Friday 17th May: All tarted up

Spinach, thyme and goats' cheese tart2

Alas, the Riverford Farm organic veg box arrived today, and after a short trip to the local shops for a few bits and bobs, it came to be that a cornucopia of ingredients sat expectantly in the fridge and larder, waiting to be whipped into something delicious.

Three items didn’t have to wait long.

This week’s seasonal surprises were as follows: carrots, cherry tomatoes, Portobello mushrooms, courgettes, aubergine, squash, peppers and a bag of mixed salad leaves.

I supplemented this with a few fresh herbs (dill, thyme and basil), baby spinach, spring onions, leeks and broccoli, alongside goats’ cheese, Roquefort, mozzarella, natural yoghurt, crème fraiche, eggs, sun-dried tomatoes, best-quality puff pastry, bulgar wheat and dried green lentils.

Total cost of the weekly shop, including veg box: a few pence over £51.

I do love the fact that I choose not to hop online and discover the delights that will be delivered in the box beforehand…I instead prefer the sense of spontaneity that comes with its arrival – a bit like diving into a fairground Lucky Dip…(and much less of a chance of getting covered in candyfloss, too!)

So with the week’s bounty purchased and stowed, it was time for a spot of supper, followed by my favourite bit…meal planning. Throw in a few cookery books and I can’t think of a better way to spend an evening, quite frankly.

Now, let it be said that I’m not averse to getting tarted up on a Friday night – in fact, that’s exactly what I did. It’s at this point that I should throw in the words ‘puff pastry’ and ‘spinach’, in the hope that it clarifies the true essence of ‘tart’ – in this case, that of the edible variety.

Tonight’s supper was taken from a recipe I spotted in my trusty River Cottage Veg Everyday cookbook by Hugh F-W (aka my bible of all that is naturally delicious) – although of course, I couldn’t help but tinker about a bit with it (well, what’s a bit of experimentation between food lovers?!). Cue Spinach and Thyme Pasties. Which I turned it into a tart. And it was delicious.

On top of an all-butter puff pastry base (which had been baked for 5 minutes beforehand to develop a crispy edge), I placed chopped, wilted spinach, which had been combined with softened onion and garlic, a handful of thyme leaves and a generous wedge of goats’ cheese. Sprinkled over which, I added a pinch of nutmeg, some parmesan shavings and salt and pepper. Into the oven it went for around 10 minutes (180 deg/ gas 5), after which it was served on a plate with a handful of salad leaves. You can’t get anything more satisfying that.

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