St David’s Day dinner

In honour of St David’s Day, I made something with leeks for tonight’s dinner. St David’s Day is like St Patrick’s Day for Irish peeps but for the Welsh peeps. This recipe is from the GoodFood magazine.

Leek tart with ricotta and Gruyere

You need:

  • 500g all-butter shortcrust pastry
  • 25g butter
  • 2 large leeks, sliced
  • 250g ricotta
  • 100ml double cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp chopped tarragon (or you can substitute thyme)
  • 100g Gruyere
  • 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200˚C
  2. Roll-out pastry on to the tin. Prick the pastry with fork. Line with baking sheet and put baking beans. Bake for 10 mins then remove baking paper and baking beans and cook for another 5 mins until pale golden. Reduce heat to 180˚C
  3. Melt butter in a large saucepan. Gently cook leeks for 10 mins or until softened.
  4. Beat ricotta, double cream, eggs, and chopped tarragon. Add a pinch of salt and generous pepper. Mix in cooked leeks and a third of cheese.
  5. Pour mix into the tart case and then scatter rest of cheese on top. Bake from 25-30 mins until set.
  6. Leave to settle for 5 mins before serving.
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Spring onion and cheese tart

spring onion and cheese tart © dan and tuesday

spring onion and cheese tart © dan and tuesday

I wasn’t planning to blog this recipe just yet since I just posted one yesterday. But my dear friend, K-Man, requested it so here it is.

It’s fairly easy to make, however, it takes about an hour and a half to prepare and cook.

spring onions © dan and tuesday

spring onions © dan and tuesday

I got the spring onion from the Sunday Riverside market in Cardiff. I bought it from an organic farmer and a big bunch only costs £1 and the bulbs came in different sizes and still with soil attached to them. I love it!

The rest of the ingredients are supermarket-bought and the pastry I used are even ready rolled. If using a block of pastry then roll it out in a floured surface before using it.

"intense" tarragon © dan and tuesday

"intense" tarragon © dan and tuesday

You need:

  • 250 g shortcrust pastry
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • About 12 spring onions, sliced in 1.5 inch lenths
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 200 g crème fraîche
  • 3 large free-range eggs, beaten
  • 150 ml milk (I used semi-skimmed milk)
  • 2 tsp tarragon leaves, chopped
  • 125 mature cheddar (I prefer extra-mature!)
    grey poupon © dan and tuesday

    grey poupon © dan and tuesday

What to do:

  1. Line a fluted tart tin or bakeware with the pastry. Gently press them down the fluted sides. Remove extra pastry from the edges. Prick the base with a fork so it doesn’t expand later on. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200˚C.

    blind baking shortcrust pastry © dan and tuesday

    blind baking shortcrust pastry © dan and tuesday

  2. Line the pastry with baking paper or grease-proof paper or foil and then fill it with baking beans. I use ceramic baking beans but if you don’t want to buy those, you can use uncooked beans or chickpea. I think you can also use pasta shells. Bake for 20 mins. Take it out of the oven, remove the cover and the baking beans and cook for another 5 minutes, until it’s golden brown.
  3. Lower the oven temperature to 190˚C.
  4. Now the filling – heat the olive oil and stir-fry the spring onions on high heat for about 3 minutes.

    stir-frying spring onions © dan and tuesday

    stir-frying spring onions © dan and tuesday

  5. In a mixing bowl, combine the Dijon mustard and crème fraîche. Slowly mix the eggs and then the milk. Season with salt and pepper.
  6. Tip the spring onions and half the cheese into the pastry case. Scatter the chopped tarragon. Then pour the egg mixture. Topped with the rest of the cheese.

    spring onion and cheese tart © dan and tuesday

    spring onion and cheese tart © dan and tuesday

  7. Bake for about 28-30 minutes, until it has set. It looks like a big omelette!

    spring onion and cheese tart © dan and tuesday

    spring onion and cheese tart © dan and tuesday

  8. Serve with salad. I also served it with onion jam which I made with some Rowan jelly. It’s divine. See how my jam glistens! 🙂

    spring onion and cheese tart with onion jam © dan and tuesday

    spring onion and cheese tart with onion jam © dan and tuesday

Béchamel sauce

Béchamel sauce © dan and tuesy

Béchamel sauce © dan and tuesy

There are so many version of this sauce out there. Try the most convenient one for you, practice making it until it’s perfect and you can do it with your eyes closed!

The recipe below is from a new cookbook I just bought on discount called Hamlyn Cookery School. It is my new favourite book with easy to do recipes with step-by-step photos. It’s what we would like our recipes here to look like!

This recipe makes enough for 4 servings.

You need:

  • 300ml, full-cream milk
  • 1/2 small onion
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp peppercorns
  • 3-4 flat-leaf parsley stalks
  • 15g butter
  • 15g flour
  • nutmeg, freshly grated
  • salt and pepper

What to do:

  1. In a saucepan, put the milk, onion, bay leaf, peppercorns and parsley stalk. Bring almost to a boil then remove the pan from the heat and leave it to infuse for 20mins. Strain milk into a jug.
  2. Melt butter in saucepan until bubbling. Put flour and cook gently, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for about 1-2 mins.
  3. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk the milk gradually, still stirring until the sauce is completely smooth.
  4. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring, until the sauce comes to the boil then reduce heat to low. Cook for another 5 mins, still stirring until the sauce is smooth and glossy and thinly coats the back of the spoon.
  5. Season to taste, adding lots of nutmeg.

Spanish omelette

Spanish omelette © kloza

Spanish omelette © kloza

Dan is busy writing for his blog so I am posting this omelette recipe for him. He cooked, I ate 🙂

You need:

  • 5 large free-range eggs
  • 275g potatoes, thinly sliced
  • medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • salt and fresh pepper

Tools: frying pan with lid

Spanish omelette © kloza

Spanish omelette © kloza

What to do:

  1. Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil in the pan.
  2. When the oil is hot, toss the potatoes and onions until they are well-coated and then turn the heat down.
  3. Sprinkle with salt and pepper then put the lid on to let the onions and potatoes cook gently stew in oil for 20 minutes, shaking once in awhile.
  4. Break eggs in a bowl, use a fork to whisk lightly. Season.
  5. When the potatoes and onion are cooked, transfer to the bowl with eggs. Mix thoroughly.
  6. In the same frying pan, put 1 tbsp of oil then put on medium heat.
  7. Pour the eggs mixture to the heated pan then put heat to low setting.
  8. Cook gently for about 20 minutes making sure that the omelette is cooked thoroughly.

Parsnip bread with parmesan and sage

Parmesan and parsnip bread © Kirsten

Parmesan and parsnip bread © Kirsten

This is another one from good ol’ Delia.

I served this bread with the roasted tomato soup in the last post. It was good but surprisingly tiny– about half the size of a regular loaf. I thought it looked like a moon rock! Not that I have seen a moon rock…

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 200 g parsnips
  • 50 g parmesan, cut into small cubes
  • 25 g parmesan shavings
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • a few whole small fresh sage leaves
  • 225 g self-raising flour (leave some extra for dusting)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large free-range eggs (beat lightly with 1 tbsp of milk)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • baking sheet, greased

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C (or about 150˚C if using a fan-assisted oven)
  2. Sift flour and salt. Grate the parsnip onto the flour and then toss them around, making sure that it’s all covered. It’s ok if it’s coarse like this.

    coarse grated parsnip © kirsten

    grated parsnip © kirsten

  3. Add the parmesan cube and chopped sage then toss again.
  4. Add the egg mixture gradually while mixing. Don’t worry about how it looks – the dough will look rough and sticky like this:

    parmesan and parsnip dough © kirsten

    parmesan and parsnip dough © kirsten

  5. Transfer dough to the baking sheet and pat gently into a 6-inch round dough. Make a cross using the blunt side of the knife.
  6. Scatter the parmesan shaving over the top of the dough, then sprinkle some flour.
  7. Dip each sage leave in the oil then scatter them on top of the dough.

    dough ready for oven © kirsten

    dough ready for oven © kirsten

  8. Put in the oven (high shelf) and bake for 45-50 minutes (less on fan-assisted oven) until it’s all golden and the crusty.
  9. Cool on wire rack before serving while warm-ish.
bread cooling © kirsten

bread cooling © kirsten

And there you go… you will smell the cheese and the sage when you take it out of the oven. Wonderful!

The other pictures of the parmesan and parsnip bread are here.

Warm goats cheese salad with asparagus

I got this recipe from a course at Cordon Vert and this is one of the very few recipes that I still use with only minor tweaking because Sarah Kearns’ recipe is already perfect!

You will need:

  • 200 g thin asparagus
  • 40 g walnut halves
  • 1 pc medium orange (rind and juice)
  • 1 tsp rock salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 125 g goat cheese log with rind
  • 1 tsp Sichuan peppercorns, toasted
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds, toasted
  • 3 tbsp clear honey
  • 2 tbsp groundnut oil
  • 1 tsp tamari
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 small cos lettuce
  • 100 g wild rocket

What to do-

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200˚C.
  2. On a baking tray, place the asparagus, walnuts, orange rind, garlic, salt, and olive oil. Roast until the asparagus starts to char in places – about 15 minutes.
  3. Mix and then grind Sichuan peppercorns and fennel seeds- don’t forget to toast them before grinding! I just use mortar and pestle for this. Mix the spices with honey.
  4. Slice the goats cheese log into 5 circles (you can keep the rind). Place the slices on a tin foil. Drizzle honey mixture over the cheese. Leave to marinate for 1/2 hour and then grill goat cheese until bubbling.
  5. Mix orange juice, tamari, sesame oil and groundnut oil together for the dressing.
  6. In a salad bowl, place the cos leaves and rocket. Put the roasted asparagus and walnuts on top. Add grilled goat cheese to the salad then drizzle dressing.
  7. Enjoy 🙂

Watercress pesto

Here’s something you can do with a bag of watercress salad. I really can’t remember the measurement. You just have to check for consistency and taste as you whizz everything.

You need:
100 g (or more) watercress
4 tbsp pine nuts
2 cloves garlic
50g freshly grated parmesan
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or more depending on the consistency)
a little squeeze of lemon
salt & pepper to taste

What you do:
All you need to do is get a decent food processor and whizz everything!

I recently bought a magimix compact which is just the right size for my small flat. It’s more pricey than some food processors but it’s worth it!

Pasta Pesto

I’m really pressed for time. I’ve so much work to do I barely have time to whine about it. But I’m still managing to blog. Some things are still important, and it’s a good way to focus the mind and arrange the swirling thoughts into some kind of comprehensible pattern. And I’ve been pressed into blogging on this by the water-cress pesto that Tuesy has sent me. I urge her to post the recipe so that you, dear reader, can make pesto for yourself. She’s done the real work (and presumably she got chance to use her new food processor): I just want to show you the lovely dinner I made with the pesto.
All it took was a few slices of halloumi, that king of cheeses (shallow-fry it in a little olive oil, or grill it), rocket and cherry tomatoes. Oh, and pasta, of course. I’ve used tagliatelli, but only because the fuselli in my cupboard looks a bit old. If I had any penne in stock, I’d have used that.
Dead easy, and generous in its delivery of deliciousness. So, dear reader (and I hope the use of the singular form of “reader” is not too close to the truth), pester Tuesy with your requests for the pesto recipe, so that you too can pep up your pasty pasta.

Chickpea curry with quorn

I have cooked this recipe so many times before but never for Dan. He asked me to blog the recipe so he can give it a go. I told him to watch me cook it and try to remember it instead 🙂

But because he asked really nicely last night, here goes:

I used:
medium onion, sliced
2-4 garlic cloves (I like mine garlic-y), chopped
chilli flakes
a tin of chickpeas, drained
a tin of chopped tomatoes
capsicum or peppers
quorn “chicken” style fillets, cubed
2 tbsp of curry paste
coriander, roughly chopped


What I did:

  1. Most of the time, I dry fry my onion with just a bit of salt. I was told that this caramelizes the onion. When the onion is a bit cooked, I add olive oil, a pinch or two of chili flakes, and the garlic.
  2. Add the curry paste. I use Patak’s curry paste. It’s good stuff.
  3. Add the quorn pieces and cook it for about 3-5 mins or just until it’s brown.
  4. Mix the chickpeas and cook for about 2 mins.
  5. Add the capsicum/peppers. I like to add mushrooms, too, but Dan does not like mushrooms. I know, it’s weird.
  6. Add the chopped tomatoes. If it’s still too dry, add some water.
  7. Season with salt, pepper and coriander.

Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagne

This is in the oven right now as I start writing this. It’s my first attempt at lasagne. Ever. And the greengrocer seems to have sold me some slightly dodgy spinach, so I can’t really vouch for its quality just yet. Maybe Tuesy can report back after I serve it up.

Here’s what you need to do:

1 Butternut squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and sliced
salt and pepper

Peel and halve the squash. De-seed that thing. Chop it into big chunks (1 inch square has to be good enough, I reckon), toss it all in a roasting tin with the olive oil, chopped onion and a tablespoon of water. Season with salt n’ pepper. Roast at about 200 degrees (or considerably less if your oven is a fan-assisted raging furnace like Tuesy’s) for 25 mins. While that’s going on, you can get started on the sauce:

25g butter
25g plain flour
1 pint milk

Melt the butter in a pan, stir in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Gradually add the milk, stirring all the time (you don’t want it to go too lumpy) and then simmer it for about five minutes. It’ll go a bit thick, but not too stodgy.

In the meantime, cook 250g of baby leaf spinach in a few dribbles of water (use a separate pan!). Add salt and pepper.

To finish the sauce, you’ll need:

250g carton of ricotta
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (Tuesy: I did the grating!!)
6 sheets of that
lasagne that doesn’t need pre-cooking (Tuesy: this means, use regular lasagne sheets but you don’t have to pre-cook even if the packet says so. As this is very saucy, the pasta will cook anyway!)
50g of parmesan cheese, grated (we like it cheesy, so we’d go up to 80g for this one. I know, we’re just wild…)

Mix the ricotta into the sauce, add the nutmeg and a bit of salt n’ pepper if you haven’t got enough seasoning already. Here, for atmosphere, is a picture of some nutmeg during the grating process:

Now you get to build your lasagne. In an ovenproof dish, put the squash and onion stuff, nicely roasted by now, in the bottom, add the spinach on top and in between and all over, then about a third of the sauce. Layer the lasagne sheets on top, pour on the rest of the sauce. Finally, sprinkle the cheese on top and still more salt n’ pepper if that’s your thing.

Bake for about half an hour, or until the top part achieves your ideal level of crispy, golden goodness. Mine is nearly ready. Hope it’s good. Tuesy’s getting ready to test out her new food processor with some cup cakes, so there may be a delicious dessert blog to come shortly.

Tuesy: The lasagne Dan made is the best lasagne I have ever had in my flat tee hee… it was the FIRST lasagne I’ve ever had in my flat 🙂 But but but! It was also the best lasagne in the whole world! I absolutely love it!

The picture below is a macro shot of the lasagne. We love a crispy top!

PS. Dan used the Good Housekeeping guide to cookery for this recipe. He got it from his brother for xmas and it has changed his life! And I am grateful, of course 🙂

PPS. Recipe for the delicious dark chocolate cup cake to be published soon!