Before I talk about Frank’s birthday and what I cooked for him for dinner, here’s another reason this post is special: It’s the 100th post! *Raise a toast* I’m glad I came back to blogging, not only it motivates me to be cooking more, I also value the friendships that blossomed through food. To you who’s reading this right now, thank you so much for your support!
I have a lot of friends who were born September and October. I don’t know if that’s unique to my social circle or if that applies to some of you too. Well, Frank and I share the same star sign and our birthdays are 2 weeks apart. Though Frank is not one for big birthday celebration, quite unlike me *ahem*. So the least I could do is plan a nice dinner at home for him.
When I asked him what he wanted for a birthday cake, it was between the Black Forest Cake which I made for his birthday last year and Lemon Tart. I was not going to repeat the same cake but I would gladly make the tart. Lemon tart carries a significant memory for us, as it was the very first thing I’ve made for him. He often joked that that was why he fell in love with me. Although I suspect there might be some truth in that too.
It’s not much to look at I guess, but it was really delicious! And by the way, the abovementioned Black Forest Cake.
Funnily enough, both of them were recipes from Masterchef Australia. I guess you could tell how much I was into the show.
We settled for a steak dinner too. I suppose Frank didn’t have much choice, being on the receiving end. He did ask for roast potatoes which made my job rather easy.
The steaks were marinated in balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. As usual his was cooked to medium well. He would have preferred well-done but I think it’s blasphemy to be doing that do a nice piece of meat. Might as well chew on a leather shoe. I like my steak still deliciously bloody.
The Roast Potatoes and Pumpkin were the highlights for him. Potatoes were slightly crispy outside and quite fluffy inside. They were seasoned with smoked paprika, rosemary, salt and pepper. I sauteed the cauliflower with some garlic, paprika, cumin and turmeric. I didn’t do a sauce this time, just went with some mustard.
So… the dessert!
I’m not entirely happy with the pastry this time. It was not short enough although still tasted fine. I guess it might be to do with resting time and the different climate altogether, or my poor pastry making skills. But the Lemon filling was divine! Very strong lemon punch and just a little bit sweet without being cloying. We polished the whole tart last night. I actually had some left over filling and pastry so I made a couple of smaller ones as well. Maybe I’ll experiment with a different shortcrust pastry recipe next time.
This recipe was one of the chef challenges by Matt Moran to Masterchef Adam Liaw, Callum and Aaron. They were required to make this, along with two other dishes by Kylie Kwong and Ian Curly, without recipe. I remember all three of them did quite well too.
Matt Moran’s Lemon Tart
150g Caster Sugar (I’ve used 2/3 cups)
200ml Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice, strained (equals to about 4 lemons)
100ml Freshly squeezed Orange Juice ,Strained
250ml Pouring cream
2 cups Plain flour
½ cup caster sugar (I’ve used 1/4 cup)
180g cold unsalted butter, chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
To make pastry, process flour, icing sugar and butter in a food processor until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add egg and process until mixture just comes together. Form pastry into a disc, enclose in plastic wrap, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (I didn’t use a food processor because it’s still broken, so made it entirely by hand)
Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface until 4mm thick and use to line a 27cm tart pan with removable base (My tart pan is a bit smaller than that, hence the leftover). Trim edge, then line with baking paper and fill with dried beans or rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove beans and paper, and bake for a further 5 minutes or until golden. Set aside to cool. Reduce oven to 150c.
To make lemon filling, place eggs and sugar in a bowl and stir until just combined; try to avoid creating any air bubbles. Gently stir in orange and lemon juices. Place cream in a small saucepan and bring almost to the boil, then stir in the egg mixture. Using a fine sieve, strain lemon filling into a jug. Place tart shell on an oven tray and pour in filling.
Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully rotate to ensure even cooking and bake for another 10 minutes or until just set. To check, gently shake tart; it should be slightly wobbly in the centre. If undercooked, bake tart for a further 5-8 minutes.
Cool tart to room temperature, then serve however you like!
Even though it wasn’t a big fancy meal at a restaurant, it was nonetheless satisfying. Plus we didn’t even have to dress up.
You are the one that guides me in the dark, you are the one who holds me when I’m sad, you are the one I laugh with until my tummy hurts, you are the one who won my heart. Happy Birthday my love!