Catering, Cookbooks, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Beetroot & Goat’s Cheese Tartlets

Thursday is normally dinner night here – it’s when I try out new dishes and we sit down to taste them with a glass (or two!) of wine. Due to various work commitments this changed to Tuesday this week and I was all set to try out a cornbread recipe and a few new starter ideas ….until the phone rang at 5pm asking me to cater a breakfast meeting at 7.30 the  following morning.

Thankfully the main course of ‘Rioja-braised lamb shanks with chorizo & garlic’ from Lorraine Pascale’s book ‘Home Cooking Made Easy‘ was underway so I could devote myself to baking scones, muffins etc.

But then I realised we needed a starter so it was time for the store cupboard (my new fridge!)  and some inspiration ……..and that classic combination of beetroot & goat’s cheese! I had a packet of pre-made pastry cases that I wanted to try so it was tartlets for starters and they worked out well! They’re quick and simple so give them a go….

For 2 you need :

Goat's Cheese & Beetroot Tartlets

  • 2 pastry cases (I got mine in Marks & Spencers)
  • 2-3 cooked baby beetroot
  • 1 egg
  • approx 100ml Glenisk Cream
  • 30g St Tola Goat’s Cheese

What I did:

  • Cut beetroot into chunks and placed in pastry case
  • Whisk cream and egg together and pour over the beetroot (you probably won’t need all the mix)
  • ‘Dot’ the tartlet with cheese
  • Bake at 180C/Gas 4 for 10 -12  mins until firm and golden
I served them with green leaves and a drizzle of Highbank Apple Syrup…
The Verdict – ‘we’ll have those again please!’
The Main course was absolutely divine and ideal for the current weather! I just had one little niggle – I could only get Knorr stock cubes and they made the sauce very salty! Note to self – get some other stock ….. 
Lamb Shanks with Rioja
 Thursday’s dinner is now likely to be something like a quick bowl of pasta. Wonder what I’ll try for next week’s tasting……….

Happy Cooking !

PS if you’re looking for the lamb shank recipe here it is http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/rioja-braised_lamb_66249
Catering, Cooking, Food, Recipes

Nature’s Larder

There are lots of free foods available in nature – and I’m lucky to have a prolific patch of one of them,  wild garlic, near my house. Some of my neighbours may have  spotted me a few weeks ago heading into the woods armed with my basket and wondered ‘what is she up to now?’ ! I was simply harvesting  a large bunch of delicious wild garlic…

I used some of the leaves in a mixed salad and more wilted into pasta but the majority of it was transformed into delicious garlic pesto.

And this is how easy it is:

  • First wash the garlic leaves in salted water (to kill off any unwanted protein!!) and then rinse and dry in a salad spinner.
  • For approx 150g leaves, you need to whizz 100g parmesan and 100g cashew nuts in the food processor until it looks like breadcrumbs.
  • Add 1 large garlic clove (roughly chopped) and a pinch of salt .
  • Then add the wild garlic leaves and pulse.
  • Pour in enough rapeseed  oil to get to a ‘wettish’ mix (sorry it’s hard to quantify this bit!) and Hey Pesto! you’re done!
  • Pour the  pesto into clean sterilized jars and make sure the top is covered with additional oil before sealing.

These quantities should yield 3-4 jars of Wild Garlic Pesto.

The pesto is delicious with pasta, on pizzas, as a dip…..We use it on parmesan shortbreads topped with goat’s cheese as one of our canapés.

ps you can substitute other herbs such as basil, coriander or parsley for all or part of the wild garlic.