summer

lasagna tart

11th September 2018

sunkissed and content…

A very decadent and comforting dish for a special occasion. A bit rich on its own but goes well as part of the main meal, accompanied by a simple rice dish and a variety of salads. The parmesan crust is divine, crunchy and flavourful.

lasagna tart

Preparation time  – 40 minutes

Baking – 15 minutes

Serves 6 – 8 or one 9-10 inch tart.

Recipe adapted from here. 

ingredients

2 medium/350g zucchini, sliced into very thin coins

¾ tsp fine-grain rock salt

tart crust

½ cup/75g unbleached all-purpose flour

½ cup/70g whole wheat flour

½ cup/115g unsalted butter, well chilled + cut into small cubes

2 cups/100g loosely packed grated parmesan cheese

½ tsp fine-grain rock salt

2 Tbsp ice cold water

tomato sauce

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 tsp each of finely chopped fresh rosemary and oregano leaves

¾ tsp red pepper flakes

400g cherry tomatoes, finely chopped

½ tsp fine-grain rock salt

½ tsp brown sugar

 

1 cup/250g ricotta cheese

¼ cup small basil leaves

preparation

1.  Preheat your oven to 190C/375F. Oil a 10-inch tart pan and set aside.

prepare the zucchini

2.  Slice the zucchini using a mandoline or knife into 2mm slices. Place in a bowl, sprinkle over the salt and gently toss until evenly covered with salt. Transfer to a colander and let drain while you make the tart shell and tomato sauce.

make the tart crust

3.  Place both flours, butter cubes, parmesan and salt in a food processor and pulse quickly about 25 times. You are looking for a sandy textured blend, with pea-sized pieces of butter. With a few more pulses, blend in the 2 tablespoons of ice water. The dough should stick together when you pinch it with your fingers.

4.  Pour the dough into the tart pan. Working quickly, press the dough uniformly into the pan by pressing across the bottom and working up towards the sides. Place in the refrigerator and chill for 15 minutes. You can use this time to finely chop the tomatoes.

bake the tart crust

5.  Pull the tart out of the refrigerator and poke a few times with the tongs of a fork. Cover the tart with baking paper and fill generously with pie weights (I used chickpeas). Bake for 15 minutes, pull the tart out of the oven and gently remove the baking paper containing the pie weights.

6.  Place the uncovered tart back in the oven, weight free, and allow to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

prepare the tomato sauce

7.  Stir the olive oil, red pepper flakes and finely chopped herbs in a saucepan, cook over medium-high heat until the herbs start to sizzle just a bit.

8.  Stir in the finely chopped tomatoes, bring to a simmer, cook the sauce down, uncovered, for 20 minutes, then stir in the salt and sugar, set aside.

to assemble the tart

9.  Use a spatula to spread half the ricotta cheese across the base of the tart shell. Then spoon half the tomato sauce over the ricotta and arrange half the zucchini in a single layer on top of the sauce. If your zucchinis are still quite wet, press them with a paper towel. Spoon the remaining ricotta over the zucchinis and push it around a bit with your fingers so that it forms a layer. Arrange another layer of zucchini and finish with the remaining sauce. You want the filling to nearly, but not quite fill the pan.

to bake the tart

10.  Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet (in case you end up with an overflow) and bake for 40 minutes or until the tart is cooked through. Remove and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving. Sprinkle the top with fresh basil leaves.

raw zucchini pasta with a creamy green garden dressing

3rd October 2016

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This recipe was created last year for a series of raw dishes for Holmes Place, however, I never got around to posting it here.  Also included, was this raw carrot slice and refreshing, light gazpacho. A wonderful addition would be Donna’s roasted thyme-infused cherry tomatoes, and for a more substantial meal, you could even use a combination of zucchini noodles and home-made pasta.

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~ Garden, bursting with beans and zucchini

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raw zucchini pasta with a creamy green  garden dressing

This is a light, refreshing raw meal and makes a great pasta replacement.  I love how the zucchini noodles behave so similarly to pasta. Tossed with a creamy herb dressing, it is a perfect meal on a hot Summer’s day. And is perfect for using up the surplus of summer zucchini in the garden.  

Serves 4 

Recipe slightly adapted from here.

for the noodles 

2 large/800g mixed zucchini (yellow and green zucchini are always nice)

½ tsp fine Himalayan salt

for the creamy garden dressing 

½ cup raw cashews (soaked overnight/a minimum of 4 hours)

2 Tbsp water

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

½ cup chopped fresh basil

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

2 Tbsp fresh mint leaves

freshly ground pepper

pine nut parmesan for sprinkling

make the noodles 

1.  Wash, dry and cut the ends off the zucchini.  Take a box grater and place it on its side – the side with the largest grating holes on it face up; with pressure and in long strokes, push the zucchini along the top of the grater in order to create long, thin ribbons of zucchini.  Or alternatively, use a vegetable peeler or mandolin to make long ribbons.

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2.  Sprinkle the zucchini with the salt, toss gently, and place in a colander over a bowl for 20 minutes, allowing the excess liquid in the zucchini to drain, then carefully and gently squeeze the zucchini over the colander.  Pat with a clean, absorbent kitchen towel to dry and soak up more of the liquid.

creamy garden dressing 

3. Drain the soaked cashew nuts and place in a high-speed blender or food processor, with the water, vinegar, olive oil and lemon juice – blend until smooth and creamy.  

4. Add the basil, parsley and mint leaves and blend again until the herbs are well incorporated.

to assemble 

5.  Using your hands, gently toss the zucchini with about three-quarters of the dressing.  

6.  Sprinkle over the pine nut parmesan, a few rounds of fresh pepper and toss again, using more dressing if needed.  

To serve, garnish with more pine nut parmesan, and small leaves of basil and mint.  This dish is best served immediately.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

peach pie

20th August 2015

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This was another post sitting in my drafts just before I left for our Summer holiday, using those luxuriously delicious, rose-scented peaches from this tree.

Perfectly ripe, with a few organic, nature-loved and blessed blemishes.  I was reluctant to make this, as it seemed a shame to cook them, but there were so many of them.  And of course, all at once, and they needed to be used.  It was delicious.  And for me, pie is such a luxurious comfort food and all the more made better, with home-grown produce.

It has been a good year in our small orchard, with more still to come.

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a summer peach lattice-top pie

for the dough

350 grams flour (I used 250g white & 100g whole-wheat)

1 tsp salt

½ cup sugar

200g unsalted pure butter

100mL very cold water

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

for the filling

5 medium/770g peaches (use peaches that are not too ripe)

1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

 cup light brown sugar

4 Tbsp cornstarch

to make the dough 

1.  Place the flour, sugar and salt into a bowl and mix. Cut the butter into hazel-nut size pieces and add to the flour, making sure all the butter pieces are well coated with the flour, cover and place in the freezer for 1 hour or overnight.

2.  In a food processor with an S-blade attached, add the very cold flour and butter, and process for 20 seconds (the mixture should resemble fine meal), then stir the vinegar with the very cold water and pulse in short bursts.  The dough will still look crumbly, but if you press it between your fingers, it should become smooth.  If the dough is too dry and is not coming together, add iced water, a tablespoon at a time.

3.  Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface.  Gather and press the dough together to form a unified mass. Cut the dough in half and put each half on a large piece of plastic wrap.  Loosely cover the dough with plastic. Using the wrap as an aid (to avoid warming the dough with your bare hands), shape the dough into a disc.  Wrap each piece tightly in the plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, and up to 24 hours (ideal).

to make the filling 

4.  Halve each peach, remove the pit, and slice each half into roughly 2 cm chunks, then place into a large bowl and add lemon juice.  Sprinkle sugar over the peaches and toss gently to mix.  Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour or overnight.

5.  Transfer to a colander, suspended over a bowl to collect the juices; you should have almost 1 cup of liquid (if the peaches sit for several hours, you’ll have 1½ cups liquid).  Mine sat overnight, so I was left with a lot of juice.

6.  Pour the juices into a small saucepan set over medium heat.  Boil the liquid to reduce it, swirling until it’s syrupy, about 10 minutes; it should reduce to to ½ cup, depending on how much liquid you started with – set aside to cool for 1 – 2 minutes.

7.  Meanwhile, transfer the peaches to a bowl and toss them with the cornstarch until all traces of cornstarch have disappeared.  Pour the reduced peach juice over the peaches, tossing gently.  Place in the fridge to cool.

prepare the pie

8.  Roll out the bottom crust, remove one of the disc of dough from the fridge.  If it is very firm, let it sit at room temperature until it’s pliable enough to roll, about 10 to 15 minutes.  Using a rolling pin, roll the dough between two pieces of lightly-floured cling film, and roll out into a circle, an inch bigger than the pie dish.   

9.  Butter a pie dish (mine was 26cm diameter) and line with the pastry, and leave an even overhang around the edge – cover with plastic and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

10.  Roll out the top crust, remove the other disc of dough from the refrigerator and let it sit until pliable enough to roll. Roll the dough between two pieces of lightly floured cling film, into another circle. Leave whole, or cut into strips, no more than a inch thick.  Use a ruler to cut about ten x ¾ inch wide strips lengthwise.  You may have to join the shorter ones together.  The ruler helps to measure and cut a straight edge.  I used a fluted pastry wheel to get a crimped edge. You may need to place in the freezer for 5 minutes if the dough is too warm.

11.  Take the pie shell from the fridge and stir the peach filling a few times, then scrape it into the pie shell.

12.  Arrange five strips of dough evenly over the filling, starting with a long strip for the centre. Gently fold back every other strip (the second and the fourth) to a little past the centre. Choose another long strip of dough, hold it perpendicular to the other strips, and set it across the centre of the pie. Unfold the two folded strips so they lie flat on top of the perpendicular strip.  Now fold back the strips that weren’t folded back last time (the first, third, and fifth ones). Lay a second perpendicular strip of dough about a ¾ inch away from the last one.  Unfold the three folded strips.  Fold back the original two strips, set a third perpendicular strip of dough ¾ inch from the last one, and unfold the two strips. Repeat on the other side with the two remaining strips: fold back alternating strips, lay a strip of dough on top, and unfold. Remember to alternate the strips that are folded back to create a woven effect.

13.  Trim the strips to a ½-inch overhang.  Lift the edge of the bottom crust over to enclose the top, rolling inwards and pressing to make it adhere.  Crimp or flute the edges if you like.

14.  Lightly cover the assembled pie with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. After 30 minutes of chilling, set an oven rack on the lowest rung and put a foil-lined baking stone or baking sheet on it. Heat the oven to 215C/425°F.

15.  Brush the lattice with the milk and sprinkle with the sugar and set the pie directly on the baking stone or sheet. Bake until the juices are bubbling over (the bubbles should be thick and slow near the pan edges), approximately 35 to 40 minutes.

Let the pie cool on a rack until the juices have thickened, approximately 2 hours.  Enjoy with homemade vanilla ice-cream or thick Greek yoghurt.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

a soup the colour of marigolds & a little friend

30th October 2011

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Inspired by Nigel Slater from his book;

‘Tender’

I love the title of this soup!

I have been meaning to make this soup at the end of every Summer when I have the usual over-abundance of sun-soaked, yellow tomatoes and marigolds popping out everywhere in my garden, giving joy and colour wherever you look.  I added orange peppers, as I have an over-abundance of these as well.  Small, sunset-coloured peppers.  Lots of them, all twisted in their home-grown shapes.  I can see their cheerful and bright splashes of colour in amongst the greenery now, as I write this from the kitchen table.

This is a simple soup, pulsating with flavour and brightness.  I decided to give it a long-simmering at the beginning, like Donna’s Cherry Tomato Sauce to really bring out the flavours before adding the stock or water.  I use a Le Creuset pot which keeps the temperature balanced and even when cooking, so when this soup simmers, a lot of liquid comes out of the tomatoes.  This is why there is very little water added.  If you find the soup dry when cooking, add additional water.  If you do not have yellow tomatoes, then use your regular cherry tomatoes.  Just make sure the tomatoes are ripe and ready if you want a flavoursome soup.

– a little friend –

a soup the colour of marigolds

Enough for four

ingredients 

a drizzle of olive oil

1 bay leaf

1 sprig fresh thyme

1 sprig fresh oregano

450g yellow tomatoes

6 medium/450g carrots, peeled and roughly chopped

1 medium orange bell pepper, deseeded, peeled and quartered

2 – 3 cups vegetable stock or water – more if needed

1 tsp jaggery/sugar

sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

parsley, finely chopped 

basil leaves (optional)

preparation 

1.  Heat olive oil in a large heavy-based saucepan (should be hot enough so that herbs sizzle when added). Add whole herb sprigs and bay leaf, toss in the hot oil so that the flavour infuses and herbs turn bright green.

2.  Add whole yellow tomatoes, toss until all are coated in oil, then add bell pepper and carrots – leave to sizzle on medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let stew away for 45 minutes.

3.  Turn off heat, take out and discard the sprigs of thyme and oregano and remove bay leaf (return to the soup after blitzing.)

4.  Add the 3 cups stock/water and blitz it into a thick, pulpy broth using a hand blender.

As Nigel Slater says, “…as bright and cheerful as a jug of June flowers.”

5.  Add the sugar and season with salt and pepper.

6.  Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley, a leaf of basil and drizzle with olive oil.

Serve with freshly baked bread and a bowl of guacamole or a big spoon of cooked quinoa in each bowl.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

simple grated carrot, beetroot, parsley salad

26th July 2011

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I love the soft, gentle sweetness of beetroot.  They taste simply of the clean, sweet earth from which they came from.  In Winter, I roast them in their skins.  In Summer, I have this salad daily, accompanied by big chunks of avocado and cooked red lentil hummus or babaganous (enjoying the first of the eggplants), lightly saute small zucchini’s from the garden and grilled halloumi for the children.  It makes the perfect lunch.  For dinner, I have been enjoying this simple golden soup with thin slices of toasted homemade sunflower bread.

I have also been working hard in the garden preparing for our month away in England.  Preparing the soil with manure, digging and turning, then covering it with a very thick layer of mulch leftover from our goat pen.  It has been hot, dry and humid, so I am not sure how the garden will hold up, but I am doing my best to protect it in my long absence.  I have been spending all of my afternoons in there and I feel sad to leave it.  It has been my therapy, my calmness, my joy and my deep desire for simplicity.

After so many afternoons of hard manual work, I had one day where I could just sit, reflect, wonder, watch, listen, and smell.  An inner quiet and peacefulness fills me just by being in my garden in those early mornings or late afternoons.  I am sure if I watch carefully, I feel the plants pushing up and up.  It is so wonderful to be a part of this amazing process of planting a seed, watching it grow, then eating the result of that energy force which has been nurtured and cared for with so much love.  Imagine what a different world it would be if all our food was prepared with so much respect and care.

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I have planted lots, and hope that the garden will be as abundant as I left it when I return.

Goodbye heat!  Welcome, the green, the rain and the coolness.

simple grated beetroot carrot parsley salad

Serves 4

ingredients 

2 medium beetroot, grated

2 medium carrots, grated

1 tsp cumin seeds

handful coriander or parsley, finely chopped

juice of half a lemon

2 Tbsp flax-seed oil (or olive oil)

1 tsp agave/honey

¼ cup lightly toasted sesame and/ sunflower seeds

¼ tsp fine rock salt

preparation 

1.  Heat a small pan, add cumin seeds and lightly dry toast them until fragrant – remove from heat and set aside.

2.  Prepare the beetroot and carrot, either by grating in a box grater or using a food processor and place in a salad bowl.

3.  Pour the flax-seed oil, lemon juice, salt, cumin seeds and agave in a jar.  Place the lid on, and shake to combine.

4.  Drizzle the dressing over the salad, and sprinkle with coriander and toasted seeds – toss to combine.

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Goodness shared from Stacey

pesto pasta with roasted baby vegetables

18th November 2009

My veggie garden has become ‘weeded’ all of a sudden.  When it rains, the plants thrive, however so do those weeds, and even though I intend to hit them at their first sighting, within a few days of neglect, a ‘carpet’ appears.  This unpleasant sight greeted me when I headed out to pull up some baby beetroot, slice off some baby zucchini and squash for the pasta dish I had in mind.  I had decided to use the dill and parsley pesto I made last weekend, mixed with my favourite labne and tossed through roasted baby vegetables from the garden.  Confronted with the ‘unwanted carpet’, I knew this was going to take some time, so I made a feeble attempt of pulling out some of the weeds, but my heart wasn’t in it…..tomorrow I would face it.  My pasta awaits!

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dill & parsley pesto pasta with roasted baby vegetables

ingredients 

500g pumpkin, peeled and roughly diced

2 – 3 baby zucchini, whole

2 – 3 baby crookneck squash, whole (or similar)

2 baby beetroot, cut in quarters

6 cherry Roma tomatoes, whole

olive oil

sea salt flakes and cracked black pepper

spaghetti (or a favourite gluten-free pasta)

3 Tbsp dill and parsley pesto (or favourite pesto)

2 Tbsp labne

preparation 

1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Line flat baking tray with baking paper.

2.  Toss all vegetables in a bowl, add a generous dash of olive oil.

3.  Spread in one layer on baking tray and roast until tender (about 30 – 40 min), turning once.

4.  Cook pasta of choice.

5.  Meanwhile, in a serving bowl, mix together pesto and labne – set aside.

6.  When pasta is cooked, add to the serving dish, mix in pesto and add roasted vegetables and salt and cracked black pepper to taste.

Shared goodness from Donna

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