Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

Rustic Rhubarb Galette With Orange Spelt Flaky Pastry

Rustic Rhubarb Galette Slice

Last Sunday I had a fabulous and much needed day out. I finally managed to take my mother to Caerhays Castle to see the magnolias in full bloom. The display was stunning, but to paraphrase an oriental sage, the heart doesn’t crave flowers for long when the belly lacks calories. Thankfully,when I dropped her off back home, I was treated to a bowl of homemade soup, followed by a good look around the garden and a post-prandial raid on the rhubarb patch. The result is this toothsome rustic rhubarb galette with orange spelt flaky pastry.

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Giant Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies with a Luscious Filling

Giant Chocolate Macadamia Nut Cookies

Sponsored Post, Tart | 20th November 2016 | By

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my answer to the Big Mac, a recipe for some dangerously moreish giant chocolate macadamia nut cookies. Strewth!

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Asparagus Tarts with a Pesto Surprise aka Asparagoose Tarts

Asparagus Tarts

It’s been a rather chilly spring here in the UK and picnics have not been high on our list of fun things to do. However, the sun is now giving off some much needed warmth and suddenly we want to get outside and picnics are very much on the agenda. These seasonal asparagus tarts are ideal picnic fare as they are portable and easy to pick up and eat with your hands. Why asparagoose tarts? Read on.

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Green Vegetable Galette with Flaky Pastry

Dinner, Sponsored Post, Tart | 9th March 2016 | By

It’s been many a year since I set foot in an Iceland shop. I moved back down to Cornwall from Leamington Spa nearly twenty years ago and I certainly haven’t been to one since then. However, when I was challenged to “Go Frozen with Iceland” and create a tasty and nutritious meal, an idea for a green vegetable galette  sprang to mind. It was time to track down an Iceland store and see what I could find.

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Easy Jam Tarts

Jam Tarts

Tart | 11th October 2015 | By

Well it’s been many a year since I made jam tarts, but I had a sudden urge to rediscover the joys of this classic little bake a couple of weeks ago. I had three jars of opened jam that I wanted to see the back of and a pot of clotted cream that I was finding hard to resist. Done deal.

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Double Blackberry Chocolate Galette – We Should Cocoa #61

Blackberry Galette

Tart, We Should Cocoa, Wild Food | 5th September 2015 | By

When Kate announced that blackberries were to be the special ingredient for this month’s We Should Cocoa, I knew exactly what I wanted to make. Ever since my first rustic gooseberry galette earlier in the year, I was dying to try one with blackberries.

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Gooseberry Galette

Gooseberry Galette

Tart | 18th July 2015 | By

When I was given some gooseberries from my mother, my first thought was crumble – the weather had taken a turn for the worse and it was cold and wet. However, by the time I got around to actually using them, the weather had improved. Although a gooseberry fool or other such dessert might have been more appropriate, I had “baked gooseberry something” on my mind. A sudden flash of inspiration and gooseberry galette it was – both baked and summery.

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Rich Chocolate Tart – Book Review and Giveaway #53

5 Star, Tart | 28th October 2014 | By

Rich Chocolate Tarts

For those of you who’ve been watching Lorraine Pascale’s latest cookery series on BBC2, How to be a Better Cook, this new cookbook will come as no surprise. Whether you’ve seen the series or not, Lorraine’s easy style makes this an accessible book for both beginners and those wanting to expand their range of techniques; the more advanced cook may also find it useful for inspiration. She carries us through the recipes with characteristic grace and modesty. The cover states, “100 quick and easy recipes”, a statement that grabbed my attention. Time is at a premium for most of us these days, so any help we can get to enable us to produce tasty and nutritious food that also looks good and is simple to prepare has got to be a good thing.

Published by HarperCollins, with a cover price of £25, this hardback edition of How to be a Better Cook is very similar in style to her last one A Lighter Way to Bake. The recipes are for simple every day food and are not too excessive when it comes to the use of fats and other such “naughty” ingredients. Chocolate tart I hear you cry? Well yes, there is a chapter on desserts, cakes and treats, what cookbook is really complete without one? But even the tart is made with more milk than cream. Similarly her recipes for panna cotta, ice-cream and Bircher muesli use yogurt to replace some or all of the cream associated with these dishes.

This is not a book aimed at vegans and vegetarians and I could wish there was a little more in it for me. However, despite the three chapters devoted to meat and fish, a few recipes caught my eye. Many of the meat dishes can easily be adapted to include vegetarian alternatives and there are chapters for canapés & cocktails, starters, snacks & soups, salads, vegetables & sides which also contain many vegetable dishes. It’s been a long time since I tried making harissa but Lorraine’s recipe has me inspired once again. She is a self-confessed harissa junky and uses it in all sorts of ways. I keep meaning to unearth my slow cooker from the back of the cupboard, but it’s a bit of a faff, so tends to stay put. However, this is about to change as I’m now really keen to make slow cooker lentil, sweet potato and cumin soup with ginger and coriander – I can just imagine how good that tastes.

As a fan of incorporating vegetables into sweet bakes, thus trying to make them a little more nutritious, I was pleased to see a recipe for pumpkin, brown sugar and pecan cake with cream cheese icing and very nice it looked too. Lorraine also incorporates wholemeal flour in some stem ginger and apricot biscotti, an addition which I obviously heartily approve of.

With Halloween and Bonfire Night just a few days away, it’s useful to find that Lorraine has these covered. Ghostly black-eyed meringues, lighter chocolate muffin spiders, s’mores pops and toffee apple slice pops are great fun to make, with or without the children.

The pages are shiny which makes them a little difficult to read in certain light. I also found the  photographs to be rather hard and a bit stark. There are plenty of them in the book and many of them are of Lorraine. As a former model, this is perhaps not surprising, but much as I like Lorraine, I prefer my recipe books to show pictures of the food rather than the author. However, I liked the stylish use of colour running through the book, a picture of something on a green plate for example would be matched by green text on the opposite page. A recipe for chargrilled green bean, sugar snap and courgette salad with poppy seed dressing printed in pink, had pink forks shown in the accompanying photo. You can see what I mean from the recipe excerpt below.

Lorraine gives tips and tricks throughout the book, but also includes a few pages at the end detailing her store cupboard essentials, kitchen equipment essentials, how to look after knives and how best to store food.

Rich Chocolate Tart

As soon as I saw the recipe for Ridiculously Rich Chocolate Tart, I knew that was the one I was going to make for this review. As per usual, I changed things around a little. I had some goat’s butter from St Helen’s Farm that I was keen to try out in the pastry and some goat’s milk in need of using up. I also wanted to give the tart a bit of a salted caramel edge. To do this, I used a pinch of salt and 100g of Cacao Barry caramel milk chocolate and 165g of 72% dark chocolate, which included one of the Seed and Bean bars I reviewed a while back. I also made the pastry with half wholemeal flour and half white.

Apart from faffing around with pastry, which is never my most fun activity in the kitchen, this tart was a breeze to make. If you are in a rush, Lorraine allows for a nice easy get out clause for this stage – buy the pastry. But that’s not my way. The only problem I experienced, other than trying not to eat it before it set, was getting the tart into the oven without spilling the filling. Needless to say, I didn’t achieve this. Lorraine suggests pouring the filling into the tart case once it’s actually on the oven shelf. My oven and kitchen preclude this, so I didn’t quite get the nice clean edges I’d have liked. I also found, I had more pastry and filling than I needed, so I made three 10cm tartlets as well.

The Tarts were sublime. They had a crisp, buttery, flaky pastry which melted in the mouth – not a soggy bottom in sight. The filling was rich and creamy and had the hint of salted caramel I was looking for. It also had a subtle goaty tang which did a good job of reinforcing the robust flavour of the chocolate and added another welcome dimension.

I’m sending the tarts over to Lucy at SuperGolden Bakes for her weekly event #CookBlogShare.

In case you would like to try Lorraine’s recipe out rather than my slightly adapted version, I am taking the unusual step of including an exact copy here for you with kind permission of HarperCollins.

RIDICULOUSLY RICH CHOCOLATE TART
SERVES 8
This chocolate tart is so dark and rich, it is just not for kids! There is a little bit of gaffing here what with making the  pastry and all that, but to cut a perfectly acceptable corner, just buy ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry instead to half the making time.

Photography © Maja Smend
SHORTCRUST PASTRY
125g butter, softened and diced,
plus extra for greasing
100g caster sugar
Pinch of salt (but only if your butter
is unsalted)
250g plain flour, plus extra for
dusting
1 egg, at room temperature
CHOCOLATE FILLING
100ml single or double cream
250ml whole milk
175g dark chocolate (minimum
70% cocoa solids)
75g milk chocolate
3 eggs
Finely grated zest of 1 large orange
EQUIPMENT
20cm straight-edged tart tin

Grease a 20cm straight-edged tart tin well with a little butter and set aside on a baking sheet. I prefer to make this pastry using a food processor. Put the butter, sugar and salt in the processor and blitz for about 10 seconds. Then add the flour and pulse a few times until everything is nicely mixed up. Tip in the egg and pulse a few times again, scraping the sides of the food processor if need be. Lay a large piece of cling film on the work surface, tip the pastry mix on to it, squidge the pastry together in a ball and then wrap it up in the cling film. Place it in the fridge and leave it to rest for a good hour or hour and a half. To make this the traditional way by hand, tip the flour onto a clean work surface, then make a well in the centre of the flour about 30cm wide. Put the butter and the sugar and salt in the centre of the well (they should not touch the flour at this time). Use your hand to mix the butter, sugar and salt together; it is kind of messy, but great to make it the way it should be made! Then bring in the flour. I use a pastry scraper to flick the flour over the butter and the sugar, and then I kind of chop it together until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make another well in the centre of the pastry mix and crack the egg into it. Then, using your fingertips, mix it all together; again messy, but I find it kind of fun. Once the mixture is all mixed up and together, wrap the pastry ball in cling film and pop it in the fridge for an hour or hour and a half to rest. The pastry needs to rest to relax the protein strands, which could cause it to be too stretchy when you roll it. This will also help make the pastry more tender. Once the pastry is rested, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about a 25cm circle, roughly 5mm in thickness. I then put a rolling pin across the centre of the dough and flip half of the pastry over the rolling pin. Pick it up on the rolling pin and lay the pastry over the tart tin before removing the rolling pin. Gently press the pastry down into the tin, making sure that the pastry goes right into the ‘corners’, and then pop it in the fridge for an hour to rest again (rolling it out works the proteins in the pastry again, so it needs to have another rest in the fridge).
Once the pastry has been in the fridge for 40 minutes, turn the oven on to preheat to 200°C, (fan 180°C), 400°F, Gas Mark 6 with the middle shelf at the ready. After the pastry case has had an hour in the fridge and the oven is ready, line it with a  circle of baking parchment slightly larger than the size of the tart case and tip in ceramic baking beans (or you can use dried beans for this, which are cheaper and work really well). Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until crisp, golden and almost cooked through. Meanwhile, to prepare the filling, put the cream and milk in a medium pan and bring it almost to the boil, then immediately remove it from the heat. Snap in the dark and milk chocolates and leave it aside to melt. Once the chocolate has softened and melted, mix it all together and add the eggs and the orange zest. Mix together again and then
set this aside. Remove the pastry case from the oven and leave the oven open to cool down a bit, turning the temperature down to 180°C, (fan 160°C), 350°F, Gas Mark 4. Carefully lift the bean-filled baking parchment from the pastry case.
Once the oven has reached temperature (which will be indicated by the thermostat light coming back on), close the door. Pour the chocolate mix into the pastry case. I like to pour the last bit of filling into the case once it is safely resting on the oven shelf, that way it avoids any spillover. Then very carefully place the pastry case back into the oven for 20–25 minutes.
Once baked, remove from the oven and leave to cool for a bit. Then carefully push the tart out of the tin, remove the base, place on a plate or cake stand and serve.

Recipe taken from How to be a Better Cook by Lorraine Pascale (HarperCollins, £25).

Giveaway
HarperCollins have also kindly agreed to give one of my readers a copy of How to be a Better Cook. To be in with a chance of winning, please fill in the Gleam widget below. You will need to leave a comment on this post, answering the question, which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Gleam will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address. Winners will need to respond within 7 days of being contacted. Failure to do this may result in another winner being picked.

Prizes are offered and provided by HarperCollins and Chocolate Log Blog accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of said third party.
Closing date is Tuesday 25 November 2014

Do take a look at my giveaway page to see if there is anything else you would like to enter.

How to be a Better Cook

Apple and White Chocolate Tarts

Tart, Tarts & Pastries | 13th September 2014 | By

We had a wonderful time last week, jaunting off for an evening picnic with friends at Helligan Gardens followed by a production of Dead Dog in a Suitcase by the multi talented and much loved Kneehigh Theatre.

As I wanted something a little elegant for such an occasion and had a load of apples that needed using up, I decided to make some apple tarts. Since discovering the fabulous yogurt pastry I used for my rhubarb and almond cream pasty pie earlier this year, there’s been no looking back. It’s easy to make, easy to use, has a great taste and texture and doesn’t crack when rolling. Being in a bit of a hurry, I forgot to add the white chocolate, so I ended up adding the chocolate to the apple puree part of the tart instead. This worked brilliantly, so I’m glad I made the initial mistake. The tarts looked good and tasted even better. The apple puree had a lovely creamy texture and vanilla flavour due to the white chocolate, which contrasted well with the crisp unsweetened pastry and the apple slices on top.

This is how I made:

Yogurt Pastry

  • Rubbed 150g salted butter into 260g flour (half wholemeal spelt, half plain white) until the mixture resembled breadcrumbs.
  • Stirred in 3 tbsp yogurt until the mixture clumped together.
  • Brought it into a ball with my hands and left to rest for an hour before rolling.
I used about a third of the pastry for the tarts and used the rest in a roasted squash, runner bean, blue cheese and walnut tart which I also made for the picnic.

September’s Four Seasons is all about getting fruity, so I am sending these double apple tarts off to Louisa at Extra Veg and Anneli at Delicieux.

print recipe

Apple & White Chocolate Tarts

by September-4-2014
Individual apple tarts with a base of vanillary apple puree and white chocolate topped with apple slices and glazed with apple jelly.
Ingredients
  • shortcrust pastry (mine was homemade) – enough for 6 x 10 cm tart tins
  • 4 windfall apples
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp vanilla sugar (golden caster)
  • 30g vanillary white chocolate (I used Green & Blacks)
  • 1 drop nutmeg extract
  • 3 dessert apples
  • 1 tbsp apple jelly
Instructions
1. Roll the shortcrust as thin as possible and line the tart cases. Blind bake at 180C for 10 mins.2. Peel, core and dice the windfall apples being sure to cut out any bad bits.3. Cook over low heat with a splash of water and the vanilla sugar until soft.4. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate and nutmeg. Stir until the chocolate has dissolved and the apples are roughly pureed. 5. Divide this between the six tart cases, ensuring they are all covered.6. Quarter and core the dessert apples, then slice thinly. Top the tarts with the apple slices, then sprinkle with a little vanilla sugar.7. Bake at 180C for 15 minutes or until the apples are soft and slightly caramelised.8. Warm the apple jelly in a pan and brush over the hot apples. Leave the tarts to cool.
Details

Total time: Yield: 6

Three Allium Smoked Chilli Tart

 Several things combined to bring forth this three allium smoked chilli tart. I had some onions and some recently dug up leeks which were well past their best before date. It’s the season when onions are sprouting and leeks are bolting. We also had some wet garlic delivered in our occasional top up veg box. Likewise I had a courgette in the bottom of the fridge which was definitely passed its best. Although I’ve been using the Gran Luchito smoked chilli paste I was sent some time ago, I hadn’t created a specific recipe for it. I also wanted to take part in this month’s Tea Time Treats which is all about tarts and pies.

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