Posts Tagged ‘tamasin day lewis’

Oh dear, and suddenly the summer has passed, or today certainly feels that way. Over the summer my daughter has learnt to sit up, eat and also reject certain foods, wave her hands and, most heart-brimmingly wonderful for me, started to call ‘Mama ma ma…’ over the monitor when she wakes. One of the first vegetables she learnt to love was the courgette, plentiful in France where we spent a few lazy weeks, whizzing green flecked or bright orange purees for her delectation. As a result we often had more courgettes than one little person can eat and then this tart was a wonderful way to use them up. You need to make this with the small, firm kind of courgette, not the monsters my mother apologetically hands me after a weekend at home and calls ‘soup courgettes’. If the idea of a tart puts you off – don’t let it. This is easy. You buy the case or pastry ready made (and follow pack instructions) and just mix the veg in with the eggs and cream. I have to confess I haven’t made the raw tomato dressing, but I meant to, so I include it as I’m sure you will too.

This recipe is by Tamasin Day Lewis and her wonderfully named book ‘The Art of the Tart’.

Courgette and basil tart

Serves 6

22cm shortcrust pastry case, chilled

800g small firm courgettes

salt and black pepper

2 – 3 tbsp olive oil

2 eggs and 2 egg yolks

150 – 300 ml double cream

a handful of basil leaves (about 4 tbsp)

Tomato dressing

1 small onion

1 clove of garlic

675g tomatoes, skinned, seeded and finely chopped

6 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp each of torn basil leaves, chopped chives and flat-leaf parsley

2 tbsp lemon juice

salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5. Bake the pastry blind for 15 mins, then remove the beans, prick the base with a fork, and return to the oven for 5 minutes.

Slice the courgettes into thinnish coins and layer them in a colander, salting each layer. Leave to drain for 20-30 mins, then rinse and dry on kitchen paper.

Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan, throw in the courgettes, and cook until they are slightly softened and translucent, but do not allow them to colour. Remove from the pan and drain.

Whisk together the eggs, yolks, cream and seasoning: the amount of cream will depend on the depth of your tart tin, so begin with the smaller amount and add more if it doesn’t look as if the mixture will fill the pastry case. Put the courgettes into the pastry case with the torn basil leaves, and pour over the egg and cream mixture. Bake until just set, puffed up and deliciously browned, about 30 minutes. Leave to cool for about 10 minutes before turning out, and eat while warm with the gutsy raw tomato dressing, made while the tart is in the oven.

Mince the onion and garlic together in a food processor. Put in a bowl with the remaining ingredients, stir, then cover and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes. Stir again, and spoon on to the plates alongside the tart.



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We get asparagus from our farmers market and have been gorging on bags of them for a few weeks now. Farmers’ markets are so highly regulated that we get ours ‘under the table’ from a farmer who officially sells something else. This guy can only sell what he’s signed up to sell but if you’re in the know he’ll let you have some of ‘the other stuff’ and a plastic bag will be stashed, with the legal goods, in your bag. All very satisfying as you see the line for the official asparagus vendor snake down the street. I don’t really like to mess with the perfection that is a pile of asparagus and melted butter, but I made this tart recently when my sister came over and I felt it needed to look like some effort had been made. Plus, with the husband away that week, the asparagus mountain was proving daunting, even for me.

This recipe is by Tamasin Day-Lewis, sister of Daniel, and comes from the wonderfully named ‘Art of the Tart’, a lovely book with loads of fairly easy to make sweet and savoury tarts, quiches and pies. As she says in the intro to this recipe, it is only to be attempted once you can bear to share the flavour of asparagus with others, and actually this recipe maintains the asparagus as the main event – the rest of the tart being very mellow and creamy. If you buy ready-made shortcrust pastry it really is dead easy. Tamasin talks of her ‘golden rule’ which is to steam the thicker, woodier ends of the stems first before you throw in the more tender tops – that way avoiding “the flobby mess” that putting them in at the same time can lead to. I didn’t do this, lazily, and while it didn’t matter I think she may have a point…

Asparagus tart

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 mins Cooking time: 50 mins

22cm/9 inch shortcrust pastry case, chilled

beaten egg, for brushing

1 good-sized bundle of asparagus

300ml/10fl oz cream

150ml/5fl oz Jersey milk [funnily enough I didn’t get this, I’m sure whole milk will also do]

4 egg yolks

2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan

salt and black pepper

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Bake the pastry blind for 15 minutes, then remove the beans, prick the base with a fork and return to the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pastry case from the oven and brush with beaten egg. Turn the oven down to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Steam the asparagus as discussed above and leave to cool. Whisk the cream, milk and egg yolks together, add the grated Parmesan and season. Spoon the cooled asparagus into the pastry case, then pour over the custard. Cook for 25 – 30 minutes, until puffed up and just set and browned.

Leave to cool for 10 minutes, then turn out and serve with a strong-noted salad, say raw fennel, orange and watercress with a hazelnut or walnut and olive oil dressing, which introduces astringence and pepperiness.




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