hi! so i have spent the last 6 days (with the exception of one day’s work) reeeelaxing and it feels so good! how on earth was i studying like a maniac for so long? it’s just as well that my next lot of exams are 4 months away and i have a selective memory otherwise i’m pretty sure i would never return to uni haha.
what have i been up to besides lounging around and drinking too much coffee?
i went to Man Up and adored it, just laughed the entire time! it was that excellent breed of comedy that is just plain smart! lake bell was just this fantastic quirky bridget jones-esque but less cringy lead, simon pegg was such a funny affable bloke who had a sensitive side and sean… was just… well sean (you have to see it to believe it!) five stars, big thumbs up, i want to go again immediately (and have a sneaking suspicion that i’d pick up on a lot of jokes that i missed the first time around!)
i went to the theatre: Romeo and Juliet with a dear friend and while i also adored it, i sure did not laugh the entire time (that would cast some nasty aspersions on the actors!) the court theatre is just marvellous and they staged it so very well. they had beautiful strings musicians playing contemporary songs like chandelier, mr brightside and bad romance in between scenes which worked so well!
i’ve read three books, all utter chicklit which has been fine by me! i’ve cooked my poulet espagnol to rave reviews, and learned my mum’s method for mashed potatoes (a true skill – when made badly they really are awful, but made well = scrumptious!)
posh porridge is always a must do when i’m in town and they never disappoint! as sarah astutely pointed out, she always goes for the healthy, banana option while i pick a roasted fruit, saucy one: i say, when you know what you like why go for anything else! this time around she had banana, pic’s peanut butter, dates and superfood granola, while mine was cinnamon baked apple, oaty crumble and salted caramel, yum!
gently segueing into another thing that i very much like and always want: custard. (sorry madeleine, i can feel your eyes rolling from here!) broken record? well, you’ve heard me rant about profiteroles, about a way to dress up hot cross buns, and been tantalisingly promised a rhubarb recipe and a spanish one here. everyone gets it! i like custard!
however, you see, what redeems me is that i have a precedent: my aunty, my mum’s youngest sister, is just like me in this respect (it must be our shared middle name AND initials). she loooves custard just as much as do so it’s totally in my DNA! and because my threshold for custard making is extremely low, like, the lowest (what? you mentioned this one time that you don’t totally hate crême brûlée? coming right up!) and that she is very busy with a stressful high school production happening, we agreed that these perfect little morsels would be the ideal treat to make her.
this recipe for portuguese custard tarts is a true gem and comes from alexa johnston’s a second helping. this book is a collection of old recipes from new zealand ladies around the country, of traditional baking made to ‘fill the tins’. the cream cheese pastry is a particular highlight, as the cream cheese gives it a lovely tangy flavour that offsets some of the luscious richness of the custard filling. i’ve made these tarts many times, often for my darling aunty, and they always turn out so beautifully.
portuguese custard tarts
makes 15 tarts
85g cream cheese, cubed
115g butter, cubed and softened
1 cup flour
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp cornflour
1 cup cream
1/2 cup water
2 tsp vanilla essence
to make the pastry, blitz cream cheese and butter in the food processor until fully combined and creamy. add the flour and pulse until it forms a ball. divide into two balls and sandwich between baking paper, flatten into disks. chill in the fridge while you make the custard.
to make the custard, whisk egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together in a medium saucepan until thick and creamy. whisk in cream and water. gently heat, whisking the whole time. it will take a while to thicken and when it starts to bubble, remove from the heat. allow to cool.
preheat the oven to 200ºC. roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick, keeping it between the baking paper so it doesn’t stick to the rolling pin. use a large round cookie cutter or wide water glass to cut circles approximately 10 cm diameter, and gently ease them into regular size muffin tins. should make between 12 and 15 circles. place in the freezer for ten mins, tidy up or have a coffee while you wait!
get the trays back out and spoon the custard evenly into them. they will seem underfilled but don’t worry because they bubble up lots. place in the oven for 20-25 mins, or until caramelised spots appear on the custard and pastry seems cooked. let cool for ten mins or so and then lever them out with a knife and place on a cooling tray to finish cooling. enjoy!