Last Sunday Andrew turned to me and said: 'Starting tomorrow I'm going to be really healthy. Two weeks of no booze. Reduce the caffeine. Hit the gym. No puddings, no chocolate and no cakes'.
Sitting down beside Andrew I placed my arm around him in a supportive style of gesture and replied, in the most earnest of fashions: 'And I'll support you'.
Just before I launched into a Whitney-inspired rendition of 'I'll Stand by You', Andrew, with somewhat of a mischievousness glint in his eyes said: 'How about you join me- No puddings, no chocolate and no cakes for two weeks?'
After listing all 267 reasons as to why this would be a preposterous idea, starting with 'But I need chocolate because my job can be so hard' and ending with 'I write a bloomin' cake blog you know!', Andrew responded with 'Well, anyway, despite all 267 reasons, I bet you wouldn't be able to give up cake and chocolate for fourteen days'.
Now, thing is, lovely readers, I am a bit competitive. And when I someone says I can't do something I want to jolly well prove I can.
And this is how we've ended up with me savoury baking this weekend. And how I spent 17 minutes explaining to Andrew on Thursday night why a hot chocolate does not count. And how I spent ten minutes starring so longingly at a creme egg in a colleague's hand I didn't take in a word she was saying to me the entire time.
Meanwhile, the theme of this month's Tea Time Treats challenge, hosted alternatively by myself and the lovely Karen from Lavender and Lovage, is French Patisserie. All month I've had visions of presenting to you the most stylish of confections... the perfect pastries... le magnifique macaroon!
I mean, in all honesty this was most unlikely to happen, with my baking firmly placed in the more 'rustic' category.
So here's the alternative, a French-inspired Camembert, Tomato and Caramelised Onion Tart.
For the tart:
an egg yolk
a little cold water if needed
For the filling
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
150g Camembert thinly sliced
2 Plum tomatoes, sliced and seeds removed
3 large eggs, beaten
150ml double cream
1. For the pastry: put the flour and butter into the bowl of a food processor and pulse to fine breadcrumbs. Alternatively, you can rub the butter into the flour using your fingers
2. Add the egg yolk and enough water and pulse just enough to bring the dough together. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for up to 1 hour to chill. Set the oven at 200C/180C fan/Gas Mark 6.
3. Use the pastry to line a 22cm tart tine, making sure there are no tears or holes and trimming any overhanging pastry
4. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and baking beans and bake for twenty minutes before removing the foil and beans and setting aside
5. For the filling: melt the butter in a frying pan on a medium heat, add the onion and fry on low heat for 10-15 minutes or until nicely softened. Add the sugar and vinegar and fry for a further 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until caramelised
6. Spoon the onions into the pastry case and add alternative slices of tomato and camembert on top. In a bowl mix together the eggs and double cream, add the basil and season with salt and pepper. Pour evenly over the tart
7. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 160C/140C fan/Gas Mark 3 until set and golden
- For more French themed baking (including cakes!) check out French Month on What Kate Baked
- As for how the two weeks of no cakes is going...well there was a little blip on Wednesday when I accidently ate a Custard Cream. And yesterday when I had a celebratory Easter Egg because Wales won in triumphant style against England to win the rugby Six Nations