Sunday, 23 August 2015

Tomato and almond tart

During the summer months we sell veggie tarts and pies with a salad bar along side at markets. I'm always on the look out for different recipes and ideas and find Yotam Ottolenghi to be a great inspiration!

He has a recipe in his book Plenty More for Tomato and almond tart which is his savoury version of the French fruit and frangipane tart. 

From the first time it made it's appearance at a Farmers Market it has become a firm favourite with customers.

I have adapted the recipe slightly using cream cheese instead of butter, basil in place of thyme and substituting our cows milk feta for the ricotta and parmesan. 

If you prefer use anchovies or whole blanched almonds instead of olives.

Tomato and almond tart

Serves 6 - 8

140g cream cheese
2 eggs beaten
65g fresh breadcrumbs
80g ground almonds
2 garlic cloves crushed
120g feta crumbled
handful of basil leaves
pack of ready rolled all-butter puff pastry (Jus - rol is my preference)
1kg medium tomatoes (about 10) cut sideways into 1cm slices (3 slices per tomato)
18 black wrinkly olives pitted
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 240C/220C Fab/ Gas Mark 9

Line a baking sheet with baking parchment. Unroll the pastry and place on the lined baking sheet. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score a smaller square 1cm inside the edge to make a frame, but don't cut right through.

Chill in the fridge whilst making the topping.

Beat the cream cheese using an electric mixer. A hand held one is fine.  Add the eggs slowly with the machine running. Stop the machine, add the breadcrumbs, almonds and garlic and mix until everything is combined.

Fold in the crumbled feta.

Use a palette knife to spread the almond mixture over the pastry and up to the scored lines. Evenly scatter the basil leaves over it. Lay the tomato slices on top in 3 long rows, with a fair amount of overlap in the rows. Sprinkle over the olives. Drizzle the tomatoes with half the olive oil and and season with salt and a good grind of black pepper.

Place in the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes. If you have a particularly fierce oven you may need to reduce the temperature to 200C/180C Fan/ Gas Mark 6 after 15 minutes.

Once cooked, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Drizzle over the remaining olive oil. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Freekeh with artichokes and peppers

Last week in The Observer Food Monthly there was a recipe from Nigel Slater for Freekeh with peppers.

Freekeh? What's that then?

Well, unless you are a fan of Yotom Ottolenghi or love Middle Eastern food you'll be forgiven for not knowing what Freekeh is so let me introduce you!
Please meet Freekeh, green Middle Eastern grown wheat that's picked unripe then roasted over wood fires to burn off the husks giving it a wonderful smoky flavour.
If you like couscous and bulgur wheat then you'll love Freekeh!

Living in the middle of nowhere like we do it isn't the sort of thing that you'll find in the village shop or even the local Waitrose, however for those of you in the grand metropolis it should be easily available in supermarkets and Middle Eastern shops. I actually found it in Marks and Spencer whilst Christmas shopping!

I made this recipe for lunch yesterday as we needed something that was quick to prepare and I happened to have all the ingredients to hand. We loved it and so much so that it's a candidate for our salad bar at markets this summer.

Freekeh with artichokes and peppers

Serves 2

75g Freekeh
Yellow pepper
1.5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp water
Tin of artichoke hearts
10g dill fronds
2 tbsp coriander leaves chopped
Juice of 1/4 lemon

Put the freekeh in a bowl, cover with warm water and set aside for 10 minutes.
Slice the yellow pepper in half, tear out the core and seeds, then slice each half into four strips. Warm the olive oil in a frying pan then add the peppers and let them cook over a moderate heat and covered with a lid for 10-15 minutes or so until tender and silky, turning once. Pour in the water and shake the pan, season.
While the peppers are cooking, drain the freekeh and then boil in deep water for 12 minutes until nutty and chewy.
Slice the artichokes in half and add to the pan with the peppers. Finely chop the dill and add it with the coriander and lemon juice to the pan. Warm briefly, then drain the freekeh and toss with the pepper mixture.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, 27 February 2015

Leek and bacon suet pudding

The dark, cold and wet wintry weather means comfort food comes top of the list and there's nothing better than a leek and bacon suet pudding. It's a north country dish and I hadn't heard of it until fairly recently when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall featured it in his cookery column in a weekend magazine. Now its a must in this house every winter.
I have adapted the recipe as there are only the two of us and Hugh suggests serving his recipe as a side dish. We eat ours as a main course with lots of lovely green veg.

It's quite an adaptable recipe too ...... the original has unsmoked bacon in it but what's the point of unsmoked bacon? Maybe it's just me but as I don't eat a lot of meat but want flavour I like smoked bacon. It also calls for double cream but single cream seems to work just as well.
Usually I'll just make the one pudding but on this occasion as you'll see from the photo's I made two small ones.

I was prompted to make it the other day as there was some cream left over after we'd had friends for supper, some leeks festering in the fridge and some smoked bacon in the freezer and of course I always have a packet of suet in the cupboard.

Leek and bacon suet pudding

Serves 2

100g self-raising flour
50g shredded suet
1tsp English mustard powder
70ml cold water (approx)
Salt and pepper
25g butter plus more for greasing
4 slices smoked bacon chopped 
3 leeks trimmed, washed and chopped
50ml single cream

500L pudding basin or two 250L pudding basins

Mix the flour, suet, mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper. Combine with just enough water to make a stiffish dough. 

Melt the the butter in a saucepan and fry the bacon for a couple of minutes, then add the leeks and saute until soft. Approx 10 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the cream.

You can either make two individual puddings or one larger one.
If making two, divide the dough in half.

Roll out the dough into a large circle (s)  Cut a quarter out of the circle(s)

Butter a half litre or two quarter litre pudding basins. Line by dropping the larger piece of pastry in them, drawing together the cut sides to make a firm join. Fill with the leek and bacon mixture.

Roll out the remaining quarter of pastry into a circle and lay on top. Press together the edges of the pastry lid and casing to seal. Put a double layer of buttered, pleated foil over the top and tie with string. Either place in a steamer filled with water or on an up turned plate or tart tin in a large pan. Fill with water to come a little above halfway up the basin (s), cover the pot and leave simmering for an hour. Check the water from time to time and top up if necessary.

Once cooked, remove the foil, run a knife around the edge of the pudding and serve with lots of lovely green veg.

Apologies for the aenimic photo but for some reason this is the only one I seemed to have taken of the cooked pudding!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Borough blue, leek and walnut tarts

These tarts are hugely popular and we always sell out of them at markets. For those of you who can't get to buy them from us, here's the recipe for you to make them yourself. I would recommend that you use ready rolled puff pastry simply for the ease of cutting into even sized squares.

Borough Blue, leek and walnut tarts

375g pack ready rolled all butter puff pastry
40g butter
500g trimmed leeks thinly sliced
150g Borough Blue cheese cut or broken into pieces
75g walnuts roughly broken and 6 walnut halves

Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan) Mark 6

Melt the butter in a pan, add the leeks and cook for about ten minutes or until they are soft. Season. Leave to cool.

Unroll the pastry and leaving it on its wrap, cut it in half lengthwise, then cut each half into three squares. Using the tip of a sharp knife, score a smaller square 1cm inside the edge of each to make a frame but don't cut right through.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the pastry squares on top.

Squatter 25g Borough Blue over each tart.

Stir the broken walnuts into the cooled leeks and then divide it between the tarts. Place half a walnut in the centre of each tart.

Bake for 15 -20 minutes until golden.

Serve with a lovely green salad.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Chickpea and chorizo stew

The other day a friend asked me for my chickpea and chorizo stew recipe as she'd lost her copy and so to save me scanning the recipe I pointed her in the direction of this blog. There was just a slight problem, she couldn't find it  ......... I thought that I'd published it last year but in fact discovered that I hadn't finished it and so it was still waiting as a draft. Tonight I made it for supper and as it is so delicious decided that I really should complete and share the blog post.

The original recipe is one of Nigel Slater's pulled out of a Sunday magazine many years ago but remains a firm favourite.

I adore chickpeas and love the smoky flavour that the  chorizo imparts.
Chorizo pronounced 'chore... reeth...oh' is a coarsely textured spiced pork sausage used in Spanish cooking. It gets its smoky flavour and rich red colour from pimento, which is better known as smoked paprika. It is available as dried or semi-dried cured sausage which can be sliced and eaten like salami or a soft uncooked one which needs cooking before eating. In this recipe the fresh uncooked ones are used.
I buy mine from one of our fellow market traders in Totnes.

The photograph below shows the ingredients I used last year including lovely large tomatoes and parsley from the garden. The original recipe calls for white wine ...... however I've never put it in as I always seem to drink it!!!


 Today you'll see I used a tin of tomatoes instead of fresh ones. The main reason being that we ate the fresh ones for lunch and the parsley stayed in the garden due to a torrential downpour when it was required! Using fresh tomatoes does give the dish a summery feel to it and the tinned tomato version makes it more winter comfort food.

Chickpea and chorizo stew

Serves 2

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion peeled and roughly chopped
2 cloves of garlic sliced
2 fresh (uncooked) chorizo sausages - approx 200g
Pinch crushed dried chilli flakes
A glass of white wine (optional)
2 or 3 large tomatoes roughly chopped
 or 1x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
1 x 400g tin chickpeas drained
Small bunch parsley chopped
Creme fraiche (optional)

Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onions. Stir to coat in oil then add the garlic. Cook over a moderate heat with the lid on for approx 10 minutes, stirring a few times. Cut each sausage into about 4 fat chunks. Mix these into the onions and then add the chilli flakes. At this point add the wine if using and bring up to the boil. Add the tomatoes and chickpeas.
If using fresh tomatoes then add half a can (use the chickpea can) of water. This isn't necessary with the tinned tomatoes. Season with salt,  and black pepper. Bring to the boil, then turn down and simmer half-covered with a lid for 45minutes. Give it a stir from time to time and If it becomes too dry add a splash or two of water.

Just before serving stir the parsley into the stew.

We usually serve it with rice and a dollop of creme fraiche.

Sunday, 26 January 2014


Sweetcorn fritters

For lunch today we had sweetcorn fritters. They freeze well so these were ones that I'd made a couple of weeks ago with ingredients I already had. I can't remember where the recipe originated from as its scribbled on a bit of paper but it must be at least thirty years old! It calls for cheddar cheese but I use whatever we have kicking around after a market. This time it was our Old Sheb.

Another favourite fritter recipe is courgette and feta, which we tend to live on in the summer when there's a glut of courgettes  and plenty of fresh herbs.We use our own cows milk feta in them. The original recipe is a Claudia Roden one from her book Arabesque. Over the years I have adapted it and now use gram (chickpea) flour in them, which makes them gluten free!

Sweetcorn Fritters

225g frozen sweetcorn
110g wholemeal flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
225ml milk
1tblsp onion finely chopped
75g cheddar cheese coarsely grated
sunflower oil for frying

Cook the sweetcorn for 4 minutes in boiling water. Drain and cool.
In a bowl whisk the flour, baking powder, egg and milk to a smooth batter.
Add the onion, cheese and cold sweetcorn. Stir well to mix.
Leave the batter for 15 minutes to thicken.

Using a heavy non-stick frying pan, gently heat a little of the oil.
Use 1 tablespoon of batter for each fritter. Cook the fritters on one side for 2 minutes until crisp and golden, then turn them with a palette knife or fish slice and cook the other side for another 2 minutes. Add more oil as necessary to fry the rest of the fritters.

Drain on kitchen paper.

We prefer them warm. If they have been frozen just pop them into a hot oven for 10 minutes to heat through.

Courgette and feta fritters

These can be eaten hot or cold and they also freeze well, although being extremely moorish they don't always get as far as the freezer!

1 onion finely chopped
500g courgettes finely chopped
3 large eggs
splash milk
110g gram (chickpea) flour
black pepper
2-3 sprigs of mint chopped
2-3 sprigs dill chopped
100g feta mashed with a fork
sunflower oil

Fry the onion in 1-2 tablespoons of oil over a medium heat until soft, add the courgette and cook until soft stirring regularly .
In a bowl whisk the flour and eggs and add a splash of milk if the batter looks a bit thick.
Stir in the pepper, herbs, feta and cooked courgettes and onions.

Film a non-stick frying pan with oil and heat.

On a medium heat fry 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture for 2-3 minutes until golden. Turn over with a palette knife or fish slice and fry for 2-3minutes. Add more oil as necessary to fry the rest of the fritters.
Drain on Kitchen paper.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Red Dragon Pie

After mentioning red dragon pie in my blog several people have asked for the recipe.

It contains aduki beans which are known as red dragons!

I have googled it and seen that there are many variations but this is the recipe that we have used for a good many years

125g aduki beans soaked over night, drained and boiled until tender (45 mins) or tin of aduki beans, drained

1tblsp olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
1 red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped into strips
1tsp paprika
1 tblsp sun dried tomato paste
2 tblsp (or 2 sachets) brown miso
1 tblsp soy sauce
150ml water

2 large potatoes boiled and mashed with 1tblsp milk

Soften the onion in the oil, covered until tender. Add the red pepper and paprika and fry covered for 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, miso, soy sauce  and water. Simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the aduki beans.
Turn into an ovenproof dish and top with the mashed potato.
Bake in the oven 200C for 25 mins.

We sometimes leave out the mashed potato and have it with jacket potatoes or rice so you don't need to cook it in the oven!