We have found a new organic veg supplier, which is really cool. In this weeks box we had some beautiful young artichokes and a bunch of fat peppery rocket leaves (as well as other stuff obviously). Artichokes are stunning looking thistle-type vegetables and it always seems such a shame to rip all their leaves off and throw them away. I did it though, using this tutorial.
To be honest preparing an artichoke is a complete faff. Such a lot of work for little return. Is that controversial?
That’s why they sell them already prepped and cooked in delis or in jars in supermarkets. So, if you are impatient (like me) or they are not in season where you are, save yourself some time and buy them. Use the whole vegetable as a table decoration instead with some lavender maybe, or even some fat rocket leaves as an alternative bouquet….
The artichokes reminded me of the delicious tart we had at Babel restaurant at Babylonstoren. The pastry was the amazingly crumbly and I managed to get the recipe from the Chef Simone. This tart came with the best chips in the world that I have recreated too. I will share the recipe in my next post.
I have already written about our day at Babylonstoren in another post . They have a huge farm on site that supplies the restaurant with fresh fruit and vegetables. There is also a beautiful greenhouse that houses the more exotic plants where you can sit and enjoy a fresh from the garden herb tea.
The interior of the restaurant is effortlessly chic.
Even the menus are gorgeous.
Their version of the tart came with tamarillo (a cross between a tomato and a passionfruit), onion marmalade and pesto. I made a rocket and walnut pesto with the gorgeous rocket and a sweet raisin puree to cut through the sourness of the goat’s cheese. After preparing the artichoke hearts I roasted them with olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and fresh thyme to enhance their delicate flavour.
You could also buy the tart cases if you are short of time but this pastry recipe is definitely worth the effort.
Roasted Artichoke & Goat’s Cheese Tart
Makes 4 x 10 cm tarts, Vegetarian. Adapted from the Babel Restaurant recipe
For the pastry:
Prep time: 35 mins (including resting) Cooking time: 15 mins
- 100 g chilled butter, cubed
- 125 spelt flour (or plain)
- 65 ml sour cream/creme fraiche
- a pinch of salt
Pulse the cubed butter, flour and salt in a food processor until it resembles crumble mix. Add the sour cream and pulse again until it just comes together. Do not over mix. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
For the filling:
Prep time: 40 mins (if using fresh artichokes) Cooking time: 15-25 mins
- 3 young artichoke hearts, quartered (to prepare artichokes read this)
- olive oil
- salt & black pepper
- a sprig of fresh thyme, leaves removed & chopped
- 4 small garlic cloves unpeeled
- 150 gr soft goat’s cheese
- 75 ml sour cream/creme fraiche
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- fresh thyme, rosemary leaves, very finely chopped
- pinch salt & pepper
Preheat oven to 180C and toss the uncooked artichoke hearts (you can leave this part out of you have bought cooked artichoke hearts) with the olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme and the whole unpeeled garlic cloves. Roast for 20-30 minutes until slightly browned.
Whisk together the goat’s cheese, sour cream, herbs, egg, salt & pepper until combined.
Butter and flour your tart tins. Quarter the pastry and roll out each piece between two bits of floured cling film to about 3mm thick. Lift the pastry and carefully push it into the tin, do not stretch it, until fairly even. Trim off the excess with a sharp knife. Put in the fridge while you do the rest.
Prick the bases all over with a fork, cover with a square of greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans or any dried beans. Bake at 180c for about 10 minutes then remove the paper and beads and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Pour in the cheese, but not to the top, then add in the artichoke hearts and peeled roasted garlic cloves so the filling now reaches the top and bake for 15 -25 minutes, until puffed and golden.
Rocket & Walnut Pesto
serves 4, vegan, gluten free
- a bunch of fresh rocket leaves
- about 100 gr walnuts (toast them in the oven for 4 minutes) then chop
- olive oil
- salt & pepper
- a squeeze lemon/orange juice
- a pinch of sugar
Put all the ingredients except the oil in a measuring jug (or food processor) and start to puree with a stick blender drizzling in the oil until you get a nice consistency. Taste and adjust seasoning.
For the Raisin Puree:
serves 4, vegan, gluten-free
- about 100 gr raisins
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp balsamic/sherry vinegar
- 1 tsp miel de cana (molasses)
Put the raisins and sugar in a small saucepan and just cover with water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Reserving some of the liquid blend the raisins with the rest of the ingredients and a splash of the cooking water if necessary to a smooth puree. Taste for sweetness.
Serve the tart hot or warm with the rocket pesto, raisin puree and some fresh rocket leaves if you like. The perfect accompaniment though would have to be these chunky chips.
Crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy in the middle, sprinkled with sea salt, cracked pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Perfect.
I’ll give you the recipe in my next post, I promise….