May day

Peter Walters, Keele University’s Executive Chef, serves up some brain food to rescue your students from revision season

Keele has over 240 varieties of cherry trees across the estate. The blossoms on these trees  will all be blown away with a few sporadic May gusts. But our darling buds of students will all be ensconced with exams and will probably miss all the activity in the cherry trees. Getting them into our food outlets is more difficult as they camp out with a pile of books and a takeaway trying to get brains to work on revision. If they’d only listened to our advice good food would be powering them to a first. We, on the other hand, can still whip something up to enjoy though, and why not indulge a little? Get some crabmeat, turn the music up and cook!

Crab & Asparagus Tart           


  • 150g butter
  • 150g plain flour
  • Splash of water


  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • 300ml milk
  • Nutmeg, grated
  • 2 pinches curry powder
  • 200g white crabmeat
  • 140g asparagus tips
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 3 tbsp Parmesan, grated

1.) Make up the pastry by rubbing together the flour and butter until you have what looks like breadcrumbs. Add a little water to bind and mix to a firm dough. Wrap in cling film and refrigerate for 20 minutes.

2.) Heat the oven to 200ËšC. Grease or oil a 25cm tart tin, roll out the pastry and line it. Cut a circle larger than the pastry-lined tin out of baking paper and cover the pastry pushing it down into the edges, then fill with baking beans or uncooked rice. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove paper and beans or rice and cook for a further 5 minutes. Reduce oven to 190ËšC.

3.) For the filling, melt the butter in a non-stick pan, stir in the flour and cook for a minute. Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time until the sauce is smooth and glossy. Add nutmeg, curry powder and salt and leave to cool slightly.

4.) Flake up the crabmeat and add to the sauce. Blanch the asparagus tips for 3 minutes, drain well and cool under cold running water. Pat dry with kitchen paper and arrange in the pastry case.

5.) Stir the egg yolks into the sauce. Whisk the whites until stiff, and then fold into the sauce in three batches. Spoon the mixture into the tart case and sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake for 30–35 minutes until puffed and golden.

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