I created my first version of this tart when I was living in France with Douglas for a couple of months, relishing the crispy pastry, creamy cheese, juicy flavourful tomatoes, fresh herbs and spicy cracked pepper. Back then I used a lovely soft salty white French cheese riddled with herbs and garlic. Naturally, I’ve created a new version of this, and it’s still amazingly good.
Only use big tomatoes if they’re in season — red andripe and full of flavour. Otherwise, use a heap of ripe cherry tomatoes.This magnificent dish can be served hot, warm or cold, for breakfast,brunch, lunch or dinner. It’s perfect for a shared table, a picnic or alight meal served al fresco with a fresh salad and a glass of chilled rosé.Oh là là, take me there!
PREP 20 minutes COOK 35 minutes SERVES 4–6
HERBY CHEESE SPREAD
1 cup raw cashews (or use tofu; see tips)
¼ cup water
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp dried dill (or 1 tbsp choppedfresh)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp finely ground black or white pepper
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsleyand chives
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage and thyme (or ½ tsp each dried;optional), plus extra to serve
1kg ripe juicy tomatoes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
250g shallots, peeled and halved
big pinch salt
big pinch sugar
350g dairy-free puff pastry
¼ cup canned chickpea liquid (aquafaba), for brushing
TO MAKE IT GLUTEN-FREE
Use a GF pastry and mustard.
If you prefer, you can use 300g tofu for the cheese instead of the cashews. It’s easier to make in afood processor, but it won’t bequite as creamy.
Place the cashews for the cheese spread in a heatproof bowl or jug and cover with just-boiled water. Leave to soak for 20 minutes or so, then rinse.
Slice the tomatoes for the tart about 5mm thick and lay on a couple of layers of paper towel. Sprinkle with salt and press another couple of paper towels on top (or you can use a clean tea towel for this if it’s nice and absorbent). Leave for 10 minutes or so.
Place the oil in a medium-sized saucepan over a medium-low heat. Add the shallots along with the salt and sugar and cook, stirring every now and then, for 15–20 minutes until golden and starting to caramelise. Remove from the heat.
Place the drained cashews in a food processor or high-speed blender along with the other cheese spread ingredients except the fresh herbs,and process until smooth. It may take a while, so be patient and keep scraping down the sides. You could also do this with a stick blender. Stir the herbs through at the end.
Preheat the oven to 190°C fan-bake (or 200°C regular bake, but fan-bake is better for pastry) and set a rack in the lower half of the oven.
If your pastry is pre-rolled, lay it on baking paper on a baking tray. Otherwise, roll it out to 3–4mm thick. Prick all over with a fork. Lightly moisten the edges with water and fold the edges over by 1–2cm, pressing down hard to crimp all along with your index finger.
Spread the base of the pastry with the cheese. Top with the shallots and tomato slices. Season with cracked pepper, extra fresh herbs and a little more salt.
Brush the edges of the pastry generously with the aquafaba. Bake for 35–40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and everything is looking lovely and caramelised. Leave it in longer if not — the pastry should be nice and crispy, even underneath.
Keeps well for a day or so at room temperature or in the fridge.
Braised in a beautiful balsamic sauce, these slow-cooked beef cheeks are so meltingly tender you could devour them with a spoon! Eight hours of cooking ensures that the braising liquid turns into a luscious, gravy-like sauce. I encourage you to enjoy it spooned over creamy potato mash or fluffy cooked grains such as quinoa or bulgur wheat.
This sticky date pudding is one of my favourite things to make during the colder months. What makes this dessert really special is the hint of ginger and cardamom in the coconut butterscotch sauce. I bet you can’t wait to grab your spoon and dig in! Just remember to get your dates on to soak a bit beforehand. If you don’t need this to be vegan, you can use regular milk, cream and butter.
This recipe has been a fan favourite for over a decade. Cut it into slices for the kids or into tiny squares as a treat with your cuppa. It also freezes well, so you can stash a few squares away for when no one is looking.
This hearty soup is a proper hug in a mug. The ricotta and Parmesan topping really fulfills the 'lasagne' promise, but if you don’t want to bother you can just top it with grated cheese and it’ll still be a winner. The super-cheesy garlicky toasties are a good addition to any tomatoey soup — or just eat them on their own!
I have been making a banana bread with chocolate and tahini on repeat for a while now, and every time I’ve eaten it over the last year or so, I couldn’t help thinking that the particular combination of intense chocolatiness, sweet, texture-softening banana and the rich earthiness of tahini would make the perfect warm pudding.
This is not exactly the same as perhaps the most precious recipe in my repertoire, My Mother’s Praised Chicken, which found a home in my eighth book, Kitchen, but it owes a lot to it. A family favourite, it’s a simple one-pot dish which brings comfort and joy, and it is my pleasure to share that with you.
Sausage rolls will always be über-cool, no matter what anyone says. They're always the first to be nabbed at morning tea, classily dressed-up with a generous splurt of store-bought tomato sauce... crispy, juicy little taste bombs.
With fragrant spices, tomatoes, cashew butter and yoghurt.
With red pesto-layered filo, Cheddar and cottage cheese.
With cajun spice, mango, sweet cherry tomatoes and lime.
One of the rather pathetic realities of the fact that so many of the restaurants in France are disappointing these days is the almost tearful joy in finding one that’s everything you would have hoped for, often from your childhood or teenage memories. Such a place is Le Bistro du Paradou near Arles.
Sprouts (and the whole brassica family) go fantastically with Asian flavours. Out of season, use a mix of the rest of the brassicas – broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, spring greens etc. You could also make a spring version with asparagus and peas.