Puff Pastry Mushroom Tarts

These gorgeous individual tarts are the result of some kitchen playtime aimed at producing non-meat options for serving at Mum’s birthday party – I think they’ll be going on the menu 🙂

A forest of mushroomsI debated whether or not to add garlic to the recipe but in the end decided against – the flavours of these particular mushrooms are so amazing I just wanted to let them shine.  However, if using a mix of more ‘ordinary’ mushrooms, then I’d probably include it.  As ever, with this and everything you cook, the choice is yours!

Serves two if cut into approx. 12cm circles – will make more if circles are smaller 😉

Approx 200g of ready made puff pastry
A knob of butter
250-300g mixed wild/’exotic’ mushrooms, roughly chopped (we used golden enoki, white enoki and brown shimeji – whatever you use, choose really flavourful varieties like these, morrel, shiitake or porcini, for example)
25g-30g parmesan, finely grated
Small handful fresh parsley leaves, roughly chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, crushed (optional)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 egg, beaten

Set the oven to preheat at gas mark 6/200°C/400°F.

Pastry circlesRoll the pastry out and cut four circles – mine were about 12cm each.  Brush two circles with beaten egg then stack the other two on top…so you have two discs, each made of two layers of pastry.
Apologies for the absence of visuals – the lighting (and the lack of my photography skills) was doing grim pink and green things to the colour of the pastry.  And let’s face it, my ‘solution’ of using this black and white effect isn’t desperately appetising either.  Perhaps you can see why I gave up trying to take photos of the uncooked pastry?!

Pastry cuttersIf you have a suitably sized smaller pastry cutter, use it to score a 1cm-ish border around the edge of each pastry circle – don’t go all the way through the layers, just about half way.  You can do it with a knife if you don’t have a pastry cutter.

Leave to chill in the fridge, but not on the baking tray you intend to use to bake them on.  All will become clear my friend, read on…

Finely diced onionsHeat the butter in a large frying pan and cook onions over a low heat until soft.

Cooked onion and mushroomsTurn up heat a little, add chopped mushrooms (and crushed garlic if using) and cook for a further 5 minutes or so, making sure there’s no liquid left in the pan.

Mushrooms, parsley and parmesanCombine cooked onions and mushrooms with parsley and parmesan.  Season with salt and pepper.

This is my tip for avoiding a soggy bottom on your tart (ooh, err!) –  lightly oil your baking tray and pop it into the oven to heat while you finish prepping up the tarts.  See why it’s a good thing your baking tray isn’t in the fridge? 😉

Spoon the mushroom mix into the marked centre circle of each chilled pastry disc then brush the edge  with beaten egg.

Mushroom Tarts - bakedCarefully slide onto your preheated baking tray and bake for about 15-20 mins, until puffed up and golden brown.

Mushroom Tart - puff pastryServed here with oven baked, truffle butter drizzled asparagus (oh yeah baby!), on a bed of crushed carrots, with roasted baby potatoes.  Really, really good 🙂

The food week that was – 16/03/15

Recording what we eat is proving to be an interesting and valuable exercise, although it’s not actually what this blog was supposed to be about (which reminds me, I must get ’round to changing the description line before I get called out as a big fat fibber).

The primary benefit I’ve noticed so far has been the accidental promotion of mindful eating.  Quite clearly it’s not a complete transformation but it’s definitely happening.  Let’s face it, you’re far less inclined to have a packet of Doritos, a Snickers and three cookies for dinner when you’re kinda committed to taking a picture of it and publicly displaying it.

On top of that, in order to keep things interesting and avoid repetitiveness, again knowing things will be posted publicly, I’m tending to put much more thought and effort into meal planning.

That said, it’s become apparent that this all goes to hell in a hand basket when we’re tired, under pressure in our day jobs and generally having a tough time one way or another.  The times when we most need nourishing food, and extra vitamin dosage, are when we get ourselves into a downward spiral of increasingly lazy and poor food choices – how insane is that?  This was dreadfully evident this week as we finished a takeaway or ready made meal, declared it to have been unsatisfying/flavourless/greasy/horrid, then up and did it again within 24 hours.  How brainwashed by advertising and hooked on fat and sugar are we?  On the upside – at least I’ve noticed it!

Anyway, this is how we alternated between abusing and restoring ourselves with food this week:

Gnocchi with GorgonzolaMonday: Gnocchi with gorgonzola, spinach and toasted walnuts.

I have a confession: this was the first time any of us had eaten gnocchi.  I don’t know why…  It will definitely not be the last time – this meal was absolutely gorgeous, and unbelievably quick to make.  Here’s how:

  • Toast around 40g walnut halves or pieces and set to one side.
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil – keep it boiling!
  • While the pan of water is coming to boiling point, put about 200ml of double cream and around 200g gorgonzola into a different pan (!) – stir gently over a low heat until cheese has melted – add plenty of freshly ground black pepper – keep it warm.
  • Add 500g chilled gnocchi to the pan of boiling water – cook until they float to the top (2-4 minutes).  Drain well and return to pan.
  • Stir in gorgonzola sauce, about half of the toasted walnuts and around 150-200g of fresh spinach leaves.  Transfer to an oven proof dish.  Top with remaining walnuts and a good grating of parmesan cheese and bung it under the grill under it’s golden brown and bubbling.
  • Serve with green salad leaves (watercress is good) – a simple lemon juice dressing works well.
  • Stuff food into face and make ‘mmmmm’ noises.

Subway signTuesday: We ate from here.

Fish & ChipsWednesday: That’s what we had.

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