Medlar Tart

“Take medlars that are rotten, strain them, and set them on a chaffing dish of coals, season them with sugar, cinamon, and ginger, put some yolks of eggs to them, let it boil a little, and lay it in a cut tart. Being baked, scrape on sugar.” The Accomplisht Cook, Robert May, 1660/1665.  Continue reading

Grilled Pineapple with Mint Sugar

I know, this is rather a summery dessert for this time of the year, but at least it’s served warm and it’s lovely after a spicy main course.

I needed to cut back my Moroccan mint before winter and didn’t want to waste the pepperminty leaves, so I made some mint sugar then had to decide what it would go best with. If you’re anything like as lazy as me, you’ll love this, an impressive-looking pud with minimum effort. Continue reading

Beef Short Ribs with Quince

Image of quinceYes, yet another quince recipe, but it’s a good one. Faced with a glut, I’ve been searching my historical British cookery books for a meat-and-quince recipe but can’t find one, which is odd when you think we’ve been cooking these gloriously perfumed fruits since medieval times. Our ancestors seemed to use them exclusively for sweet dishes but if you know different, I’d love to hear from you.

So today’s dish is based on the fragrant Persian/Iranian stew Khoresht-e Beh. Continue reading

Damson and Apple Cheese

Image of damson treeWe have masses of damsons this year, one of my favourite stoned fruits. Rather than endless pots of jam, I decided to make a damson cheese, which we love to eat with actual cheese.

A fruit cheese is denser than a jam, softer than a fruit leather. If you’re familiar with membrillo, or quince cheese, you’ll get the idea. Damsons are easier than quince to source and I reckon the result is just as good. Continue reading

Strawberry Tart

Image of a bowl of strawberries

Cor, look! We’ve had a bumper crop of strawberries this year and it’s been way too hot to make jam, so with friends coming for supper I made a strawberry tart. Few things look more lusciously edible but I have to say I’m not a huge fan of crème pât, Great British Bake Off notwithstanding. The contestants seem to bathe in the stuff. This tart has a much quicker and easier filling and one that I think is nicer to eat.  Continue reading

Rhubarb Bakewell Tart

The first time I made this the rhubarb sank without trace and the flaked almonds slid inexorably sideways as the topping rose. Then I glanced at Instagram to see a five year old had knocked up a perfect rhubarb frangipane tart after she got home from school. Her mum Jess says she’s hoping for a three course meal by the time the prodigy hits 10. Continue reading