I feel like a bit of a jet-setter or late- a tour around the UK followed by a jaunt to Naples, Florida before heading to Miami for the marathon. It hasn’t been a glamorous trip- travel in piggery class, dinners on a budget, nights slept on various friends/family sofa beds and of course the marathon on Sunday will be no jaunt in the park. I did have five glorious days in the UK though. Sure, the sun only came out on day four, I worked my way through an entire box of kleenex tissues having picked up a cold from some germ-riden plane passenger and Don and I ran around from village to village making sure that everybody who needed to be seen was seen, our wedding was planned and to restock on the necessary staples. It has been a holiday of endurance testing- the way a Helm holiday always is. If it weren’t for a few days relaxing in Naples the marathon might have become the most relaxing part of the whole trip.
And whilst it has been glorious not to be at work, I’ve found myself missing my home kitchen (the leaky tap and temperamental dishwasher, not so much) but the cooking I’ve missed. Eating on the run, in the car and on planes out of Tupperware with plastic forks has such limited appeal to me. No scrap that, it has no appeal to me. The nostalgia has only been made worse from the many food magazines that I picked up in the UK all dog-eared for my return. In the meantime I leave you with a recipe from before I left, which I know sounds rather mean but after the marathon on Sunday I will be back on full blogging form.
Sweet potato, apple & cheese pie
This pie is savoury, crisp a tad sweet and tangy and really quite stunning. Did I mention it is just about the easiest kind of tart to make? No lining pastry tins here, just fold pastry up and over and pop in the oven. Perfect for when you feel like you spend your whole life running.
Diet Facts: none
450g/ 1 lb of flakey pastry
1 large (about 400g) sweet potato
1 large (about 200g) granny smith apple, cored and sliced very thin (mandolin preferable once again)
85g/3oz humboldt fog or other goats cheese, rind removed
1 tbsp picked thyme leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/ Heat the oven to 200C/400F/ Gas 6. Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven- this will ensure that the bottom of your pastry does not get too soggy. Roll out your pastry into a round roughly 13 x 13 inches. Place on a baking tray and allow to chill whilst you prepare you filling.
2/ Peel and slice your sweet potato very thin. If you have a mandolin then this would be the time to pull it out of the drawers. Core your apple and slice it thinly, slightly thicker than the sweet potato but this is not something to fuss over.
3/ Spread half of the sweet potatoes evenly over the surface of the pastry leaving a 5 cm/ 2 inch border clear of filling. Season with salt and pepper, scatter with half of the thyme, half of the cheese and then top evenly with the apple slices. Top with the remaining sweet potatoes, season again and sprinkle with the remaining cheese and thyme. Fold the pastry border up over the filling starting at one side and working your way around, making small creases to help keep the pastry in place. If the pastry still feels cold at this point you can go ahead and brush with the egg. If it feels warm then chill it for at least another 10 minutes.
4/ Drizzle the oil over the potatoes right before putting it in the oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the pastry is golden all over and the potatoes and tender when poked with a skewer or knife. Serve with a green salad.