There have been numerous scraps of paper with witty opening lines and killer first recipes - but each time I've been, well, blog shy.
Sometimes it's best just to write and not to plan... so here I am.
Not that I'm here empty handed though - without further ado I present to you my first two recipes... a tart which calls for almond meal and vanilla beans in a perfect combination and a chocolate "cake" requiring a scant 1 tablespoon of flour!
Pear and Almond Tart - adapted from several blog and cook book recipes
200g plain flour
100g cold unsalted butter
pinch of salt
3 tsp white sugar
If you have a food processor just whizz everything together for 30 seconds. Or, if you're old school like me, mix all the dry ingredients together then rub the butter in till it's like bread crumbs. Mix in the egg and knead it for a minute - then wrap it up and pop it in the fridge for 30 mins.
While you make the filling, blind bake the pastry in a tart tin (or springform round cake tin) at 170c for 30 mins.
2 pears halved, cored and thinly sliced (I used bosc but anything firm should do the trick)
1 vanilla bean or sprinkle of pure vanilla essence
1 cinnamon stick or shake of ground cinnamon
3 eggs separated
250g almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
Gently heat the milk with vanilla and cinnamon. Beat the egg yolks with 25g of sugar and slowly add to the warm milk, keep whisking and heating till it gets a bit thick and custardy - mine didn't get as thick as I would've liked but it worked out in the end.
Meanwhile, mix the almond meal, baking powder, remaining sugar and egg whites in a bowl.
When the custard is ready, remove the vanilla and cinnamon and pour into the almond mixture.
Smooth the almond paste mixture into the tart crust and neatly (or as neatly as possible) arrange the slices of pear.
Bake at 170c for another 30 mins.
Viola - pear tart
*I'd never actually made pastry before this, so if you have a tried and true recipe/method then by all means!
World's richest chocolate cake - adapted from Orangette
200g good cooking chocolate (at least 60% cocoa)
200g good unsalted butter
250g white sugar
5 large free range eggs
1 tbs flour
Preheat the oven to 190c and butter a round 8-inch cake tin
Gently melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler or in the microwave (if the latter, make sure you pull it out and stir frequently!)
Stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture and set it aside to cool a little.
One by one add the eggs and whisk vigorously - it should look lucious and shiny.
Stir in the single tablespoon of flour and pour into the greased tin.
The original recipe calls for baking for 20-25 minutes. I found that the edges of the cake started to burn after 20 but the middle wasn't set enough. So, if this happens to you, just tent it with a little foil and give it a jiggle every couple of minutes. When it moves a bit but doesn't look like jelly, it's ready.
Let it cool in the tin - it will sink considerable - never fear, it's meant to!
Turn out and cool completely on a rack.
And ta daaa... chocolate cake!
Oh, did I mention that they should each be served with cream?! I think clotted for the tart and gently whipped for the cake. Yay!
Why oh why did it take me so long to start something that lets me recommend two different sorts of cream!
Off to Cutler and Co tomorrow night for dinner, so should be reporting back soon.