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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Friday, May 27, 2005

Veggie Tart

Another one from last week's Eurovision party. When I knew a few people would be coming around I decided to throw something together based on an idea in my new Nigel Slater book, Appetite. He suggests making an easy vegetable tart for friends and parties using puff pastry, caramelised onions and melty cheese (like Taleggio). I decided to bulk it out a bit more as we had a big piece of pumpkin quietly willing itself to a better place. I threw the pumpkin, skin and all in the oven for about an hour and slowly caramelised the onions in some butter and oil.
Take your sheet of pastry (if frozen sheets are good enough for Nigel, they're good enough for me) and cut a border about 2cm in all around; this allows the sides to puff up attractively, whilst keeping the centre flat. Prick the centre with a fork a few times randomly.
I spread the base with some home-made pesto and added the soft, sweet onions and the roasted pumpkin I'd sliced. Worried that the overall taste might be a bit unbalanced towards sweet I added some kalamata olives and salty cheeses we had in the fridge - some fresh Parmesan and a simple cheddar (no Taleggio malingering in our fridge). I dotted it about with a few blobs of light Philly cream cheese, just to add a bit of luxury and some fresh herbs - thyme is good, or oregano, or whatever, and put it in a hot (200c) oven for about 20 minutes.
I'd say that this sort of thing is best straight out of the oven, but the guys who were there were just as happy eating the leftovers cold a few hours later. Simple to prepare, tasty to eat and definitely quicker than making your own pizza base!


  • Wow! This looks really delicious! I'll have to try it soon.

    By Blogger Kelly, at 5/27/2005 03:59:00 pm  

  • looks fantasic! can't wait to try it out mysel. love your blog.

    By Blogger smut blogger, at 5/27/2005 04:37:00 pm  

  • ohh this looks yummy and easy too! Will definitely try this out :-)

    By Blogger pinkcocoa, at 5/27/2005 06:30:00 pm  

  • I like the addition of pumpkin! yum!
    By the way, Niki - I'm tagging you for that cookbook meme http://bakingsheet.blogspot.com/2005/05/cookbook-meme.html

    By Blogger Nic, at 5/27/2005 11:02:00 pm  

  • Hi Niki! Found your blog through some random links. Just read your great writeup on the William Angliss Bistro. I live in Melbourne myself. You mentioned that you could think of 4 such places in Melbourne. Would it be too much of a trouble for you to list them here? (Any other similar restaurants - not necessarily cooking schools - that you recommend would be good too) I'd really like try good food for great low prices! Thanks alot!

    By Anonymous b, at 5/29/2005 12:33:00 am  

  • Ooohhh la la! This is my kind of soul food - perfect for any season and paired with almost anything.

    Thanks for this post Niki. I haven't bloghopped for a bit and look what greeted me here. I can't complain about the other post below either. :)

    By Anonymous Karen, at 5/29/2005 08:52:00 pm  

  • Hi briskjj & smutblogger (!) - thanks for stopping by and your compliments!

    Pinkcocoa - yep, it's definitely easy. I wouldn't say it's very quick to do though, with roasting the pumpkin and caramelising the onions. They took some time...

    Nic - ooooh, the meme. I'll get around to it....soon!

    b - Yes, sure! The 4 cooking school TAFES that have student restaurants are:
    William Angliss - City. (3 restaurants)
    Kangan-Batman TAFE - Broadmeadows
    Box Hill TAFE - Box Hill
    NMIT TAFE - Preston
    If you go to the websites for any of those TAFES they'll have links to their restaurants. I'm actually booked for dinner at the Box Hill TAFE place in the next few weeks.
    As for other cheap restaurants, I love Dumpling King in Tattersalls Lane, just off Little Bourke St for extremely cheap platters of great dumplings; Thy Thy 1 (upstairs) in Victoria St Richmond for excellent salt & pepper prawns & squid; and Burmese House restaurant in St George's Rd, North Fitzroy for cuisine similar to Thai food, but more exciting and so cheap! Only a few tables but worth it; the guy who runs it is very jolly too!

    By Blogger Niki, at 6/01/2005 06:46:00 pm  

  • Thanks alot Niki! I'll definitely add those to my to-try list :)

    By Anonymous b, at 6/02/2005 03:07:00 am  

  • Oops - when I wrote Dumpling King above, I actually meant 'Camy Shanghai Dumpling'. Sorry!!

    By Blogger Niki, at 6/02/2005 07:15:00 pm  

  • Oooh yum! I have some puff pastry malingering in my fridge (I'm glad to see I don't have the only fridge Where FOod Goes To Die...!) and this looks like a fab way of using it! It reminds me of what we used to make as students on weekends away. Of course, back then tallegio and roast pumpkin were ut of the question, so we just used to top the puff pastry with tomato, bacon and cheddar, with maybe a couple of olives if we were feelgin swanky... But still delicious, either way! Thanks for reminding me of this.

    By Blogger Jeanne, at 6/10/2005 10:46:00 pm  

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