Monday, May 2, 2011

Autumn food - roasted butternut and caramalised onion tart and some soup

It became autumn quite suddenly here.  Actually more winter.  Freezing weather down south and really chilly in our neck of the woods for this time of the year.  We've had to pull the fluffy blankets and winter pajamas from the cupboards. Summer just disappeared too early I think.  But then I love summer and always think that it was too short I suppose.

We started eating hearty meals too.  Meals that are warmer and a little richer.  Stews and roasts and curries.  Warm meals in general are not a staple during summer in our family.  It is just simply too hot and we often eat salads and fruit platters.  All that changes when the weather starts to turn chilly.  Suddenly we crave a bit of warmth and some substance.  Hence roasted butternut.  

Roast a few at once.  Just rub their skins with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle with some salt and a teaspoon or two of cumin or coriander and into the oven at 170°C for about an hour.   The possibilities of things to do with these roasted gems are endless.  They are perfect with just a sprinkle of sugar.  Even better as a soup and absolutely delicious in this tart.

On a different note:  We took over a lettuce business a couple of months ago.  Our greenhouse is now operational and we are so proud.  My dad takes care of the day to day running of it all and delivers to the local restaurants.  You may just see more salad recipes here in future.

Also, I just like to mention that the red teatowel in the background is from Skinny laMinx.  I bought it for myself as a little gift and felt so spoiled when it arrived in the post.  Heather Moore wrapped it and attached a little papercut tag with a bird.  The whole package just had 'made with love and care' written all over it.  I was simply smitten with the contents too. 

Roasted butternut tart
120g flour
60g butter
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons ice water
1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine the flour and butter in a bowl of a food processor and pulse until it resembles fine crumbs.  Mix together the egg, water and lemon and with the blade running, pour the egg mixture through the funnel into the processor.  Process only until the mixture comes together.  Remove and place onto a sheet of plastic wrap.  Close with the plastic and only press gently to turn the pastry into a flat disk, around 5cm thick.  Place the disk in the fridge for around 15 minutes (longer on a really hot day).  Remove from the fridge and roll out on a well floured surface to fit the size of your tart pan.  The pastry will shrink during baking and it is preferable to leave extra pastry over the edge of the pan.  Line with baking paper and cover with a thin layer of pastry beans.  Bake in a preheated oven at 190°C for 10-15 minutes.  Remove the beans and baking paper and bake for another 10 minutes or until the pastry begins to brown slightly.  Cut away excess pastry with a sharp knive.  Leave in the tart pan to cool for a few minutes before adding the filling. 

2 eggs
125ml cream
1 tsp oregano leaves
1 roasted butternut, peeled and diced

Combine all the ingredients, except butternut in a bowl and beat until well combined.  Season to taste.  Place the butternut on the baked tart shell and pour the mixture over.  Fill almost to the top.  Add the caramalised onions.  Bake in a 180°C oven for 20 - 25 minutes or until the sides are set, but the middle has a slight wobble.  Remove and let rest on a wire rack, until set.  

Caramalised onions
1 red onion, finely diced
3 table spoons sugar
juice of one lemon

Fry the onion in a bit of olive oil and a small amount of butter over low heat until soft.  Add the sugar and do not stir until the sugar has dissolved.  Increase the heat and let the sugar caramalise only very lightly.  Add the lemon juice and a few table spoons of water and simmer over low heat until the water has evaporated and the caramel has a syrup consistancy.

Roasted butternut soup
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 sticks of celery
4 marrow bones
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
bunch parsly roughly chopped
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, grounded
2 cloves
1 teaspoon cumin

2 roasted butternuts, peeled and pips removed.

Fry the onion in a bit of olive oil over low heat until soft.  Add the other ingredients, except butternut and a litre of water.  Simmer of low heat until the marrow bones are cooked through.  Remove bones and add marrow to the soup (optional).  Dice the butternut and add to the soup.  Puree with handheld blender.  Serve with a bit of cream.

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