One of the web’s many food bloggers who never fails to grab my attention is Neil from At My Table. A fellow Aussie and Melbournian, he’s a seasoned cook who makes delights such as infused cherry vodka and mussels in cider as well as writing on a variety of topics from wines and spices to kitchen gadgets and processed foods. One of the few food blogs on the internet that (till recently) wasn’t accompanied by photographs, his writing never fails to engage my attention and make me think.His highly personal blog also helps to draw his readers in, there’s no way that you can’t become drawn to him as he tells tales of his past and present, and shares the thought-provoking stories of life as an individual, husband and father.
Though there have been many recipes that Neil has blogged that I have bookmarked to make (both the vodka and mussels are from the top of that list), when he blogged this creamy apple tart I knew that it had to be made immediately – my family are absolutely mad about apples (we go through a 5kg bag of fuji apples about once a fortnight during the season) and any apple-icious dessert usually gets an automatic thumbs up. And being in the middle of apple season at the moment, these crunchy, sweet, juicy fruit are at their absolute best and this dish celebrated every aspect of this. The creamy caramel was rich without being too sweet, and paired with the caramelized apples, it made for a delightful dessert that went down marvellously with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. This is one of those desserts that I guarantee won’t last till the next morning – if you make this, don’t be surprised to catch various family members cutting themselves “just another morsel”, including yourself
A few weeks ago, Neil also managed to inflate my head and ego to the size of a swollen summer watermelon by tagging me with the Thinking Blogger “award”. Coming from Neil, that’s quite a compliment, but it also means that I had to really think about who I’d pass this baton to. I wasn’t sure whether I was allowed to tag people who had already been tagged, but after browsing the creator’s post I realized that that was perfectly alright, and therefore my list may consist of people who have already done this but this is going to be an honest list with no empty flattery, damnit.
1. Tanna from My Kitchen In Half Cups – There are some blogs that you can skim read, taking in a brief summary of their post, but Tanna is not one of those. Her recipes are wonderful examples that home-cooking need not be difficult nor tedious, and her writing is always entertaining, sharing her successes and failures with her beautiful flair for words.
2. Neil from At My Table – For all the reasons stated at the beginning of this post, plus more. Neil is not only a talented cook and writer, he’s also an intelligent and super-friendly person whose personality shines through in everything he writes. If you haven’t read his blog, then you’re missing out. Trust me.
3. Haalo from Cook (almost) Anything at least once – Haalo is without a doubt one of the best original recipe cooks in the food blogging circut. Not only are most of her recipes originals of her own creation or family dishes, but her photography also never fails to put me to shame. However, the thing that really draws me to her is her use of produce, local and sometimes the more exotic. Reading her blog always makes me want to step outside my comfort zone and challenge myself.
4. Rob from Hungry in Hogtown – This blog was recommended to me by another blogger, and since I started reading it I can’t bring myself to stop. Rob has opened up a world of cooking that was completely unknown to me before (molecular what??). With creations such as deep fried rabbit ears, canteloupe caviar and nutella powder, he makes me rethink cooking as not just an activity but also a science, and I’m always eager to see what he’s cooking up next.
5. Callipygia from FOODChair – Reading Callipygia’s blog is like reading a book of poetry dedicated to life and food – her eloquence and artistry is to be admired (and somewhat envied!). Everytime I see a new post, I sit and read it over and over, her magical writing washing over me and painting the most vivid and vibrant pictures in my mind.
I think that everyone on my list has actually been tagged, so I won’t bother with the instructions, but I do recommend to my readers to give each of them a visit as they make for very good reading!
Creamy Apple Tart
(At My Table’s adaptation from Memories of Gascony)
250g (9 oz) flour
5g (3/4 teaspoon salt)
10g (1.5 teaspoons) sugar
150g (5 oz) butter, diced and slightly softened
1 tbsp milk
1. Place the flour, sugar and salt on a work counter, make a well in the centre and put in the egg and butter.
2. Gradually rub in the flour and when everything is almost mixed, add the milk and knead the dough two or three times to combine everything. Try not to work it too much or the dough will shrink back later. Leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.
3. Roll out to fit a 25 cm (10″) flan dish and prick the base with a fork all over. Line with foil, fill with pastry weights or beans and rest in the fridge for thirty minutes.
4. Bake in a 200 c (400 f) preheated oven for ten minutes, remove the weights and foil and cook for another ten minutes.
5 large golden delicious or Cox’s orange pippin apples
50 g butter
100 g caster sugar
125 ml double cream
2 egg yolks
Peel and core the apples and cut each into eight segments. Heat the butter and 75 g sugar in a large pot, add the apples and slowly cook until the apples are half done and remove them. Boil down the remaining juices until a caramel forms, then carefully add the cream and remaining sugar, be careful it will splatter. When combined and somewhat cooled whisk in the egg yolks and cinnamon. Arrange the apples neatly in the tart case and pour over the caramel. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes.
[tags]apples, fruit, tart, dessert, sweets, recipes[/tags]