green salad with baby gems, rocket, roasted courgette, asparagus, parmesan shavings and toasted pine kernels

i love green salads

Cut a few courgettes lengthways and roast in a hot oven until golden but still firm.  Allow to cool.  Blanch asparagus spears for a couple of minutes and then cool.  Dry pan fry a handful of pine kernels and then mix the salad together with some finley chopped spring onions and parmesan shavings. I served this with my best vinaigrette.

courgettes to roast

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slow roasted tomato tart with caramelised onions and gruyere

tomatoes about to be slowly roasted

This recipe evolved over the day as I was cooking all the other things for my birthday.  When I have a lot of tomatoes that need to be used up, I roast them either with a few herbs or with garlic and onions and then normally whizz into a delicious tomato sauce (for pasta, chicken, fish etc). Slow roasting them is another solution. I cut about 10 tomatoes in half, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled generously with thyme and maldon salt and roasted at 150 degrees for about an hour and a half.  The flavour of the tomato intensifies so dramatically it really is worth the time and effort on this one.

roasted and ready

I doubled the recipe below as I made a 30cm tart. 

recipe:

  • pastry:
  • 200gm flour
  • 100gm butter
  • 50gm parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 1 egg
  • filling:
  • 1 red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs brown sugar
  • a knob of butter
  • 50 gms of guyere cheese grated
  • 5 tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • thyme

how to make:

  • Cook the tomatoes as per above
  • To make the pastry, whizz the flour and butter in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the parmesan, then the egg, and bring together to make a dough. Wrap in cling film and chill for 20 minutes
  • roll the pastry out to cover a 23cm low tart tin (I doubled the pastry to make a bigger tart and found that I had too much) and bake blind for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and take out the baking paper and beans etc and bake for a further 5 minutes. Allow to cool a bit
  • melt a knob of butter in a frying pan and gently fry the onion until soft.  Add the balsamic vinegar and sugar and cook for a few more minutes until the onions are nice and gooey (do either one or two onions)
  • spread the caramelised onion over the bottom of the tart, sprinkle over 80% of the cheese, then layer the slow roasted tomatoes on top, cut side up and sprinkle over the remaining 20% of the cheese.
  • bake for about 20 minutes @ 180 degrees

This was a complete success and not only does it look beautiful, the intense tomato-ie-ness, the sweet onions and the nutty gruyere marry so well together.

succulent and crunchy tart

The pastry is  really easy to make an has a nice crisp texture (reminiscent of a cheese straw)– so I will definitely use this again.  I had a bit extra as I doubled the recipe, so made another small tart and filled this with some odds and ends from my fridge, onion marmalade, courgette slices, feta, olives and gruyere.

an extra tart with bits and pieces lying around

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willoughby & co – delicious sushi

rainbow reloaded .....so delicious

 last night I was taken on a lovely date by a lovely man to Willoughby & co at the V & A Waterfront.  The sushi menu is extensive and is exceptional and if you don’t mind eating at a table in the middle of a mall, it’s some of the best you will find in Cape Town. 

The rainbow reloaded are delicious with a nice sweet and spicy edge.  We also shared the rock shrimp tempura on a tuna roll, which were very, very tasty indeed.  

my dinner last night

 The meal was washed down with a  Waterkloof Circumstance Sauvignon blanc, which is one of the best sauv’s I’ve tasted in a while. A very balanced wine.  We also had a glass of Ataraxia Sauvignon blanc afterwards which was nice, but not quite as good as the Circumstance. 

Willoughby & co is a superb all round seafood restaurant, with sushi options, oysters and other Japanese dishes.  Theres also a lovely little food shop tucked in the back which specialises in asian goodies

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becki's cold tapas lunch pictures

becki's delicious lunch

My friend Becki is highly creative and talented and I had to take some pictures of her lovely Greek influenced, tapas lunch table. Lovely to nibble on so many different flavours and textures in one meal.

tasty nibbles

a beautiful mixed salad in a huge bowl

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salt with rosemary and coriander

rosemary coriander salt

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a total salt-aholic.  I love the stuff. I need it and put it on everything. Salt gives you high blood pressure, blah blah blah blah.  I have perfect blood pressure and cannot enjoy my food unless it is adequately salted.  finished.

i love salt

I love this salt flavour mix, the rosemary and coriander seeds help in the overall salt reduction and adds a little extra dimension when ground up over certain foods.

Making ones own salt mix is so easy. Buy a good pack of unrefined coarse sea salt (khoisan salt, atlantic sea salt etc….I find Maldon does not grind well in the salt grinder — too fine and not enough grip so ok to use if not putting in a grinder) and then mix up various concoctions of your own, put in an empty grinder and way to go. Any dried herbs of choice, peppers, dried chili flakes, lavender etc. This also makes a great kitchen gift.

salt mixes make great gifts

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