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.
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.
I doubled the recipe below as I made a 30cm tart.
- 200gm flour
- 100gm butter
- 50gm parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 1 egg
- 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
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.
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.
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 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.
Take a fillet of lightly smoked salmon, drizzle with lemon juice and olive oil, sprinkle over some black pepper and a few grinds of salt (I used my mix of coarse sea salt, dried rosemary and coriander seeds), and place under the grill for a few minutes until cooked. Squeeze over a bit more lemon juice and another drizzle of oil and tuck in.
It really is so simple and really can’t get much more delicious than this. Uber, ultra healthy – I ate with steamed courgettes tossed on ponzu sauce. Delicious!
We gathered at my cousins last night for a family pizza making session and to use the cousins new earthfire ceramic pizza oven. What a win!
I made the dough and decided on JO’s basic version out of his book ‘Italy’ as I had eaten it before at another pizza making party.
- 1kg bread flour (he recommends 800gm bread flour and 200gms semolina flour..but since this ingredient can’t just be acquired at Pick n Pay on a Sunday afternoon – we had to settle on just bread flour)
- 14 gms instant yeast
- 1 level Tbs fine salt
- 1 Tbs sugar (caramel)
- 650ml tepid / luke warm water
Dissolve the yeast and sugar in the water and let it stand for a few minutes. Pile the flour and salt on a clean work surface and make a large well in the middle (18cm wide). Add the liquid into the well. Be carefull not to break the banks of the flour wall (as I did- and then it spewed all over the place) and gently using a fork work the flour into the liquid until it comes together as a sticky pile.
When its integrated start kneading it on the work surface for about 10 minutes — pushing and pulling until you get a smooth and soft dough. I think I’m going to do this in a bowl next time and take it out when its time to do the kneading. It’s just way too messy and I’m not sure if its necessary. On the bread making course we made the dough in bowls. I am also going to add some mixed herbs and perhaps some sesame or poppy seeds to give the base a bit of crunch.
Place the dough into a bowl and cover with cling film and leave for about 15 minutes. I also think it will be a good idea to lightly grease the top of the dough with olive oil — or a light spray of olive oil as when it rises and hits the cling film it really does cling (or use a tea towel)
Divide the dough into balls to make the pizza bases – about 6 – 8 is good depending on how big you want to make the pizza’s, then roll. The smaller pizza’s are a bit easier to manage.
JO then recommends leaving the bases for 10 – 15 mins before topping…not sure why.
I didn’t follow any of the steps after the kneading stage. It ‘proved’ for at least an hour and a half and doubled in size before we started making the pizza’s. Next time I am going to make the mix closer to the pizza making time and allow the bases to stand a bit.
I don’t mind that the bases were not perfectly round — some of them resembled the shape of africa. Rustic is good.
We had great fun making the pizzas and my nephew’s came up with an exceptional one: tomato sauce, garlic, smoked salmon, fresh basil, mushrooms and mozzarella. Yum!
The ceramic pizza oven works incredibly well and each pizza takes 5 minutes to cook and you can happily pause in between shovelling the next one in as the oven stays hot for up to 2 hours provided you have sufficient coals. The paddle thing that comes with the oven is apparently called a ‘pizza peel’ which was a new one for me…very effective and necessary.
I didn’t get a shot of the cooked pizza as I got very carried away with all the rolling and making….next time. I have a little Cobb (BBQ) and think this will work perfectly as ‘my’ pizza oven in the future. I may just need to rush out and get a peel though.
top tip: my cousin has one of these steel hot coal making gadgets which is very effective in making coal very easily and quickly, just light paper underneath.