Greetings from my little corner of Windsor to the world!
I’m dipping my toe into the waters of one of my newly acquired cookbooks today, Gary Rhodes cookery year “Spring into Summer”. I don’t know much about Gary Rhodes and his food except that a) he died suddenly last year at the age of 59, and b) my parents had a very good experience dining at his restaurant in the City which they won as a raffle prize. So, with thanks again to Pat for passing this book onto me, I’ll introduce you to a bit of Rhodes’ cooking as I discover it myself.
I’m not sure Gary Rhodes and I are going to quite see eye to eye on everything, but I’m sure I’ve got a lot to learn from this talented chef. I flicked through the book and honestly not a lot of the recipes appealed to me, I would generally describe them as a bit too poncey for me! I was a bit horrified to read one recipe where he suggested you boil up your cloves of garlic a few times before using them to make them less potent. What’s the point in that? I say if you’re going to have garlic, then go for it! Who cares who you’re sitting next to the next day, enjoy your food in its full flavour. Nevertheless one recipe from the book instantly jumped out at me to make which is the prawn and crème fraîche tart, which I am very happy to say is now cooking in the oven.
You will notice the pastry hanging over the edge. I decided to leave it that way, making it look rustic. Interestingly Gary Rhodes puts beaten egg into his shortcrust pastry which is a first for me, but it seems to have worked well. He also says to trim off the excess pastry after you have baked the pastry case blind. For those of you who don’t know the expression “baking blind”, it’s this.. cooking the pastry case on its own with ceramic beans to stop it lifting (before you cook it again with the filling in).
I would normally trim the pastry before baking but I followed Gary’s instructions and did not. Once it was cooked I trimmed it a bit, but the pastry looked so gorgeous and rich and crispy, and the morsel I nibbled tasted soooo good, I wanted to leave some of it on so not to waste it and to look rustic! Not quite as messy as this though.. I did do some trimming after this.
I think actually it makes sense to trim the pastry after cooking, because quite often when I’ve tidied it up beforehand the pastry has shrunk a bit on cooking and then the tart filling starts spilling over the sides. This is better I think. Thanks Gary!
There are so many prawns in this, two whole packets..ie 350g total.
He gave the option of cheddar cheese or gruyère and I chose gruyère as I love its nutty flavour and thought it would work really well with the prawns. I just had a sneak peak in the oven – wow! looks so good. I’ve also put the water on for the green beans I’m going to serve with this. Gary suggested a samphire and tomato salad, but I can’t be bothered with that (and I don’t think David would eat it).
So this is what I’m having for dinner. I will report back on flavour in my next blog post. What’s cooking in your kitchen today? I’d love to know.