 

Luckiest Girl Alive – Jessica Knoll

Another outsider goes to posh school – mayhem ensues book.  I did tell you I had a thing for them.  Do not read this if you are one of those (annoying) people who has to like the main character in a book.  Tifani/Ani in Luckiest Girl Alive is awful!  She’s shallow and self obsessed, snarky and mean.  I am about three quarters of the way through this and I am thoroughly enjoying it.  I hope the end is not a let down.

 

I just noticed three out of the four of them mention Gone Girl. And have black, white and yellow covers. I’m sensing a zeitgeist. 

Watching

Come Dine With Me

I started watching old episodes of the British Come Dine with Me on the telly over the break and am now utterly obsessed with it.  I soon exhausted all the episodes available and am now mainlining episodes on You Tube.

The  best part is the narrator.  He is hilarious.

Oh and there was a series of episodes with my girl-crush Sabrina Ghayour of Persiana fame.

 

Pointless

Another British show. This is like a reverse Family Feud where people try to guess the least popular answers to a question, the goal being trying to get an answer that whilst correct, no one in the studio audience chose.  It would be a fairly run of the mill quiz show if not for the hosts – host and co host who are just delightful.  Charming, witty.  Smart.  I could watch the two of them banter all day!

The XFiles

So excited about this.  We were a week behind the States so are only two episodes in.  And it’s been great.  Even though I have been watching the classic episodes, when I heard that theme music and saw that they had kept the old intro I got almost a little teary….

Other Stuff

Nigella

And speaking of getting a little teary, I went to see Nigella Lawson in conversation.  She was brilliant.  There a not many people for whom I would stand in line for and hour and a half just to get a book signed by she was worth every minute.

NigellaNigella2Now, how about a recipe for these babies?

Frangipane Tarts3

 

This week I am looking forward to cooking:

  • Chicken, Feta and Zucchini Meatballs from my latest Tasty Reads Choice, Life in Balance by Donna Hay.  We have our meeting in a few weeks and I feel I have not done this book justice.  Time to get cracking!
  • A Biscotten Torte from the A-Z of Cooking
  • Tomato, Peach, Proscuitto and Mozzarella Salad.  I am the only person in my family who likes fruit mixed in with salads that are not fruit salads.  Does that make me weird?  Or them?

Time to share.  What are you enjoying reading / watching / doing?

What was the best thing you cooked this week?

Whats top of your list to cook next?

Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2;
 

Retro Food For Modern Times – The Best Bread and Butter Pudding Ever

Winter finally hit Melbourne this week…it’s been zero degrees or very close to it for a number of mornings now. That’s cold!!!!  So, given I hate winter why am I so damn happy?  Because this weather is perfect for making one of my favourite retro foods – bread and butter pudding.

Best Ever Bread and Butter Pudding
Best Ever Bread and Butter Pudding

Mind you, even though it has been crazy cold, look at my pictures of Sunday morning.  Not a cloud in the sky, got the sun in my eye. Who could be miserable on a day like this?

Winter Morning
Sunday Morning
Frosty Morning
Frost on the Grass

Another thing that will never make you miserable is this totally awesome Bread and Butter Pudding.  I mean it, this baby ROCKED!  It was perfect for this cold weather; retro comfort food at its most glorious!

So, what makes a truly great bread and butter pudding?  I put it down to the three B’s…

Lets start with the bread.  Bread and butter purists would tell you to use plain white bread. Remember last post I said that we don’t subscribe to minimalist notions here at Retro Food For Modern Times? Well that goes double for Bread and Bread Pudding.  I like to use a fruit loaf or a sweet bread like a brioche. I have also been known to use a chocolate chip hot cross bun.  Or an Almond Croissant.  Basically, I like my bread to come loaded with deliciousness before I even start!

In this instance, I had a panettone sitting in my pantry.  I’m going to make a confession here.  I have no idea where it came from. That’s the weird thing about panettone.  I can’t recall ever buying one.  Or being given one.  And yet, from time to time they appear.  Maybe my house is haunted by an Italian Grandmother who whips them up whilst I’m at work.  If so, she also does a nifty line in packing and packaging!  This was also a gluten free version so ghost nonna, if she exists, seems to be fairly on trend.

Butter.  Please use proper butter.  Not that other abomination.

Booze – I drenched the dried fruit in Pimms and left it to soak in overnight. And made an amazing whiskey caramel sauce to go with the pudding

The base recipe for this calls for sultanas.  I had some dried fruit medley left over from when I make the Plum Wonderful so I used that.

Bread and Butter Pudding
Bread and Butter Pudding

The recipe I used as a base called for Apricot Jam.  I’d previously made a chunky Apricot Spread by boiling down some dried apricots in apple juice so I used this instead.

Apricot Spread
Apricot Spread

On it’s own, the pudding was kind of  fabulous, but what sent it into the realm of super-awesome was the whiskey caramel sauce.  This was all sorts of delicious and brought some toasty, almost coffee-like flavours into the mix.  Honey and whiskey is truly a match made in heaven and I had the remnants of a lavender honey from another recipe which just added another layer of tasty goodness.

Bread and Butter Pudding
Bread and Butter Pudding

Please, please, please make this.  You will not be disappointed.  Or if you are…you probably did something wrong – not that there’s a whole lot that could do wrong with this – it’s also super easy to make!

Bread & Butter Pudding Recipe

Whiskey Caramel Sauce RecipeApricot Spread Recipe

I’m going to be spending my week enjoying the glorious sunshine despite the icy temperatures!

Enjoy your week, whatever you do.

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