Cant beet a yummy pie...children galloped this one down and came back for seconds. Goal achieved. I used to make a tomato and basel tart in the early days of growing Monachyle Mhor Hotel with my mother before Tom Lewis took the reigns and I headed to art school in London. Being my mothers eyes as she lost hers husband and two other sons to feed we devoured cook books together creating what ever took are fancy and what was in the larder! And so this recipe is a close friend just changing the ingredients to suit the season. Hard to fail, loyal dish that make family and friends want to come again!
1. To make the pastry put all the ingredients in a bowl and rub the fat into the flour moving it through the fingers gently until it starts to make breadcrumbs. Gradually add 3 tablespoon of cold water and stir with a knife until it starts to clump into large crumbs. Use your hands to bring it all together and do not over work it.
2. Roll out the pastry thinly on a floured surface. Line a tart dish about 24 com/91/2 inches in diameter, leaving some pastry overhanging. Prick the pastry all over with a fork and put it in the freezer for 20 minutes. 9If you are using a ceramic dish, put it into the fridge for about 30 minutes)
2. Preheat the oven to 200 C 400 F / Gas mark 6. The great thing if you freeze or get the pastry very chilled you can put it straight into the oven with out having to bake it grind for 15 mins until slightly coloured.
4. Meanwhile, to make the filling, melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low-medium heat. Add the sliced onions (the more they make you cry the better quality they are) and season quite generously with salt, to help draw out the moisture. Continue to cook, string occasionally, for about 30 mins or until the onions have complete collapsed, are soft, golden and quite sweet. Test them before you stop cooking to check they have absolutely no 'bite' left in them. Add the shredded garlic leaves, stir briefly so they wilt, then remove the pan from the heat.
5. Beat the eggs lightly in a bowl. Add the cream and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. Pour this over the onions and stir everything together. Tip the custard into the pastry shell and tearing apart the goats cheese leaving blobs in the mix.
6. Bake the filled tart for 30-35 minutes, until the custard is risen round the edges but not in the centre of the tart - it should be almost set. Leave to cool for 15 minutes or so before serving with a crisp green salad.
One of the things I look forward to in late Spring through to summer is a continuous supply a Wild Garlic to make into a Pesto. It is a wonderful standby and can be kept in the fridge and slung into soups and dressings to jazz them up. It also makes a good sauce over gnocchi and pasta. Loverly on Grilled or barbecued new lamb. As a snack spread the pesto generously over home-made oat cakes.
For some of the ingredients like pine nuts (why are they so expensive because you can harvest them only every six year) and Parmesan cheese from the little independent Deli in Comrie just a few more miles down the road from the Ramsden crop. A strong coffee normally is added to the bill This pesto is simple to make and fun to find.
Wild Garlic Pesto
70g/2 1/2oz wild garlic leaves
50g/1 3/4oz of pine nuts
13/4 oz of Fresh Parmesan cheese
Juice of half a lemon
6-7tbsp of olive oil and enough to cover when stored
Salt and Pepper
1. Heat the oven to 100% to sterilise your jar or jars for about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
2. Put the wild garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan and lemon in a food processor and blitz for a few seconds. Then blitz again gently adding the oil until you get a texture and consistency that you enjoy. Season to taste and then pour into your sterilised jar and cover with a little more olive oil, put the lid on and it can be stored in the fridge up to two weeks.
How to feel alive, destress and get connected to the earth. Go foraging and hunt in her green glades.
Any interaction with nature makes me happy, and non other than discovering the free alive foods that are in our fields, gardens, hedgerows, forests and mountains. And I love sharing this passion with my children who are getting good now at foraging themselves. So the first recipe of the season I deliver to you is Wild Garlic Butter that is fantastic smeared over succulent steak, sessional vedge, fish or pushing up into the skin of a roasting chicken, what ever you do the taste is delicious.
The Ramsden (wild garlic) that I have picked come from the banks of Loch Earn on the way to Comrie from Lochearnhead. Along the roadsides and all the way down to the shore and stretching up into the forests, this verdant carpet of green moves across the terrain like a battalion of soldiers. White flowers emerge at the top a sphere dappled with six pointed petal flower heads, two star tetrahedrons interconnecting making a merkaba the name means chariot and the flavour for sure will take you on a memorable journey!
30g/1oz wild garlic leaves
140g/5oz generous 1/2 cup butter
Grated Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and Pepper
1 Wash and finely chop the garlic leaves, then using a knife to fold and mash the garlic into the butter with the lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper to your taste. Roll the butter between two pieces of greaseproof making a pipe shape and then place in the fridge to harden up.