I think this post might be my biggest tribute to my Grandmas baking yet. She was a pretty decent cook, although she mostly stuck to the ‘meat and two veg’ type recipes of her era, but my goodness was she a good baker. This was […]
When you get really good ingredients it’s worth using them in a recipe that really shows off their full potential. That’s how I feel about these beautiful heirloom tomatoes anyway.
So often the fruits you find in supermarkets are insipid and disappointing but if you come across tomatoes like these, or are lucky enough to be green fingered and grow your own then you’ll know they’ll be packed with flavour and worthy of a bit more love than just tossing them into your Bolognese!
Look at how pretty the colours look in this tart, it’s a picture perfect summer dish. It tastes pretty wonderful too. The fennel seeds in the buttery pastry crust really bring out the sweetness of the tomatoes. Delicious!
150g plain flour
50g wholemeal flour
pinch of sea salt
1 tbsp fennel seeds
splash of ice cold water
5-6 heirloom tomatoes (different varieties if you can)
3 tbsp polenta/semolina
1 tbsp freshly grated parmesan
seasalt, black pepper and fresh oregano
Whisk together the flours and then lightly rub in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Mix through the salt and fennel seeds and then use a little splash of water to bring it all together to form a soft, but not sticky, dough. If you prefer then you can do all this quite quickly and easily in a food processor, which also means there’s less chance of over-working the dough and ending up with tough pastry. Wrap the dough in some cling film and pop it in the fridge to rest for at least 15 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 230°c and cover a large baking sheet with some baking parchment. Wash, dry and slice the tomatoes, so that the slices are about 5mm thick. A serrated knife is the best thing to use here.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface until you have a large roundish shape, a few millimetres thick. Carefully place this on the prepared baking sheet. Scatter the polenta or semolina (whichever you’re using) over the pastry, leaving a few centimetres gap around the edge. This will help soak up all those lovely tomato juices and stop the pastry becoming a soggy mess. Arrange the tomato slices on top, overlapping them as you go. Season really well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and then dot the surface with a little butter. Sprinkle over the parmesan and a little chopped fresh oregano. Carefully fold up the edges of the pastry, gathering it a little where you need to.
Bake the tart for 20 minutes before reducing the oven temperature to 190° and baking for a further 25 minutes. The pastry should be crisp and slightly golden when it’s done. Leave to cool to room temperature before serving.
I’ve taken the delicious salad that Rach from our little community shared on here last summer as the flavour inspiration for these. I bloomin’ love beetroot and dill, alone or together, they put me in veggie heaven.
These little vegetable patties are so delicious, crisp and crunchy on the outside but lovely and soft in the middle. The earthy beetroot goes wonderfully with the salty tang of the halloumi cheese and the delicate aniseed flavour of the dill.
The rosti are very versatile too, Mr Colonial Cravings likes them crowned with a soft poached egg, which would be a breakfast to really set you up for the day. I like mine with a dollop of creamy yoghurt and mint dressing and some avocado accompanied by a big handful of fresh green leaves.
makes about 10
350g raw beetroot
3 heaped tbsp chopped dill
salt and pepper to taste
butter and oil for frying
Start by grating the spuds, don’t bother to peel them, just give them a good scrub. Pile the shredded potato into a clean tea towel and try to wring out as much moisture as possible. Pop the potato in a bowl and microwave it for three minutes. This is the best way that I’ve found of starting to get the starches to break down and become sticky without adding any extra moisture.
Grate the halloumi and the beets and mix them with the potato. I find it easiest to let it cool a bit and get stuck in with my hands. Add the dill and the salt and pepper to taste (remember the cheese is quite salty) and mix them through too.
Squeeze together handfuls of the mixture to make patties about the size of a burger and fry them in batches in a heavy frying pan in a mixture of butter and vegetable oil (one stops the other from burning).
Use a spatula to press, coax and cajole the rosti into holding its shape and sticking together. Cook the rosti for 3-5 minutes over a medium heat until they are a deep golden colour before carefully turning them over to cook the other side. Serve hot with your favourite topping.
I’m not really a fan of smoked salmon. I’m not really a fan of anything smoked (except maybe chili) and I’ve made these a couple of times but I think that the salmon I used the first time I made them was a little milder then the latest ones because I really quite enjoyed them. (To tell the truth these ones got passed to Mr Colonial Cravings after a couple of mouthfuls,but he really enjoyed them so that makes it okay!)
Baking the salmon gives it a really nice flaky texture whilst the creamy filling keeps everything nice and moist.
It’s quite important to chill these before you bake them, otherwise they lose their shape a little. That does mean that you can make them well in advance and leave them in the fridge until you’re ready to bake them.
Feel free to adjust the amount of horseradish to suit your own tastes. I love it but if you want to tone it down a little then that’s fine by me!
300g smoked salmon slices
zest of 1 lemon
1 1/2 tablespoon horseradish sauce
big pinch of black pepper
Wilt the watercress either in a steamer or with a quick blast in the microwave and then roughly chop it.
Beat together the ricotta, lemon zest, horseradish and black pepper. Fold the watercress into this.
Lay out the smoked salmon, using about three slices per parcel and overlapping them to make a wheel/star shape. Spoon a dollop of the filling into the middle of each one and then fold over the edges to create a little parcel. Flip them over so that the neatest side is on top and then put them in the fridge to chill for at least 15 minutes.
Pre-heat your oven to 180°c and lightly grease a baking tray. Pop the parcels on the tray and bake them for 10 minutes before serving warm on a bed of dressed mixed leaves.