Wholefood is not a new idea . . . good, plain, home cooking, using fresh ingredients is whole food at it's very best and what home cooks have been doing for years. One of the things I love most about England are the traditional recipes. Recipes which have survived through the years and have formed the backbone of British cookery, having changed only slightly over time.
Good, plain and solid recipes, coming from every corner of the country, having delightful names such as Huffed Chicken or Sussex Churdles. How could something with a name like that fail to be delicious???
I love listening to Todd's stories about things his mother cooked for them during and the war . . . like steak and kidney or meat puddings, and apple pies flavoured with cloves. Then there are his school dinners, which he remembers fondly. They weren't all composed of cabbage boiled beyond recognition . . . the puddings are what stick out most to me.
They remind me of all those Enid Blyton books I used to devour as a child. The children in them used to go on fantastic adventures, but only after having tucked into such delights as Curd tarts, figet pies and roly poly puddings. Their tuck boxes sounded other worldly and so exotic, I used to dream about them and wonder what they tasted like.
I love all these old traditional recipes and am slowly discovering them one at a time. I fell in love with Bakewell Tarts shortly after arriving here. The bakery shelves in the shops are full of tidy little boxes of them, and I have always thought them rather good, but they can't compare to the tastiness of delicious homemade ones . . .
Homemade is always better, don't you think??
Makes 4 individual tarts, or one 8 inch tart
One of the things I fell in love with when I first came over here was Bakewell Tarts. You can get them everywhere, pre-baked sitting in their little pastry cases. Shortcrust pastry with a scant filling of red jam and a bit of frangipane, and then topped with icing and half a cherry. They are pretty good, but cannot compare to tasty homemade ones. Delicious shortcrust pastry with an abundant jam and fraigipane filling, all topped with flaked almonds and baked until golden brown. You can choose to drizzle a bit of icing on top or not. I don't, preferring to serve them hot with some ice cream or plain and cold with no adornment, save a cup of hot herbal tea.
4 ounces self rising flour
pinch of salt
2 ounces butter
1 brimming tablespoon of water
3 1/2 ounces butter
3 1/2 ounces caster sugar
2 beaten eggs
a few drops of almond essence
3 1/2 ounces ground almonds
3 1/2 ounces semolina
strawberry jam, around 7 ounces
2 ounces flaked almonds for the tops
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Rub in butter until crumbly. Add water and mix to a firm dough. Using a floured board, roll out and use to line four 3 - inch tart tins, fluted or not, or one 8 inch tart tin. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.
Cream the butter and sugar together until creamy and smooth. Beat the eggs together and then beat them into the creamed mixture a little at a time. Stir in the almond essence and the ground almonds and semolina.
Pre-heat the oven to 180*C/350*F.
Remove the tart tin (s) from the fridge. Spread some of the jam in the bottom of each, dividing it up equally amongst them. Spread the almond dough over top, being careful not to mess up the jam bit, and making sure the jam is completely covered. (This works best by adding it in dabs scattered over the top of the jam and then joining them all together with the back of a spoon.) Sprinkle some flaked almonds over top of each.
Place on a baking sheet and then bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or longer if necessary, until the tarts are golden in the centre and set.
Serve warm with some ice cream or cream or cold with a nice hot cuppa.