Saturday, February 22nd, 2014
I suppose technically these sharp and sweet tarts are the main attraction of a light supper but I prefer to chuck a couple in my bag as an ever so slightly healthier alternative to the sticky toffee muffins they sell in the library cafe. They can be made at the weekend and kept in a Tupperware for a few days, long enough to see you through till Wednesday at least.
For twelve, you’ll need:
110g plain white flour
50g unsalted butter (cubed)
1 large red onion
1 tea spoon brown sugar
100g goats cheese
Start by sieving your flour into a mixing bowl and adding your butter. Rub your butter between your finger tips untill it looks like breadcrumbs. If you aren’t sure how to do this, Delia has a step by step guide. Mix your water in a dash at a time, until the mixture has come together in a ball and left the sides of the bowl ‘clean’. Pop your ball in a food bag or wrap in cling film and put it in the fridge to have a rest for at least an hour.
While you pastry is resting, chop your onion into rings and melt your butter in a frying pan. Add the onions to the pan and give them a good stir. Leave on the lowest possible heat for ten minutes and then and the sugar and give it another stir.
Cover with a lid, if possible, and leave for at least forty five minutes.
When the pastry has finished resting, flour a work surface and rolling pin. If you haven’t got a rolling pin just use an empty wine bottle. Roll your pastry out until its about 5mm thick and out put twelve circles big enough to fit your muffin tin, I haven’t got any pastry cutters at uni so I use a wine glass for this bit. True story. Pop your pastry circles in the wells of the tin and add a spoonful or so of the onions, which should be gloriously sweet by now. Go on, try some.
Add a little goats cheese and pop into the oven, which should be preheated to 190C/gas mark 5 for between twenty minutes and half an hour. When done, the pastry will be golden brown and the cheese melted.
Now, you can either exercise self control and let the tarts cool down, store them in a box, and wait to eat them. Or you could dig in straight away, adding a little balsamic vinegar, maybe eating off a plate with a fork (we aren’t animals). I know which option I’d choose.
Sunday, February 16th, 2014
Salmon and pesto are two of my favourite foods to combine for an easy supper. They’re both so simple and easy to work with that you’d struggle to go wrong, a huge bonus after a day spent in the library! Add brown rice and peas and you’re on to a winner.
When it comes to making pesto I go by sight and add ingredients a little at a time. As with eye make up, it’s a lot easier to add more than to take it away.
To serve 5 people, including my very hungry Dad and brother, I used:
5 salmon fillets
1 basil plant
About half a bag of pine nuts
Half a block of parmesan
I served it with brown rice and peas.
Start off by preparing your rice, just follow the instructions on the packet.
Next pop your grill on and put the salmon in to start cooking whilst you make your pesto.
Put the leaves of a basil plant into a blender and add a small handful of pine nuts, most of the grated Parmesan and a few glugs (technical term) of olive oil. Give it a good mix and taste, does it need more olive oil? Cheese? It’s up to you how strong you want the flavours. Just be careful not to eat too much at this point. A pesto hangover is a real and painful thing.
Take your salmon out of the grill and carefully spoon the pesto on top of the fillets, a little like this:
Pop back under the grill to finish cooking, until the pesto has darkened, and get on with cooking peas, draining rice etc.
You’ll know you fish is cooked when the pesto is a greenish brown on top.