Cherry & Almond Tart with Brandy Custard (Matt Moran)

I have been wanting to make this Matt Moran recipe for a few months now, & today I finally made it, (with a couple of changes).  It was in the December issue of The Australian Women’s Weekly magazine. I didn’t have any cherries or cherry jam but I did have frozen blueberries & raspberry  jam, I also didn’t have slivered almonds but did have flaked almonds. It still turned out great & tasted even better. I didn’t have time so I didn’t make the Brandy Custard. So here’s Matt Moran’s recipe.





Serves 10


2 cups plain flour

1/2 cup icing sugar

180g butter, chopped into 1cm cubes

1 egg, beaten lightly

1 egg yolk, beaten lightly

2 tablespoons cherry jam

500g cherries, pitted

1/3 cup slivered almonds


250g butter, softened

1 cup caster sugar

3 eggs

2 cups almond meal

1/3 cup plain flour

Brandy Custard:

2 cups milk

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

6 egg yolks

1/2 cup caster sugar

1/4 cup brandy



Combin flour and icing sugar in a large bowl, rub in the butter. Stir in the egg and mix until ingredients just cling together, press the pastry into a ball. Knead the pastry gently on a lightly floured surface and press into a flat disc. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap and refrigerate for approximately 2 hours.

Pre-heat oven to 180C or  (160C fan forced).

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry until large enough to line a 28cm loose based flan tin. Ease pastry into the tin, gently pressing pastry into the base and side, trim the edge.

Place tin on a large oven tray, cover pastry with baking paper, fill with pastry weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove paper and beans. Brush with a thin coating of egg yolk. Return to the oven and cook a further 5 mins.


Beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Sieve the almond meal and flour together, then fold into the butter mixture.

Spread the cherry jam over the base of the cooked pastry case, then spoon in the filling, smoothing the top with a spatula. Top evenly with the pitted cherries, pressing down slightly into mixture. Sprinkle with the almonds. Bake for about 45 minutes or until set.

Brandy Custard:

Combine the milk, vanilla seeds and pod in a medium saucepan. Bring milk to a simmer, remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until pale. Add one third of the infused milk, then pour the egg mixture back into the pan with the remaining milk.

Return the pan to a low heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the custard has thickened enough to coat the back of a spoon. Add the brandy. Strain the custard through a seive and pour into a serving jug.

Serve the tart with the Brandy Custard.

This recipe is suitable to freeze.


Jam Thumbprint Cookies (Ina Garten)

I love these cookies, they’re easy to make & delicious to eat. I tried something a little different with some of the dough, I made it as per the directions, but didn’t roll in the egg & coconut, I put the balls into my mini muffin tin & fill with jam. When they were cooked & cooled I dusted with icing sugar. Next time I make these I’ll replace 1 cup of the flour with almond meal. This weeks cookie recipe was chosen by Cassandra of Foodie with Little Thyme, go & check out her blog, she has some great recipes to share.



  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash
  • 7 ounces sweetened flaked coconut
  • Raspberry and/or apricot jam


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until they are just combined and then add the vanilla. Separately, sift together the flour and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the creamed butter and sugar. Mix until the dough starts to come together. Dump on a floured board and roll together into a flat disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for 30 minutes.

Roll the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. (If you have a scale they should each weigh 1 ounce.) Dip each ball into the egg wash and then roll it in coconut. Place the balls on an ungreased cookie sheet and press a light indentation into the top of each with your finger. Drop 1/4 teaspoon of jam into each indentation. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the coconut is a golden brown. Cool and serve.

Pea & Ham Soup




  • 500g  dried split green peas
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 smoked ham hock or smoked bacon bones
  •  Water (about 5 cups)
  • Cream (optional)


Place the peas in a large bowl and give them a little wash

Put  the peas, onion, carrot, ham hock or bacon bones into a large pot & add water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer & simmer for about 2 hours, stirring every now and then.

Remove the ham hock from the soup then remove the skin & discard, shred the meat set aside.

Using a stick blender, blitz the soup until smooth. Taste for seasoning & adjust to taste, I find the ham hocks salty enough so I don’t add any salt.

Ladle into bowls & top with the shredded  ham.

Drizzle with a little cream if you like.

Note: You can buy the smoked ham hocks & bacon bones from your deli.

This soup can be frozen for about a month in airtight containers.

This soup thickens alot when cooled, I always add a little water to it when re heating.

Raisin Pecan Oatmeal Cookies (Ina Garten)

The first recipe for this month was chosen by Leslie of Lethally Delicious, I thought I’d seen every Ina Garten recipe but this one must have passed me by. I don’t like pecans so I was going to use walnuts, cause I ALWAYS have walnuts in the fridge, so  I was getting my ingredients together & to my shock  NO WALNUTS but I did have almonds & pistachios, decision was made to use the pistachios, they turned out great & have to say, very addictive. Thanks to Leslie’s choice I have  another great recipe from Ina to add to my massive collection.




  • 1 1/2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the pecans on a sheet pan and bake for 5 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to cool. Chop very coarsely.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together into a medium bowl. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Add the oats, raisins, and pecans and mix just until combined.

Using a small ice-cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop 2-inch mounds of dough onto sheet pans lined with parchment paper. Flatten slightly with a damp hand. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly browned. Transfer the cookies to a baking rack and cool completely.

Honey Chilli Chicken Stir Fry

This recipe comes from The Australian Women’s Weekly Cooking Class Basic cookbook. Simple and Delicious.




1 Tablespoon peanut oil

1 kg chicken tenderloins, sliced thinly

1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

3 red thai chillies, seeded, chopped finely

1 large red capsicum, sliced thickly

1 teaspoon cornflour

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/3 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup honey

4 green onions, chopped finely


Heat half of the oil in a wok or large frying pan, stir fry chicken, ginger & chilli in batches, until chicken is browned.

Heat remaining oil in wok, stir fry capsicum until just tender.

Blend cornflour in small jug with sauce, stir in juice & honey. Return chicken mixture to wok with honey mixture, cook, stirring until mixture boils & thickens. Sprinkle with onion just before serving.

Serves 4.

Caesar Club Sandwich (Ina Garten)

The second recipe for this month was chosen by Karen of Shortbread. I made it last weekend for lunch, my ex sister in law came over with my nieces & nephew to eat it with us, the only thing I changed was the sundried tomatoes, I used fresh ones instead. It was a great sandwich, very flavourful, I didn’t tell the kids it had anchovies in it otherwise they wouldn’t have tried it. I guess, what they don’t know…. another great choice from another great Barefoot Blogger, Karen.




  • 2 split (1 whole) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
  • Good olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons anchovy paste
  • 1 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup good mayonnaise
  • 1 large ciabatta bread
  • 2 ounces baby arugula, washed and spun dry
  • 12 sun-dried tomatoes, in oil
  • 2 to 3 ounces Parmesan, shaved


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan skin side up. Rub the chicken with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until cooked through. Cool slightly, discard the skin and bones, and slice the meat thickly. Set aside.

Meanwhile, place the pancetta on another sheet pan in a single layer. Roast for 10 to 15 minutes, until crisp. Set aside to drain on paper towels.

Place the garlic and parsley in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until minced. Add the anchovy paste, mustard, lemon juice, and mayonnaise and process again to make a smooth dressing. (Refrigerate the Caesar dressing if not using it immediately.)

Slice the ciabatta in half horizontally and separate the top from the bottom. Toast the bread in the oven, cut side up, for 5 to 7 minutes; cool slightly. Spread the cut sides of each piece with the Caesar dressing. Place half the arugula on the bottom piece of bread and then layer in order: the sun-dried tomatoes, shaved Parmesan, crispy pancetta, and sliced chicken. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and finish with another layer of arugula. Place the top slice of ciabatta on top and cut in thirds crosswise. Serve at room temperature.

Fennel Sausages with Lemony Potatoes (Rick Stein)

This recipe comes from one of my favourite celebrity chefs Rick Stein, it’s  delicous Italian sausages with  lemon potatoes.


450g/1lb luganega sausages (available from specialist Italian or Continental grocers), or other nice meaty pork chipolatas
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
750g/1½lb small waxy potatoes, peeled and each cut into quarters
½ lemon, pared zest and juice only
4 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
120ml/4fl oz water


1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4. Twist the sausages into 7.5cm/3in lengths and separate them into individual sausages.
2. Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a 26cm/10in shallow flameproof casserole dish. Add the sausages and fry until nicely browned all over. Lift them onto a plate and set aside.
3. Add the onion, garlic and another tablespoon of oil to the casserole dish and fry until soft and lightly golden. Stir in the potatoes, browned sausages, lemon zest and juice, bay leaves, half the chopped parsley, ½ teaspoon salt and ten turns of the black pepper mill.
4. Pour over the rest of the oil along with the water, cover tightly with the lid and bake for 30-40 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
5. Remove the lemon zest and sprinkle with the rest of the parsley before serving.