This tart from "Smitten Kitchen the Cookbook" is great as a side or an entree or for a lunch with a green salad. The mushroom, garlic, thyme combination is always a winner. It is much easier than it looks so don't be afraid of making the pastry it is fool- proof!
140g plain flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
85g unsalted butter, chilled, diced, plus additional to grease foil
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
15g unsalted butter
2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
225g chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
450g assorted wild mushrooms, such as shiitake, oyster or chanterelles - sliced or torn into small segments
1 teaspoon table salt
freshly ground black pepper
60g mascarpone cheese at room temperature
4 tablespoons milk
2 large eggs
55g grate provolone or Italian fortina cheese
25g finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
Combine the flour, polenta and salt in the bowl of your food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is in very tiny bits. Add the egg and run the machine until the dough starts to clump together.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to a 30cm circle between two sheets of "Go Between" plastic. Carefully pull back the top sheet of plastic and invert the dough onto a 23cm fluted removable bottom flan tin. Once you have the dough where you want it, carefully pull back the remaining piece of plastic and gently press the dough into the bottom & sides. Run your rolling tin firmly over the the top edge of your tin to remove the excess dough. Place flan tin on small baking sheet and put in freezer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile pre-heat over ton 170*C.
Remove your crust from the freezer, lightly butter one side of a 30cm square of aluminium foil and press foil, butter side down, firmly against the base and sides of the crust. Bake with foil (no beans needed) for 10 minutes. Carefully remove he foil and bake for another 5-8 minutes, until crust is firm and lightly golden at the edges. Set tart shell on a cooling rack until needed. Reduce over temperature to 160*C.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, and add the oil and butter together. Add the shallots and saute stirring occasionally until the soft for about 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic, and continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minutes more. Increase the head to medium-high, then add the mushrooms and thyme. Saute the mushrooms until they are tender and the liquid they release has completely evaporated, about 9-10 minutes. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of table salt and ground pepper and transfer to a plate to cool.
Scoop your mascarpone into a medium bowl. Drizzle in the milk, while whisking continuously until the milk and cheese combine smoothly. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the provolone and Parmesan, then the mushrooms.
Pour mixture into your tart shell and bake for 35 minutes until it is puffed and golden on top and set. Let the tart cool for 10 minutes on a rack, and serve warm. It's also delicious served at room temperature.
WHITE BEAN SALAD WITH PEAS & MINT
COMMENTS: This simple, fast salad from "Not Without Salt" is great for jazzing up the peas mid-week! I had no white beans so used a tin of borlotti beans instead but white beans look better!
COMMENTS: These aubergines from "Nigellissima" look so pretty at the table and are wonderful cold in a wrap or salad for lunch. Perfect for a roast lamb.
THYME-ROASTED BABY CARROTS
COMMENTS: I love these flavoursome little carrots. They look so pretty served at the table too especially if you find some purple baby carrots and they are great cold for snacks with dips etc if you have any leftovers. I often drizzle them with honey too for the kids.
3 bunches baby carrots, trimmed, halved
40g unsalted butter, chopped
4 thyme sprigs, leaves picked
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup (80ml) white wine
juice of 1 navel or blood orange
Preheat oven to 180*C.
Lay a large sheet of foil in a large roasting pan, leaving plenty overhanging the edges. Add carrot in a single layer, then dot with butter and thyme leaves. Drizzle over oil and season well.
Place another sheet of foil over the carrot and fold 3 of the edges together to seal. Carefully pour in the wine and orange juice, then secure the foil to make a parcel. Roast for 20-30 minutes until carrot is tender, then serve.
3 cups baby peas, fresh or frozen
pinch of caster sugar
30g unsalted butter
1/4 cup mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
Cook peas and sugar, drain and refresh in cold water and drain.
Return peas to the saucepan over medium heat and add the butter and peas. Cook stirring, until the butter melts and coats the peas. Stir in the mint & parsley then season with freshly ground pepper and sea salt.
Transfer to a bowl and serve.
BAKED BEANS, TURKISH STYLE
COMMENTS: This dish used the gorgeous fresh borlotti beans which sadly lose their fabulous colour when cooked! Perfect with a targine.
500g fresh borlotti beans
1/2 onion, chopped finely
2 carrots, chopped finely
140g tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
Shell the beans, and boil in water until slightly soft, around 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a saucepan, saute the onion and carrot in the oil. Add the tomato paste, 1 cup water and the beans. Cook for around 30 minutes or until thick and the beans are just soft to the bite. Add a little more olive oil and season with paprika, salt and pepper.
COMMENTS: These little beauties from Nigella Express look and tasty delicious in a green leaf salad with some feta and chopped avocado. LOVE the name and the satisfaction of knowing they are cooking away while you are sleeping!
COMMENTS: These mushrooms from Rick Stein in May delicious are richly flavoursome and so versatile. Serve them with pasta, on crostini or bruschetta or use them to stuff chicken breasts.
25g dried sliced porcini mushrooms
50g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 eschallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
500g mixed mushrooms, sliced (eg Swiss brown, pine, chestnut)
150mls thickened cream
2/3 cup finely grated parmesan & chopped parsley to serve
Place dried porcini in a bowl with 150mls of boiling water. Soak for 20 minutes, then drain, reserving soaking liquid.
Melt butter and oil in a large frypan over medium heat. Cook eschallot & garlic, stirring, for 2-3 minutes until soft. Increase heat to high, add mixed mushrooms and porcini, then season and cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes until tender. Add soaking liquid and cook 2 minutes of until slightly reduced. Season. Serve topped with parmesan and chopped parsley.
CONFIT OF ZUCCHINI, PEAS, GARLIC & SPINACH
My friend Vanessa made this delicious recipe from Karen Martini to go with our homemade pasta on pasta night, however it would go equally well on rice.
125mls extra virgin olive oil
4 large cloves of garlic, finely sliced
sea salt & freshly ground pepper
6 zucchini, cut into 3cm slices
2-3 tablespoons white wine
1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 handfuls baby spinach, shredded
1 small red chilli, finely sliced
4 tablespoons pouring cream (optional)
120g grated pecorino cheese
Place 100mls of olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and some salt, cook for 2 minutes, then reduce the heat to very low and add the zucchini. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 40 minutes or until the zucchini is golden and soft.
Stir in the wine, peas and spinach. Add the chilli, cream (if using) and remaining olive oil, stir and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with pecorino.
FRENCH BEANS & MANGETOUT WITH HAZELNUTS & ORANGE
The gorgeously green celebration from "Ottolenghi The Cookbook" is simple to prepare and deliciously healthy.
400g French beans
400g mangetout (snow peas)
70g unskinned hazelnuts
zest of 1 orange
20g chives, roughly chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil (or other nut oil)
coarse sea salt & black pepper
Preheat oven to 180*C and bring a large pot of unsalted water to the boil. Blanch the beans in the boiling water for 4 minutes, remove and drain the refresh under lots of cold water. Leave to dry. Repeat with the mangetout but blanch for only 1 minute.
Meanwhile spread the hazelnuts on a baking tray and roast for 10 minutes. Leave to cool then roughly chop.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl then toss gently. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve at room temperature.
DANIELLE'S SWEET POTATO GRATIN
This simple variation on the traditional potato gratin uses sweet potatoes with sage and no cheese. I peeled the potatoes and used half the garlic to make it more child friendly.
6 medium sweet potatoes (about 1.5kgs)
5 tablespoons roughly chopped sage, plus extra to garnish
6 cloves of garlic
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
250ml whipping cream
Peheat oven to 200*C. Wash the sweet potatoes and cut into 5mm discs. Mix together potatoes, sage, garlic, calt and pepper. Arrange slices in a deep medium sized ovenproof dish by taking tight packs of them and standing them up next to each other. Throw in any remaining bits of sage or garlic from the bowl over the potatoes. Cover the dish with foil, place in the oven and roast for 45 minutes. Remove the foil and pour the cream evenly over the potatoes and roast uncovered for 25 minutes. Garnish with extra sage and serve in the dish.
CRISPY BRUSSEL SPROUTS WITH BROCCOLINI, BACON & PINENUTS
I am not a big fan of the old Brussel Sprout I have to say, however my husband LOVES them. I came across this recipe on What Katie Ate blog and decided that with the bacon, pine nuts, broccolini & lemon I wouldn't really taste them anyway so I gave it a try. Looked vibrant and green AND tasted great too.
Scroll down to bottom of screen for the recipes after the photos.
BUTTERNUT PUMPKIN WITH PECANS & BLUE CHEESE
This dish from Nigella Express looks fabulous and is a delicious accompaniment to any meat dish with a green salad.
This souffle from Nigella Bites is the perfect accompaniment to a glazed ham. It takes no time at all to prepare.
510g can sweetcorn, drained
418g can creamed sweetcorn
300mls full fat milk
300mls double cream
60g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat oven to 180*C and butter an oven-proof dish approx. 33 * 25cm. Whisk eggs in a large bowl and then add in whilst beating the other ingredients. Pour into the buttered dish and cook for about 1 hour or until set and puffed up slightly on the top.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER WITH CHILLI & PARMESAN
This recipe is based on Gwyneth Paltrow's roasted cauliflower from "Notes From My Kitchen Table". She makes a comment about it being "unbelievably good" and she's right!
1 head cauliflower
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons chilli flakes
parmesan to serve
Preheat oven to 220*C. Put the cauliflower in a baking dish in one layer, drizzle over olive oil and add salt and pepper and chilli flakes. Mix to combine. Bake for 30 minutes, turning a couple of times throughout. Shave some parmesan over the cauliflower and serve.
BEETROOT & GOATS CHEESE JALOUSIE
This pastry filled with beetroot marmalade and goats cheese and served with a raisin dressing by Valli Little is absolutely delicious. It is great as a lunch dish or an entree or I have also served it with a salmon fillet as a main. Try to get Careme puff pastry if you can. The beetroot and apple marmalade can also be served with a cheese platter. It is good to wear kitchen gloves when working with beetroot.
2 largish beetroots, boiled, and peeled
2 green apples
1/4 teaspoon fresh nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 star anise
200mls red wine vinegar
150g caster sugar
300g marinated goats cheese
2 * 375g packet puff pastry - thawed
Grate the beetroot and apples on the coarse side of a box grater. Place in a pan with the spices, vinegar and caster sugar. Bring to a simmer then reduce the heat, cover with a carteuse and cook for 1 hour. Remove the carteuse and continue to cook until all the liquid has gone. Cool the mixture. Preheat the oven to 190*C. Roll out one block/sheet of pastry on a lightly floured board to a rough 20cm by 30cm rectangle. Lay on a lined baking tray and spread enough of the beetroot mixture on the pastry leaving a 2cm boarder. Scatter with the goats cheese and the thyme leaves and season to taste. Roll out the other sheet/block of pastry to form a rectangle slightly bigger than the first, fold in half and make cuts along the folded edge. Unfold the sheet and lay over the first sheet and press along the edges with a fork to seal. Brush all over with the egg wash and bake for 25-30 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve topped with the raisin dressing, (below), some vanilla walnuts and micro-herbs.
200mls balsamic vinegar
150g caster sugar
Place everything in a saucepan, stir over a low heat to dissolve sugar and continue to cook until syrupy. Cool before serving.
This simple pea dish is quick and easy to prepare and looks so vibrant on the table. It is from Delicious Sept 11 by Bill Granger. It goes brilliantly with lamb.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 cup chicken stock
4 cups fresh podded peas
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 tablespoon chopped mint
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat, then add onion and garlic and cook for 3-4 minutes until starting to colour. Add chicken stock, peas and sugar and cook for 7-8 minutes until peas are tender. Remove from heat, mash using a fork or potato masher and season. Stir through the mint, to serve.