Beetroot and goat’s cheese tart

I feel a little disappointed in myself for not having posted anything since early October. Well I have a really good reason for that now! I felt a little out of sorts a few days before I stopped writing, and lost my way with inspiration, cooking and the adventures we were getting up to. The only time I remember having a lack of interest in food and cooking was when I was pregnant back in 2009. So there you are…I found out just before Thanksgiving weekend that I was pregnant again!

Anyway, to get me going again I thought I would post this recipe now for our friends Nicola and Steve who we enjoyed it with this weekend. I reserve this recipe for entertaining, because once you find out how good it tastes, you will find it hard to stop at one piece!

Beets have been marching into the stores in droves. They are well and truly a favourite fall produce pick of mine. Leading into winter, they are a vegetable loaded with cold fighting properties; and honestly I think they taste good in just about anything; juices, in burgers (it’s an Aussie thing), baked with your favourite roast beef dish, relish, warm winter salads and this tart recipe by Valli Little which was published in the March issue of delicious. magazine, 2011.

This tart is delectable and although you may think by looking at it that there could be a degree of difficulty because of how amazing it looks, there isn’t! Just follow the recipe and you will be rewarded with this beautiful dish which I would not change in anyway…it’s almost perfect! I have tested it out on guests and we all politely held back from being the first to dive in for another serving. If you are fortunate enough to still have some left, it will just last till the next day – it is best served on day of cooking.

Beetroot and goat’s cheese tart (serves 6)

Ingredients

1 bunch of beetroot (about 400 gm) trimmed

30 gm unsalted butter

1 Tablespoon olive oil

2 red onions. thinly sliced

1/4 cup (60ml) balsamic vinegar

2 teaspoons thyme leaves plus extra sprigs

1 Tablespoon caster sugar

150 gm soft goat’s cheese (I bought Salt Spring Island’s creamy goat’s cheese – it’s divine)

2 eggs, lightly beaten

150 ml thickened cream

1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg (ground is fine if you can’t find whole nutmegs)

250 gm creme fraiche or sour cream

1 Tablespoon bottled horseradish

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Pastry

1 1/3 cups (200 gm) plain flour

100 gm chilled unsalted butter chopped

1 teaspoon thyme leaves

Method

1. Place beetroot in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 hour, topping with water if necessary, until tender. Drain. Refresh under cold water and leave to cool. Peel and coarsely grate. Set aside.

2. Meanwhile, for the pastry, place flour, butter, thyme and a pinch of salt in a food processor and whiz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add 1/4 cup (60ml) chilled water, then process until the mixture comes together in a ball. Enclose in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Lightly grease a 30 cm loose-bottomed tart pan. On a lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to 5mm thick, then use to line the tart pan. Chill for 15 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 180 C / 355 F. Line pastry with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or uncooked rice. Bake for 10 minutes, remove the paper and the weights, then bake for 5 minutes or until dry and pale golden.

4. Heat the butter and oil in a frypan over medium heat. Add onions and 1 teaspoon salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes until softened. Add beetroot, vinegar, thyme and sugar, then cook, stirring for 5 minutes or until thickened and syrupy. Spread beetroot mixture over the tart base, then crumble over the cheese.

5. Whisk egg, cream and nutmeg together, then pour into the tart case. Scatter with extra thyme. Bake 35 minutes or until set.

6. Meanwhile, combine the creme fraiche, horseradish, Dijon and lemon juice, then season. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

7. Cut tart into slices and serve warm or cold with horseradish cream.

I like serving this tart with a fennel salad on the side. Enjoy!

Beetroot and goat’s cheese tart – http://www.greenskis.wordpress.com

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My hale and hearty kale super summer recipes – Part 3

My husband and I have an exercise routine in the morning that usually consists of running around our sofa ten times to catch my son just to change him when he is waken up…its just a big game to him. Then after breakfast, one of us need to run around the sofa another ten times just to change his nappy/diaper. Let me emphasise that this is before the real activity starts! For example, Saturday mornings involve approximately 20 laps around the sofa, followed by soccer and then swimming. This might put the little guy’s energy at bay for say half the day, but then there is the entire afternoon remaining!

So, sometimes my only remedy is to put my faith in food to deliver abundant energy sources and the addition of a little coffee (as you might have read from an earlier post).

For those days when you need to load up on energy stores or a little comfort in a hearty meal, here is a fiery dish to get your day underway.

The first is inspired by one of the best breakfasts I have had…ooh, going back about sixteen years or 5,840 breakfasts ago! It was in Budapest, Hungary and I was invited to a friend of a friend’s home for breakfast/brunch. It was a typical hungarian spread; crusty bread, scrambled eggs with the flavours of paprika, peppers, salami, tomatoes or should I say lecsó. Lecsó is a hot and spicy dish of tomatoes, peppers, onions, paprika, garlic, sugar, salt and there are many varieties. I was in heaven and this was so exotic compared to anything I had enjoyed for breakfast back home that it made an impression needless to say. It is though rather simple and really hits the spot.

I will just note though, that my breakfast is the ‘healthy version’ as the condition of my arteries is more important to me than it ever was in my early twenties! I have included something called ‘bacon dust’ in my recipe which all credit for this idea goes to Valli Little, Food Director of delicious. magazine again because she is well – AWESOME!

The other recipe is a no fuss canapé for summer entertaining. They are not only beautiful to look at but are light and almost guilt-free. You can prepare them ahead of time and serve them at room temperature or simply re-heat slightly for a crisper texture.

4. Kale lecsó and scrambled eggs (serves 4).

Ingredients

Lecsó (This can be pre-prepared a day or two in advance and warmed up. It is best to add the kale fresh though).

1 bunch kale (stems removed)

2 rashers of bacon with fat removed and cut into small pieces

1/2 small brown onion sliced

1-2 peppers (yellow and orange) sliced finely

2 ripe roma tomatoes finely chopped

3 tablespoons of tomato puree

1 garlic clove crushed

2.5 teaspoons of sweet paprika

1 teaspoon of sugar

4 pinches of salt

1 tablespoon of water

Scrambled eggs

6 large eggs

2 rashers of bacon

1/4 cup milk

1 tablespoon butter

Sourdough bread

olive oil

Method

1. Wash kale and leave to soak in warm water with some lemon juice. After 10 minutes remove and dry.

2. Add bacon to frying pan for a few minutes to soften on medium heat. Add onions and peppers for 15 minutes on low heat.

3. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic sugar, salt, paprika and cook over medium heat until peppers are soft and tender. Add a the water if a little dry before peppers are soft.

4. Add kale leaves to frying pan to soften for a few minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

Scrambled eggs

1. Place two rashers of bacon in frying pan on medium heat until crispy. Dry on paper towel to remove all moisture.

2. Place bacon in food processor until it resembles a fine consistency or dust.

3. Crack six eggs into a bowl and whisk lightly adding milk half way through.

4. Place butter into clean frying pan on low-medium heat.

5. Add eggs to pan and start with a wooden spatula, gently push outside edges into centre   until you start to see eggs looking creamy and thickening (approx 3 minutes). In the last minute, break up carefully and remove from heat.

6. Serve eggs with sprinkled bacon dust on top, kale lecsó on the side with lightly toasted sourdough bread. Drizzle some good quality extra virgin olive oil on warm lecsó.

5. Potato and kale nests with smoked salmon  (makes 24).

Ingredients

250gm white or yukon gold (starchy varieties) potatoes peeled

12 leaves of kale

1 egg

40gm butter, melted and cooled.

1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise (I use an organic whole egg variety)

1/3 cup light/fat free sour cream

2 tablespoons fresh dill

150gm cold smoked (lox) sockeye salmon

half lemon

sea salt and cracked black pepper

olive oil spray

dill fronds or coriander leaves to garnish

Method

1. Preheat oven to 390F/200C. Lightly grease a 24 capacity mini muffin tray with olive oil spray.

2. Using a mandolin, thinly slice potatoes (please watch fingers!) and then finely cut small matchstick size; about 4mm thick and 6-7cm in length. They certainly don’t need to be perfect match sticks, I just stack my slices and then cut lengthways into the strips.

3. Chiffonade the washed kale leaves and blanch them in almost boiled water for 15 seconds and then place in cold water, drain and dry with paper towel.

4. Place in a large bowl the egg, butter, potato and combine well adding some salt and pepper to taste. Add kale at end.

5. Press approximately a tablespoon into muffin tin to create a nest and bake for 25 minutes or until golden. Allow to cool.

6. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise and chopped dill in a bowl. Squeeze juice of half a lemon over salmon.

7. Spoon a small amount onto nests and top with smoked salmon. Garnish with coriander leaves or dill fronds.

Enjoy!