A quick recipe for caramelised onion and blue cheese tarts. We normally make this on a Friday for our weekly pizza night, but this time I wanted to use light and crispy puff pastry. I served this as an accompaniment to the beetroot gazpacho. The sweetness of the balsamic caramelised onion and the creaminess of the blue cheese was a great contrast to the vinegary gazpacho.
- 4 tbs olive oil
- 6 large red onions, sliced
- 30ml thyme
- 4 tbs brown sugar
- 4 tbs balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 packet puff pastry, thawed
- 1 egg
- wedge of blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 cup roasted cashew nuts
- Heat oil in a large frypan over medium-low heat. Add the onions, thyme, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook slowly for 20 minutes. The onions cook down quite a bit, therefore the amount of onions required.
- When onions are softened, add sugar and balsamic. Cook over low heat for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sticky and caramelised. Set aside.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 C and roll out the puff pastry to fit a baking tray. Fold over the edges to make a wall and brush with beaten egg. Pierce the base of the pastry with a fork.
- Spread the onions, crumbed blue cheese and cashews evenly to cover the base of the pastry.
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes until golden.
As mentioned, this complimented the beetroot gazpacho, but you can serve this with a rocket and tomato salad.
Spghetti pomodoro is intended to be a quick light dish, and this one is full of tomato goodness. It is basically spaghetti tossed with three types of tomatoes – whole peeled, cherry and sundried with crispy bacon, sweet basil, garlic and topped with corriander.
- Spaghetti pasta
- Can of whole, peeled tomatoes
- 12 cherry tomatoes
- 6 sundried tomatoes
- 4-6 slices of back bacon diced or slices
- 2 cloves garlic
- Olive oil for frying
- Handful of basil leaves chopped finely or (1 tablespoon dried sweet basil)
- Couple of sprigs corriander leaves
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chilli flakes (optional)
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- Cook the pasta in boiling water per packet instructions
- Heat up some oil in a pan and fry the bacon with some finely chopped garlic and half the basil
- When almost crispy, add the cherry tomatoes and heat till they start to blister
- Remove from pan and keep warm
- Add the can of whole tomatoes to the hot pan and roughly break into pieces
- When the sauce starts to bubble, add the rest of the basil, sundried tomatoes and the cherry tomatoes back to the pan
- When heated through, take off the heat, add the bacon, season to taste and top off with the corriander.
By now the pasta is also ready, drain and serve with the tomato sauce. Add some chilli flakes and grated parmesan (optional).
I had no idea what to cook for dinner tonight, not a clue… so I took out what I had (mostly fresh veggies) and started cooking. The end result was a most delicious veggie pasta sauce, yummy, fresh, crispy-crunchy, divine, you-don’t-even-miss-the-meat. You can make this with whatever fresh vegetables you have in your fridge, in the quantities of your choice, I’ll list what I added tonight.
- Olive oil for stir-frying
- 1/2 Green pepper
- 6 Courgettes
- 2 Carrots
- 1/2 tsp Garlic (or to taste)
- 1 can Chopped peeled tomatoes
- 1 can Tomato & onion mix
- Dried mixed herbs
- 2 sprigs Fresh origanum, chopped
- 1/2 sprig Fresh Rosemary, chopped
- Tomato paste
- 1-2 Tbsp Tomato sauce
- 1-2 Tbsp Mrs Balls original chutney
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Steam the broccoli and cauliflower until al dente, or even slightly underdone
- Heat the olive oil in a medium pot on a medium heat
- Cut the green pepper into strips and begin to stir-fry
- Cut the courgette into medium-sized rounds
- Add the courgette to the pot when the green pepper starts to soften, stir-fry. You may add a splash of water if the veg starts to burn. This will steam the vegetables a bit.
- Grate the carrots on a large grate
- Add the carrots to the pot when the courgette looks about done.
- Add some garlic to taste and stir-fry the veg until it starts to soften / is al dente
- Add the broccoli and cauliflower to the pot
- Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato & onion mix along with a little water
- Add some dried mixed herbs and the fresh chopped herbs
- Add the tomato paste, tomato sauce and chutney
- Season to taste with some salt and pepper
- Stir and leave to simmer for a few minutes before turning off the stove
- Serve with pasta of your choice – I used wholewheat organic Penne Rigate – some grated cheese, and if you like it spicy add some chilli paste and/or Tabasco sauce
Nico was out working late the other night, so I decided to experiment with some ingredients that were about to get up and walk out of the fridge by themselves. As appetizing as that sounds, I can’t say that my dinner was delicious. Yes, it provided nourishment and didn’t taste too bad… but delicious it was not. So I’m not going to give you the recipe, believe me if you had to taste it you’d thank me for that.
Here’s a peak at what it looked like:
Mmmmm… looks yummy.
Whilst this was a vegetarian dish I did add some smoked paprika to give a meaty flavour. For some reason though this didn’t really work and the 1/2 teaspoon paprika seemed to have dissipated by the time the sauce had finished cooking. It had disappeared even further by lunchtime the following day. I have no idea why…
My lessons learnt are to plan the meal rather than just plonking ingredients into the pot randomly, canned garden peas may seem like a good idea at the time, and to remember a bit of lemon juice next time.