Rhubarb Custard Tart recipe

rhubarb tartThis almond shortcrust custard tart is a favourite of mine all year round to serve piled high with whatever vibrant red or purple fruit is in season. In late winter/early spring, that means lightly poached rhubarb and segments of blood orange. As we go through the seasons we’ll find it goes great with strawberries, cherries, raspberries, plums, damsons and blackberries.

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Book Report

I’m running tastings every weekend next month to test out some new dishes. Please get in touch if you’d like to come and try what I’ve been working on.


I’m departing from the normal format of this blog to talk about a couple of cookbooks I’m reading at the moment or have just finished. I’m a fan, not a critic, so this post (and others like it, if there are to be others) is about books that I love, that I have devoured, that have inspired me or delighted me or have made me cry, not an objective appraisal of them.

The French Laundry Cookbook


If the Queen was coming to dinner, this is the book I’d reach for. Thomas Keller apparently doesn’t discuss prices with the suppliers for his 3 Michelin starred restaurant, and that does put some of his dishes (like the Roasted Maine Lobster with Foie Gras) into the “occasional luxury” column. But the recipes are covered in such detail that I’d feel completely confident about cooking it, even if it was for the first time, even if I had to mortgage the house to shop for it.
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“Hedgerow” ice cream with apple crumble

Blackberry, rosemary, elderflower cordial and white chocolate chunks

Hedgerow Jaunty

The only thing better than food is free food. That’s why there’s no time of year quite like blackberry season. All along the banks of the river and at the borders of every park, hedgerows burst into fruit, and any walk is liable to leave me with crimson-stained fingers until I get home.


This dish was inspired by the bounty that this season offers up for free: blackberries from Shotover park and Mesopotamia walk; elderflower cordial made from Warnford Meadow; apples from our garden and rosemary purloined from someone else’s

It’s also a little bit of a twist on the gastropub stalwart of blackberry and apple crumble with vanilla ice cream. I’ve never liked putting blackberries in apple crumble. The blackberry flavour diminishes in the cooking and you’re left picking seeds out from between your teeth.

This ice cream, with the rich, fresh blackberry flavour, is great on its own, but it goes perfectly with apple crumble. I’ve included a recipe for that as well, but there’s nothing new about it – I’ve cooked it the same way since I had to stand on a chair to reach the table.

Apples on the tree 2Hedgerow Ice Cream with Apple Crumble

Blackberry purée
Makes 200g-300g
400g (or more) of blackberries, washed and drained

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