Winter eats..and treats

With what feels like the darkest days of winter here at the moment it's sometimes hard to find comfort in those things the other seasons so generously offer. Sunlight is at a bare minimum, it's cold, washing needing to be hung inside just to get it dry, a soggy chook pen and a sloshy goat paddock, ash, ash and more ash from the fire place waiting to be emptied, and it's cold! (did I mention that?).

 What I wouldn't give for a t-shirt kind of day, a warm breeze sweet with the scent of spring blossom and cut grass, the kind of weather to potter around outside without freezing the fingers off *sigh*..

 So, the focus for comforts moves indoors. Yarny crafty goodness, freshly washed fleecy fibre drying by the fire, spinning, spinning and more spinning. And food. For sustenance of course...

I just can't seem to get enough of this custard tart. I'm amazed every time I make it how well the custard's so smooth and velvety but not in the least bit sloppy..a cut slice will sit nice and neatly on the plate. It's up there among my favourite sweet recipes! Using homegrown eggs is a real treat too!

Who doesn't love a freshly made donut? Especially when you're tween size and have just come home from being caught in the cold rain after school...again! 

Spanakopita. This is also becoming another favourite. It's so easy to whip together and using up the steady supply of silverbeet offerings from the garden make the meal seem so much tastier! The feta and parmesan that the pie is loaded with would have absolutely nothing to do with this, I'm sure!

Some jammy experiments..well, just for fun.

This winter, I'm right into the home cooked beans. This night it was our favourite Boston baked beans divided up into op-shopped ramekins then topped with cheese and baked until meltingly gooey after being inspired by Linda Woodrow's post.

Such an easy dinner with bread alongside and SO tasty! 

I'm loving having the eldest at home this week on an extra week of school holidays. To have her bake a batch of brownies for me to take to spinning group is an absolute treat! 

A sourdough starter bubbling away plus soups soups and more soups made with stocky goodness, these are the comforts from the kitchen making their way to our table at the moment. 

What's been making it to your table this season? 

Custard Tart (adapted from the Essential Dessert Cookbook)
Serves 8

1 pre cooked pastry flan (20cm/8" approx)
(The quantities I've been using: 1 1/2 cups plain flour, 1/4 cup custard powder, 125g butter, 1 1/2 tbs caster sugar and 1 egg yolk, with a drizzle of iced water as required).

4 free range eggs
1-2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to moderate 180c/350f. Bring the milk to a boil in a saucepan. While this is happening, mix the eggs, vanilla and sugar together in a bowl. Once the milk is at the boil, remove from heat and slowly pour over the egg mixture, whisking all the while. Strain through a sieve into a jug with a good pouring spout.

Place the pre-cooked pastry flan in the oven and pull out the shelf slightly. Pour the strained egg mixture carefully into the pastry shell and sprinkle with the ground nutmeg. Slowly slide the oven shelf and tray back into position, close the door and bake for 30-40 minutes or until just set (mixture won't wobble when shaken gently).

Allow to cool before slicing.

(Any leftover pastry/egg mixture can be formed into mini tarts in muffin trays. Just roll out the dough, place in the tins and pop in the freezer for around 10-20 minutes, add the custard mix and bake for around 10-15 minutes - no need to blind bake. With the pastry being cold, it won't shrink and lose it's shape too much in the oven. The finished tarts are even sturdy enough for the lunchboxes!)


  1. Wow - it's making me hungry reading about all of the gorgeous food throughout this amazing post...

    I can't wait to try one of those custard tarts tonight using our free range eggs also..

    Thanks for the recipe..

    Jodie :)

  2. What a lot of very tasty treats. I'm now wondering why, I've never made a custard tart before! Winter doesn't seem to have left us yet in the UK and we're all feeling rather gloomy we are not going to get a summer at all.

  3. I was just going to say the same as Jodie - it's making me hungry. I sometimes find it hard to get through a dozen eggs so towards the end I turn the last few into egg custard. This time I'm going to try your recipe and add an egg yolk to the pastry. Sounds good.

    1. You're welcome, Jodie!

      Ooh, I hope the warmer weather comes your way soon, Choclette - we are all looking forward to watching the games!

      It's a good one to use up excess egss, jean.. ;)

  4. Trust me to be on a no sugar thing at the moment, I could make that tart for the children, I'm sure they would love it but....hmmmm better not tempt fate.

    Do you have a spare room? An attic? Heck I'd settle for the closet, I just want to come and eat at your place for a week. It all looks fantastic!

  5. Delicious home baked goodness there....yum...and I am so cold at the moment that I cant move...........bbbrrrrr

  6. Love your blog - just nominated you for a "lovely blog award"
    Sue :)

    1. Oh, no danger of no sugar here, Busy Mum. Good on you, I admire those who can give up the evil addiction.

      It has been a cold winter so far, Suzanne.

      Thanks Sue!

  7. Oh perrrrfect timing! I was thinking the other day, I really would like to make custard tarts... and voila! You've come up with the goodies :-)

  8. Yum! I haven't had dinner yet and that all looks so appetising.

  9. Ah, your post came just right at the same time. I am feeling all cooky and bakey near my fuel stove in arms reach! Custard tart here I come!!!!!!!!!(We have sloshy goat pen and soggy chicken pen and ash too ..I will enjoy it more knowing other people are dealing with it too!)

    1. It's ridiculously easy, Brydie..more so if you whizz the pastry ingredients in a food processor ;)

      Thanks, Gladys.

      Thanks, Kim, your similar experiences are a true comfort for me :)

  10. Ohhhh so many tasty treats. I might have to use some of our silverbeet the same way.

  11. It's freezing here too, minus the rain. The sun is out today and the washing is drying.

    Such lovely yummy goodness on your blog, I popped over to see the bean recipe, it looks wonderful!

    Thank you so much for sharing your custard tart recipe it looks and sounds divine!

    Have an inspired week and stay warm

  12. I'm going to try this recipe. It looks great! Just remember, with regards to winter, we are over the hump! Winter solstice is behind us and we have spring to look forward to!

    1. So many uses for silverbeet I'm finding, Fiona. Tonight we had some in laksa instead of bok choy ;)

      You're wonderfully lucky to be able to dry the washing oustide, Linda! I can only dream... Wishing you a lovely end of week and weekend! xx

      Yes, the hump has indeed passed, thanks goodness Linda. Let the longer days show themselves!

  13. oh yummy!!!! My oldest son just looked over my shoulder and saw your custard tart recipe. Guess what I'm making in the school holidays. Thanks for the recipe Christine.

  14. What a delicious post! Here it's summer but we're having days and days of rain. Again! It had barely dried out from a previous week of rain, and I had to scamper to get seeds planted before this next bout. On the brighter side, it's perfect weather to have the oven on...I may try that custard tart today.

  15. Replies
    1. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do, Sue. :)

      Ohh, summery baking, what fun, quinn! Hope it dries up soon for you though..

      Thankyou Becky. :)

  16. absolutely everything you've made looks so delicious..those donuts look did you do that? i'm so glad you posted the recipe for the custard tart..thanks..x

  17. The beans and cheese look delicious! we had homemade made beans this week, I wish I'd though of doing that with them, next time!
    Do you cook your tart pastry before putting in the custard mixture?
    This post has made me very hungry so I'm off now for a coffee and a little nibble!

  18. Our chook run is all sloshy mud at the mo, poor things! Your baked beans look delicious in little ramekins. I like to make a triple batch and freeze them. We pull them out of a weekend and reheat them in a pan with an egg on top, a quick but yummy lunch. I like the idea of stretchy melted cheese on top.
    Melanie-Jade :-)

    1. I was sneaky and used the donut maker that lurkes at the back of the cupboard, Jane. ;)

      Yes, blind bake the custard tart pastry first, Emma (although I don't bother doing this with the smaller tarts - just the big family size one). Use dried beans or baking beads for the first 15 mins, then remove them and continue baking for another 10 mins or so at 180c.

      Ahh, a triple batch is genious, Melanie-Jade. If only our pot was big enough! The cheese is a real crowd pleaser.

  19. Oh, thank you SO much for your custard tart recipe. I am so grateful. Custard tarts are one of my real favourite things in the whole world.

  20. Such a great post!! Winter is when you feel like lazing on the couch and snuggle under the blanket but you have made me inspired!

  21. My mouth is watering! That custard tart looks amazing!

    1. So nice to eat them homemade, gardenglut..and fresh, unlike some from the bakeries...

      Great, Deon! Although a blanky does sound good right about now. :)

      It's a yummy recipe, Kimbamel, a real keeper. :)

  22. dear christine,
    all those things are delicious and makes me very favourite is the custard tart.thanks for sharing the recipe!!!!!
    today is it hot and humid here in germany.
    wish you a nice restweek,
    love and hugs regina

  23. Thankyou for posting the recipe on that lovely custard tart. I baked it yesterday for my family and it was absolutely delicious! The pastry was beautiful and crisp and the custard very smooth. Love your blog and read regularly.

  24. What fabulous looking donuts, Christine! How do you get them looking so perfect? It all looks very hearty and cosy at your house! :)

  25. ok ok - I'll have another go at baking!!! You make it look so easy - and very worthwhile!!! - Kara

  26. I am so delighted to see your custard tart and the recipe!
    They are my favourite treat at the bakery.
    Now I will be making them at home..
    Thank you...


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Hi there, so nice of you to stop by! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, I love hearing what you are up to. Christine x

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