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

Smoked mackerel with horseradish dressing

Smoked mackerel, apple and potato horseradish salad © dan and tuesday

Smoked mackerel, apple and potato horseradish salad © dan and tuesday

Who would have thought that mackerel and apple would work together? But it sure does in this dish. It’s gorgeous and light and contains two of my favourite foods: mackerel and watercress.

crispy apples © dan and tuesday

crispy apples © dan and tuesday

I’ve never actually made this dish; Dan always makes it for us. I like it that way because I can just sit and wait for one of my favourite meals be handed to me 🙂

This dish is from Good Housekeeping’s easy to make low GI cookbook that is now permanently in our kitchen. It serves 4 as a starter but to be honest between the two of us, we can easily finish this off as a main course.

flaking mackerel © dan and tuesday

flaking mackerel © dan and tuesday

You need:

  • 350g new potatoes, washed, cooked, boiled for about 15-20 mins
  • 2 tbsp horseradish sauce
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 crispy apples
  • 2 smoked mackerel fillets, skinned and flaked
  • watercress

Smoked mackerel and apple salad (iPhone) © dan and tuesday

Smoked mackerel and apple salad (iPhone) © dan and tuesday

What to do

  1. Roughly chop the cooked potatoes and apple.
  2. In a large bowl, mix potatoes, apple, smoked mackerel, and watercress.
  3. Mix the horseradish sauce, crème fraîche, lemon juice and oil. Season with freshly ground pepper.
  4. Toss the dressing with the rest of the ingredients and serve!

Calories: 320  Fat: 23g  Carbohydrates: 22g  Salt: 0.7 g

What I’d like to try next time

  • I’d like to use less potatoes and more mackerel for less carbs and more protein
  • Try wholegrain Dijon mustard for the dressing
  • Try green apples

There are a few more photos of this dish and making this dish on flickr.

Moroccan fish tagine

Moroccan fish tagine © dan & tuesday

Moroccan fish tagine © dan & tuesday

This is another recipe from our favourite recipe book, Hamlyn Cookery School. If you want easy to follow recipes, get yourself a copy here.

We used monkfish for this dish but you can also use seabass or cod or any other firm fish. Serve your tagine with couscous and a slice of lemon.

You need:

  • 750g skinned, firm white fish (try seabass, cod, or monkfish) – cut into large chunks, about 2 inches (5 cm) square, then season
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 5 pcs of cardamom pods
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, slice thinly
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 40g sultanas
  • 25g pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 150 ml fish stock
  • finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp juice
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley

Cooking tools:

  • mortar and pestle
  • Dutch oven or ovenproof casserole dish
  • Preheated oven at 160˚C
mixing spices © dan and tuesy

mixing spices © dan & tuesday

What to do:

  1. Using a pestle and mortar to crush the cardamom pods and cumin and coriander seeds. Take out the cardamom husks, leaving the seeds.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a shallow frying pan and gently fry the onions until golden. Then add the garlic and spices and cook for another 2 mins.
  3. Add fish to the pan. Turn gently, making sure that they are coated with oil.
  4. Transfer the fish and onions to an ovenproof casserole dish. Scatter the sultanas and pine nuts.

    tagine on Dutch oven © dan and tuesday

    tagine on Dutch oven © dan & tuesday

  5. Add the stock, lemon rind, lemon juice to the frying pan and bring to the boil. Then pour the mixture around the fish, cover with a lid, and bake in the oven for 40 mins.

Dan ~ Best thing about this recipe, aside from the undeniable awesomeness of its flavour, is the way it looks. You’re really just throwing a bunch of stuff into a pot, but it looks like “proper” food without too much effort on the presentation front. There’s quite a bit of preparation (or maybe I’m just slow at crushing spices and things like that), but it’s well worth it, and very impressive for your guests…

tagine on couscous © dan & tuesday

tagine on couscous © dan & tuesday

Smoked trout on pappardelle pasta

Smoked trout in parpadelle

Smoked trout in pappardelle pasta

This recipe comes from Gordon Ramsay’s Fast Food book. I wouldn’t describe it as “fast”, but probably because I was making it for the first time and it takes me a while to make something fiddly like a sauce. Next time will be quicker. I tried getting into the Ramsay style of cooking, but I had nobody to shout and swear at, so I don’t think it worked. Cooked this for guests, and it went down very well. They could tell by the mess in the kitchen (Tuesy: yes, he messed up my kitchen!) that I’d made an effort.

You need:

  • 6 medium vine plum tomatoes
  • 85g of sun-dried tomatoes in oil (about 15 pcs)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 banana shallots (or 4 regular ones), roughly choppped
  • 175ml olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 500g fresh pappardelle (or you can use tagliatelle)
  • 600g skinless smoked trout fillets, flaked into large chunks
  • grated parmesan
  • salt and pepper
chopped banana shallots

chopped banana shallots

What to do:

  1. Skin tomatoes – this is easy Tuesday did this for the roasted tomato soup recipe. Chop the tomatoes in half and take out the seeds. I found it a bit tricky to squeeze out the seeds, so I left a lot of them in there. Don’t tell Tuesy. I don’t think anyone noticed.

    skinning vine-riped tomatoes

    skinning vine-riped tomatoes

  2. Put the tomatoes, garlic, shallots, olive oil, and lemon juice in a food processor until you have a smooth sauce. Season to your taste.

    ingredients on food processor

    ingredients on food processor

  3. Pour the sauce into a pan and warm on a medium heat. Be careful not to boil it too quickly.
  4. Cook the pasta until al dente then toss with the tomato sauce and flaked trout (don’t flake that trout too much – it looks and tastes great with big chunks of fish in it. Serve with parmesan. Lots of parmesan. And probably some fresh black pepper.

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.

Soup: Roasted tomato

roasted tomato soup

roasted tomato soup © kirsten

It hasn’t really dropped below 10˚C but I might as well recognise that it is already winter– especially if this means we get winter out of the way now and we have spring to look forward to 🙂

Winter means time to open the recipe book for nice warming soups. I looked at my Delia’s Vegetarian Collection book which has some really good and easy to follow recipes. I have to warn you, thought, that some of the recipes in that book are quite high in fat so choose well.

ripe tomatoes © kirsten

ripe tomatoes © kirsten

I chose this soup because I love the taste of roasted tomatoes. I am lucky I live just a minute walk from Cardiff Market which has a history of trading since the 1800s! Two kilos of medium-sized ripe tomatoes are only a little over £1 – bargain! Buy from your local market, if you can.

(An aside – this reminds me of the Sundays when my Nanay (mother) used to take me to the palengke. We would walk the Pulilan bridge to go to the market. Our first stop was a vegetable stall where we were suki (favourite customer) so we got our veggies at a special discounted rate. If my Nanay planned to buy meat for that week, she usually asks the veggie vendor to look after me as I hated (still do!) going to the butcher.)

Right on to the recipe. Dan said it’s the best home-made soup he has ever tasted but maybe he is a bit biased 😉

You will need:

  • 700 g medium red tomatoes
  • 20 g/bunch of basil leaves
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 big clove garlic (peeled and chopped)
  • 110 g potato
  • 1 tsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper

For olive croutons:

  • 4 medium slices of ciabatta bread, cubed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp olive tapenade or paste

Kitchen items:

  • roasting tray
  • mortar and pestle

What to do:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 190˚C (on my fan oven, I had it on 150˚C)
  2. Skin the tomatoes – you do this by pouring boiling water on the tomatoes and leaving it for 1 minute. After that it’s easy to skin the tomatoes.

    roasting tomatoes © kirsten

    roasting tomatoes © kirsten

  3. Half the tomatoes, put them on the roasting tray (cut side uppermost) and then generously season them with salt and pepper. Sprinkle each tomatoes with olive oil, the chopped garlic, and then top each one with basil leaves. Coat the basil leaves with oil first!

    roasting tomatoes with basil & garlic © kirsten

    roasting tomatoes with basil & garlic © kirsten

  4. Roast the tomatoes for 50 – 60 minutes or until the edges of the tomatoes are blackened. This gives the tomatoes a smoky flavour. http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3206/3036891255_b09d67a07d.jpg

    roasted tomatoes © kirsten

    roasted tomatoes © kirsten

  5. Peel and chop the potato into little cubes then put it in a saucepan with some salt, 425 ml boiling water, tomato purée and simmer for 20 minutes. Leave to cool.
  6. Ok the croutons– you can buy ready made croutons but this is so yummy that it’s worth giving it a go. In a bowl, place the bread cubes, olive oil, and olive tapenade/paste. Toss them so that the bread cubes get a good coating. Put the bread cubes in a baking sheet and bake them in the oven for about 8 minutes – make sure you don’t forget to check on them as they burn easily. Leave to cool when done.

    olive croutons © kirsten

    olive croutons © kirsten

  7. When done, remove tomatoes and scrape everything to a food processor (juices and all the crusty bits!) and also add everything in the potato saucepan. Whiz lightly so it’s not so uniformly puréed.
  8. For the basil purée, use the rest of the basil and put them into a mortar. Put about 1/4 tsp of salt and then bash them with the pestle until the leaves collapse and turn into a purée. Add 2 tbsp of olive oil and 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar and stir.
  9. Gently heat the soup in medium heat before serving. Garnish each bowl with croutons and a swirl of basil purée.

I also made parmesan and parsnip bread but I think that will be on the next post! But here’s the yummy preview!

parmesan and parsnip bread © kirsten

parmesan and parsnip bread © kirsten

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 🙂

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!