Friday, September 30, 2011

A roasted vegetable tart

A terrible thing happened yesterday: my oven died! After 25 hard working years it just stopped. In between roasting peppers and baking mini quiches for a catering job (just to create some extra stress ;-)). As a fellow foodie I don’t have to tell you how annoying it is not being able to bake, roast or grill anything anymore....

But just a couple of days before this happened I made this delicious vegetable tart:

For the tart case (makes enough for 3 tart cases):
500 gram spelt flour
½ tsp salt
250 gram margarine
1 egg yolk
250 ml cold water
For the filling:
1 small courgette (zucchini) or ½ large one
1 small aubergine (eggplant) or ½ large one
200 gram pumpkin
2 red onions
150 gram or a large handful cherry tomatoes
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp chopped herbs to taste (I used rosemary, thyme and oregano)
150 gram soft goat cheese
150 ml soy milk
2 eggs, beaten
¼ tsp bouillon powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the margarine, flour and salt into a food processor and pulse until you get a fine crumb.
Place the mixture into a large bowl and make a well in the middle. Add the egg yolk and half of the water. Quickly combine the wet and dry ingredients using a fork, if necessary add more water.
If you aren’t able to use the fork anymore, start using your hand to bring the dough together into a ball. Flatten the dough into a disk, wrap in Clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes up to 8 hours.
Preheat the oven to 225°C.
When the dough is chilled, roll it out (2 mm) onto a floured surface to fit your preferred tart pan.
Place the dough into the prepared pan, trim the edges and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile you can start preparing the roasted vegetables.
Chop all the vegetables, except for the tomatoes, into 2 cm dice and place onto a roasting tin. Add the tomatoes and sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and the herbs. Place into the oven and roast for about 25 minutes until cooked. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Lower the oven temperature to 175°C.
Blind bake the tart case for 30 minutes. Remove the baking beans and parchment paper, give the pastry a quick egg wash and bake for another 5 minutes.
Start making the custard by mixing the soymilk, eggs, salt and pepper to taste and bouillon powder.
Arrange the vegetables at the bottom of the tart case, pour over the custard and crumble over the goat cheese.
Bake 30-35 minutes at 175°C or until the filling has set.
Eat while still warm.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Lemon poppy seedcakes

Lemon poppy seedcakes are one of my all time favourites; I just love everything that includes lemon and the poppy seed gives it such a nice texture and flavour.

I found the pastry moulds I used while cleaning the kitchen and instantly fell in love with them. They just begged me to be used for baking lemon poppy seed cakes...;-)

My normal recipe asks for yoghurt, which is lovely but makes the batter quite sticky and hard to use in a mould like this. My favourite lemon cake recipe uses ground almonds, which gives it a lovely flavour and texture, but makes it rather dense. That’s when I stumbled across this Jamie Oliver recipe, which I adjusted to fit my diet, and gives you a lovely light cake, with a moist centre and sour, slightly crunchy top. Perfect!

For the cakes (makes about 12):
115 gram margarine, softened
115 gram caster sugar
4 eggs
125 spelt flour
180 gram almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Zest and juice of 2 lemons
40 gram poppy seed
For the lemon syrup:
100 ml lemon juice
100 gram caster sugar
For the icing:
1-3 tbsp lemon juice
150 gram icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 175°C.
Whisk butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, for about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, adding the next one when the previous one is fully incorporated.
Whisk in the lemon juice and zest, flour, salt, almond flour, poppy seeds and baking powder. Be careful not to over mix.
Divide the batter in 12 baking moulds/cups and bake for about 15 minutes.
While the cakes are baking start preparing the syrup.
Pour the lemon juice and sugar into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat.
When the cakes are done, remove them from their cups (unless you are making cupcakes), place onto a wire rack and make some holes in the top with a skewer. Pour over each cake about 1 tsp syrup.
When the cakes are cooled down you can start icing them. For the icing you just need to combine the lemon juice with the icing sugar until you get the preferred taste and consistency.
Pour over about 1-2 tsp icing and leave to set.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lemon bars

I’ve been planning to make these lemon bars for months, but due to some stupid dietary restrictions (no soy products and no fruit) I wasn’t able to do it before. Last week, when I heard I was allowed to eat soy and fruits again, I was ecstatic! Never knew life would be so horrible without them! So since last week I’ve been baking non-stop to try out all the recipes I wasn’t able eat before...These lemon bars where nr. 1 on the list and absolutely worth the waiting!

For the shortbread base:
280 gram spelt flour
225 gram margarine
80 gram icing sugar
1 tsp salt

For the topping:
35 gram flour
350 gram sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs
Icing sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Grease a 25cm square baking tin and line with baking paper. 
Put all the ingredients for the shortbread base in a food processor and blitz until the mixture just comes together in a ball. Be careful to not over mix or the dough will be too sticky. Press the dough into the tin and bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. Remove and let cool slightly. Leave the oven on.
Meanwhile prepare the topping. Whisk together the eggs, sugar and lemon juice, then whisk in the flour and baking powder. Mix well and make sure there are no lumps in the batter. Add the lemon zest.
Pour the mixture over the shortbread base and bake until set, about 15 to 20 minutes
When is has cooled completely, loosen the edges with a knife and remove from the tin. Dust with icing sugar and cut into 12 bars.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A striped beetroot and apple salad

We’ve had some strange weather over here in Holland; it’s gone from autumn rain and cold to summer sun and heat. This confuses me a bit, especially in the kitchen. On Monday I was in the mood for ‘stamppot’, a typical Dutch autumn/winter dish and yesterday it was 25°C again, which made me crave something crisp and fresh like this salad.

I think it is a perfect salad in between the seasons.
The vinaigrette is sweet and slightly tart, which combines well with the earthy beetroot and crisp Delcorf apples. Which are the first apples of the season and also my favourite. The almonds give it a nice crunch, while the feta cheese balances out the dish with it’s saltiness.

3 medium striped beetroot, peeled
2 small apples, preferably Delcorf or Elstar, cored
100 gram feta cheese, crumbled
Small handful maple almonds, finely chopped
2 tsp raspberry vinegar
3 tbsp lemon oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
A small handful of basil leaves
For the maple almonds:
1 cup raw almonds
2 tbsp maple syrup
For the lemon oil:
Peel of half an organic lemon
250 ml olive oil
Start by making the maple syrup glazed almonds.
Preheat the oven to 150°C.
Mix the almonds with the maple syrup, making sure all the almonds are covered with a thin layer of syrup. Spread on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper, and place into the oven. Bake the almonds during 20 minutes until they are nicely golden and crunchy. Cool.
For the lemon oil; put the oil and lemon peel in a small saucepan and heat on a low heat for 10 minutes. Strain out the peel and leave to cool.
To make the vinaigrette pour the oil, vinegar and some salt and pepper to taste into an empty jar and shake well.
Thinly slice the apple and beetroot with a mandoline.
Place the slices of apple and beetroot with half the amount of vinaigrette in a large bowl and carefully toss with your hands. Every slice should be covered with a nice thin layer of dressing. Transfer to a nice serving platter and sprinkle over the feta cheese and almonds. To finish of the dish, sprinkle over the basil leaves and the remaining vinaigrette.