Apple and Amoretti Tart

Two autumn, fruit based tart posts in one day? Yeah. Why fucking not?!!
I basically made this round my mums a few weeks ago and completely forgot to post it. So here it is.
Soooooooo very easy to make. The base is almost a cheesecake base that you just push into the the tin. Layer apples on top, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake. Jobs a good’un.
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Ingredients:
110g plain flour
Pinch of salt
50g butter
50g sugar
50g amoretti biscuits

700g Bramley apples
10g sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
25g melted butter

Turn the oven onto 200°C and grease a 23cm loose bottomed tin with a little butter, just to avoid sticking.
Soft your flour and work the butter into it with your fingertips until there are no lumps. Get your biscuits into a freezer bag and bash the living shit out of them with a rolling pin! I usually put them in two bags, one always seems to split! (Over eagerness with the bashing!!) This should be a fairly fine crumb but not a powder!
Chuck this in with the salt and sugar and then cram into your tin. You only really need to line the base and maybe a centimetre of the side. You don’t want a high side with this tart.
Peel, de-core, quarter and finely slice your apples. I keep all of the slices from each quarter together so you can just fan them out and place in the tin.
Arrange as decoratively as you can, remember you’re fighting a battle with time before the apples turn brown! I did a bit of concentric circle action but it’s your tart! Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle over the cinnamon and sugar and maybe a cheeky bit of amoretti crumb.
Bang it in the oven for half an hour till the apples are soft and are starting to caramelise on top. Boom! Done!
Serve it up with a big old spoonful of vanilla ice cream.

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Toffee, Pear and Frangipane Tart

Saw this in a magazine a while back and decided I had to make it. Pears are bang in season and with toffee and frangipane? Whoof. Everyone loves a tart. I also splashed in some dark rum to the toffee. Double Whoof.
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The recipe calls for a 23cm loose bottomed tart tin, but I’ve got two 13cm ones, so I used those.
Also don’t be scared to make your own pastry! If you’ve got enough spare time to make your own puff pastry, you’re a fucking sad act. But if it’s shortcrust, have a go! It’s proper easy. Trust me.

Pastry:
125g plain flour
Pinch salt
55g butter
2-3 tbsp cold water

50g butter
3 tbsp soft brown sugar
4 pears
A few splashes of dark rum (optional) (essential for me!)

Frangipane:
75g butter
75g caster sugar
1 large egg
25g plain flour
75g ground almonds

Switch your oven to 190°C and put a baking sheet in there to pre-heat. This’ll stop your tart from having a soggy arse.
Soft your flour into a bowl and cube up your butter. Rub them together with your fingertips until the butter is incorporated to the flour and there are no lumps. Add the salt and 1 tbsp of the cold water. Mix together. Gradually add a tiny bit of water at a time, until you can bring the mix together as a dough. It will feel quite dry as doughs go. Wrap and bang in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.
Peel, de core and quarter your pears and put them in a pan with the butter and soft brown sugar. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, basting them with the toffee sauce. Once the toffee is really bubbling, splash in some rum. How long you cook your pears will depend on their ripeness. Remember they will bake in the oven too. Set aside.
Line either your 23cm loose bottom tart tin, or like me, two 12.5cm loose bottom tart tins. Make sure you get the pastry right into the corners. Line with cling film or baking paper and fill with rice. This will be better than baking beans as it will get right into the corners. Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is dry. You don’t need colour at this stage as it is going to bake further in the oven.
Make the frangipane by creaming together the butter and sugar, adding the egg and two flours. Done!
Once the pastry is blind baked, the oven down to 180°C. Spread in your frangipane and arrange your pears, slightly pushing them down. Don’t overfill, I did!
Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden and just set.
Leave to cool for 10 minutes before devouring with the toffee sauce.

Whoof.

3 cheese pasta

This is the culinary equivalent of a kick in the bollocks to this miserable autumn weather. 3 cheese sauce, crispy bacon, loads of carbs. What more could you want? It’s also fucking easy.

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This feeds 2 (I ate it all myself)

Ingredients:
125ml single cream
6 rashers of streaky bacon
1 bag of salad
Splash white wine vinegar
Splash extra virgin olive oil
Small handful of grated mozzarella, Parmesan and cheddar
150g penne pasta
Pinch grated nutmeg
Shit loads of ground black pepper

Boil your kettle and get your bacon under the grill. You want it really crisp.

Boil your pasta for 11 minutes in a large pan of salted water.

Make a simple salad dressing by whisking together a few splashes of olive oil and white wine vinegar. I go 50-50 with these as you want it a little sharp to cut through the cheesy goodness. Don’t toss it through the salad till the last minute, you want to keep your leaves as fresh as possible.

Grate a small handful of Parmesan, cheddar and mozzarella. I always go a little mad on the cheese, reign it back! Too much of the cheese and you’ve got a stringy, gloopy mess or something which is over salty. Set aside on a plate.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain it off and put it back into the pan you cooked it in with the cheese, cream, nutmeg and loads of black pepper. Get it over a really low heat just to melt the cheese. You may need to add a splash of water if, like me, you added too much cheese! It should look glossy and coat the pasta like this:

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Toss your dressing through your salad leaves, put the pasta on top and chuck on your bacon.

Jobs a good’un.

Jerk chicken

Probably my favourite thing to eat in the world. My mate Casey loves it so much he gets genuinely pissed off when he knows I’ve cooked it without him there.
It’s still not as good as real jerk chicken from a proper jerk shop, my favourite haunt being Jerk City in Thornton Heath, but it’s still bloody good.
It’s really quick as it’s a Jamie’s 30 minute meal (none of which take 30 minutes!) and once you’ve made it, you’ll be craving it for days after. Proof of this is the fact I cooked it for my mum and missus, even though my sister had cooked it for my mum 5 days before. No bother!

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This will feed 4 hungry people.

Ingredients:
4 x 180g chicken breasts, skin on
1 tbsp runny honey
A few sprigs of rosemary
A few sprigs of thyme

4 spring onions
2 cinnamon sticks
600ml chicken stock
250g basmati rice
1 tin of black beans

4 spring onions
3 bay leaves
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp ground nutmeg
Small bunch of thyme
4 cloves garlic
1 scotch bonnet
6 tbsp dark rum
6 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp runny honey

1 red pepper
1 cos lettuce
2 limes
1 bunch coriander
1 small red onion
1 punnet of cress

Preheat the oven to 200°C and get the kettle on.
To cut down on cooking time, you need to split your chicken breasts down the middle, however leaving them attached at the thickest part. Basically making a chicken breast V. Leave about an inch at the top before making your incision and cutting down. Season this liberally and drizzle with oil.
Chuck it on a pre-heated griddle pan or heavy based frying pan skin side down and leave to let the skin get really crisp.
Meanwhile make the jerk sauce by throwing all the ingredients into a bowl and hand blending or liquidising to a smooth sauce. Add a few twists of salt to this but go easy, there’s quite a bit of seasoning throughout. Pour this sauce into an oven or casserole dish.
Once the chicken is really crisp on one side, place on top of the sauce and nestle it down. The sauce should come most of the way up the chicken, but leaving the crispy skin just above. You don’t need to turn the chicken and cook it on the other side, as it is going to poach in the sauce and be beautifully moist!
Place a few sprigs of thyme and rosemary on top and drizzle with honey, then bang it in the oven! It will need 15- 20 minutes.
For the rice and peas finely slice your spring onions and fry in a sauce pan with the cinnamon sticks, some seasoning and a splash of oil. Be brave with the seasoning, it’s key at this stage to get the max flavour! Once the spring onions are soft, throw in the rice and toss in the oil so it’s all coated. Add the beans and stock and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to medium and whack a lid on. Set a timer for 12 minutes. Also be brave with the heat you leave this on. Crispy bits on the bottom of the pan are the best bit!
You’re nearly home and dry, only the salad to make! Lump up the pepper and lettuce, cut the cress in with scissors and dress with seasoning, lime juice, chopped coriander and olive oil. I personally like to finey grate my red onion, you get a nice hum from it without over powering onion-y-ness!

Serve it all up on the table and let everyone dive in! I know the list of ingredients is long and it looks like a bit of a pain in the arse, but if you weigh everything out before you start and get as much of the prep done as poss, you can smash this one out.

Trust me. You won’t regret it.