Joie De Vivre – Joy of Everything, Especially Food

Introducing guest blog, “Joie De Vivre”. In true ‘Julie and Julia’ fashion, our guest blogger whips up gastronomic delights at home, takes pictures and shares them with us – her purpose is of course, to spread the joy! So stay in for a change – and follow her simple steps on your way to culinary heaven.

As the long weekend approaches, with Parsi New Year kicking it off, and Janmashtrami sacredly ending it, here is a scrumptious recipe that would please for any occasion (or even a Sunday brunch!) Whoever said the way to man’s heart is through his stomach undoubtedly knew what he (or she) was talking about — and it’s applicable to both sexes! So go ahead boys & girls, dish up this wonderful Tomato & Herb Tart this weekend, courtesy Joie De Vivre.

Tarts are amazing, eaten any which way, any topping, any add-ons, any accompaniments- it’s actually DIFFICULT to go wrong. I recently made one of these for a dinner party, topped with caramelised onions, black olives and feta cheese. It was a smashing success! The recipe below is for individual sized tarts, but can easily be made as one whole. I find puff pastry (khari biscuit, as it is locally called) an extremely versatile and ridiculously easy and crowd pleasing base for savoury and sweet dishes. I even use it to make apple pie!! Go ahead, try it and make any variation your heart and tongue desires! It’s guaranteed to be fool proof. Happy Long Weekend!

Tomato and Herb Tart
Ingredients
1.       1 packet ready rolled puff pastry
2.       20 cherry tomatoes, halved
3.       1 tiny red onion, sliced
4.       ¾ cup sun dried tomato pate (from the LPQ Pantry)
5.       A few sprigs of fresh parsley, thyme and rosemary
6.       Salt and pepper to taste
7.       ½ tsp granulated sugar
8.       1 tbs olive oil
9.       1 tbs Parmesan
Method
1.  Preheat the oven to 220*c
2.  Mix together the cherry tomatoes, onions and the herbs, with the olive oil and season well, and finish with a few granules of sugar to offset the acidity of the tomatoes.
3.  Line a baking tray with butter paper and place the semi-defrosted puff pastry on the baking paper. Cut into individual sizes (approx 4” by 6” rectangles). You should typically get about 6/8 of them from one packet. Once cut, curl up the edges a little with your fingers so that once baked, the edges will be crunchy and fluffy (and look gorgeous!!). Sprinkle with a pinch of flour if the pastry gets too soft.

 

4.  Spoon over about 1 tsp of the sun dried tomato pate on each puff and spread gently. Indian weather has a rather horrible effect on pastry, and it quickly becomes runny and soggy, so make sure to work quickly.

 

5.  Put in the oven for 5-7 minutes, until the pastry rises to about ½ inch. Then remove and spoon over the cherry tomato mixture equally over each puff and quickly replace in the oven for another 15 minutes.

 

6.  Sprinkle over the grated Parmesan over each puff, after 10 minutes in the oven. Keep checking to ensure that the pastry does not burn at the edges.
7.  Remove, allow to cool for 2 minutes and gently remove from tray, plate and serve immediately!
Feedback
  • If you don’t intend to use the sun dried tomato pate in the future (or just don’t like it), replace with caramelised onion or pesto.
  • You can make puff pastry at home using any recipe for khari or puff pastry. Make sure to freeze the dough for a while before dealing with it, for sheer ease.
  • Using foil instead of baking paper at times is tricky, as the pastry might stick to the foil.
  • This can be served as a main course, with a side of fresh green salad.
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