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 😉

Ingredients
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
Music

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 🙂
x

Grilled Sea Bass Fillets with White Bean & Artichoke Mash, Roasted Vegetables and Pesto

This meal was built around my recent craving for lemony, garlicky, butter bean mash – the stuff is so damned delicious that despite having a rather large portion with the sea bass, I’m still wanting more.  Be warned, you may find the same thing happens 😉

Sea bass fillets and roast vegFor the roasted vegetables I’ve listed what we used this time, but you can use anything you like, in sufficient quantities for the servings you require.  Do bear in mind different cooking times – either add quicker cooking items later, or vary the size of the chunks.

For the pesto I used walnuts as none of us like pine nuts – of course you can use pine nuts instead, or even cashews.  Whatever you choose, only toast them very lightly so as to bring out the creaminess of the flavour, rather than browning them and making them extra nutty.

The entire meal’s a lot easier to prepare than would be suggested by the length of the post – promise! 🙂

Ingredients

2 sea bass fillets
A drizzle of olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the roasted vegetables
1 medium sweet potato
1 medium onion
1 courgette
1 yellow bell pepper
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 sprigs of fresh thyme
Sea salt

For the pesto:
2-3 handfuls of fresh basil leaves
½ – 1 garlic clove
A handful of very lightly toasted walnuts
50-75g fresh parmesan, grated
Several good glugs of decent quality extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the white bean and artichoke mash
1 tin butter beans (or cannellini, or haricot/navy beans, or a mix)
¼ jar artichoke hearts in oil
1 lemon – juice and finely grated zest
½ – 1 garlic clove, minced
Lots of extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Music

Ready to create a taste sensation?  Grand!

For the roast vegetables:
Preheat the oven to gas mark 7/220°C/425°F.

Put the empty baking tray for the veggies in the oven to heat up…you want it to get really hot before adding anything.

Chop your veggies into suitably sized chunks, put into a bowl along with the olive oil and, using your hands, mix well to make sure everything’s well coated.  If your vegetables have very different cooking times, it will be best to separate them into a couple of smaller bowls for the oil coating process -that way you can easily add them into the pan in stages.

Tip the coated veg chunks onto the heated baking tray, sprinkle liberally with sea salt, toss thyme sprigs on top and slam in the oven.

You can pretty much ignore them now for around 30 minutes while you get on with the other bits – just turn them over at the halfway point to make sure they brown evenly.  Of course that assumes everything’s going in at once – if you’re adding in stages, I’m afraid you’re on your own working out what to add when!

Basil

GarlicFor the pesto:
Take the basil leaves, garlic and a good pinch of salt and grind to a paste using either a mortar and pestle, or the pulse setting on a food processor.Walnuts

Olive oilAdd the lightly toasted nuts and a little olive oil and grind again.

Basil, walnut and oil pasteYou’re aiming for a paste that still has a little texture to it – don’t try to make it entirely smooth.

Parmesan added to basil paste Tip paste into a bowl, add about half of the parmesan and a slug or two of olive oil.  Stir gently to mix.  Add seasoning and taste.

PestoContinue to add in grated cheese, olive oil and seasoning until you’re happy with the taste and consistency – you’re aiming for an oozy sauce, where the ingredients are just bound together by the olive oil, but are not swimming in it.

Set to one side and try not to keep tasting it while you cook the rest of your meal.

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