I used Martha Stewart’s easy recipe for my pate brisé for the tartlets and the vintage tins I bought on various trips to France. The blue cheese and creme fraiche filling is dead easy, takes minutes in fact: just blend blue cheese, creme fraiche, an egg or two. I blind baked the pastry casings, then filled with a variety of toppings. I used stuff I had to hand like anchovies, curled in a cross like starfish, pine nuts (which I hate roasted and keep in the fridge to prevent them going stale), roast cherry tomatoes dowsed in olive oil, quarters of artichoke hearts in oil, basil leaves, roast red and yellow peppers, capers, mozzarella…almost like tiny pizzette.
These were fiddly but enjoyable to make. As I worked my mum told me about her friend Joy, who, fresh from a cooking course, then made a meal in which the canapes were miniature versions of full-size dinners. There were tiny peas, tiny roast potatoes, tiny carrots on a little plate. All the women didn’t know whether to eat them or laquer the canapé and wear it as a broach. The men, of course, she said, just slung these tiny works of art into their mouths with nary a thought, Shrek-like.
The crumpets were, of course a triumph. @porridgelady from Twitter talked of the fact that they came ready-buttered, with my best Brittany sea salt butter, so piping hot they almost burnt the roof of your mouth. Are there any places in London where they serve hot home-made crumpets? Not heard of one.
Lavender bakery’s scones were light and fudgy, just as a scone should be, served with clotted cream and organic jams. My favourite was her lavender shortbread and her carrot cake, which didn’t have too much carrot in it and was dotted liberally with walnuts.
It was interesting cooking with someone who has such a different style; her tiny pistachio and rose-water meringues against my enormous golden-pink Aga-baked meringues. She is precise. I throw a handful of this, a handful of that into dishes. And that’s why she is a baker and I am a cook. Although my baking is improving…