Thursday, 5 January 2012

New Year, new idea.....?

So here we are again, back at January, starting the new year with lots of good intentions, and no doubt a few new resolutions just waiting to be broken?  Probably best just not to make them in the first place - too much pressure.

Now is not the best time to think about going on a crash diet, or fasting detox - your body is trying to recover from all that rich food and high living over the festive season, whilst also keeping the immune system in top notch condition to prevent you from catching all those coughs and colds floating around.
The best thing right now is to eat really healthy, nutritionally-rich foods, and try to cut down on those foods that expect your liver to work double time - increase fruit, vegetables, water intake, exercise and good simple foods that the body can recognise and deal with, and avoid pre-prepared foods, stimulants like coffee and alcohol, and anything you think you may be slightly intolerant to (makes you feel bloated or gives your wind).
Great thick home-made vegetable soups are perfect right now - warming and nutritious, especially if you use a variety of ingredients - spices and herbs to add flavour, lentils to add protein (or top with a softly poached egg), a drizzle of extra virgin oil and sprinkling of pumpkin seeds for essential fats.

As you will know if you read my blog regularly, I do believe in being 80% good and 20% naughty, and over the festive period I made a very naughty dessert for friends, that certainly used up my weekly 20% in one serving!  I am sharing it with you but be sure to have a few friends to help you to eat it!

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart

Serves 6-8

For the pastry
225g flour
110g butter, cold, diced
75g caster sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp cold water

For the filling
150g dark muscovado sugar
150g unsalted butter
1 x 397g tin condensed milk
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tsp sea salt flakes
100g dark chocolate
40g white chocolate

  • To make the pastry, place the flour, butter and sugar in a food processor and process until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  • Add the egg and enough water to bring the dough together.
  • Roll in cling-film and chill for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 190C/Gas 5.  Roll out the dough and line a 20cm flan tin.  Chill for 10 minutes.
  • Blind bake the pastry case for 20-25 minutes, until golden, removing the greaseproof paper and baking beans for the last 5 minutes.  Leave to cool.
  • To make the filling, slowly melt together the sugar, butter, condensed milk and honey and bring to the boil.  Continue to cook, letting the mixture bubble, stirring constantly, until it starts to thicken (about 8-10 minutes).
  • Stir in the salt then pour into the pastry case.  Leave to set for 1 hour at room temperature.
  • Melt both the chocolates.  Pour the dark chocolate over the top of the caramel.  Using a small spoon decorate the tart with zig-zags of white chocolate.  
  • Chill for 30 minutes before serving.

No comments: