Monday, 21 January 2008

another weekend, another DIY project

Now that we’ve finished renovating the upstairs of our house – we have doors in our bedrooms! with doorknobs! and blinds! – S and I started all over again downstairs. Stripping awfully textured wallpaper off the ceiling (yes, the ceiling. Must be some kind of British thing), stripping a gazillion layers of paint off the woodwork, ripping out three layers of awful carpet, sanding wooden floors and completely overhauling the beautiful but neglected sash windows. I guess we could hire someone to do all the work for us, but it is very hard to find decently skilled craftspeople here without having to take out an extra mortgage to pay them. Plus I’m still upset about how the jobs we could not do ourselves were done by so-called professionals. And that was more than two years ago. Also I’m a bit of a control freak and I’d rather do everything myself, so I know it’s done properly. Which takes a lot of time. In addition to all the DIY I’ve also found myself in a spring-cleaning mood recently (must be the too warm weather we’re having here) itching to clean out cupboards, reorganise shelves etc.

So, loads to do at home and not much time for other things. But just enough time to bake something quick and easy: I had some left-over chocolate shortcrust pastry in the freezer, and a whole bunch of walnuts from my aunt’s garden. But no nutcracker. So what does one do in a DIY-filled, nutcracker-less home? Why, use a DIY tool as a nutcracker of course. I found a quick and easy Donna Hay recipe, et voilà, little butterscotch walnut tartlets.

S wasn’t a fan (but he doesn’t like walnut and he doesn’t like honey), so I brought some tartlets over to the neighbours, who were big fans. And told me I should open a pastry shop. And please could they be my test audience. I think they just want more sweets. Now, all I have to do is find a quick way of getting rid of the other stuff in my freezer, so I can start spring-cleaning there as well.

butterscotch tartlets
adapted from Donna Hay Magazine, issue 32

shortcrust pastry
30g unsalted butter
¼ cup double cream
¼ cup honey
1 cup walnuts

bake pastry in individual moulds (I used a muffin tin) and let cool on wire rack. Put butter, honey, cream and walnuts in a pan and heat gently until butter is melted. Up heat until caramelised (a few minutes) and pour filling in pastry shells. Top with some double cream and crushed instant coffee. Eat.


creampuff said...


When I come here, it's like coming to visit an old friend who has made my favourite sweets. I adore walnuts. What beautiful tarts! Good luck with the renovations!

Baking Soda said...

I am with you Inne! From the awful paint job professionals did on the outside woodwork, to the cost of it. Uhm, wallpaper on the ceiling?
Gorgeous pics!

nicisme said...

oh.... these look really good! They are beautiful and so is your blog.

Annemarie said...

those look scrumptious. Good luck on the house works - we've just finished 4 months of renovations and although it's not all done, it feels glorious to be living dust-free again.

Deborah said...

We have been remodeling our house, so I understand you about the DIY!!

These look delicious!!

Tartelette said...

I love walnuts and these look so gooood!! Good luck on the renovations!

tammy said...

God, that last picture is a sight to behold. S must be crazy. Crazy with a capital K.

maybellesmom said...

these are lovely--great picts and posts.