On the menu this post is a tart, a salad, and some paté (i totally just worked out how to add accent I might be slow to the game, but I’m still pretty pleased with myself).
First, the mushroom pate. I sort of made this up as I went. I ground walnuts and green onion with some cooked mushroom (wiped dry after cooking), a dash of lemon juice, some dried thyme, lots of pepper, 300g of silken tofu, vegie salt, and about 4 tablespoons of Tofutti Better then Cream Cheese. I blended the lot, tasted and adjusted, then stuck in a bowl to set up in the fridge for an hour or so.
It was divine! I had intended that we eat it with crusty French bread, but we had already polished it off the night before, so instead we ate it with Vita-Weats. Only the best will do at our place.
Next up was the tart of leek, caramelised onion, pesto, olive and roast pumpkin. This is easy to prepare, but looks and tastes like a knock-out dish. You could make it a day ahead and serve it cold, too, though we ate it warm.
- 2 sheets puff pastry
- 1 1/2 cups chopped pumpkin
- tiny bit of oil
- 4 tbs pesto
- 2 leeks, chopped
- 3 red onions, chopped
- 2 tbs brown sugar
- another tiny bit of oil
- 1/2 cup green olives, halved
- Pre heat the oven to 200 degrees
- Defrost the pastry.
- Bake the diced pumpkin in a tiny bit of oil, until it is soft.
- Cook the leek in a little olive oil for about 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.
- I the same pan (remove the leek) fry the red onions on medium to high heat for about 5 minutes.
- Lower the heat, and add the brown sugar. Continue to cook the onions, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes. You may add more oil if necessary, but do not add any water (it should seem obvious, given the recipe doesn’t call for water, but I’ve seen someone do it – it turns to toffee).
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- Line a tart tin with pastry. Cover the pastry with the pesto, spreading it out in a thin layer.
- Add the cooled pumpkin.
- Top with the leeks, then the caramelised onion.
- Finally, scatter the olives across the top.
- Bake for 30-45 minutes, until pastry has browned a little.
- Cool in tin for at least 10 minutes before cutting to serve
The salty and sweet flavours in this tart work well together, and I like that way the bland, slightly sweet pumpkin benefits from the sugar, olives and pesto.
Last, we had a fennel and orange salad. This one’s easy, tastes light and fresh, and looks gorgeous.
- 1 fennel bulb
- 2 oranges
- 1 red onion
- juice of 1/2 an orange
- 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp apple juice concentrate
- 1 tbs flaxseed oil
- Prepare the fennel bulb by removing any stringy bits, and chopping into thin strips, across the stalks.
- Prepare the oranges by segmenting them. This involves removing the tops and bottoms, then the peel with a parking knife, then gently cutting between the membrane to produce orange segments without any pith. I’ve added photos at the end to explain, though note, I use my ‘everything’ knife, as I don’t actually own a paring knife. Careful if you do this, there is a high risk of cutting your hand if you’re not VERY careful.
- slice the onion into thin half crescent slices.
- Arrange the onion, orange and fennel on a plate.
- In a small cup, mix the vinegar, mustard, orange juice, apple juice concentrate and oil. Pour this dressing over the salad, and serve.
How to segment an orange… in pictures
Please forgive the photo order, I have so little control over where they go!