I’ve been absent from my blog for a while, only managing to post every now and then. Life seems to have run away with itself, but in a good way. I have a new job and I love it! It’s not that I’m working really long hours, i’m just commuting a little longer each day.
However, it was time for a break…
Dr Doolittle and I decided to head to the beautiful island of Madeira. This archipelago, which is part of Portugal, is located in the Atlantic Ocean, 978km southwest of Lisbon. It comprises of the islands of Madeira, Porto Santo, Desertas and Selvagens. Only the first two islands are inhabited. The latter two are nature reserves. Thanks to its magnificent location, Madeira remains warm all year round.
The climate really helps produce some amazing fruit and vegetables. The market in the old part of Funchal was full of the stuff. Every meal we ate was accompanied by salads.
Tropical fruits such as mangoes, bananas, avocadoes and passionfruit were used in a great variety of puddings, mousses and ice creams. Oh the ice cream! I had to try a peach melba…
Owing to their proximity to the sea, most restaurants specialised in fish and shellfish dishes; there was octopus and shrimp dishes, tuna steaks and black scabbard fish fillets. I’d never heard of scabbard, but it tasted and looked like cod. As well as the fish, I also had one of the best ‘meat’ meals of my life (more about that next week).
There were plenty of fresh natural fruit juices such as passionfruit, papaya, pineapple and mango, as well as the famous “poncha”, made with white rum, bee honey and lemon. I tried a fair bit of the stuff and have brought some home to experiment with!
So to celebrate my holiday adventure I’m bringing my favourite sweet treat to Fiesta Friday. I haven’t been to the online party for a while, so I’m looking forward to catching up with old friends!
Portuguese Custard Tarts
250ml double cream
Grated rind of 1 lemon
1 vanilla pod, split lengthways
4 egg yolks
2 tbsp cornflour
115g caster sugar
150g chilled ready-made puff pastry
Flour, for dusting
Preheat the oven to 190c.
Put the cream, milk, and lemon rind in a saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the split vanilla pod into the saucepan and drop in the empty pod too. Bring to a simmer, then take off the heat.
Whisk the egg yolks, cornflour and sugar in a bowl until it comes together in a paste. Pass the milk mixture though a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl of egg paste and mix together quickly. Return it all to the saucepan and heat over a moderate heat until it thickens but don’t let it boil!
Then roll out the pastry on a lightly floured worksurface as thin as you can. Roll it up into a long sausage shape and cut 12 discs. Roll out each disc to about 9cm and put into greased muffin tins. Prick the bottoms with a fork androfill just over halfway.
Bake in the preheated oven for about for 18/20 mins until browned on top.