Food : Julie Gibbons – vegetable puff pastry tarts

 

OK. So this is not me – THIS Julie Gibbons is my lovely doppelganger (I guess that makes me the evil one…hmmm), and she lives on the other side of the world, in Scotland. Amazingly, besides sharing the same name, it appears we both wear glasses, both have dark hair with sparkles and share a similar outlook on many things – her site opens with the quote

“At the centre of your being you have the answer; you know who you are and you know what you want” Lao Tzu

 

So what is my ‘other’ doing? One of the many things that Julie does is write about food, and especially organic food, which she has focused into Organikal – a website aimed at connecting people with organic products and services. She also blogs at VegBoxMenu.com, sharing recipes and tips for good living. This is one of her recipes from there. Enjoy!

 

Vegetable & Tomato Puff Pastry Tarts

These wee puff pastry tarts are something of a staple in the Organikal household … they’re so easy to make and there’s an almost never-ending stream of possible toppings.

serves 6

1 x pack ready rolled all butter puff pastry
3 x tablespoons organic tomato puree
3 x tablespoons home-made chutney
3 x teaspoons fresh pesto sauce (home-made)
1/4 yellow bell pepper, sliced
2 teaspoons mixed herbs
50g grated organic mature cheddar
50g goats cheese

  1. Prepare the pastry by taking it out of the fridge about 20 minutes before using – it’s so easy!
  2. Turn the oven to 220C.
  3. I find the tarts turn out better when I cut the pastry into rounds, but you could just divide the rectangle into 6 smaller rectangles.
  4. For this serving I prepared 3 chutney with goats cheese and 3 pesto with pepper & cheddar, layering the chutney/tomato puree first, then adding the herbs/pesto, then the goats cheese/cheddar.
  5. Bake in the oven for between 15 – 20 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the pastry has risen. You could serve these as mini tartlets (I often do) or combine them with other ingredients as I’ve done here.

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Thanks so much to Julie for sharing her recipe. You can find more about her on her website here www.juliegibbons.com.

 

 

Food : Angela Hammond – Butter Chickpeas

The weather here is getting cooler, and it’s time to get down and toasty with something warm and fragrant.

Today’s recipe comes from Angela Hammond, who spends her time moving between her two loves – parenting two small children, and photography. When time allows she enjoys pottering through antique shops and having cups of tea with good friends.

 

Butter Chick Peas

Ingredients
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp dried coriander leaves
1 tsp raw sugar
1 onion
1 tbsp olive oil for frying
2 cloves garlic
1 tin chick peas
1 tin condensed tomato soup
1 tin of water
6 pre-boiled potatoes, diced
1 large carrot
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 cup cream for cooking

Method

Fry up spices together in a large saucepan with onion, garlic and olive oil
until soft, while boiling the diced potatoes and carrot separately.
Add chick peas, soup, water (using an empty tin of course).
Add frozen peas, cooked potato and carrot. Add cream at the end. Adjust
spices and add salt to taste. Serve with rice.

 

Although not vegetarian myself, I do appreciate good vegetarian meals that
are simple to make. Let’s face it – meat is expensive!

I received this recipe from a friend who had hand written it from a friend, so its origins are a bit lost. I added in extra vegies and changed the spices to suit my taste, and it’s a firm favourite with hubby and I. If you like it hot, you may wish to double the spice portions I have here.

I like to make this dish around mid-morning and let it sit, covered, on the stove until dinner time, when it gets a final heat through. Being the mum of a 5 year old and an almost 2 year old I love making this ahead of time so that it can wait while I am out doing the school pick up and while I concentrate on the kids, who of course are particularly needy around this time of day. Enjoy.

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Much thanks to Angela for sharing her favourite recipe. As for her photography, you can see some of her fabulous portrait work here. She is based in Toowoomba, Qld.

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Do you have a recipe & picture to share? I would love to hear from you! You can find out  more about contributing to the blog here, or you can email me – info@tractorgirl.com.au.

x Julie

 

Book Review : The Flavour Thesaurus – Niki Segnit

 

 

I have seen a few mentions of this book on wishlists of late, and I thought I’d tell you what I think of it.

Essentially, this book is about the pairings (or or perhaps the parings) of different types of flavours, and why and how well they work (or not, as the case may be). More specific than describing taste according to the four types of receptors on the tongue (bitter, salty, sour, sweet), it further groups flavours into categories such as cheesy, earthy, green & grassy, and roasted. So, using pairings that are relatively common from around the world (have you heard of watermelon & chilli? apparently it’s popular in Mexico) the book serves us bite-size chunks of info-tainment garnished with an obtuse wit.

There are wild pears and wild pairs. And seriously, there are bits that are plain bananas. Chocolate and Coconut starts off thus – “Just as government health departments warn that using marijuana can lead to harder drugs, so sweet tobacco led to my addiction to cigarettes”. Erm… what?? The rest of the entry does kind of follow on in a brambly kind of fashion, but in her attempts to add zest she ends up with a very strange fruit.

She’s no dill – there are great nuggets of foodie wisdom, and the book comes with  recommendations from Heston Blumenthal and Hugh Fearnley-Whittinghall, but some bits are hard to swallow. On Cauliflower and Almond she says “[Restaurateur] Anthony Finn … created a cauliflower trifle – a puree of cauliflower cream with grape jelly and brioche. He’s also conceived a cauliflower and almond creme caramel”. And so does it work? Is the flavour combination viable?? Well, that’s pretty much the whole entry, and so we are left in a jam.

But there are recipes too, and ideas for how to pair the flavours so that they work to their best advantage. She does sound like an egghead at times, but she’s done her research and the book is peppered with amazing bits of trivia – did you know there is a celery-flavoured soda available in New York? Or that when bananas weren’t available in Britain during WWII, mock bananas were made from parsnip? I kid you not. But she does occasionally tend to waffle, and nothing can stop her when she’s on a roll.

After gingerly picking my way through this strange and surprising smorgasbord, I would have to say the book can be summed up as a curious balance of tangy and savoury, with startling notes of fruitcake.

OK, thyme I stopped.

 

Food : Terese Grove – easy sticky date pudding

Today’s fab recipe comes to us courtesy of the lovely Terese Grove. Check out that last pic. Yum, oh YUUUM! Pass me a spoon…

 

 

Ingredients:

Pudding

200gms pitted dates
1 cup water
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100gms butter (softened)
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups SR flour

Sauce

1 cup soft brown sugar
½ cup cream
100gms butter

Preheat oven to 180C.
Prepare cake tin or spring form cake tin.

Method:

Pudding

Combine dates and water in a small saucepan. Bring to boil.
Remove from heat and stir in bicarbonate of soda. Set aside to cool.

Using electric beaters or mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Add eggs one at a time and beat to combine. Add vanilla and mix/beat through. Fold in flour, and cooled date mixture, stir to combine.

Pour into cake tin. Bake for 30 -40 minutes. Check at 30 minutes.
Leave to cool for 15 minutes then turn out on to serving plate/board.

 

Sauce

Combine sugar, cream and butter together in a saucepan and stir until butter and sugar melt/combine. Simmer for 2 mins.

 

Variation:

Pour pudding mix into a 12 muffin tin for individual puddings, prepared with muffin wrappers.
Approx 15 – 20 minutes cooking time. Check at 15 minutes

Serve pudding/s warm with vanilla ice cream and sauce.

 

 

Terese Grove describes herself as “just your average 45+ working girl, and new grandmother who loves fabric, paper, stationery, sewing, being creative, and living for the time I can finish working full time.” She has a Certificate IV in Colour and Design, Certificate IV in Training and Accreditation, Diploma in Colour Design and a Diploma in Surface Design.

In her spare time she sews, screen prints, designs fabrics, and creates home wares for herself.

You can find more of Terese’s work on her sites designed to a T and jane on jane st.

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Do you have a great recipe to share? I’m always looking for contributions! All you need is the recipe, and a quality photo. Find out more here.

Cheers, Julie x

 

Food : Anastasia Christou – tropical pudding

 

Here in Australia, summer’s almost over. But there’s still time for pineapple!

 

Today I wanted to introduce you to a quick, simple recipe for Tropical Pudding, a tasty treat that is perfect for all the family. I make a large batch at the start of the week and take little tubs of it to work for my afternoon snack. Its gluten-free too so is great for anyone who wants to avoid gluten.

Tropical pudding

Ingredients

1 400ml can of Coconut Milk (lite – optional)
1-2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Rice Flour

Grab a small saucepan and on medium heat, warm up the milk, add your sugar and stir until it dissolves.

Then add your rice flour and keep stirring until it thickens up nicely. Keep stirring until it comes to a boil and is nice and thick. Leave to cool slightly.

In the meantime- 

 

Drain a 440g can of pineapple – blitz to a puree in your blender. Fold gently through your milky pudding and refrigerate. Voila! Easy simple pudding – yummo!!

You can also make this using mango – perfect during the summer seasons.

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Today’s recipe comes from Anastasia, who has a super-sweet blog called Anastasia Drawing & Dreaming. She always manages to find THE most fabulous pictures from days gone by, glamourous and delish! She also makes paper and collage stationery, which you can find in her shop Percival Road, here. Thanks Anastasia!

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Do you have a great recipe to share? I’m always looking for contributions! All you need is the recipe, and a quality photo. Find out more here.

Cheers, Julie x