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Mediterranean Vegetable Tart

Serves 4

Filling

  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 aubergine, diagonally sliced
  • 1 courgette, diagonally sliced
  • ½ red pepper, sliced
  • ½ tsp herbs de Provence
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 – 3 tbs olive oil
  • goats cheese (unless cooking Vegan version)

Short crust pastry for an 8 – 9” flan case

  • 4oz plain flour
  • 4oz wholemeal flour
  • 2oz butter
  • 2oz white fat or lard
  • A pinch of salt
  • 8 tsp cold water

Turn the oven on to 200ºc and pre-heat a large frying pan or wok.

Fry the onions in the oil for 5 minutes until golden before reducing the heat. Add the garlic and fry for a futher minute.

Add the remaining vegetables to the frying pan, plus a little extra olive oil, if necessary, to lightly coat the vegetables. Add the herbs and seasoning. Sauté gently whilst you make the pastry.

To make the pastry rub the butter and fat into the flour until it has the texture of fine breadcrumbs. Add the water and fold in with a knife. Make into a ball and roll out into a circle (I put the flan tin over the pastry and roll it out to allow for the base and sides).

Place in a greased tin, and shave off any excess and fill in any missing places. Pinch the pastry, index finger between finger and thumb, to provide an attractive edge. Crumple up some aluminium foil and line the tin and hold the pastry down with dried beans or peas. (I have a bottle of beans kept solely for “baking blind.”)

Cook at 200°C for 20 minutes and then remove the foil and beans. Reduce the heat to 190°C and cook for 5 – 10 minutes more.

When the case is dry and golden fill it with the vegetables and top with slices of goats cheese, return to the oven for 5 – 10 minutes to melt the cheese. Serve immediately.

Tip 1. At this time of the year (January) garlic is starting to shoot and the green shoots can be bitter, I remove them before chopping.

Tip 2. Rubbed up pastry can be very useful, as it keeps for a couple of days. In fact mine had been in the fridge for a week! The amount of water can be easily calculated: weigh the crumbed pastry divide weight (in ounces) by 3 and multiply by 2 to give the number of teaspoons of cold water required. It may need a little more but try to add the minimum so that the pastry rolls easily whilst maximizing the shortness of the eating quality.

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