30ml + 30ml butter 1 clove garlic, minced 6 onions, halved horizontally 100ml sugar 60ml water 30ml balsamic vinegar 5ml thyme leaves 5ml salt 1 x 400g roll Today puff pastry
Preheat your oven to 200℃. Put a wide-bottomed pan on medium-high heat and add 30ml butter to melt. Add the garlic and onion halves cut-side down. Cook the onions until they have caramelised and softened slightly (about 10 minutes). Gently remove the onions from the pan and set aside. Add the sugar and water to an ovenproof pan over medium heat. Cook, swirling constantly, until the sugar dissolves – DO NOT stir! Turn the heat up to high and cook undisturbed (no stirring!) for 5 minutes or until it turns to a golden caramel – this happens instantly!! Remove from the heat and add the balsamic, thyme, salt and 30ml butter. Return to the boil and swirl to combine. Arrange the onions cut-side down, trying to fit in as many halves as you can. Place the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface and roll it slightly wider. Now cut a circle that is 1cm larger than the diameter of your pan. Place the pastry circle on top of the onions and tuck in the edges so that it forms a “basket” for the onions. Cut a very small hole in the centre of the pastry and bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cover with aluminium foil to prevent burning. Return to the oven and bake for another 20 minutes until the pastry is cooked through. Remove the tart from the oven and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Place a flat plate/wooden board over the pan and carefully invert the tart. Season with salt and pepper to serve.
2 x 400g puff pastry rolls, thawed 400ml tomato sauce for pizza 400g sandwich ham, sliced into squares 200g salami, sliced 200g green olives, halved a handful of basil leaves 500g mozzarella cheese, grated egg-wash: 1 egg yolk + 15ml water, whisked together
Preheat your oven to 200℃ and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Unroll both the puff pastry rolls and place one horizontally in front of you on a work surface. Brush a 2cm wide strip at the top of the pastry with water and overlay the other pastry roll so that the two overlap. Press the overlapping sections together. Spread the tomato sauce over the entire pastry. Scatter the ham, salami and olives evenly over the tomato sauce. Arrange the basil leaves across the surface and top the entire pizza with the grated cheese. Now lift the edge of the pastry closest to you and start rolling it up into a roll. Work lightly as you do not want to tear the pastry. Slice the roll into 4cm thick slices and then lay the slices flat (cut-side down) on the baking sheet. Brush the top and sides of the rolls with the egg-wash. Bake the pizza rolls for 25 minutes until oozy and golden. Serve immediately.
2 avocado pears 60ml cream cheese, room temperature 1 small onion, finely chopped 2 tomatoes, seeds scooped out and cut into small cubes 250ml grated cheddar cheese balsamic vinegar reduction
foil nests to rest the halved avocado pears in while baking
For the pangrattato: Add the oil and butter to a frying pan set over medium heat and allow the butter to melt. Fry the garlic for 1 minute while stirring. Add the breadcrumbs, thyme and nuts and stir around in the pan until toasted and golden. Take the mixture off the heat, spoon it into a bowl and allow to cool.
Preheat your oven to 180℃. Prepare foil baking nests for the avocado pear by scrunching strips of aluminium foil into circular shapes where the avocado can rest without tilting. Be careful not to cut your hands!!! Place the nests on a baking tray. Cut the avocado pears in half and remove the stone. Place each half on an aluminium nest and spoon 15ml cream cheese into the hollow. Mix the chopped onion, tomato and cheddar cheese and divide the mixture in four equal portions. Pile the mixture onto the avocado halves. Place the baking tray in the oven for 10 minutes or until the avocado is warmed throughout and the cheese has melted. Spoon a generous amount of pangrattato onto each avocado portion. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar reduction and serve slightly warm.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Pour the milk, water, oil and eggs into a large jug and whisk together. Turn the mixer on a low speed and add the egg mixture in a thin stream. Turn the speed higher once the mixture comes together and keep adding small amounts of liquid until you have a thin, smooth mixture. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for at least one hour. Heat a non-stick crépe / frying pan over medium-high heat and allow the pan to get hot. Pour enough batter into the pan to cover the bottom. Swirl the mixture around to coat the pan evenly and bake for one minute per side. Allow the baked pancakes to cool.
Place a pancake on a serving plate and spread some cream cheese onto it. Scatter the avocado, salmon, cucumber and dill over and squeeze some lemon over. Fold the pancake in half and serve with a glass of bubbly.
When it comes to a galette the success thereof is often determined by the pastry! But then again, if you do not have the time to make the pastry it can be equally successful if you replace the homemade pastry with a store bought short crust pastry. I include the recipe for a classic flaky pastry and would highly recommend that you try it when the time is right…..
Classic Flaky Pastry
65g bread flour 150g cake flour 3,5ml salt 105g butter, cubed 35g shortening, cubed (you may replace this with butter) 70ml ice cold water
Add the bread flour, cake flour and salt to the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix. Add the cubed butter and shortening and pulse until the mixture forms tiny clumps, the size of lentils. Keep the engine running and slowly drizzle in half of the water. Now keep adding very small amounts of water until the pastry JUST comes together. Wrap the pastry in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.
For the galette:
1 batch Classic Flaky Pastry or short crust pastry 250g cream cheese 1 batch Caramelised Onions (search the recipe on this blog) 12 fresh figs 12 bocconcini balls or other soft cheese olive oil Balsamic vinegar thyme 1 egg yolk
Preheat your oven to 190℃ and line a large baking sheet with baking paper. Roll the pastry to a 30cm circle and mark a 5cm border on the outside edges. Place the pastry on the prepared baking sheet. Spread the cream cheese evenly on the pastry, keeping the border clear. Spoon the caramelised onion on the cream cheese and spread it evenly. Cut 2 slits down the centre of each fig (or half/quarter each) and arrange onto the caramelised onion. Now arrange the bocconcini on and between the figs, drizzle the galette with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and scatter over the thyme. Fold the clear border of the pastry up/over the figs. Whisk the egg yolk and 15ml water together and evenly brush a thin layer onto the pastry. Bake the galette in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle with more balsamic vinegar before setting aside to cool down slightly. Serve the fig galette at room temperature.
This is an easy soufflé, packed to the brim with flavour!
75ml flour 250ml milk a pinch of nutmeg 5ml salt 4 eggs, separated 250ml Gruyére cheese, grated 250ml cream 5ml dried tarragon rocket leaves 15ml olive oil 5ml lemon juice a pinch of salt
Preheat your oven to 190℃ and brush 6 heatproof ramekins with sunflower oil – be generous! Add the flour to a small saucepan but do not place it on the heat. Drizzle in some milk to form a paste. Place the saucepan on medium heat and slowly drizzle in the rest of the milk while whisking continuously. Simmer the mixture while stirring for about 3 minutes – you want the mixture to be very thick. Take the saucepan from the heat and add the nutmeg and salt and mix through. Allow the mixture to cool until it is warm to the touch but not burning your finger. Add the egg yolks one at a time and stir until incorporated. Stir in the cheese and put aside. Beat the egg whites to medium-stiff peaks and fold it into the cheese mixture. Spoon the batter into the ramekins. Place the ramekins in a roasting tin and fill the tin about 2-3cm deep with hot water. Bake the soufflés for 20 minutes. The soufflés will deflate once you take them from the oven, but do not panic!! Turn your oven down to 180℃. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and unmould the soufflés – they are now upside down… Pour the cream into a small saucepan and add the tarragon. Bring the cream to a boil, turn off the heat and allow to stand for about 10 minutes. Spoon the cream onto the soufflés and bake them for another 15 minutes. Serve immediately with a side of rocket dressed with olive oil, lemon juice and salt.
This is such a simple dish but it truly delivers on taste!! Delicious as a light meal or as a side to meat.
1 aubergine per person 2 pears 250ml of fresh soft herbs like parsley, basil, thyme, chives and sage 2 cloves of garlic, minced 83ml pine kernels, toasted 1 lemon 60ml olive oil
Preheat your oven to 190℃ and spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Slice the aubergine lengthwise into 1,5cm thick sliced, but DO NOT cut the slices loose. Place the aubergine flat onto a surface, cover with you hand and gently push down on it so that the “slices” fan out. Place onto the baking sheet. Drizzle the aubergine with olive oil, sprinkle with some salt and place in the oven for about 40 minutes until beautifully soft and slightly charred. Make the pesto by adding the herbs, garlic, pine kernels, juice of one lemon and 60ml olive oil to a blender (you may use a hand blender) and blitz until it comes together. Put aside. Peel the pears and slice it into sticks. Spoon the pesto onto the baked aubergine as soon as you take it from the oven and pile the pear sticks on top. Serve with a fresh bread or as a side dish to meat.
A galette is simply a free-form French pastry with either a savoury or sweet filling. Easy and quick to make, this mushroom galette is creamy, has depth of flavour and makes a perfect light lunch.
400g puff pastry 125ml cream cheese at room temperature
45ml butter 30ml vegetable oil 500g mushrooms, sliced 3 cloves of garlic, minced 15ml thyme, lightly chopped 45ml port or sherry 250ml mozzarella cheese, grated
Egg wash of 1 egg and 15ml milk, whisked together
Preheat your oven to 200℃. Dust a clean work surface with flour and roll out the pastry big enough to cut a 26cm-diameter circle. Place the pastry circle onto a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Spread the cream cheese onto the pastry with the back of a spoon, leaving a 2cm border of pastry, all around. Set aside.
Heat a heavy bottom pan on high heat and add the butter and oil. (If your pan is not large enough to accommodate all the mushroom at once, add half the butter and oil). Add the mushroom to the pan and fry at high heat so that the mushroom caramelises, about 3 minutes. Now add the garlic and thyme and cook for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Spoon this mixture into a bowl to cool and put the frying pan back onto medium heat. Add a splash of oil and cook the onion until soft. Add this to the mushroom mixture. Put the pan back onto the heat once more and add the port, scraping down the pan with a spatula. Scrape the caramelised bits left in the pan as well as the reduced port onto the mushroom mixture.
Sprinkle two thirds of the grated mozzarella cheese onto the cream cheese and pastry. Spoon the cooled mushroom mixture on top of the cheese and finish with the rest of the mozzarella. Fold the 2 cm pastry that extends beyond the filling over and onto the mushroom mixture. Brush the folded pastry with the egg wash and bake the galette for 30 minutes, until the pastry is golden. Serve as an aperitif or as a light lunch.