Over here at Hotly Spiced Headquarters, we’re starting a 10-day series on covering recipes from blogs that have inspired, intrigued and impressed me. Some of these recipes have also either brought a nostalgic touch or thrown me an incredible challenge. I have seen all of these recipes on blogs I subscribe to and at the time of discovering them, I’ve thought, ‘I’m going to make that’. And time goes by, (sometimes years), and these recipes that have attracted my attention, sadly, never get made.
But I’m bringing these recipes back to life and on this journey we will be travelling from here to New York and back again.
We’re starting on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast with a vegetarian tart from the Orgasmic Chef that is a blog by my good friend, Maureen. Maureen is American but for the last 20 years has been living in Australia so we’ve adopted her. On Maureen’s blog you don’t only find great food, you also enjoy a story told with great humour.
Maureen is not only quick-witted, she is a very generous and kind soul who has done so much to help promote other people’s blogs. She used to run a series where every week she would interview a blogger and then write a positive and interesting story on that person. Reading these stories had the benefit of introducing you to new bloggers and helped give you a more rounded understanding of bloggers you had been following.
But behind the scenes and away from what she publishes, Maureen knows I’m very technically challenged. When my blog vaporised, she and her IT-savvy husband spent hours helping me sort out the carnage and rebuild my blog with a new host.
Maureen and John aren’t idle and besides everything else they have going on, they have created a plug-in called Easy Recipe which has made life so much easier for those of us who like to print recipes from blogs. The plug-in is very user-friendly, taking it right down to an imbecile’s level (Maureen kindly calls them, ‘non-geeks’), so that even people like me have no trouble using it.
There are many recipes on Maureen’s blog that I adore but I’m sharing with you her Asparagus and Potato Tart because here in Oz, asparagus is in season. You can buy fresh, local asparagus for a great price and as it is one of my most favourite vegetables and while it’s so available, I’m making the most of it.
In cooking this asparagus tart, I didn’t have a tart dish the same size as Maureen’s so used one slightly larger. In my version of the recipe, I’ve increased the quantities to match the increased volume. Maureen also cooks the potato first and then adds it to the tart but I used a mandolin to finely slice the potatoes then added them straight to the tart without any pre-cooking. When it comes to adding the cheese, I used three types; cheddar, Persian feta and parmesan – because that’s what I had in the fridge. You can prevent the asparagus from shrivelling by covering it in buttered paper during the cooking process but I don’t mind a bit of shrivel.
This vegetarian tart doesn’t cost the earth to make, can be enjoyed hot, cold or warm and it’s terrific for a weekend lunch.
- 2 tbspns butter, melted
- 5 sheets filo pastry
- 4 large waxy potatoes, very thinly sliced, (I used a mandolin)
- 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 300mls (10 fl ozs) pouring cream
- 4 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1 tbspn finely chopped parsley
- 1 tbspn fresh thyme leaves
- pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- salt and pepper
- 250gms (9 ozs) cheese (I used a combination of cheddar, Persian feta and parmesan)
- 20 spears fresh asparagus, woody ends snapped off and discarded
- Pre-heat oven to 180C (375F).
- Lightly butter a 32cm x 22cm (12in x 8.6in) tart tin.
- Butter each sheet of filo and place in tart tin making sure pastry overhangs the edge of the tin.
- Arrange potato slices on top of pastry.
- In a medium-sized bowl combine eggs, cream, shallots, herbs, nutmeg and season and stir well to combine. Pour over potato slices.
- Combine cheeses and spread over the top of egg mixture.
- Place asparagus on top of tart, lining the spears in the same direction.
- Brush edges of pastry with butter.
- Place in oven for 35 - 40 mins or until egg is set.
- (If asparagus spears appear to be shrivelling, cover them (not pastry) with baking paper that's been buttered.
- Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing.
To see Maureen’s version of the recipe and to enjoy a great range of other recipes, you can visit her blog.
Coming up tomorrow….something nostalgic and sweet.