Summer Tart for Food Friday on BBC Radio Leicester

Between Saturday 13th and Sunday 21st of June this year it is National Picnic week.  A great opportunity for families and friends to get outdoors and involve food and drink.
  I personally love picnics, I don’t do enough of them but am determined to have more this year, as I love being outdoors and love the countryside. I feel it’s a great way for children to experiment more with food and also learn things such as the wildlife around them from being outdoors.

  Picnics are a great frugal way of spending time together with your loved ones and getting people involved with food.  Now it doesn’t have to be all about “beige food” either, be as colourful as you can with food on picnics, use up your leftovers to create rice, pasta and noodle salads.  Look in your fridge and come up with what you can. Don’t feel you have to go and buy a load of food in, thats the beauty of it, creating what you can on a budget, and thats exactly what I did here for this weeks Food Friday with Ben Jackson on my regular slot on BBC Radio Leicester. (Listen here)
   I took a look at what I had that was on its last legs, of which were my lovely British vine tomatoes and an Aubergine I bought the day before for 10p!
  I decided to do a lovely Summer tart, It is super easy to do, will cost you less to nothing but has some great punchy flavours. 

  Even if Picnics aren’t your thing, you may have some friends over for some “Al fresco” dining which I can assure you, this will impress them immensely! 
One thing to also state is the versatility of this, you can change the vegetables to something such as Peppers or courgettes. Or as Ben suggested, crumble some feta on top. 
  I know one thing, I will be making many different versions of this including a courgette one, when mine come to harvest and look out for some more Picnic recipes for you to try soon.

Summer Tart:



Ingredients:

(One Block of 500g Puff Pastry will make 2 Tarts)

*One Tart


–  Some Plain flour for sprinkling
–  Half block of 5oog Puff Pastry
–  One medium sized Red Onion sliced
–  2-3 large tomatoes sliced into wedges
–  A Few thin slices of Aubergine
–  2 cloves of Garlic finely chopped
–  A selection of fresh herbs, I used Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary
–  Sea salt and Cracked Black pepper to season
–  Drizzle of Chilli oil over the top if you wish or You could use Rapeseed or Olive oil

Method:

*  Preheat Oven to 200-220c

*  Roll out your Pastry on a floured surface with a Rolling pin to just under a Pound coin’s thickness.

*  Score slightly with a knife a couple of cm’s in around the Edge of the Pastry to allow to puff up at the sides.

*   Prick with a fork a good few times so that the Pastry won’t rise to high.

*  Place your Red onion slices on, then your Tomatoes, Season with salt and pepper and pop in the Oven for 10 minutes.

*  After 10 minutes, place your Aubergine slices in between the slices of tomato, add your Garlic, herbs and drizzle your oil over and place back into the Oven for a further 10 minutes or when the tart is Golden brown with no “Soggy bottom”













Spicy Butternut Squash Hummus (East Meets West)


Some time back, ooh a few months ago now, I was approached by the Chinese company Lee Kum Kee to do some recipe development Work for them.  I am always passionate about Oriental and Asian food in general so I was keen to know what they wanted.  They wanted me to help out with Recipes regarding an “East meets West” Theme. Something that would later go into a Cookbook, some neck tags and any other promotional material regarding this.  I love a good task on hand and felt that this would challenge me, as my first thought was you should never “fusion” things too much? Surprisingly,  I was proved wrong, in this case anyway…by myself! 
  I don’t normally show much of my Recipe development work but I feel this is very interesting to see how Chinese sauces can be mixed with another cuisine. I won’t post all of them, just the ones I feel stood out the most.  Now, because this was a few months back, some ingredients may not be in season anymore, but certainly squash was a good starter point as, well we see a lot of those in October hey?! 
  You will see a few of these recipes of mine “pop” up so I will put in brackets (East Meets West) so you will know it is from this Project.



Spicy Butternut Squash Hummus:


Ingredients:

–  1/2 Butternut Squash copped into inch squares
–  2 Tbsp Lee Kum Kee Chiu Chow Chilli Oil
–  1  Garlic Bulb split through the middle to create 2 halves to roast.
–  1 Tbsp of Rapeseed Oil
–  200g of Tinned Chick Peas
–  1 Tbsp of Lee Kum Kee Sesame Oil
–  A squirt of Lemon Juice (Fresh)
–  1 Tsp of Ground Cumin
–  Salt and Pepper to season
–  Fresh Coriander for Serving

Method:

–  Preheat your oven to 190c.

– Place the Butternut Squash into a baking tray and drizzle over the Chilli oil. Place next to it (in foil) the Garlic bulb in two halves, drizzle over with Rapeseed oil, close up like a Parcel and Roast both in the oven for 20 minutes or until soft.

–  Allow the Squash and the Garlic to cool.

–  Squeeze out half of the garlic cloves into a Blender or Processor along with the Butternut squash.

–  Add the rest of the ingredients and Blitz to a smooth Paste. You may need to add a touch  more lemon juice, salt or oil to get the correct consistency.

–  Serve with some Warm Pitta Breads, an extra drizzle of Sesame oil and fresh Coriander on the Hummus. (You could even try my Flatbread recipe which is under my Spiced Moroccan soup recipe)