We started with one of my favorite salads - greens (in this case, watercress) topped with sliced oranges, a few red pepper flakes & a homemade lemon vinaigrette.
Next was a pot of slow braised beef short ribs, mashed potatoes and a platter of carrots, leeks and brussels sprouts with butter & salt.
Then a cheese course - Stilton, Comte & Parmesan accompanied by grapes and thinly sliced herb foccaccia. Plus a glass of Port for anyone who wanted it...
Last, but not least, was my contribution - a quick & easy apple tart. Great after a big dinner when you need something sweet, but not heavy. We ate it with a splash of cream, but ice cream would be delicious too.
Here's how I made it:
Tarte de Pommes
1 sheet store-bought puff pastry, thawed
4 apples, any type, peeled & thinly sliced
4 TB sugar
2 TB butter, chilled & cubed in small pieces
5 TB honey
1 egg (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Unfold & stretch pastry dough to almost fill a greased baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, score along all four sides, about .5 inch from edge. Poke a few dozen tiny holes in the center section using the tip of the knife or a fork. This allows the edges to puff up & the center to remain flat.
Lay apple slices, slightly overlapping, in rows. Do not place apples outside the score marks. Sprinkle apples with the sugar & scatter butter pieces on top. For a shiny finish, beat the egg with a splash of water & brush the egg wash around the edges of the pastry. (I actually skipped the egg wash, but it would have been much prettier if I hadn't)
Bake 25-30 minutes until apples are soft & pastry is puffed and golden. Pull pan from the oven and drizzle honey over the warm tart. Serve at once, topped with a splash of heavy cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
A sweet finish to a fantastic meal