I spent the first day of the new year pretty much the same way as I do every year; throwing up and crying because I felt so utterly horrendous. I am pretty sure that the throwing up was due to the copious amounts of alcohol that I consumed the night before, and not because of the fennel and coconut tart.
Every year me and Jack have people over for drinks and food, and in order to reduce the stress of cooking I ask everyone to bring a dish (this is a very useful tip, I also do it every Christmas too!). So I thought this would be the ideal time to start my first recipe, I had been given three new cookbooks for Christmas and had earmarked an interesting sounding ‘Fennel and Coconut Tart’. The only problem was I felt like death, I hadn’t slept properly in about three days because every time I lay down to sleep it felt like tiny little vampire spiders where running around at the back of my throat scratching and biting me. Christmas had completely done me in, and I had about 20 people arriving for a party in around 3 hours. Its easy to see why we stick to what we know and keep on cooking the same things we always do, for me in this situation I can always count on my spicy potatoes dish. But no! its time to try something new! Luckily this tart seemed pretty easy to prepare and so I set about making it.
This recipe comes from ‘The Green Kitchen’ by David Frankiel & Louise Vindahl. It sounded pretty strange to be honest, the mixture of fennel, coconut and rosemary? but I thought I would give it a go, if I am totally honest, because it looked so easy.
Now I am going to be totally honest with you here… I did not make the pastry myself, I looked at that list of ingredients, looked around at my messy house and at myself, still in my pyjamas and sleep deprived, with a party to get ready for and thought…. fuck that. But I am sure it would have tasted really great, and been much healthier than the ready rolled shortcrust stuff I bought from Asda as I dashed around getting party supplies. But alas, I am not superwoman. I will write the full instructions here so if you do have the time, money and patience, you can give the ‘three different flour pastry’ a go. If you do let me know how it goes!
This was very easy to make, and quick! Now, I have another thing to admit… I am terrible at following recipes, I look at something and think.. hmm that doesn’t look right, I know much better, even though I have no culinary expertise at all. So I change things, and then get annoyed when the recipe doesn’t work out how it should! And this time was no exception.. I added another egg and not enough fennel and it went eggy.. it was more of a quiche. My brother in law (to be) said ‘its got a nice flavour but its a bit…eggy’. Yes, well, that’s because I thought it needed another one, it didn’t. We also need to talk about the rosemary, it was way too much, two whole sprigs of rosemary? I mean I halved that and it was still way too rosemary-ish. People thought it was.. ok. It didn’t blow anyone’s mind or incite numerous compliments from people as they picked at the new years eve buffet. But it also wasn’t inedible.
I am not sure how I feel about the fact that the first recipe of my little experiment was a bust. Its somewhat similar to how the first week of January is going for me, there was high hopes of getting over this flu, getting fit and ‘sorting my life out’. Instead I thought I knew best, went out and got trollied, and ended up with a viral infection in my ear leaving me bed ridden for a week! My high hopes are still there though, maybe a little dulled by the flu medication, but still there.
I think I have learnt something here though, if I am going to do this I need to actually follow the recipes! So I am going to try it again, and follow the recipe, even when I think it doesn’t look right, or I know better. In fact, I am going to cook it again, because if this recipe is going to be one of the 52 you and I are left with at the end of this, then I need to make sure it actually has the capability of tasting nice. I’ll let you know how it goes!