Almond & Pear Tart

I’ve rolled this dessert out a number of times over the last few months, and it’s always gone down a treat. A few people have asked for the recipe so here it is. Enjoy!


  Frozen Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
 50g Soft unsalted butter
 100g castor sugar
  100g Ground Almonds (or Almond Meal)
  2 Eggs
  1 Tablespoon Brandy (or Rum)
  1 Teaspoon Almond extract
  1 Tin of Pear Halves –drained


Defrost pastry and line a 25cm tart tin with a removable base.
Use a fork to prick the base of the pastry.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes (or as long as it take you to make the batter)
Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and mix until the butter is light and fluffy. I’ve done this in the large mixer and with a little hand electric beaters. The result is the same.
Stir in the ground almonds. Add the eggs, rum and almond extract and mix to combine.
Pat the drained pear halves dry. You can slice then or cut them into quarters depending on how you want to decorate the tart.
Remove the pastry from the fridge. Pour the batter into the pastry case. Spread the batter evenly over the pastry case. Arrange pears in a circle on top of the batter.
Bake in a moderate oven (160 C) for 30-40 minutes.

The tart is ready when it has a nice golden colour.
Serve warm from the oven or at room temperature.

Tips & Traps for young players

The first few times I made this I sliced the pears thinly and fanned them out in a circle. It looked great but was very fiddly and not really worth the extra effort.

Don’t be tempted to overcook the tart. Once it has a nice golden colour it’s done, even if the batter still looks a bit shiny or soft.

Decorate with toasted almond slivers if you want to be fancy

Serve with ice cream or cream.

Great times with old friends…

This is what happens when great friends get together for a weekend! A few bottles wine, a few laughs and LOADS of amazing food. Given the amount of laughter coming from the kitchen I think the boys were getting worried that dinner might not actually happen….

Home made hummus, cheese & dips.
Marinated lamb shoulder, slow cooked in the wood fired oven for 4 hours
Garlic Mash “al la Thermomix”
Assorted greens fresh from my garden
Bread baked in the wood fired oven.
Almond & Pear Tart
Assorted Amazing Wine-lot’s of it!!
Sunday Morning was crisp & clear….alas
 the guest were not!

The old new stove……..

My Nana’s stove now takes pride of place in our house. I have many fond memories of standing in front of this stove with my cousins. It was always the central meeting place in winter and the perfect place to warm cold hands & bums!
It’s beautiful to cook on and keeps the entire house war. We have a gas stove in the kitchen, but during last winter I took every opportunity to cook on this stove. Whether it was soup slowly bubbling on the stove top or a casseroles in the the oven – it always made the house smell divine.
I’m not sure why, but a kettle boiled on top of this stove always makes the best pot of tea…

Trent did the most amazing job in restoring the stove. The back had completely rusted out, the chimney casing was cracked  and the fire bricks inside had to be replaced. All that and we still had to move it into the house! This solid enamel cast iron stove weigh a tonne. It took 5 men to move it out of her house. We used steel pipes to roll it into place in our new house.

Roast Pork & Apricot Stuffing


  • 1.8-2kg/4 pound pork roll roast
  • salt and pepper

Stuffing recipe

  • 2 large onions finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme, finely chopped (I used lemon thyme)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 50g butter
  • ½ cup dried Turkish apricots, finely chopped
  • 50ml/1.7 fl ozs. brandy
  • 400ml/13.5 fl ozs. cream
  • 300g/10 ozs. sourdough bread (crust off) cut into 2cm cubes

Step 1– Prepare the pork rind to make crackling by making sure that the rind is as dry as possible by pressing paper towels against the rind only. Score the rind on top with your sharpest knife and rub salt over the rind. Preheat the oven to 230C/450F.

Step 2– Firstly make the stuffing. Place onions, thyme, garlic and butter into a pot and sweat off until onions are translucent and soft-don’t hurry this, the onions must be soft and lose all acridness. Add 1/2 cup dried apricots finely diced and sweat off for a few minutes. Deglaze the pan with 50 ml brandy and cook for a minute then add the cream and bring to the boil. Add sourdough then turn heat down to low and place a lid on the pot, stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes or until the bread has absorbed all the liquid. Season with salt and pepper.


Step 3– Untie the pork roll. Spread the mixture onto the meat & re tie. Pleace pork roll in a roasting tin with olive oil. Bake it for 20 minutes to blister the skin.

Step 4– Lower the heat to 180C/350F and then bake it still skin side up up for 45 minutes. Place the extra stuffing in a dish or molds and place in oven for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to rest under loosely covered foil. Slice and serve. It is fantastically good in sandwiches with some great mayonnaise.





For the love of Garlic!!!

I spent a perfect Sunday afternoon smashing garlic. Two wonderful ladies, Natalie Moore
(Moore Garlic)  and Rita Dixon (My Fathers Table)  held a fantastic cooking class. On the menu….Toum and Falafel. Most people are familiar with falafel, and at some point almost everyone would have tasted Toum, although you may not have picked the flavour.
Toum is a garlic sauce made by mixing garlic, vegetable oil and lemon juice to form a creamy smooth paste. It has a mild flavour, and considering we used one entire head of garlic-it wasn’t at all overpowering like you’d imagine raw garlic to be. The end result was not unlike Aioli, with added kick! Toum has a million different uses, and will last a few months in the fridge. It’s absolutely delicious!! 
You can make it in a food processor, but as first time “Toumers” we used a mortar and pestle. Obviously it’s a slower process, but you can watch the garlic change to a silky paste and gauge when to add the oil. I found the smashing of garlic very relaxing , although Rita did mention I was a little bit over zealous with the smashing!!!
Next on the menu was falafel. they take a little bit of forward preparation, but basically they are very easy to make and the end product is SO much better than anything you could ever buy or make from a packet.
A quick brief from the Master
Then it’s all hands on deck! (Note the sneaky hand in the chick peas!!) 
Apparently having Tahini sauce running out of the kebab and down your hand it the CORRECT way to each falafel. Clearly I’m a stickler for tradition….