Tarte Normande

This has got to be one of the best non-chocolate deserts out there.  This obviously implies I have a certain proclivity toward chocolate.  And probably caramel, toffee, fudge, and all those terribly sweet sugar laden deserts.  Tarte Normande makes a refreshing change from those.  Served with single cream, or creme fraiche, even vanilla ice cream, although I feel this is heading dangerously toward apple pie territory.  I digress, it is quite simply delicious.


3-4 Large Granny Smith apples, (or any tart apples) peeled cored, thinly sliced and sprinkled with lemon juice.

Cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling (maybe around 4 tablespoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon).

About 1/4 cup apricot jam and 2 tablespoons water, heated over low heat to make nappage.

Tart dough:

200 grams flour
pinch salt
100 grams butter
1 egg yolk
2-3 tablespoons cold water

For the frangipane:

100 grams butter
100 grams sugar
2 eggs
50 grams flour, sifted
75 grams ground almonds
Optional: 1 teaspoon vanilla or almond extract


Step 1 Sift flour ad salt into a mixing bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add liquids and bring the mixture together to form a ball of pastry. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Step 2 Roll out the pastry into a circle large enough to line an 11" tart pan. Dock the bottom of the pastry case with a fork. Chill tart while oven is preheating to 400F (200C). Blind bake, using pie weights, (or dried beans) for around 10 - 12 minutes until a very pale gold on edges. Remove from oven and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 360F -- ideally it should be between 350 and 375F.

Step 3 For the frangipane, cream the butter and the sugar together thoroughly. Stir in one egg at a time, allowing it to be absorbed thoroughly by the butter-sugar mixture. Fold in the flour, ground almonds. Stir in extracts if using.

Step 4 Spread the frangipane mixture evenly over the pastry case. Insert the apple slices vertically in the frangipane. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on top.

Step 5 Bake for around 30-35 minutes. Edges will be a deep golden brown, and the sugar-sprinkled apple slices will have caramelized. If adding almond slices on top, sprinkle them on the tart for the last 5 – 10 minutes of baking.

Step 6 Remove the tart from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Cool about 10 minutes, and brush with nappage (while both are still warm). Cool completely.

Step 7 Sprinkle icing sugar on top for decoration.

2. Fill your loose base flan tin with 
your pastry.  Don't forget to prick 
liberally with a fork.
2. Line the pastry with tin foil, then fill with 
beans to prevent the base from rising as 
it bakes.

2. Your base should look something
like this after the blind bake.
3. While that is baking, whisk together your frangipane.

3. After everything is combined, it should look like this...
4. Spoon the frangipane into the pastry crust.  Slice your apples into segments.

4. Place the apple in concentric circles.

4. You might like to make the circles a little tighter than
shown here...

6. Bake until the apple starts to turn a perfect golden brown, 
cool for 10 minutes, then apply the nappage.
7. Finally apply a dusting of icing sugar.

Two True Shokutsū Two True Shokutsū Author

Salade Nicoise

So I actually made something today.  Well, sort of.  There's not much "making" really.  More like, preparing.  But hey, I liked it.

I think my egg was pretty much spot on, the beans were just right, and the vinaigrette weren't too bad either.  Yeh, yeh, I know, there's nothing to a vinaigrette, but I'd never made one, so again, I was feeling slightly chuffed with myself...

I had to Google it of course, and just ended up with what is apparently the classic 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar.  - with a seasoning of salt and pepper.  I could have done with a little more bite.  Maybe I'll add some Dijon next time.
Two True Shokutsū Two True Shokutsū Author

Jamie's Italian Kitchen - "Beautiful Bucatini Carbonara"

I popped into Jamie's Italian Kitchen in Covent Garden today, as I needed some lunch, and it was right next door to where I was meant to be in an hours time.  Apparently this is the flagship London location.  From my seat I could see The Ivy, but no celebs.  So after a quick skim of the menu, I plumped for the "BEAUTIFUL BUCATINI CARBONARA" at £10.25 for the main sized portion.  The menu describes this dish as "Tubular spaghetti with crispy fried smoked pancetta and ribbons of leek, tossed with eggs, thyme and Parmesan cheese."  I'd never had bucatini before, and my Italian isn't great, so I wasn't terribly sure how to pronounce it.  But hey, looks like I got it right.  The dish arrived, and I proceeded to try and consume it without getting any on my suit and tie - I had an interview in an hour, was this a brave choice I began to think?  The pasta was nicely al dente, and it was a nicely sized and tasted fresh, and well put together.  Nothing out of the ordinary, and maybe just about worth the tenner it cost.  Having never had bucatini before, I was unaware of the slight issue regarding how to actually eat it.  I attempted to suck it into my mouth, much like one would with spaghetti - but of course, since there's a hole all the way through the pasta, it's more like a straw.  With a little adaptation of technique, I managed not to go hungry.  To drink, I stuck with the iced tap water which was delivered as I was seated (nice that I didn't have to ask - an American touch perhaps?  Or is that just good service?  I forget.)

The table at the front of this pic is where I sat.  There really wasn't enough room for the diners at the tables behind and in front of me.  So much so, that one pair attempted to sit behind me for a few minutes, then asked to be reseated - I assume due to their cramped conditions.  I'm lucky I was solo, otherwise there's no way we would have all fitted. [Image Copyright Jamie's Italian Kitchen]

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Two True Shokutsū Two True Shokutsū Author

Pork Belly

This is a Japanese speciality.  It's not exactly low calorie either.  Recipe to follow, for now, here are a couple of pics to make your mouth water...

The slightest of English twists to a quintessentially Japanese dish - a dawb of Colman's Mustard.
The full meal.
Two True Shokutsū Two True Shokutsū Author

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Japan finds the recipes and does the cooking, England takes the pictures and writes the words. Then we both eat the results!