Market shopping and a tart
Food shopping at a market is different from the supermarket kind. When I usually set off for the shops I’m clutching a list and have a few recipes for meals in mind. When you enter a market, the produce leads the way.
I met up with a group of friends (who also all happen to be food bloggers) at the Souk al Bahar famer’s market recently. We based ourselves in Baker & Spice, tucked into their fabulous range of pastries (no photo of my almond croissant as I ate it so quickly) and had a session of swapping photography knowledge. Then we made forays out in to the market which was in full swing outside. It’s not a big market but the producers are enthusiastic and the choice and variety fresher and more unique than anything you can find in the shops here.
The time flew by and we all learnt a huge amount from each other. Baker & Spice were really welcoming to our group as we stuck our lenses into their gorgeous food and the manager kindly picked up the bill.
My basket from the market included deep purple shiny peppers, slender baby leeks, Greek and Genovese basil, aubergines, stripy beef tomatoes and tiny cherry tomatoes and a punnet of mulberries which tasted of honey and lychees. The free-range chicken sold out before I could buy one (you choose them live). The produce is very reasonably priced and super fresh. There are only a few weeks left before the market closes for the season.
So what did I do with my lovely goodies? The mulberries were nearly all eaten on the way home. Leeks made a beautiful gratin (with toasted cheese sauce), the tomatoes were stuffed, as were most of the peppers and the remainder turned into this tart with the aubergines and cherry tomatoes.
The Art of the Tart by Tamasin Day Lewis is the cookery book I turn to most often. There is something so satisfying about buttery pastry often filled with a sweet or savoury custard and other glorious flavours. But Ottolenghi’s Plenty was my inspiration this time adapting the ingredients to my shopping basket and cupboard.
Roasted vegetable tart – recipe adapted from Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty
2 purple peppers (or whatever colour you have)
2 large red chilli peppers (mild)
1/2 butternut squash, diced
1 aubergine, diced
1 small courgette, diced
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
2 bay leaves
300g shortcrust pastry (I made this with 300g plain flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 160g butter)
8 thyme sprigs picked
7 cherry tomatoes, halved
200ml double cream
Salt and black pepper
Preheat oven to 230C .
Remove the stalk and seeds of the large peppers and place on a ovenproof dish or baking tray. Pierce the chilli peppers and add to the dish. Drizzle with olive oil, salt, pepper and place it in the oven.
Mix diced aubergine with 4 tablespoons of olive oil, salt pepper. Bake in oven
After about 12 minutes, add the diced butternut squash to the aubergine tin and roast for a further 10 minutes. At this point the peppers should be brown and remainder of vegetables cooked. Reduce the oven to 160C.
Whilst the vegetables are roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Saute the onions with bay leaves for 25 minutes until they turn brown and soft. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.
Lightly grease a tart tin or baking dish. Roll out the pastry to 3mm and line the tin leaving some hanging over the rim. Line the pastry case with baking parchment and fill with baking beads before blind baking for 30 minutes. Remove the beads, and bake for a further 10 minutes.
Spread the onion on the bottom of the pastry and top with roasted vegetables (with the peppers cut into pieces and the chilli peppers seeds removed) and thyme leaves. Scatter chunks of both cheeses and then tomato halves cut-side up.
Whisk the eggs and cream together in a bowl with salt and pepper and carefully and evenly pour this mixture into the case. Bake for 35-50 minutes until the filling sets and rest for 10 minutes before serving. When slightly cool, cut the overhanging pastry level with the top of the tin.
Braun Multiquick giveaway – I wrote all the names of people who commented on a piece of paper and added duplicates for Tweets and Facebook comments. Then I closed my eyes and pulled one out of the bag. I am delighted to announce that the winner of the Braun Multiquick is Grace. Congratulations Grace – I hope you enjoy your new and useful gadget.