I thought I’d show you some pictures today to prove that the weather is not always perfect here. It still looks beautiful though. Rufus and I walked to the top of this hill yesterday and the weather was on the verge of changing.
By the time we reached the top there was definitely something in the air. Something about the shadows and the clouds.
Rufus knew there was something going on, he could sense it.
You could see the storm clouds moving in above our heads…
So we decided to head home for lunch….
On Monday we went for dinner at our friends Joan & Terry. She made a lovely spiced ginger, carrot & coriander soup followed by a beautiful red onion and goat’s cheese risotto and a delicious apple and almond tart with an Amaretti biscuit base for dessert. I am always really grateful when people who are not vegetarian cook a full vegetarian meal for us. I know how difficult it is if you are not used to it. So thank you again, it was all gorgeous and we really appreciate it.
As we were leaving they gave us a crate (yes a crate) of food to take away with us as they were going back to England in a day or two. Part of the contents of this “food crate” was a bag of onions and some puff pastry.
Caramelized onions are one of my favourite things. Their sweet, savouriness enhances the hell out of plain cheese sandwich transforming it into something gourmet. Add some veg (or beef) stock, sherry or brandy and cook for 10 minutes and you have an amazing French/Spanish onion soup to top with cheesy croutes. They add a grown up edge to pizzas and can be made into a fantastic caramelized onion dip that I found on Happy When Not Hungry.
My favourite thing to make with caramelized onions though is a tart. It is so easy and tastes lovely. The sweetness of the onions on the thin, crispy, flaky pastry base with a crumbling of some sharp sour cheese is delicious. Add a scattering of fresh herbs and you have an elegant starter or lunch dish. You can even make a big rectangular one to serve four, or cut it into squares or slices for a buffet. It is really versatile you can use whatever cheese and herbs you like. Why not try smoked mozzarella & basil or halloumi, mint & oregano, or try red onions with goat’s cheese & rosemary…..
Caramelized Onion Tarts with Feta & Thyme
serves 4 – 6, vegetarian
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 kg onions, halved, peeled & finely sliced
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp thyme leaves chopped, or dried thyme
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
- 375 gr (1 block or sheet)puff pastry, defrosted in the fridge overnight
- 25 gr finely grated Parmesan or Manchego
- 150 gr Greek Feta cheese
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme leaves to scatter
Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat and add in the onions, thyme and chilli flakes. cover with a lid and cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes. Add in the sugar, vinegar, salt & pepper and cook for another 5 minutes until the onion is soft and caramelized. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 220 C. Roll out the pastry, if necessary, to about 2 or 3 mm thick. Cut into a large rectangle with a ruler or cut around some side plates or saucers if you want individual round tarts. You can reroll the off cuts to make more if necessary. Score a 1cm border around the edge of the pastry but don’t cut all the way through. Prick the base inside the scored edges with a fork (see photo above) and sprinkle over the grated parmesan inside the circle too.
Put the caramelized onion on top of the parmesan leaving the border clear. Bake in the preheated oven for 15- 25 minutes depending on the size of your tart/s. Remove from the oven when the pastry is puffed & golden brown. Crumble over the feta and scatter over some fresh thyme leaves.
Serve with a green salad dressed with olive oil & lemon juice. Depending on how many tarts you make you may have some of the caramelized onions left. Store in a sealed container in the fridge. If they last that long……….