You’ll be relieved to know that today’s post is a quickie, both in the writing and the recipe. Tomorrow Miss R, Mr A, my lovely in-laws and I are headed to Barcelona for a week. And I have done nothing in preparation. I don’t even know where my summer clothes are (I am still wearing long sleeves and socks). So, this will be super speedy so I can get on with ferreting around in cupboards for shorts, and dust off ancient, rarely used flip flops. And throw away expired, half-empty bottles of sunscreen.
But before I head upstairs I will polish off the last bit of this goats cheese crust and tomato tart, a la Nigella. Yes, I’m going to stand in front of the open fridge, but no, I will not be doing it in a dressing gown or licking my fingers lasciviously. Who does that??I also want to publiclycongratulate my Miss R. Not only for plucking up the courage to do a 165 foot drop/abseil from the Forth Rail Bridge last Sunday, but also for raising a tremendous amount of money for Maggies Cancer Caring Centres. As for me, her mother, it was almost unbearable to watch, especially as the wind picked up just as she and two fellow brave souls started their descent. But the massive grin on her face told me she was loving it. She actually wanted to go again! Mr A abseiled as well, so congrats and big hugs to both of my sporty, fund-raising heroes. Grandma, Bobby, Poppy and I are so proud of you both.
Mr A is an old pro at this abseiling lark
it’s a looong way down
can we go again?
I won’t be posting next week so I hope all of my American friends have a wonderful Fourth of July. See you all on the 17th. With a tan, I hope.
Miss R’s Track of the Week: ‘Pictures’ by very young English singer-songwriter Benjamin Francis Leftwich (not sure what the python is all about…)
This freeform tart has a lot going on taste-wise – tomato tapenade, herbs, fresh tomatoes, and the surprise of goats’ cheese in the crust, as well as on the crust. As an extra wee fillip, I have used olive oil in place of the traditional butter. I really like an olive oil crust as it gives a lovely crisp texture and subtle interesting taste. If you like the sound of an olive oil crust, but without the cheese, please check out my Tandoori Cauliflower Tart.
Goats Cheese Dough
*200g (7 oz) white spelt flour OR plain flour
*¾ tsp table salt
*50g (2 oz) soft goats’ cheese
*2 good pinches dried thyme or 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
*50ml (2 oz) olive oil
*enough ice-cold water to make a soft but not sticky dough. I used about 2 tbsp, but it depends a lot on the thirstiness of your flour and the wetness of your cheese.
*Polenta or cornmeal for dusting the pan
In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour and salt, then stir in the thyme, cheese and olive oil. Once this has come together add in 2 tbsp of ice-cold water. If you feel it needs a bit more add just a few drops. Knead briefly in the bowl then roll out on a floured board to fit come to the top of a 20 cm (8 inch) or 26cm (10 inch) diameter baking tin OR, as I did, iron skillet. Sprinkle in about 2 tsp of cornmeal or polenta before carefully transferring the dough into the tin. I roll the dough loosely – about halfway – onto the rolling pin then hover the pin at the pan’s midpoint before letting it drape evenly (hopefully) into the dusted pan. Let this hang out in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes so that the gluten relaxes.
*3+ tbsp tomato tapenade (see my easy recipe from last week, or use bought)
*A variety of small, grown-for-taste tomatoes, small ones halved and slightly larger ones in thick slices
*A few sweet mini peppers, deseeded and halved – optional
*Fresh thyme leaves
*About 10 dry-cure black olives, torn roughly from the stone – if you just pinch them the oily flesh comes away
*Honey, to drizzle
*Freshly ground black pepper
*Extra goats’ cheese for finishing
*Fresh basil leaves for finishing
When you are ready to bake, pull the cool dough out and spread on the tapenade and nestle in the tomatoes, peppers (if using), and sprinkle over the thyme leaves, olives and drizzle on about a tablespoon of flavourful honey. Finish with some black pepper. Fold the edges over loosely. If you have a shallow tart tin you can trim to fit the edge but I quite like the freeform, ‘this is meant to be messy’ look.