Look at these gorgeous little beauties that have just popped out of the ground in our front yard! This very same yard was covered in about 4 inches of snow last week and now there are a few little signs of Spring. I’m looking forward to seeing the garden transition into Spring and Summer over the next few months. We have been told that the big tree in the backyard is a fruit tree which the real estate agent thinks is a peach tree but isn’t 100% sure. We will have to wait and see.
It is terribly exciting to find a new cookbook that has just so many great recipes and even better if it is second hand and only cost a few dollars. I found this copy of ‘Flavours of the Sun’ by Patricia Lousada and Charlotte Fraser and it is chock full of tasty Mediterranean recipes. It was first published in 1994 and there is nothing dated about this 20 year old book. Here are some of the recipes that caught my eye.
Red Pepper, Anchovy and Smoked Mozzarella Pizza
Crostini with Leeks, Pine Nuts and Gruyere
Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Wild Mushrooms and Prosciutto
Puy Lentil, Red Onion and Feta Salad
Chocolate Mousse Cake
Mascarpone and Ginger Cheesecake
How delicious does that all sound? Well so far I have only cooked one recipe and that is for the Leek and Bacon Tart. I made the shortcrust pastry recipe from the book too and it was wonderfully light and crumbly. The blurb about this recipe in the book describes this as an ‘excellent tart for colder days’. And despite the odd little flower poking up through the ground here, there are plenty of cold days here in Boulder to warrant making this tart.
leek and bacon tart
(adapted from ‘Flavours of the Sun’ by Patricia Lousada and Charlotte Fraser)
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
250g bacon, cut into 1 cm pieces
50g unsalted butter
500g leeks, washed and finely sliced
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4 tablespoons of ice cold water
Put the flour and salt into the bowl of a food processor and blitz to combine. Add the butter cubes and blitz for about 5 seconds. Whilst the machine is still running, add the water a little at a time until the dough just forms a ball. Turn off the machine as soon as that happens then tip out the dough and wrap in plastic wrap. Pop it into the fridge to chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C (375 degrees F). Oil or butter a 23-25cm tart tin. Roll out the dough (I find this easiest to roll it out between 2 pieces of baking paper or similar) and line the tart tin. Prick the base of the tart with a fork several times. Then line the tin with baking paper pour over some dried beans and blind bake the tart for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the baking paper and beans and return the tart to the oven to cook for a further 5 minutes.
making the tart
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C (350 degree F).
Gently saute the onion, garlic and bacon in the butter until the onion has softened a little. Then add the sliced leeks and cook slowly for 5-10 minutes or until the leeks have soften. Season to taste and stir through the chopped parsley.
Whisk together the cream and eggs and season to taste. Add the leek mixture and stir together then pour into the blind-baked pastry case. Bake for 30 minutes or until set and golden. Serve warm with a crisp salad.