Tag Archives: homemade

Caramelised onion and three cheese tart

It’s coming up to the end of the month. This means two things, the coffers are a little low but there are lots of random bits of food lying around. Rather than just go shopping this morning as I often do, I decided to carry out a thorough stock audit in an effort to use up all those bits and bobs that were lurking in the fridge and freezer, to not buy what I didn’t need and to use up any veg before it went off.

Caramelised onion tart

I found some rather nice casserole and things in the freezer and, about 1.5 kilos of onions (among other veg) which were right at the tipping point of ending up in the compost bin.

What do you do with that much onions? Well I guess soup is an option, but I wasn’t really in an onion soup kind of mood, however, I also discovered a packet of puff pastry, the ends of a few nice bits of unpasteurised cheese that were about to turn and a half used pot of creme fraiche. So I decided a tart was in order. This is going to be my husband and I’s lunch for the week, better than a few quid a day on a sandwich.

Serves 12 (or 8 big pieces)

About 1kg of onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 packet of ready-made puff pastry (or make your own)
Olive oil
3 eggs
150g creme fraiche
50g grated unpasteurised Comte (or Gruyère or similar)
50g Baronet, rind removed, chopped into smallish pieces (or Reblechon or similar)
50g grated unpasteurised cheddar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Pour a good glug of olive oil into a large heavy bottomed frying pan and heat over a low-medium heat. Add your thinly sliced onions and cook gently, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft, sweet and golden, about an hour. Honestly, when you cook onions this way you’ll almost never believe they are onions when you eat them. I first read to cook them this way in the Moro Cookbook and seriously could not believe that you could or would want to cook onions for an hour. You really must use quite a gentle heat, so they don’t burn, and also a decent glug of oil. If you see the onions catching at all, turn down the heat and add a little more oil. You won’t regret the time it takes.

tart before the cooking

While the onions are cooking, make the savoury “custard”. Take your eggs and beat lightly, add in the creme fraiche and mix well until all combined, stir in the grated cheeses, but not the Baronet or similar, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. There is not a lot of the custard, but this is not a quiche, the onions are the main player.

Then roll out your puff pastry to fit your tray. I used a tray approximately 14 inches by 8 inches. Grease the tray with a little olive oil and then line with your pastry. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

When the onions are done spread them evenly over the pastry. Then pour on your custard to give a fairly even distribution. There is not loads so go sparingly and then spread around with a palette knife or spatula to cover the onions. Scatter the Baronet pieces. Pop the tart into the middle of your hot oven and bake for around 20 minutes or until puffy and golden brown on top.

ready to eat

The tart filling does puff up quite a lot while cooking but will settle pretty quickly as soon as you take it out of the oven. Serve hot with a green salad, some tomatoes and a chilled glass of white wine for a delicious lunch. Or, slice and chill then eat for a packed lunch, better than sandwiches! My estimate is that the total cost for ingredients for this dish was less than £4 and I cut 8 large slices for lunch, so not bad for 50p per portion.

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Foraged wild garlic soup

I’m not working on Monday’s at the moment and I wanted to do something fun with my kids today, and I wanted to cook with wild garlic. Yesterday a friend told me about a secret spot not far from home with a great big patch of wild garlic, so we, myself and my two little helpers, headed down there this morning to pick some.

Half of our haul being washed

Half of our haul being washed

It was a lovely sunny morning and we had a nice walk down there stopping off on the way for some coffee and hot chocolate from a local cafe. We headed down to a small wooded area really right in the middle of our town. Wild garlic grows in woodland areas, the sort of place you’d find bluebells. You have to be a little careful what you are picking because it does look quite similar to other members of the allium family like Lily of the Valley which is not edible, but in fact toxic. The easiest way to tell is to pick a leaf and rub between your fingers, there is a definate aroma of garlic there if it’s the right stuff! The garlic we picked was not in flower but you can also eat the flowers of wild garlic.

A typical field of wild garlic

A typical field of wild garlic

So today’s lunch is wild garlic soup. Now I know I’m mostly paleo but this has to be an exception and so I’ve got a lovely loaf of bread, local bakery too.

Just after blending

Just after blending

You need:
Two large handfuls of wild garlic leaves about 200 g
A few potatoes two large or several small I used some that had been hanging around in the back of the fridge for while
2 celery sticks
A bunch of spring onions
Glass of white wine
Chicken stock
Glug of olive oil
Few spoons creme fraiche (optional)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Delicious!

Delicious!

Wash and chop the spring onion, celery and potatoes. Add a glug of olive oil to a large pan and heat, throw in the chopped veg and cook without colouring for a few minutes. Wash your wild garlic well in plenty of cold water and drain. Remove any tough stalks or roots. Add the white wine and  enough chicken stock to cover the vegetables to the pan. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook until the potatoes are tender and then add in your wild garlic leaves. Allow them to wilt and cook in gently with the other ingredients. Simmer for a few minutes. Then blend using hand blender until you have a really nice smooth consistency. Stir in the creme fraiche or yoghurt, or omit if you want dairy free. Taste, adjust seasoning and serve with crusty fresh bread (or not!).

Frome Annual Town Meeting Tonight!

Tonight my town is having it’s annual meeting, and if you live locally you should of course go along!

In my role as Secretary of Frome Womens’ Institute I was approached by the Mayor to get the ladies of the WI to cater for the event. So, there will be some delicious food, there, my house is heaving with sweet and savoury treats.

Just to whet your appetites I’ve baked 80 mini cheese & spring onion quiches which are pictured below hot from the oven, and when I get home from work I’m going to create 90 mini fruit tartelettes filled with creme patisserie and topped with strawberries, grapes and kiwi. Made by some of the other ladies of the WI are chocolate brownie bites, lemon drizzle bites, almond slice bites, sausage rolls, toad in the hole and sandwiches.

See you there!

mini cheese and spring onion quiches

Homemade, natural make up remover and cleanser

My friend Victoria Lewis has been trying this out and kindly sent her recipe.

This sounds like a great, natural way to cleanse your face without drying out. I’m going to make up a batch and see how it goes.

Image

2 tbsp witch hazel
2tbsp sweet almond oil
2 tbsp water

As this is a mix of oil and non-oil based liquids, don’t forget to shake well before use. Store it in a lovely old glass bottle, or re-use any clean plastic bottle. I’ve earmarked an old Victoria bottle I have for this already.

To use, pour a little onto a cotton pad and wipe over your face, no need to wash it off, and it makes your skin feel lovely.

Victoria says “Once used as a cleanser my skin feels great, fresh and smooth, if used just to take off make up my eyes are so soft”.