According to meteorologists, Spring starts on 1 March. And lo, a brisk warm breeze has arrived to dry things out, and the sun is up for a few practice bouts. There are daffodils in a hundred different shades of yellow and the world is back to Kodachrome.
At Christmas I was given this great book by Allegra McEvedy. “If you eat by colour by season” she says “you will naturally be giving your body what it needs at that time of year.” I have always thought that this was true, but Ms McEvedy, and Georgia Glynn Smith’s lovely photographs, put it most persuasively. This is a robust, unfiddly book, brimming with flavour and good humour. I found I started to bookmark the pages I wanted to return to: Berber salad, dandelion salad with goats cheese and polenta croutons, soft cheese baked with quince in vine leaves. And this delicious sounding recipe for Portuguese custard tarts.
1 x 12 large or 24 small muffin tray
1 packet frozen puff pastry defrosted
Zest of 1 orange
1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out and reserved
4 egg yolks
150g white sugar
1 ½ tbsp plain flour
Preheat oven to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7
Grease muffin tins with butter.
Roll out pastry to 3mm thick and line moulds
Heat milk in a non-stick pan with orange zest and vanilla pod (not seeds)
In a separate bowl, beat egg yolks with sugar until pale, then stir in flour and vanilla seeds
Just before milk boils remove from heat and strain through a fine sieve into a jug. Discard zest and pod.
Pour milk on to egg mixture, whisking all the time.
Fill pastry cases to brim
Cook for 15 mins for small muffins and 25 mins for regular size.
They will come out of the oven looking like
Leave to cool a bit, because they are VERY HOT when they come out of the oven!
Allegra McEvedy's Colour Cookbook. Photography by Georgia Glynn Smith
published by Kyle Cathie Ltd www.kylecathie.com