This tart is an easy recipe to make for lunch or a simple supper. Cherry tomatoes, goat’s cheese and caramelised onion make a tasty filling. Use store bought puff pastry and you could even use a good bought onion jam to make the recipe even easier.
I made mine in a rectangular flan tin, but a round one would do as well.
320g store-bought puff pastry (I used 2 sheets from a pack of Pampas puff pastry). Use more or less, if needed, to fit your tin.
For the caramelised onion:
1 red onion, chopped
1 teaspoon butter
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Goats’ cheese – or similar crumbly soft cheese. You will crumble this into the tart, so quantities are flexible, about 100gm should be enough
15-20 cherry tomatoes, or more if you want to pack them in, on the vine
Fresh thyme leaves for scattering
Sea salt and ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C or 180 degrees C fan. Grease a flan tin and fit with the puff pastry sheets which you have cut to shape.
Fry the red onion in the butter in a small frying pan over a low to medium heat, until the onion begins to soften. Add the brown sugar to caramelize the onion and cook for a further couple of minutes.
Lay the caramelized onion onto the pastry base. Crumble the goats’ cheese into the tart. Cut some of the cherry tomatoes in half and place on top of the goats’ cheese, place a few whole ones on, too for effect. Scatter a few fresh thyme leaves over the tomatoes with sea salt and black pepper.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until the puff pastry is nicely browned, the cheese melted and the tomatoes softened. Nice served with a green salad.
This is an easy and tasty dish perfect for lunch or my favourite, a simple supper.
It’s more of traybake than a tart, as it’s baked in a cake tin or pan. But there’s nothing to stop you from baking it in a traditional tart or pie dish, or even a normal baking dish.
The recipe came about because I had loads of beautiful red onions, plus a few brown ones on hand. I had just been to the Spring Harvest Festival at Vaucluse House run by Sydney Living Museums where I came away with a big tub of Vanella Cheese ricotta.
So caramelised onions on creamy ricotta on puff pastry was the go! Baked as a traybake made it easy to cut into slices for serving.
Not too tricky, give it a go!
3 large brown onions
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 red onions
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
3 free-range eggs
Salt and black pepper
1 sheet of puff pastry (approximately 180g, if you’re using block puff pastry)
Cut all the onions into rings. No need to be too precise – they can be quite chunky. Reserve the rings from two of the red onions.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a medium heat on the stovetop. Add the olive oil. Put in all the onion slices except the reserved red onion slices. Add the salt and brown sugar.
Cook for several minutes until the onions are soft and caramelised, turning occasionally. Now add in the reserved onions and cook for a further couple of minutes, until the onions have only just started to soften. Remove from the heat.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C fan forced.
Grease your cake tin/pan or tart dish or baking dish.
Mix the ricotta, free range eggs, salt and black pepper with a spoon or fork. No need to blend or process.
Place the sheet of puff pastry snugly inside the tin/pan/dish, cutting it or stretching it to fit your dish. If using block pastry, roll out 180g into a shape to fit the size of the dish.
Soon the ricotta mixture over the puff pastry. Layer the onions on top, making sure the red onions you cooked last sit on the top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden round the wedges and the ricotta is set.
Serve warm or cold, with a green salad and crusty bread. You can freezer left over slices too.
Roll out the pastry to a rough circle. About 20-25cm or 9-10 inches in diameter is good. This is a rustic galette and is very forgiving. Put the circle of pastry onto a baking sheet on your chosen baking surface. A cast iron pan is ideal (that’s what I used), but a baking tray works just as well.
Score another circle with a knife inside the pastry base, 2-3 cms smaller. Carefully turn up the outer circle to make a rough side for the galette.
Chop the leeks into rounds. Put the olive oil and butter into a large frying pan. When the butter is melted, add the chopped garlic and leeks. Add the salt and simmer the mixture on a low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the leeks are soft. Add the the baby spinach leaves and stir through. Turn off the heat and cover the frying pan. Leave for 5 minutes until the spinach has wilted.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C.
Put the sour cream or creme fraiche into a bowl and stir to loosen. Add the eggs, and beat well to fully mix. Add the mustard and salt and pepper and mix.
Scatter the cheddar cheese over the pastry circle, and then scatter the leeks/garlic/spinach on top. Pour the sour cream/egg mixture very carefully over the filling inside the galette. If you have too much liquid, don’t use it all in case it spills.
Brush the pastry edge with egg wash.
Place the galette into the pre-heated oven, and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the custard is set and slightly puffy. The pastry should be golden brown, too.
Serve warm or at room temperature with a green salad. You could throw in a few baby spinach leaves and some fried leek rounds for decoration too!
I have a friend who is on a strict keto diet. I often make recipes that are naturally keto friendly or adapting ingredients to make the recipe fit the requirements.
Hearty beef or lamb stews are easy, provided you leave out the root vegetables. Chilli beef is always a winner!
My friend is very partial to pork pies. So they are definitely on the “to bake” list! Now pork pies are notoriously tricky to make with hot water pastry. And if you hand raise the pastry, that’s really challenging!
You need to adapt the pastry with keto friendly ingredients. And it’s still a hot water crust pastry which is more difficult to handle than ordinary pastry. However this recipe doesn’t require hand raising. Simply bake in large muffin molds, or small pie molds as I did.
The keto pastry is not that difficult to handle and the resulting crust is quite delicious!
2 rashers bacon
300g pork shoulder
4 spring onions or 1 medium onion
A small handful each of thyme and sage
1/2 teaspoon chilli paste or chilli powder
Salt and pepper
Hot water crust pastry
200 grams almond flour
200 grams oat bran
1 ½ teaspoon guar or xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
60 grams butter
60 grams lard
200 grams water
1 free range egg
1 gelatine platinum leaf
125 mls chicken or vegetable stock
1 free range egg, beaten, for glazing.
Butter the pork pie molds well. Large muffin molds work well.
Chop the bacon rashers and the pork shoulder roughly, and put in a food processor. Add the spring onion or onion also roughy chopped, and the thyme, sage, chilli and salt and pepper.
Blitz in the food processor, until the ingredients are combined. Don’t over process. You want a pork mince, not a paste.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C fan forced.
Meanwhile, make the pastry. Mix the almond flour, oat bran, guar or xanthan gum, salt and pepper in a large bowl.
Lightly whisk the egg, make a well in the centre, put in the egg and mix in. Don’t worry if you can’t mix in properly – you will get clumps.
Put the butter, lard and water in a saucepan over a low heat and cook until the butter and lard are fully melted.
Turn the heat up and bring the liquid to the boil, and as soon as it starts boiling, carefully pour all the liquid into the flour mixture. You will need to stir everything together quite quickly while the mixture is still warm. Make sure everything is combined.
This mixture will make 6 pies, so divide the mixture into 6 large balls for the pie bottoms and 6 smaller balls for the pie lids.
Press each of the larger balls of dough into the molds, pushing the dough down into the molds and up the sides. Make sure there are no holes.
Divide the pork mix into 6 portions and put each portion inside the pastry bottoms. Leave a space at the top, for the jelly.
Using your fingers, stretch the small balls of dough into circles to fit the top of the pies for the lids.
Brush some beaten egg around the edges of the pies. Place the dough lids on top of the pies, and gently press all around the edges to stick the lids and bottoms together.
Brush the pork pie tops with more beaten egg, and make a hole in the centre of the pies.
Put the pies in the oven and bake for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven, and egg wash the tops again. Put back in the oven for a further 10 minutes.
Take the pork pies from the oven and allow them to cool inside the molds.
Meanwhile, dissolve the gelatine leaf in the hot stock. Pour the stock slowly inside the pork pies through the hole in the lids until they are full. Let the stock soak in for a moment, then pour in a little more stock.
Put the pies in the fridge for a few hours for the jelly to set.
Serve at room temperature with plenty of your favourite chutney or relish, and maybe a few pickles on the side.
A great winter warmer. Layers of pumpkin, leek and optional bacon with a mixture of cheeses, encased in filo pastry.
Bake, traybake or pie this is delicious for lunch or supper.
And if you’re pumpkin averse, butternut squash works just as well!
2 tablespoons oil
500g pumpkin or butternut squash
5 rashers of streaky bacon
3 large leeks
1 clove of garlic
100g goat’s cheese
2 large tablespoons Greek yoghurt
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 filo sheets
Butter for brushing the filo sheets + extra for greasing the baking dish
Heat a medium sized frying pan on the stove top over a medium heat. If using, fry the bacon rashers. Once cooked, set aside.
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Chop the pumpkin into small chunks, skin on. Lay the pumpkin pieces onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Pour one tablespoon of the oil over the pumpkin pieces. Bake for 20-30 minutes until the pumpkin is soft. Set aside until ready to assemble the pie.
Wash the leeks and cut into small lengths, about 2 cms. Finely chop the garlic. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan – if you cooked the bacon, you can use the same frying pan and the bacon juices. Gently cook the leeks and garlic over a low heat until the leeks are softened. This should take about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Put the goat’s cheese and feta into a bowl with the Greek yoghurt and salt and ground black pepper. Mix to incorporate the cheeses and yoghurt.
Have 10 sheets of filo pastry ready for layering in a medium sized square or rectangular baking dish. Cover the sheets with a damp tea towel to prevent them from drying out.
Melt a couple of tablespoons of butter. Using the melted butter, lightly grease the baking dish. Lay one sheet of filo in the dish, and brush with melted butter. Lay a second sheet of filo cross wise in the dish, across the first sheet. Brush with melted butter. Continue layering with the remaining three sheets, putting each sheet on top of the last, crossing the sheets over each other, brushing each sheet with melted butter.
Now it’s time to layer the filling. You will need to remove the skin from the now cooled baked pumpkin. Put a layer of pumpkin into the dish. Then layer some of the leek mixture. Top with some of the cheese mixture. Repeat the layers again, ending with the cheese. If using, place the bacon rashers on top of the filling.
Layer the remaining 5 sheets of filo over the top of the pie, crossing the sheets over each other as in the base of the pie, and brushing with melted butter in between the layers. Once the layers are done, you can tuck the overhanging filo into the sides of the pie. Or you could trim the overhang, but tucking in the filo gives a rustic edge to the pie, as you can see from the photos.
Brush the top with melted butter and place into the 180 degrees C oven for 20 minutes until the pie is golden brown on top and crispy.
Serve with green salad and crusty bread for lunch or as a simple supper. It freezes well too!
I’m on my way back to Sydney from sunny Cairns in far North Queensland. From temperatures of 30 degrees C to a lot less than that in autumnal Sydney!
So here’s a pie recipe that suits colder climes. A hearty pie that is not that difficult to make, with beef and tomato and puff pastry.
This pie has my go-to beef filling, a lovely casserole of slow cooked beef and tomato. And to make it easy, a simple crust of shop bought puff pastry – all butter if you can get it.
It’s rustic – no need to be too fiddly in the presentation!
Ingredients Beef Filling
500g shin (gravy) beef or chuck steak or blade steak if you can’t get shin 1 dessertspoon plain flour 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 medium brown onions, chopped 2 – 4 shallots (more or less depending on the size of the shallots), chopped 2 x 400g tins whole peeled tomatoes I large tomato, roughly chopped 200 mls red wine 1 tinful of water 1 tablespoon molasses 1 dessertspoon Worcestershire sauce Sea salt, black pepper A bay leaf A few springs thyme Few sprigs rosemary
For the pastry – 2 sheets of all butter puff pastry + free-range egg, beaten, for brushing the pastry
Preheat oven to 140 degrees C.
Place the beef into a ziplock bag with the flour, close and shake the bag to coat the beef pieces in the flour. Heat a heavy based cast iron casserole on the stovetop. Add two tablespoons of oil to the casserole.
Add half of the beef pieces and cook for a minute or two to brown the meat, turning to make sure all sides get the heat. This is just to caramelise the meat. Remove the pieces from the casserole and set aside. Add the other half of the beef and caramelise in the same way, removing from the casserole once browned.
Add the other tablespoon of oil, and add the the chopped onions and shallots. Fry over a medium heat until the onions and shallots are softened, about 3-5 minutes. Return the meat to the casserole.
Add the tinned tomatoes, roughly breaking up into the casserole. Add the chopped fresh tomato. Stir in the red wine, and using one of the tomato tins, add a tinful of water. Stir in the molasses and Worcestershire sauce. Season with a sea salt and black pepper. Tie up the bay leaf, thyme and rosemary with an elastic band or a piece of string, to make a bouquet garnis, and put into the casserole mixture.
Making sure the mixture is simmering, carefully remove the casserole to the preheated oven. Cook for 3 hours, or until the beef is tender and almost falling apart. You should check after 2 hours, just in case the casserole has cooked a bit dry. If so, you can add some more water. As a general rule, it’s pretty hard to overcook this cut of beef, so 2 1/2 – 3 hours is usually about the right time.
Remove the casserole from the oven, remove the bouquet garnis, and cool to room temperature.
Making the Pie
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
Remove bought puff pastry from the fridge. You will need a pie dish, tin or mould, 18cms or 20cms in diameter. Cut the pastry from each sheet, into two pieces, one slightly bigger than the other. The bigger round should be at least big enough to fit into the pie dish, covering the base and sides. The other round will need to cover the top of the pie.
Ease the bottom pastry round into the dish. You can trim off any excess from around the edge.
Now it’s time to fill the pie. You won’t need all the filling – fill with enough of the meat mixture to fit comfortably into the pastry. Brush the edge of the pastry with the beaten egg.
Take the second, smaller round of pastry, cutting or stretching to the size of the top of the pie, making sure you have enough pastry to overlap the top of the pie. You can always trim the excess. Place over the filling, making sure the top pastry meets the bottom pastry all around the pie. Seal the the top and bottom of the pastry by pushing down around the edge with the prongs of a fork.
Brush the top of the pie all over with beaten egg, before putting the pie into the hot oven. Cook for 30 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven.
Serve in big slices with a green salad, your sauce of choice and some crusty bread.
Here’s a recipe for a really easy apple tart. True, you do make the sweet shortcrust base. But if you’re pushed for a time just use a good store bought version – here in Australia Careme brand is excellent!
If you do make your own, my recipe is based on the wonderful Michael James’ recipe from “The Tivoli Road Baker”. There’s not much about pastry that Michael doesn’t know.
Apart from the pastry the only work is chopping up apples, so you can put this recipe together in no time at all.
100g unsalted butter, diced and softened
100g caster sugar
1 free-range egg
250g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 large apples
Juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tablespoons caster sugar
Demerara sugar for sprinkling
To make the pastry, in an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together really well. Add the egg then add the flour and salt in two additions. Mix just until the pastry comes together.
Put the pastry onto a floured board and gently knead until it just comes together. It will still be quite soft and even a bit sticky.
Wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for an hour.
Meanwhile prepare your filling by chopping the apples into thin slices. Put them into a bowl and cover with the lemon juice.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Butter a 23cm 9 inch fluted loose based tart tin.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and place on the floured board. Roll the pastry to a circle that’s bigger than the tin so the pastry will hang over the sides. Gently press the pastry into the base and sides.
Mix the caster sugar through the apple slices. Place the apple slices in circles around the pastry, doubling up the layers to use all the apple.
Turn the oven down to 180 degrees C. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 30 minutes until the apples are soft and the pastry is golden brown.
Remove from the oven, and if desired, sprinkle with Demerara sugar for extra sweetness.
Serve with cream, sour cream or ice cream or just eat on its own. Simple and delicious.
Quiche is always a popular lunch or supper dish, winter or summer, served indoors by the fire or alfresco on a sunny day.
Great with crusty bread and a green salad, and a glass of wine!
This quiche is super easy as it’s made with filo pastry. I suppose it’s more like a traybake, cooked in a square dish, and it cuts into hearty slices.
This recipe calls for buttermilk in the custard, for a tangy flavour. But make it with full fat milk instead – it will still taste great.
8 sheets filo pastry
6-8 asparagus spears, trimmed
50g butter, melted
4 free-range eggs
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
50g cheddar or feta
2 spring onions, trinm
1 large cooked salmon fillet*
6-8 cherry tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Butter a 20cm – 22cm square baking dish or pan.
Remove filo pastry from the fridge.
Lay a sheet of filo pastry in the dish or pan. Take the next sheet and lay at right angles to the first, to ensure even coverage. Liberally brush with the melted butter. Lay another 2 sheets in the same way, brushing the second sheet with melted butter.
Layer the next 4 sheets, brushing with melted butter after every second sheet.
Take the asparagus and microwave for a couple of minutes on low to medium to just cook. Alternatively stick the asparagus spears top side down in a pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until barely cooked.
Refresh asparagus under cold water.
To make the custard, combine cream, buttermilk, free-range eggs, salt, pepper and half the cheese, in a bowl, and beat with a fork or a whisk until thoroughly combined.
Pour the custard into the dish or pan. Lay the asparagus and spring onions on top of the custard. Break up the salmon fillet into chunks and put into the dish. Scatter the cherry tomatoes, whole, in between the other ingredients. Sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes until the custard is set looking, but not hard or cracked.
Remove from the oven to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, with the previous mentioned bread and a green salad.
* cook the salmon fillet on baking paper for 10 minutes with a little oil in a 180 degrees C oven.
It’s mid March and the last of the figs are still available in the markets. This is a tart I made in another summer, when figs were plentiful, so I thought I would share the recipe again to maximise the last of the fig bounty.
The figs are baked on an almond frangipane base in shortcrust pastry. Figs and frangipane go well together, the lovely almond cream complementing the juicy sweetness of the figs.
The shortcrust pastry is based on Maggie Beer’s sour cream pastry but any good shortcrust would do.
For the shortcrust pastry base:
200gm chilled unsalted butter
250gm plain flour
1 tsp caster sugar
135gm sour cream
For the Frangipane:
100gm caster sugar
100gm ground almonds
1 free-range egg
10 fresh figs, quartered
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C fan forced, (180 degrees C non fan forced).
Butter a 23cm (9 inch) fluted flan tin with a removable bottom.
To make the pastry, pulse butter, flour and caster sugar in a food processor until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Using your hands, shape pastry into a ball. Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Roll the pastry out and place into the buttered flan tin.
To make the frangipane, cream the butter and sugar in a food processor or you can use an electric mixer. Add the ground almonds and egg and mix well.
Spoon the frangipane over the tart base. You may not need all the mixture – the idea is to have a base on which to sit the figs. Arrange the fig quarters in a circular pattern over the frangipane. You needn’t be too precise. The figs should be sitting on top of the frangipane. If they sink in, you probably have too much frangipane and may need to take some out.
Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the frangipane is set and the pastry looks cooked round the edges. Don’t overcook so that the pastry edge burns.
Remove from the oven, and after 10 minutes, when the tart has cooled slightly, carefully remove the outer ring of the flan tin.
Serve at room temperature on its own, or with cream or yoghurt.
Sydneysiders are really looking forward to next week when we are allowed to meet friends outside for a picnic – a little easing of our long winter lockdown.
So picnics are the go! And what better for a picnic than a portable tasty treat like a quiche.
Quiche – that versatile combination of short crust pastry, savoury custard and tasty fillings. Great for lunch, dinner or indeed a picnic.
So cherry tomatoes are the basis of this quiche, as well as a handful of sun dried tomatoes. To make the whole thing fresh and light, I used spring onions, rather than onions, utilizing the green tops as well as the white onion bottoms.
The base is shortcrust pastry, for this particular recipe I used Maggie Beer’s Sour Cream Pastry. The savoury custard is the traditional filling for a quiche.
Filling 2 spring onions, finely chopped 250g cherry tomatoes (a punnet) A handful of sun dried tomatoes 4 free range eggs 1/2 cup cream 3/4 cup milk Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C, 170 degrees C fan forced. To make the sour cream pastry, pulse butter and flour in a food processor until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Add the sour cream and continue to pulse until the dough starts to incorporate into a ball. Using your hands, shape pastry into a ball.
Wrap in plastic film and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Grease a medium sized fluted quiche tin with a removable bottom. Roll the pastry out to 3mm thick and place in the tin.
Rest for 15 minutes in refrigerator. This helps reduce shrinkage when cooking. Remove from the fridge, place some pie weights on baking paper inside the tart, and bake blind in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes. Remove the pie weights and baking paper.
Decrease oven temperature to 170 degrees C, 160 degrees C fan forced.
Scatter the finely chopped spring onions over the base of the blind-baked pastry case. Chop the cherry tomatoes in quarters, leaving some of the smaller ones in halves. Scatter the quarters over the pastry base. Roughly chop the sun dried tomatoes, and scatter these between the cherry tomatoes.
In a bowl or large jug (the latter is very useful as you can pour the custard into the quiche tin easily), beat the eggs, cream and milk together until thoroughly combined. Add salt, pepper and grated Parmesan.
Carefully pour the custard mixture into the quiche tin. (I find it easiest to place the tin in the oven first before pouring). Place the remaining cherry tomato halves carefully in the custard. Hopefully they will sit artfully displayed in the cooked quiche, but don’t worry if they sink!
Bake until the custard is just set but still wobbly – about 30-40 minutes depending on your oven. Carefully remove and leave to cool slightly before serving.
The quiche is fine as is, or you can serve with a few basil leaves, and/or some cherry tomatoes on the vine, which you slow roast for a couple of hours until wilted.