The Queen & IsolaBella ….A Pesach Plum Brule Tart
This year I am fortunate enough to go to Israel for Pesach…
but first I wanted to give Tunie B. a little taste of what I had growing up…
some over seas TRAVEL ADVENTURE!
Tunie B. & Flying = all you can eat nosh, videos & uninterrupted mommy time – can it get better for this 3 year old? She packed her own bag with her menchies, essential nosh items, blues clues notebook & hello kitty wallet!
So when I booked my flight – I purposely…yes purposely
decided to have a 15 hour stop over in London, England.
The iPad – the mother’s #1 way to keep a kid busy & quiet through out a long flight!
From 6AM – to 10:40 PM me & my Tunie B. would have a real European Mommy & Me Fun!
Buckingham Palace, a walk along the Thames, a wave to Big Ben, some Harrods shopping, & a really great meal…
all were in the cards…
but HA. Joke is always on the one who plans….
In all my lists & ideas… I never actually considered the WEATHER!
& from the second we landed & had to trek that very very long walk in Heathrow airport to Passport control..
the air hit us with a bone chilling biting cold that seeped through our clothes no matter the layers…
making me consider for a very brief moment…
checking in to the Siravus Lounge in Terminal 3, paying my 40 pounds for a bedroom with a shower & taking a very long nap…
But I was on a mission…
&… I am a single mother whose middle name is “go-with-the-flow” & whose theme song is “you can’t phase this!”
so …instead of my sunny fun filled dream day in England…
we played “Find the Queen” …..
I bought one of many Queen Elizabeth image post cards that every kiosk in Heathrow airport carried & told Tunie - this is who we are looking for.
She is the Queen & she wants us to go to her palace for some tea & prizes, but I forgot her address so we need to find her.
This little “tall tale” kept us going the whole day…& it got us a few laughs & some special fast track treatment when she told the airport security check in girl, (who gamely asked her “who’s the lass in the photo?), that the Queen was lost & needed to eat her tea with us!
& in every train, automobile, double decker bus..we took
Tunie had to look out for the Queen..& if she saw her….well then it was time for a Tea Party!
Because of the cold I really wanted to do things the fast and easy way – take a cab to buckingham
wave hello, and then go get something to eat….
But with the airport cabs charging 75 pounds or $115 one way…we hopped the Heathrow express to Paddington Station instead. ($45 round trip)
Starving at 10 AM & Tunie out for the count after the train ride, I decided food was a MUST.
The ticket agent was supremely helpful in giving the best directions and local advice. He also saw that I was with a carriage & a sleeping kid, and called a fellow colleague to personally escort me to the platform (a 6 minute walk), to ensure that I make the train and had help in those places where my carriage would be difficult to maneuver as to not wake her up! All I can tell you is, this American was in shock, these English folk could not have been MORE cordial & helpful to this Yankee – I was so grateful!!
Having heard about a local Kosher dairy restaurant from all my Facebook UK fans
I had marked IsolaBella Cafe as my one English Food Stop.
Originally wanting to hit the Golders Green location, (since it was where I lived as a kid for a year and wanted to share it with Tunie)
I changed last minute to the Westfield London Location…since it was in a HUGE shopping center & out of the freezing cold!
It was the perfect place to let Tunie sleep as I high end window shopped some Dior, Louie Vitton, tried the London version of Starbucks (tastes the same!), charged my iPhone at the Apple store, and ate a surprisingly tasty English Kosher Dairy Meal!
This mall had everything, including a champagne restaurant, where you can get a glass of bubbly with your sushi lunch before you shop for your Dior. Tunie & I really enjoyed IsolaBella. I loved the decor, the lucite chairs with their hot pink fabric seats & clashing colors mixed with wood. The service was friendly & the food was more than passable – I was hesitant but hopeful with all the recommendations. I loved that they had a kids menu which had the English standard and kid favorite Fish n Chips. For $14 the kids portion was really an adult size portion, with a drink & dessert included! The fish n chips were the perfect combo of crunchy coating to soft juicy fish!
I opted for something a little different, and was excited by the Asian/Indian inspired part of their menu – and ordered the perfect meal for that freezing day. The Silium -A hot soup filled with noodles and Chinese vegetables and some fried egg rolls! Their was just something so surprisingly delicious about the sweet & salty hot broth with veggies & noodles with the added bonus of tasty bites of soggy egg roll – Who knew?! I am definitely going to have to recreate this one day when I get home!
My total bill with the additional add on of a hit-the-spot hot cocoa with a nip of rum & whip cream (yes I most definitely kept to English tradition and added a shot of alcohol to my hot drink to ward off the bitter chill!) was a total of $34 dollars (24.35 pounds). Not bad for a meal that could have really fed 4 people.
Tunie & I never got to see the Queen…we sat on the bus for 2 hrs because of a Traffic light outage around Picadilly Circus, before I gave up.
But we had our English tea…and a really very fun….LONG day…despite the cold…
Would I do a stop over again?
Yup in a heart beat – but you can be sure it will be SUMMER weather!
Now for my Pesach version of a delicious dessert that is definitely worthy of being served at High Tea with the Queen!
Plum Brule Tart
yields 1- 9 inch round tart
note: this recipe can be made in advance and frozen if tightly wrapped.
For the crust:
1/2 cup crushed candied nuts (I used Pecans) or you can use any ground nuts not candied
3/4 cup ground almonds
3 tbsp. potato or tapioca starch
1/4 stick of margarine, room temperature
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
For the filling:
1 large egg
3 large egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups non-dairy whip topping
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. orange extract
2 tsp. orange rind (optional)
4-5 ripe plums, cut into 1/2 inch slices
Pre-heat oven to 350 F.
In a bowl mix together all your crust ingredients. Use your hands to crumble everything together into a sand like texture mixture.
Spray the bottom of your tart tin with non stick spray and then press the crumble compactly to pans bottom, creating a crumble crust.
Place tart pan in oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove and let cool.
As the crust is baking, assemble your filling.
In a sauce pan over medium-high heat bring the non-dairy whip to a scald (right before it starts to boil & bubble). Remove from flame and set aside.
In a large bowl mix together the eggs, sugar, extracts and orange rind. Pour in the hot cream and mix well.
When the crust has cooled, place tart pan on a baking tray, and arrange your plum slices all around your crust.
Then pour your filling mixture into the tart pan till the top.
Bake tart in oven for about 25 minutes until the Brule custard has turned golden and firm.
Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before placing it into the fridge.
Let the Plum Brule cool & set in the fridge for at least 1 hour before serving.