Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Manchester Food and Drink Festival and Lemon Chilli Tart

Window Grow stand at the Manchester Chilli Lovers' Fair

Last Friday saw a very wet start to the Manchester Food and Drink Festival. We had planned to go into town and see what was on, and after studying the program we found out that the "Manchester Chilli Lovers' Fair" would be on in Albert Square. After splashing through the rain to Albert Square we found various tents and stands up, along with a stage which was to showcase the Chilli Eating Competition. Something which neither of us were particularly interested in. Maybe we're party-poopers, but we like chilli because of the flavour and kick it gives dishes, not because of how entertaining it is to eat so many your mouth hurts, or because eating the hottest thing possible would impress your friends. (Which it wouldn't by the way!)
The trade stands which were there were various different producers of chilli products, sauces, pickles, spices, plants, and even pastas. There was one particular stand, Window Grow, was selling self-watering growers, and they had samples of the various chillis which could be grown. We were chatting to the traders about their product as I've tried, and as yet, failed to grow chillis from seed this year, but I will not give  up, and as we were doing so noticed the Lemon Drop Chilli. 
This was familiar to us as a while ago, after reading Alex Rushmer's blog we had bought some Lemon Drop Sauce from the Cambridge Chilli Farm and attempted his Lemon and Chilli Tart.   
We ended up buying a few chilli pickles and sauces and headed off to find something more substantial than the samples to eat.

Anyway, our visit to the Chilli Fair inspired us to try the tart again. Recipe here.
Alex Rushmer's Lemon and Chilli Tart
(Not even half as pretty as Alex's but still tasted good!)

I was a bit panicked about the whole whisking eggs over simmering water thing, but everything worked how Alex described, and I did know when it was ready! I used gluten free flour for the pastry, which made it very crumbly, and almost disastrous, but that's just me getting used to how the flour works. We added more chilli sauce to the filling than in the recipe, which at the time seemed a good idea, but now seems a little too much heat, and probably not what he was getting at for the overall flavour. But still, we love the way that the tangyness of the lemon comes through first, then you're left with the slight heat, no warmth actually, in your mouth. Lovely. We served it with some homemade coconut ice cream.

P.S. We noticed that the number of eggs for the filling had been missed out from the recipe on Alex's new website, but he very kindly let us know, via twitter, that it should have 3 eggs. Thanks Alex!

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