Salmon Tart with Crème fraîche, Dill & Piment d’Espelette

salmontartSavory tarts are easy to make, versatile and tasty. With a roll of puff pastry, some cream or cheese and a few bits and pieces from your fridge, you are well on your way to a quick and satisfying dinner.
Yesterday I made a tart with crème fraîche and smoked salmon which we really enjoyed. I added a touch of piment d’Espelette for a little ‘kick’. Serve it with a simple green salad and a buttery Chardonnay.

Salmon Tart with Crème fraîche, Dill & Piment d’Espelette
Serves 4

  • 1 roll of puff pastry (40x 24cm)
  • 225g crème fraîche
  • 100g quality smoked salmon (I used the sustainable one from Fish Tales — LOVE their products!)
  • fresh dill
  • 6 small sun-dried tomato halves, chopped
  • 1 tsp piment d’Espelette

Preheat the oven to 200C and line a baking tray with baking paper. Unroll the puff pastry and place it on the baking tray. Spread the crème fraîche over the surface of the pastry, leaving an edge free all around. Tear the salmon in pieces and arrange over the tart. Scatter with the dill and sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle with the piment d’Espelette. Bake the tart for approx. 25 minutes until golden brown. So delicious!

 

Orzo with Grilled Asparagus, Feta & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

orzoLast night I made a quick and delicious vegetarian dinner with orzo (rice-shaped pasta) and baby asparagus. The dish has tons of flavor thanks to the addition of sun-dried tomatoes, feta, caramelized onions and herbes de Provence. And the best part? It makes wonderful leftovers for lunch! Here’s the recipe!

Orzo with Grilled Asparagus, Feta & Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves 3

  • 350g orzo
  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 3 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 tbsps herbes de Provence
  • 200g baby asparagus
  • 1 tsp dried garlic
  • sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 150g feta, crumbled
  • 1 tbsp chopped chives
  • 100g sun-dried tomatoes (in oil), chopped

Cook the orzo according to the instructions on the packet and allow to cool slightly. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently sauté the onions, seasoning them with the herbes de Provence, for approximately 15 minutes. Grill the asparagus for approx. 3-5 minutes. In a bowl, toss the feta, chopped chives, sun-dried tomatoes and roasted asparagus. Add the orzo and caramelized onions. Season with salt and pepper and toss again. Serve

Honest Food Writing

7308395186_2a1b2b9caf_oI recently purchased the Dutch translation of the book Deliciously Ella Every Day, written by popular food blogger Ella Mills. It caught my eye at my local supermarket, and I put it into my basket with good hope after reading some very positive reviews.
While the book is a pleasure to leaf through and has good tips for those new to a vegan lifestyle, I am losing faith after a few major recipe fails — especially the one that took place yesterday when I decided to ‘treat’ my family to her carrot cake muffins for breakfast. I should have stopped and not even attempted them after first reading through the recipe. How could they possibly work with mostly wet ingredients? Well, they didn’t. The result was moist, overly sweet little blobs that ended up in the bin. After almost an hour in the oven (the 35 minutes stated in the recipe would have resulted in liquid ‘muffins’), I ended up making eggs on toast instead.
Until recently, I wouldn’t have even tried a recipe such as this one. Or, I would have adapted it to make sure it would work. But I am trying to give cookbooks an honest shot these days, so I follow the recipes exactly as they are written. And nine times out of ten, I end up kicking myself for doing that, because if there is one thing that really irritates me, it’s a poorly written recipe. One that was probably never tested. As a food writer, I find it particularly disrespectful to your audience. You see, there are actually people out there who are not just interested in pretty pictures, but in GOOD, solid recipe writing. And who hate to waste money on disappointing kitchen failures.
I often wonder how some of these books sell like hotcakes. Clever marketing? Adoring fans who are too intimidated to report on their flops? Or maybe they don’t even attempt to actually cook from the books?
It is high time for food writing to be left to the hands of those who can truly create recipes and do so with passion, veracity and respect.
PS: By the same token, I should write about how food blogging is becoming one big marketing joke. Honesty is a rare thing when large sums of money are involved.

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