Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Tomato Tart with Basil Mascarpone

Recipe by Heston Blumenthal (with some Jessica Tweeks)

So I have made this recipe twice now, and both times it  has been for my vegetarian friends. I recommend using this recipe only on a weekend, when you have time to lovingly prepare a dish that needs a bit more time. Read the recipe so you can see just how much time you will need to allow, as you will require good time management for this recipe.
I used to get stuck for ideas when having veggo's over but now I eat vegetarian food regularly myself, and find it can be still taste delicious and make you feel full.
Both of my vegetarian friends have said this is an incredible meal. I was delighted when Paula said it was classy restaurant worthy, as so much love went into making this for her. She was the one who gave me the cookbook containing this recipe. YAY!

*To start this recipe the Tomatoes must be prepped as they take 2 hours to drain and 3 hours in the oven.  One hour is also required for onion caramelisation*

Oven Dried Tomatoes
Preheat over to 100C (Bake for 3 hours)

1Kg of medium tomatoes
6 Cloves of garlic (peeled and finely sliced)
Bay leaves (I used dry and sliced them)
Thyme sprigs (So easy to grow in the  herb garden)
Caster sugar
Olive oil

Heston's recipe calls for peeling of the tomatoes but I skipped that. I loved the skin on.
Cut the tomatoes in halves and scoop out the seeds carefully with a spoon.
Leave upside down, on a baking dish that has been covered with paper towel. Allow to drain for 2 hours. You can cheat and do 1 hour if you like.

Transfer to baking tray lines with baking paper cut side up.
On each tomato place a couple slices of garlic and bay leaves. Add small sprigs of thyme to each. Sprinkle with a little salt and caster sugar, then drizzle olive oil.

Place in pre-heated oven for 3 hours  or until they are dry but still soft.

Basil Mascarpone
I do make my own pesto. But because this recipe is already time consuming I recommend buying store bought basil pesto. Depending on the strength of the pesto I'd recommend adding two heaping tablespoons to around 200g of Mascarpone.  Once you've mixed the two together taste it to check if it needs more pesto. Set aside in the fridge until needed.

Bake at 200c
50g Olive Oil
60g Unsalted butter
10 small onions (around a kg)
5g of Thyme leaves
5g Rosemary leaves  (I got mine from the Italian neighbour next door)
1/2  Tblsp Dijon mustard
20g Sherry vinegar (I didn't have any because I couldn't find it in the shop. I combined half apple vinegar and red wine vinegar, and that seemed to work as a fine substitute).
250g All Butter Puff Pastry (Around 4 puff pastry sheets. Mine was from the frozen food section)
Tapenade (Heston has his own recipe for this but I bought mine in a jar. Make sure it has no anchovies if you are making this for Vegetarians).
Oven Dried tomatoes (that you prepared earlier)
1 Medium egg, lightly beaten

Start by chopping the Kg bag of small onions, as they will take 1 hour to cook down.
I wore snorkel goggles because I've never had to cut so many onions in my life, and the first time I did this I could barely see from all the onion tears.

Heat the oil and butter in a large saucepan  on medium heat.
When the butter has melted add the onions.
Cook for approximately 1 hours until they are very soft, stirring  occasionally to prevent the onions from catching on the bottom of the pan.

When the onions are well caramelised chop the herbs and add them to the pan with the mustard, vinegar and pinch of salt. Cook for another 10 minutes then remove from heat.

Roll out the puff pastry. I used two cookie sheets (baking trays). I rolled together two puff pastry sheets per tray.  Lightly score a line for a border of about 5mm from the edge of the tray. Prick the pastry inside these lines with a fork. Spread Tapenade to the border edge, as pictured above. Cover with onions. Then completely cover the onions with tomatoes arranged in neat rows.

Add a little water the beaten egg. Brush the edges of the pastry with egg wash. J-TIP: If you don't have a brush try dabbing some paper towel into the wash and gently going around the border with that.

Bake in a preheated oven of 200C for 15- 20 minutes or until edges are risen and deep golden. 
Put the bowl of basil pesto on the table with a spoon so your guests can freely add dollops of this to the top of their tart.
I also fried up two chorizo sausages and put them in a bowl for the non-veggos to add to the top of their tart and this was a HUGE hit. I also served this up with my spinach, pumpkin and feta salad. I'll post that recipe soon.

My hubby David on left, enjoying Tomato Tart with his Brother Michael and his VEGGO gal Elise

Monday, April 30, 2012

Homemade Perogies

In Canada we all eat perogies! (A food we inherited from the Russians, Slovakians, Ukrainians and maybe Polish as well)? In fact most of us have them in our freezers. We can buy a large bag of them for around $3.50 from any frozen food section in the grocery store.They are a savoury pastry filled with mashed potatoes and cheese (etc...), they are boiled then fried and served with sauteed onion, fresh from the pan- crispy bacon, and sour cream.
 My Friend Pat gave me this recipe and David and I tried it out on the weekend, it was a complete Success! Because we can't get them from the grocery store here in OZ we have now made them homemade twice and that has turned my Aussie hubby into a perogy snob. He definitely prefers them homemade. While I think homemade are far more delicious, I do prefer the ease of going from supermarket to freezer to pan. BUT alas my nearest Canadian Supermarket is too far away.
 Pat says she would half the recipe (at least) and do quite a bit less of the filling... until you are an expert filler you use more dough, and don't need all that filling. But Dave and I made the whole recipe, (and used up most of the pastry and all of the filling) so we could freeze the majority and eat them over the next month. It took us about 2 to 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon to make that many.


* 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (That's Plain flour, for you Aussies)
* 2 teaspoons salt
* 2 tablespoons butter, melted
* 2 cups sour cream
* 2 eggs
* 1 egg yolk
* 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 
* 8 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
* 1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
* chopped onion to taste (I sautee them)
* salt and pepper to taste ***I (Jess) added 3 Tablespoons of cream cheese to Pat's filling recipe and a little bit extra cheddar as well as S&P
Makes about 54 Perogies ( approx 10 servings)

 1. In a large bowl, stir together the flour and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the butter, sour cream, eggs, egg yolk and oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the flour until well blended. Cover the bowl with a towel, and let stand for 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Place potatoes into a pot, and fill with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain, and mash with shredded cheese & sauteed onions. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.
3. Separate the perogie dough into two balls. Roll out one piece at a time on a lightly floured surface until it is thin enough to work with, but not too thin so that it tears. Cut into circles using a cookie cutter, perogie cutter, or a glass. Brush a little water around the edges of the circles, and spoon some filling into the center. Fold the circles over into half-circles, and press to seal the edges. Place perogies on a cookie sheet, and freeze. Once frozen, transfer to freezer storage bags or containers.
4. To cook perogies: Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Drop perogies in one at a time. They are done when they float to the top. Do not boil too long, or they will be soggy! Remove with a slotted spoon. Now they are either ready to fry or freeze. Make sure when you fry them that the oil in your frying pan is hot and do not try to flip the perogy to the other side until you are sure it's golden. Sometimes if you flip too soon it can cause the pastry to come off and stick to the pan. 

Serve with Bacon, sauteed onions and sour cream!