But first a Random Rant.
What the hell has happened to the BBC news website? It’s my go-to primary source of news (If, on the other hand, I want non-news I wind myself up by reading about the latest shenanigans relating to Kim Kardashian on the Daily Mail Online).
The BBC website used to just tell you what was going on in reasonably impartial terms (not bad for a leftie organisation). But now they seem to have employed a 21 year old to redesign the site so that it feels like you are looking at….well I’m not sure. It’s like its designed for people who don’t read the news. GREAT BIG pictures. Sentences of no more than a few words. Lots of videos.
They say it’s because most people view the BBC site on phones and tablets. But people know better than to view lots of videos on the move because it uses up the battery and their network credit.
So what’s the real reason? Money. Austerity. Over here everyone who has a TV has to pay the BBC a license fee. It began a looooong time ago. Before commercial channels with advertising and of course well before cable or satellite subscriptions.
But now, in the brave new world of dog-eat-dog, the license fee is under threat. We have to pay it even if we don’t watch it. Even Sky hasn’t managed to pull that trick (although you know they wish they could).
So the BBC is trying to shrink into the background. You can imagine them sitting in their very expensive new offices in Manchester sweating it out.
‘What can we do?’
‘Can we make them forget?’
‘The license fee.’
‘Well, let’s not increase the price. They’ll forget about it.’
‘Well how are we going to afford our inclusive diversity training weekends at Gleneagles?’
‘We’ll slash the online budget. We’ll create one website that works across any device. It’ll look crap because it will have much less content, but it’ll be super cheap to run.’
‘Excellent! Pour the champagne and give yourself a pay rise.’
So there we have it. A vanilla news website which seems oddly devoid of news. It’s got big pictures and large areas of white space. Groovy.
Still awake? Looking for some food? How about this. It came from BBC GoodFood. Now they aren’t messing around with websites. They do spend a bit too much time messing around with foods you’ll never try (like most recently wild garlic. Come on, wild garlic) but they also do really good things. For instance, Apricot Frangipane Tart.
Now this is one of ‘Mary Berry’s Favourites’. She must have a lot of favourites. I thought it would be a bit like a Bakewell Tart with apricots but the texture was more like a quiche. Not unpleasant at all but more pudding than tart.
It might have done with more ground almonds or some flour in the mix, but who am I to argue with the Queen of Soggy Bottoms?
For Mary Berry’s Apricot Frangipane Tart you will need
- A loose-bottomed pie dish 22cm to 28 cm across
- 1 pack ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry (if you want to make your own, good for you)
- 3oz butter, softened
- 3oz caster sugar
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3oz ground almonds, plus extra for sprinkling on the pastry before cooking (helps the pastry from getting soggy from the apricots)
- ½ tsp almond extract
- 2 tins of apricot halves in juice, drained (reserve the juice) and dried with lots of kitchen towel
- 4½ oz icing sugar
- At least 2 tbsp apricot juice from the tin
If you want to be really lazy then get some ready-rolled pastry. I did.
First heat the oven. Now after several years I have realised that our oven runs hot. So when it says 170 centigrade for a fan oven I should have set it to 160 centigrade (but I didn’t) and when it says cook for 45 to 50 mins it won’t take more than 35 mins. I mean who cooks something like this for nearly an hour? It’s a pie not turkey. Instructions can be so stupid. (You know when they state ‘tested in our kitchen’ that kind of guarantees it hasn’t been).
Put a baking tray in the oven.
Line the pie dish with the pastry. Prick the surface with a fork and set aside.
Using a food processor (or bowl and spoon), combine the caster sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Now the trick to doing this in a food processor is to get the butter really soft. Of course I didn’t so it just kept turning into a ball of sugary butter that avoided the processor blades as soon as it could.
Eventually however it went pale and fluffy, so I added the eggs, ground almonds and extract and whizzed for a min, to combine. You could at this point, if you wanted a slightly cakier texture, add some more almonds, or some flour. I think.
Making sure you have squeezed out as much juice as is practicable from the apricots, place them into the pie case.
Pour over the mixture and let it level out. Pop in the oven for half an hour or so, check and then continue for 5 or 10 mins if needed.
Once done it should look like a slightly less bronzed version of this….
Anywho, combine the icing sugar and juice to form some thick but pourable icing. I put mine in a bottle to make it easier to squeeze onto the pie. Once the pie has cooled properly, drizzle with icing.
You could serve slightly warmed with ice cream or whipped cream, neither of which I had. So I took it to work. This is the creation at circa 10.30…
And this is the tart at circa 12.30…
So it was a success! Someone thought it good enough to write a comment!