Sometimes milestones have a way of quietly sneaking up on you and taking you by surprise. Like this one. A little over two years and 500 posts later, I’m amazed that I’m still blogging. Albeit nowhere near as prolifically as in that first year. At first it was easy. So many fabulous recipes to share. Some family favourites handed down through the generations, others retrieved from my vast cookbook collection or Aladdin’s cave of magazine and newspaper clippings residing in my bottom kitchen drawer. All tried and true.
Along the way I stumbled across Michael Mosley’s intriguing BBC documentary Eat, Fast And Live Longer. Something else to write about. How to create interesting plates of food a foodcentric faster would want to eat for under 500 calories a day. That idea captured the imagination of many of my followers. Hence once a week interspersed among my hedonistic feasting there’s a fast day meal idea. The emphasis very firmly on fresh, healthy and vibrant whole food; cooked from scratch, visually appealing and full of flavour.
To be perfectly frank, sometimes the muse abandons me, leaving me stranded high and dry, scratching around searching for something, anything to write about. Those days take a marathon effort to get anything up into the ether. We’ve all been there, done that. That’s why I’m surprised that I’ve actually managed to cook, photograph and write my way through 500 posts.
So to all my followers, commenters, likers and viewers thank you for your encouragement and inspiration. It is you who have made writing The Paddington Foodie worthwhile. In celebration of my 500th post I’m sharing a simple but delicious Summer Stone Fruit And Whipped Creme Fraiche Tart. In keeping with my current relaxed summer holiday vibe it doesn’t take much effort at all to prepare. Fill a home-made or store bought shortcrust pastry shell with lashings of whipped creme fraiche and top with beautifully ripe thinly sliced summer stone fruit.
To be honest whipped creme fraiche has been something of a revelation for me. Whip as you would regular cream using pre chilled beaters and bowl to achieve light and tangy clouds of air. Perfect for dolloping. I love the contrast of the slightly sour creme fraiche against the natural sweetness of the fruit. Finish the tart with a scattering of finely grated lime zest and a dusting of icing sugar. Fast, fresh and impressive.
Summer Stone Fruit And Whipped Creme Fraiche Tart
1 shortcrust tart shell, homemade (recipe follows) or store bought
1 x 250g tub creme fraiche, chilled
1 large white peach, halved and stone removed
1 large yellow nectarine, halved and stone removed
2 plums, halved and stone removed
finely grated zest of 1 lime
a little sifted icing sugar, to dust
PLACE a medium glass or metal mixing bowl and beaters or whisk into the refrigerator to chill for 15 minutes
MEANWHILE slice peach, nectarine and plum halves into very thin wedges.
PLACE creme fraiche into chilled mixing bowl. Whip with chilled whisk or beaters until soft peaks form, about 3 – 5 minutes. The creme fraiche should be light and double in volume.
DOLLOP whipped creme fraiche into the cooled tart shell. Smooth over with a palette knife.
ARRANGE thinly sliced plums, nectarines and peaches in a spiral over the creme fraiche.
SCATTER over finely grated lime zest and dust with icing sugar. Serve
Easy Shortcrust Pastry Tart Shell
Sufficient to line two 20cm tart shells
250g plain flour
100g butter, chilled and diced
100g icing sugar
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
PLACE flour, icing sugar and butter into bowl of large food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
ADD egg and pulse again until the dough comes together. Wrap in cling wrap, then rest in the fridge for half an hour.
PREHEAT oven to 180C. Grease and line the base of a 20cm loose bottomed tart tin.
REMOVE the chilled pastry from the fridge. On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the pastry until 3-4mm thick. I find it easiest to roll my pastry between two sheets of baking paper. Use the remaining pastry for another tart; pastry can be stored in the freezer for up to 4 weeks.
LINE tart tin with pastry. Peel away the top layer of baking paper from the rolled pastry and invert the pastry sheet into the tin. The bottom layer of baking paper will now be on top. Peel away, gently press the pastry into the tin and trim any overhanging edges.
CHILL pastry lined tin in the fridge for 15 minutes before preparing the pastry case for blind baking by lining the shell with baking paper and filling with a layer of dry beans or rice.
BAKE in hot oven for 20 minutes. Remove baking paper and beans and return the tart shell to the oven to bake for a further 10 minutes until crisp and lightly golden. REMOVE from oven and allow to cool completely before filling.