Wednesday, 6 June 2007

Tasty Tarts

I spent today, in the few minutes available between sorting the boys out and doing an unprecedented massive amount of laundry, trying to get the house back to some semblance of order. It amazes me how just one or two days away from my usual schedule can reduce the house to an unbearable tip. But at least the worst of it is sorted and the rest can be dealt with tomorrow when we get back from playgroup, as Hubby has the day off.

Thinking about what to cook for supper tonight was difficult - it was too warm to want anything too heavy and we fancied eating out in the garden again. Rummaging in th fridge I found some courgettes and the last bit of some St Helen's Farm goat's cheese that my Mum had brought with her, so decided to try doing something new; a courgette and goat's cheese tart. I made some pastry and lined a tart tin while James was having his afternoon nap, then Christopher and I made some little jam tarts with the pastry trimmings. He has a little set of baking trays that his Granny and Grandpa gave him, so it was a good chance to use one of them. We made three tarts filled with blackberry jam (homemade) and three filled with lemon curd (sadly not). One of them made a nice afternoon snack for Chris, and another provided a nice surprise for Daddy when he got home.

Karl took the boys to the park in the village for a bit before dinner, which gave me chance to cook uninterrupted, with The Beatles turned up loud, which was a lovely treat.

Courgette & Goat's Cheese Tart

For the pastry:

300g plain flour
150g butter
cold water to bind

Make the pastry, using whichever method you prefer. Roll it out and line a 20cm deep fluted tart tin. Mine are made by Silverwood™ and I recommend them wholeheartedly.

For the filling:

2 courgettes, sliced into rounds
knob of butter and a little oil
few sprigs fresh thyme, leaves only
150g hard goat's cheese, cut into small cubes
1/4pt milk
2 eggs
15g fresh parmesan, finely grated

Preheat the oven, with a baking tray already on the shelf, to 200°c. Fry the courgettes with the thyme leaves in the butter and oil until soft and just starting to brown. Layer the courgettes and thyme with the cubed cheese in the prepared pastry case. Beat the milk and eggs together with some black pepper and pour this into the pastry case. Scatter the parmesan over and transfer the tart to the oven, putting it on the hot baking tray. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top is nicely browned and the centre of the tart just set. I prefer to eat tarts like this once they have cooled a little, warm but not hot.

It was very tasty, and for a first attempt I was thrilled with how well it had turned out. I baked some potatoes and cut up some salad vegetables (cucumber, carrots, peppers and the like) to accompany it. A glass of rosé wine, from a bottle we opened the other day, was a perfect addition to our meal in the garden. . It really feels like summer...

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