Salmon and fennel tagliatelle and my fluorescent spring
Well that was awkward: I just had to call the vet to say that Java wouldn’t be able to make her 3pm appointment because I couldn’t find her. Embarrassment-wise, it was on a par with the time I turned up to the vet appointment, on time but minus dog. Java came back a couple of hours later, having apparently taken part in a mud wrestling contest, before putting herself through an aggressive washing machine rinse cycle. I dragged her to the vet anyway, where there was a man asking for something for his parakeet’s itchy eyes. WTAF? Full points to parakeet owner though, for noticing his parakeet’s bothersome eyes. And zero points to me for failing to kit her dog out with a straitjacket.
Pine tree pollen is falling thick and fast, which means that everything has a thick covering of fluorescent yellow dust. (Perhaps this was the parakeet’s problem.) I bumped into a neighbour yesterday — quite literally as it happens; the layer of pollen on my glasses was that thick — who said that it was a sign that the coming winter would be very cold. I said that I couldn’t look that far ahead at the moment, as I was desperately trying to get through the spring without causing myself grievous bodily harm.
A few weeks ago I talked about Luc’s beloved tractor falling sick. It’s back home again, fighting fit, much to its devoted owner’s absolute delight. While I’m very happy for them, I can’t help feeling as if his mistress has come back, lithe and tanned from a long holiday. Especially when he says things like ‘when are we eating, have I got time to take the tractor out for a quick spin?’
The benefits of fennel for digestion
Alone in my kitchen, like a tractor widow, I tend to use fennel quite a lot. Fennel is part of the anise family and very commonly used in Mediterranean cuisine. It is one of the best vegetables for digestive problems and contains a cocktail of essential oils that give its characteristic aniseed smell. The chemicals contained in the essential oils are powerful antispasmodics, meaning they help to relax the wall of the gut. Use with immoderation!
Recipe for salmon and fennel tagliatelle (serves 4)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 125ml dry white wine
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
- 200g tagliatelle
- 200g salmon filets, precooked and sliced
- A handful of chives, chopped
- 50ml crème fraîche
- Parsley, freshly chopped
Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan and ad the onion, fennel and garlic. Cook until the fennel softens. Add the wine and seasoning and simmer until the liquid reduces by about half. Meanwhile cook the tagliatelle. Add the salmon, chives and crème fraîche to the frying pan, mixing well. When the tagliatelle is cooked, combine in the frying pan and sprinkle with parsley.
Pasta with broccoli sauce and narcoleptic hamsters
I am half way through a thermal cure at the moment. In France, if you have a painful body and a doctor’s prescription, you’re good to be smothered in healing mud, and soaked in thermal water for three weeks. You might think that three weeks of pampering would be relaxing, make you happy, and possibly even alleviate the need to whinge. And it is for most people. With the exception, of course, of the person that constantly insisted on seeking me out. She had issues. In fact, her issues had issues: The water was too warm, the therapists late (three whole minutes in one case, can you believe?), the massages too tiring, the food too filling, the coffee too strong, the mineral water too ‘minerally’, and the sun too bright. The upshot was that she decided that she wasn’t coming back. I said that I was certain that a little ray of sunshine like her would be sorely missed; she was so distracted naval gazing that she took the comment at face value.
My hairdresser, who is a hunter (incongruous, but true), told me that this year, we should fill used tights with human hair to keep the grape-bud-munching deer at bay. Following last year’s catastrophe, when the deer ate the buds as soon as they appeared, we were ready to try anything. Except that now I crick my neck doing a double take every time I look at the vines with the narcoleptic, overweight hamsters bobbing in the breeze. I think I preferred the deer!
Health benefits of broccoli
Broccoli contains glucoraphanin , a compound that converts into a potent antioxidant called sulforaphane during digestion. It also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which prevent oxidative stress and cellular damage in your eyes. Broccoli also contains bioactive compounds that reduce both inflammation and insulin resistance in the body. It is rich in fibre and probiotics, both of which contribute to digestive and gut health. It is also an excellent source of vitamin K, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, zinc and vitamins A and C as well as folate.
Recipe for pasta with broccoli sauce (serves 4)
- 8-10 broccoli florets
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 anchovies
- 6 black olives, stoned and chopped
- Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper
- 50ml cream
- Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
Cook the broccoli in salted water until ‘al dente’ and then chop into smaller pieces. Then cook the pasta in the broccoli water. Gently fry the chopped shallots in olive oil until transparent, and add the broccoli and garlic. Add the anchovies and olives and continue to fry for a few minutes. Season to taste, add the cream, stirring well and bring to a simmer. Add the sauce to the pasta. Grate the parmesan cheese over the top just before serving.
Liver in balsamic vinegar sauce, and victory for restaurant-goers
I saw a picture in British newspaper that said everything about France, and in particular, Bordeaux. It was of a couple sitting outside on a restaurant terrace in the centre of Bordeaux (the Place de la Victoire, as it happens). They were calmly eating their dinner, and drinking their obligatory red wine, while rioters and demonstrators caused visible commotion in the background. There was even a ‘fire of wrath’ burning close-by.
The photo reminded me of the time, many years ago, that we had a lunch booking at a Michelin-starred restaurant in Auxerre. It was before GPS and, as we didn’t have a map, we had to stop and ask a policeman for directions to the restaurant. The time was approaching 1pm and the policeman, panicked at the idea that we were going to be late for our table, not only directed us to the restaurant, he also held up the traffic flow in both directions to allow us to do a U-turn! The French have always had their priorities straight.
Liver health benefits
Liver should be organic, preferably, and very fresh. It will be improved greatly by being soaked in lemon juice for several hours before cooking. This improves the texture, and draws out any impurities. Liver is an extremely high-quality source of protein, as it provides all of the essential amino acids. In addition it provides:
- Vitamin B12, which helps the formation of red blood cells and is also involved in healthy brain function.
- Vitamin A, which is important for normal vision, immune function and reproduction.
- Riboflavin (B2), which is important for cellular development and function, and helps turn food into energy.
- Folate (B9) which is an essential nutrient that plays a role in cell growth and the formation of DNA.
- Iron, an essential nutrient that helps carry oxygen around the body. The iron in liver is heme iron, the kind most easily absorbed by the body.
- Copper, which activates a number of enzymes, which then help regulate energy production, iron metabolism and brain function.
- Choline, which is important for brain development and liver function.
Recipe for liver in balsamic vinegar sauce (serves 4)
- 4 slices liver (I used calves liver)
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 shallots, finely chopped
- Sea salt, freshly-ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 6 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Marinate the liver slices in lemon juice for several hours. Pat the slices dry and dust lightly with cornflour. Melt the butter and olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan and gently brown the sliced shallots. Remove the fried shallots and set aside. Add the liver to the frying pan and cook on a fairly high heat, several minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the slices. Season and then add balsamic vinegar, bring to the boil, return the shallots to the pan and serve immediately!
Courgette and cardamon cake and not letting sleeping boars lie
The hit squad
Below is a photo of Java on the naughty step of the car, having prodded, awoken and generally harassed a sleeping wild boar four times her size. I would tell you what I yelled at her, but the asterisk key on my computer is stuck, probably from overuse. Also, I dislocated my shoulder trying to haul her out of the boar’s ‘bedroom’, so I’m typing painfully and economically. We are currently fighting a losing battle with an ever-expanding population of boar; there are fewer and fewer hunters, and those that do turn up, have to contend with our neighbour, a graduate of the Donald Trump School of Diplomacy, and his ridiculously childish hissy fits. But no worries: Java and her German Shepard boyfriend are tackling the problem (the boar, and the neighbour) efficiently and elegantly. They’re quite the team; she marks and provokes, and he rounds up and corners. Job done.
And a horse with discerning taste
Following my horse’s asthma attack, I am giving him a dose of plant-based medicine every day. I think it must be working, because he is finding lots of energy to express some very strong opinions about the clothes I wear. He’s taken particular exception to some of my scarves: I’ve discovered he has a preference for neutral tones. He’s not at all keen on pink, and if I really want to piss him off I put on a garish multi-coloured number, which makes him turn on his haunches and retreat at speed to a safe distance from the offending object. Never let it be said that our animals leave room for complacency!
Cardamon’s multitude of health benefits
Cardamom is great for curing and preventing digestive issues. The cooling effects of cardamom can help relieve acidity and treat gastrointestinal issues like indigestion, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain and spasms. There has even been research on its ability to heal ulcers.
Cardamom is rich in compounds that may fight inflammation, and also helpful for anxiety and depression.
Finally, something that is useful to know for cold and flu season, cardamon has a powerful expectorant action, and helps blood circulation in the lungs by its thinning action. Compounds in cardamom may help increase airflow to your lungs and improve breathing. Another way that cardamom may improve breathing and oxygen levels is by relaxing the airways, which may be particularly helpful for treating asthma.
Recipe for courgette and cardamon cake (serves 8)
- 2 eggs
- 125g coconut oil
- 100g cane sugar
- 350g courgettes, grated
- vanilla extract
- 140g dried raisins, soaked in rum
- 85g walnuts, chopped
- 2 teaspoons ground cardamon
- Bicarb, baking powder
- 200g chickpea flour
- 50g ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare and grease a loaf tin. Beat the eggs, coconut oil and eggs together until homogeneous, then add the grated courgettes, vanilla extract, raisins, walnuts, cardamon and ginger, mixing well. Lastly gradually add the flour, ground almonds, salt, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda and continue mixing until you obtain an even mixture. Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes, or until a fork comes out clean.
Easy chicken and chickpea curry and a potpourri of ailments
Our new year got off to a shaky start, with an upsetting potpourri of human, canine and equine ailments. Luc had an eye operation in December, and is using eyedrops four times a day, and ear drops twice a day for an ear infection. Java managed to head butt a prickly bush, at high speed, and is also on eye drops four times a day as a result. I have vertigo — probably from trying to figure out the deluge of prescription drugs spread across my kitchen table — which means I keep walking into door frames, causing further assorted minor injuries.
And Jojo, my horse, is on cortisone injections and cough syrup twice a day to treat an asthma attack, brought on by an over-enthusiastic pilferage of dusty hay. His medication is certainly the most complicated, and a two-man job. For example, the injection must be administered with a steady flow of apples, or all hell breaks loose. Last night we tried to give him his cough syrup in the field, without a head collar, as he doesn’t resist, and even seems to enjoy it. Big mistake; we won’t try that again! He swung around, haughtily lifting his head out of reach, and I’m sure I heard him say: ‘Yo! Protocol chaps! You’re getting sloppy!’
Ghee, which is clarified butter, not only adds a subtle, nutty flavour to dishes, it’s also a very healthy option. It is easy to digest and can reduce gut inflammation as it contains butyric acid. It is also rich in linoleic acid, which reduces blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Ghee is also rich in vitamin A, important for immunity and eye (see above!) and skin health, and omega 3 which fights inflammation.
Recipe for easy chicken and chickpea curry (serves 4)
- 1 tablespoon of ghee (olive oil or butter could be substituted)
- 1 onion, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
- Thumb size piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 750g chicken breast filets, sliced
- 2 potatoes, peeled and roughly sliced
- 2 carrots, peeled and cut into rounds
- 300g cooked chickpeas
- 600ml chicken stock
- Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
- 1-2 teaspoons mild curry powder (to taste)
- 4 tablespoons natural yoghurt
- Handful of coriander leaves, rinsed and chopped
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Heat the ghee in a casserole dish over a medium heat, add the onion and fry until golden brown and sticky. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another minute. Add the chicken to the dish and gently brown on both sides, add the potatoes, carrots and chickpeas and pour the stock over everything. Season and transfer to the oven for about 40 minutes, then remove and stir in the yoghurt and add the coriander leaves. Delicious served with chickpea pancakes, or basmati rice.
Walnut and blue cheese pasta sauce, and the fine art of understatement
One of the things I love about the French is their tendency to understatement; ‘Il est spécial’ (he is special) might easily be used to describe anyone from a mild eccentric to a raging psychopath. Or ‘ce vin n’est pas désagréable’ (this wine is not disagreeable) could describe a 2018 Chateau Lafite Rothschild, and if you hear ‘il pleuviote’, (it’s drizzling), the chances are high there’s a flood warning in place.
When our neighbours recently excelled, by blocking part of our kilometre-long driveway with dangerous metal poles, my reaction was anything but understated. The fact that I was almost decapitated by driving into them, inspired an energetic rendition of my impressive stash of swear words. It was loud, too. Luc captured the essence of the fine art of understatement subsequently, in a letter to our Mairie, saying that if the ridiculous blockade wasn’t removed, ‘nous pourrions devenir nerveux’ (we could become nervous).
Coco Chanel famously said: ‘Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.’ This translates to spoken and written expression when ‘we are absolutely spitting with unfettered fury’ becomes ‘we could become nervous’. In any case, the threat of our potential nervousness must have struck a chord; we are now blockade-free!
The wonder of walnuts
I have mentioned the benefits of walnuts before, but it bears repeating. New research has shown that walnuts actually contribute to longevity. The study showed, amongst other things, that walnut eaters have a 25% lower risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. They also contain a very high quantity of the polyphenol-rich antioxidant, ellagic acid which helps prevent cancer.
Research also shows that consuming walnuts can help alleviate depression and cognitive degeneration. They are the only nut to contain omega 3 alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is very beneficial for brain health. And walnuts are known to raise melatonin levels by three times, providing relief from sleeplessness and insomnia.
Walnuts are also an excellent source of key nutrients that support overall health, including fibre, manganese, magnesium, copper, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, vitamin B6, folate, and thiamine.
Recipe for walnut and blue cheese pasta sauce (serves 4)
- 200g walnuts, shelled
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- 25g pine nuts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 40g blue cheese (I used Roquefort)
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 100ml cream
Blend the walnuts, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and blue cheese together and add the seasoning. Gently heat, stirring in the cream and and mix into your cooked pasta (I used ravioli, but any pasta works nicely).
Watermelon and feta salad and birthday pandemonium
I overheard a telephone conversation, in which Luc described the food at his birthday party, the previous day. His side of the conversation went like this:
‘Well to start with we had feta and basil tart, without the feta, which Fiona had left in a supermarket caddy in Dax. She had also planned a very pretty watermelon, cucumber and feta salad. Unfortunately as I said, the feta was M.I.A., and the cucumber hadn’t even featured on the shopping list. So the pretty salad was basically a bowl of watermelon cubes.’
‘The tuna steaks were a success, although some were very charred, because the marinade spilled onto the gas barbecue, which caught fire. It was pretty hairy actually, until we pulled the barbecue out from under the terrace into the bucketing rain. Oh and the desserts! We had chocolate cake and walnut tart. The cake was meant to be decorated with a ‘7’ and an ‘0’ candle, but as it turned out, the ‘7’ had opted to stay in the shopping caddy with the feta, so it was just the ‘0’, which felt quite liberating really.’
What Luc failed to mention, was that I had pulled a muscle in my neck, rendering myself agonisingly immobile, just 10 minutes before the party started. Luckily a massage therapist friend was to hand (I choose my friends wisely), and he deftly put me back together. There was a lot of ‘now you see me, now you don’t’ rain in the morning, and very heavy rain in the afternoon, which meant that we had to use a covered terrace, 30 metres from the kitchen.
After a few spectacular false starts, involving flying food, I nailed a ‘carrying a tray while holding an umbrella’ technique. Following months of drought, the ground was so dry that fast-running rivers formed between the kitchen and terrace, and I was able to complete my nonchalant look — my neck was too painful to risk a hairbrush — with mismatched wellington boots. Despite all this, or maybe because of it, everybody seemed to have a great time, and in the end, the sun shone through the rain. Although, not everyone was in a state fit to even notice.
Watermelon health benefits
The red colour of watermelon flesh comes from lycopene, which is a potent antioxidant. There is more of this nutrient in watermelon than any other fruit or vegetable, including tomatoes. It is also rich in an amino acid called citrulline that may help move blood flow, and can lower your blood pressure, and contains a pigment, that may protect your joints from inflammation. Lastly, watermelon is an excellent source of vitamins C and A and also copper and B vitamins.
Recipe for watermelon and feta salad (serves 4)
- 1 ripe watermelon
- ½ cucumber
- bunch fresh mint, chopped
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 2 limes
- 150g feta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Chop the watermelon and cucumber into chunks and place in a salad bowl, along with the chopped mint. Soak the red onion slices in lime juice and leave to steep. Cut the feta into cubes and add to the watermelon, cucumber and mint. Add the onion slices, along with the lime juice to the bowl, and then add the olive oil and seasoning. Mix gently – the watermelon and feta are fragile! Serve chilled.
Cajun-style tuna steaks and raves on the terrace
Welcome to my updated blog. Apparently the original blog, which was over ten years old, was ‘fine on the outside, but chaotic on the inside!’ Sounded horribly familiar!
We’ve been cooking outside a lot; I haven’t wanted to use the oven because of the stifling heat. Unfortunately this is now no longer an option due to the fire risk. This recipe is easy and versatile, as the steaks may be cooked on a proper barbecue, a gas barbecue, or even in a hot frying pan.
In my last blog, I mentioned that a deer had been snacking on the terrace at night. He is still a nightly visitor, and in view of the noise, I suspect he now invites friends. I know when they have been ‘partying’ because I do an inventory of the geranium flowers in bloom every evening, and again in the morning. I’ve arrived at the conclusion that in general, all hell has broken loose since our black labrador, Hugo’s demise.
In just the past week a deer availed himself of the open terrace door to come into the house one night, no doubt in search of more geraniums, and a weasel woke our guests sleeping in the grange by rapping, very loudly, on the glass door. Then I knocked a man flying with a shopping caddy (which become lethal weapons in my hands) and Luc chucked our cleaning lady’s shoes in the bin.
Also, I can’t remember how many people, or which people for that matter, I have invited to Luc’s birthday party next week; it could be 15 guests, or it could be 25. I have literally no idea. It should be interesting, particularly as some much-needed rain is forecast for that day.
Tuna’s multiple health benefits (and a word of warning)
Tuna is a very rich source of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s are known for their anti-inflammatory properties as well as aiding mental, heart, bone, eye, and skin health. A lesser-known benefit of Omega 3 is that it can help sleep quality.
Tuna is a good source of good-quality protein and also contains generous amounts of calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, B-vitamins, selenium, and choline.
Despite the many benefits, consumption of tuna, and other big fish, should probably be limited to a maximum of once a week due to its mercury content.
Recipe for Cajun-style marinated tuna steaks (serves 4)
- 50ml orange juice
- 50ml coconut aminos (or soya sauce
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 3 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 4 tuna steaks
Mix the marinade ingredients together and generously coat the tuna steaks. Leave in the fridge overnight, if possible, or at least for a couple of hours. Best seared for a couple of minutes on each side on a BBQ, protected by aluminum foil. Otherwise they can be fried in a hot frying pan.
Chocolate and almond mousse cake and badgered by badgers
I’m not going to gloat about the results of the French election, because that would be neither kind, nor fair for supporters of Putin’s ‘putain‘ (Putin’s tart). The trouble is though, apparently the moment you get rid of one pest, you gain another: We’re currently being persecuted by a badger.
Strange husbands and lethal umbrellas
Badgers are reputed to be fearless, thick skinned, resourceful and unwavering, and the one that comes to visit us every night ticks all the boxes. It started by digging up the lawn farthest from the house, and has gradually made its way closer. At midnight last night, Luc decided enough was enough, and took off to hunt it down on his bicycle, dressed in underpants, armed with an umbrella, with a torch strapped to his head. He looked quite alarming, but in an insane way, not a badger-scaring way.
He circled the house several times, shouting menacingly and brandishing his umbrella like the lethal weapon it wasn’t, before coming back in to reassure me that, although he hadn’t seen the offending creature, he thought we would be left in peace from now on (I love mens’ egos; they’re a constant source of amusement to me). This morning we woke up to a larger-than-ever patch of dug up lawn right in front of the bedroom window. This badger is not only spunky and tenacious, he also has a wicked sense of humour. And the dogs just snoozed on…
Chocolate cake and chocolate mousse are my absolute favourites, and this combines the best of both; it’s not too sweet and the taste and texture, somewhere between the two, are just perfect.
Potential copper deficiency
Many people have been supplementing zinc to aid immunity to Covid and other viruses. High intake of zinc for extended periods of time may result in copper deficiency. Copper is essential in the formation of collagen, and also helps the body use its stored iron — a deficiency can result in anemia. Dark chocolate and almonds are both excellent sources of copper, so this cake is a good choice if you’ve been taking zinc for over the past few years. Other good sources of copper are shellfish, organ meats, legumes, whole grains and peas.
Recipe for chocolate and almond mousse cake (serves 6-8)
- 150g dark chocolate (min 70%)
- 120g coconut oil
- 5 eggs, separated
- 150g cane sugar
- 70g ground almond
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamon powder
- Tablespoon rum
Preheat the oven to 140°C. Melt the chocolate and the coconut oil in a bain marie, while whisking the egg whites in a bowl until stiff. In another bowl, blend the egg yolks and sugar, then add the ground almonds, seasoning, rum and chocolate and coconut oil, mixing well. Finally fold in the egg whites until the mixture is homogenous. Pour the mixture into a greased tin (I used a loaf tin) and bake for 45 minutes.
French walnut tart and masking your confusion
A pair of goats turned up, quite unannounced, the other evening. Obviously visitors are always a welcome surprise, but I was a bit thrown by these; I’m not familiar with goat etiquette. Do you stick them in a grange and hope someone will claim them, or offer them dinner and send them on their way? I sent messages to all our potentially goat-owning neighbours, and the consensus seemed to be: ‘Not ours, but it’s hardly surprising they turned up — you run Club Med for animals’.
I have been trying out magnet therapy for my stiff neck. It’s supposed to be very effective for inflammation, and, so far it’s proving to be quite effective. Yesterday, while I was in the process of making dinner with a particularly sharp knife, my ‘phone rang. As I put the ‘phone to my ear, the knife sprang vigourously out of my hand, and onto the magnet on my neck, stabbing me the process. So, although the inflammation in my neck is quite a bit better, I’m now dealing with a minor stab wound.
I’m not really fit to be let loose in public: I keep accosting people I don’t know, and blanking people I do. I’m obviously not the only one to find masked faces a challenge though, because the doctor that jabbed me last week asked if I’d been on the operating bloc recently, as I ‘looked very familiar’. I know I’m a bit vague, but I think I’d remember being operated on so recently… I would, wouldn’t I?
A friend who visited recently made this for us during her stay. I loved it so much, I’ve made it quite a few times since.
Walnuts are full of vitamins and minerals, and are an especially rich source of Omega 3. They are a good source of copper, folic acid, phosphorus, vitamin B6, manganese and vitamin E.
Walnuts are also a rich source of phytosterols and antioxidants which help decrease inflammation. Consuming walnuts can enrich the gut microbiome, increasing good bacteria.
Recipe for French walnut tart (serves 6)
- 150g butter
- 270g flour (I used einkorn flour)
- 1 pinch of salt
- 225g walnuts
- 2 eggs
- 20cl fresh cream
- Drop of vanilla essence
- 100g cane sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, ginger and cardamon
Preheat the oven to 180°C.
To make the pastry, begin by cutting the butter into small cubes. Sift the flours and a pinch of salt together into in a mixing bowl, also adding the cubes of butter. Rub in and blend by hand until the mixture becomes crumbly. Add the cold water, mixing rapidly with a spoon. Remove the mixture from the bowl onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until you obtain a ball of pastry (if the mixture isn’t ‘sticky’ enough to form a ball, you may need a drop more water). Wrap in a clean cotton tea towel or some cling film and leave to ‘rest’ in the fridge for about two hours. This relaxes the dough and makes it easier to use.
For the filling, crush the walnuts and set aside. Beat the eggs, adding the cream, vanilla, and sugar and spices, mixing well. Add the crushed nuts and pour the mixture into the prepared pastry case. Bake at 180°C for 35 minutes. Delicious hot or cold.