inspiration2022/06/01

The Joys of Eating Al Fresco With Lucy Carr-Ellison and Jemima Jones

by Lucy Carr-Ellison And Jemima Jones

Wild by Tart is a neighbourhood restaurant set within a multipurpose space, founded by Jemima Jones and Lucy Carr-Ellison, the successful duo behind bespoke catering company Tart London. Housed in a former power station and coal store, the site combines a restaurant, bar, coffee kiosk, retail store, events space, and photography studio. Inspired by places and people they love, Lucy and Jemima cook food with big flavours and seasonal ingredients, sustainably sourced where possible.

As the days lengthen and the evenings become brighter, we once again feel the desperate need to spend as much quality time outside. This is when England is at its finest, nature has woken and has sprung into to life, hedgerows are laden with blossom, gardens bursting with peonies and roses and London feels alive. A mere sniff of good weather and we are packing our picnic baskets and heading to the parks.

One would think that outside casual dining is easy, however we often find ourselves chewing on overly charred sausages that are being flung off a disposable barbeque, surrounded by supermarket dips and crisps (a sin to the environment) – not the image that we had daydreamed of.

For us it is about keeping it simple and preparing ahead. Just as you would if dining indoors.

If dining in your garden (so walking distance from the kitchen), then you can very easily make an enchanting midsummer night’s dream set-up; we always start with a tablecloth then go the full hog with laying it with china, glassware and proper napkins. The next step is to dot little jars with flowers (picked from the garden gives that wonderful wild look) down the table along with candles. Candles are vital, they bring the romance. We would suggest to either use candles in lanterns or little votive candles in jars to keep them from blowing out in the breeze. If you want to go further then light a fire pit, have a decorated table for drinks and dot blankets around for your guests. 

For the dinner we always cook sharing dishes that can be passed around the table. If cooking fish we like to prepare a whole fish, simply done that we will either roast in the oven or cook over the fire pit. For meat, we like to slow cook a cheaper cut that has been marinated and full of flavour and again we will prepare this in advance, or have something that just needs fast cooking over a high heat, like cutlets, which are easy to cook even when chatting to friends. We will then prepare a few salad dishes which will be served on elaborate plates and will finish with a homemade ice cream, a seasonal tart or hopefully someone will bring chocolates!

For picnics it’s the same principle – make it look pretty and you are halfway there. Pack a pretty rug or tablecloth and a couple of cushions and, hey presto, you have a dreamy set up. Remember that everyone loves a good sandwich (have you seen the queues outside Dusty Knuckle at lunch time!), if you are not feeling adventurous then go for good quality meats, cheese or smoked salmon (we add horseradish to our smoked salmon sarnies) in freshly baked squishy bread.

At this time of year veggies are at their sweetest so pack a bunch of radishes, baby carrots and sliced fennel and try and make your own dips. If you don’t have the time, then buy one but jazz it up a little with olive oil, lemon and fresh herbs. You need one thing in your picnic to stand out, and this is where your effort goes – homemade scotch eggs, little pies or a tart - these never ceases to impress. Ask your friends to bring the rosé and something sweet and there you have it – a recipe for a very good lazy Saturday afternoon in the sun.

Tart London's White Chocolate, Cardamom and Raspberry Tart with a Pecan and Hazelnut Base Recipe

This is one of our best desserts – it might even be Jemima’s favorite. It is exactly what you want in a dessert, with a crunchy nutty base, luxurious creamy centre and a tart lift from the raspberry. White chocolate and cardamom are a match made in heaven, we are always pairing them – try making white chocolate and cardamom ice cream, it’s divine.

Ingredients

  • 200g pecans 
  • 200g hazelnuts 
  • 175g unsalted butter, melted 
  • 2 pinches of sea salt 
  • 250g mascarpone 
  • 100ml double cream 
  • 300g good-quality white chocolate 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 250g raspberries 

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Spread both the pecans and hazelnuts out on a baking tray and roast for about 15 minutes until nicely golden. Remove and set aside to cool. 

2. Place half the nuts in a food possessor and blitz to a fine powder, then put into a bowl. Blitz the rest of the nuts to a rough crumb, then mix with the powdered nuts. Add the melted butter and a pinch of sea salt and stir to combine. Tip the mixture into a 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin and press firmly up the sides and into the bottom of the tin. You want the base to be crunchy and quite thin, rather than a thick crust. Chill in the fridge while you get on with the filling. 

3. Put the mascarpone, double cream, white chocolate, vanilla and cardamom into a pan and warm over a low heat, stirring all the time to let the chocolate melt, then add a pinch of salt and remove from
the heat. 

4. Pour the chocolate mixture into the base. Return to the fridge and leave to set for about 1 hour. 

5. Put the raspberries into a sieve suspended over a bowl. Use a spoon
to press the raspberries through the sieve, leaving the seeds behind in the sieve. Once done, take the nearly-set tart out of the fridge and use a teaspoon to dot blobs of the raspberry purée over the tart. Turn the teaspoon over and drag the dots a little to create a pretty, swirled effect. Return to the fridge for another 2 hours to set completely. 

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