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Saturday, 24 September 2011

Summer Tomato Tart with a Chilli Cheese Pastry

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A bumper crop of tomatoes...

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Use them in a tart!

Struggling to use up that glut of cherry tomatoes from the greenhouse?

Here's my recipe that will get rid of about 25-30 of them, depending on the size of your tart tin, plus it's really quick and easy to make. You can use ready-made pastry or make your own - I've added fresh chillies and Parmesan cheese to the pastry, which gives a lovely flavour and spicy heat to the tart.

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Ingredients for the tart filling

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Finished tart

Summer Tomato Tart with Chilli Cheese Pastry
The amounts here are for a tart approximately 13" x 5" in size.
If using ready-made pastry, you can add the finely chopped chillies to the filling if you want a bit of heat.

For the pastry:
5 oz plain flour
2½ oz unsalted butter
Pinch of salt & black pepper
1 fresh red chilli, finely chopped
3-4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
A couple of tablespoons of cold water

Put the flour and butter into a food processor or blender and pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the chopped chilli, Parmesan cheese and seasoning, then pulse until well mixed. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and gradually add the cold water, stirring until the pastry comes together into a ball, you may need slightly more or less water than 2 tablespoons. Rest the pastry for 20-30 minutes before rolling out on a lightly floured surface to fit your tart tin.

For the filling:
3 oz Gruyère cheese, finely grated (or use strong cheddar)
1 large egg
5 tablespoons double cream
Fresh or dried herbs, I used the leaves from some sprigs of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
25-30 cherry tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 200­°C /400ºF.

Slice the cherry tomatoes in half.
Into a medium bowl, put the grated Gruyère cheese, egg, double cream, herbs, salt and pepper - mix well with a fork until combined. Spread it over the tart base, covering the pastry completely. Place the cherry tomato halves onto the cheese mixture, pushing them down slightly.

Bake for 40 -50 minutes until the pastry is cooked through and golden. Serve hot or cold.

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This is my contribution to the “Simple and in Season” monthly event held by Ren at Fabulicious Food.

I am entering this recipe into a competition called a Taste for Tomatoes, being held at Anyone can enter, even first time bloggers, so hop over and enter your own recipe!

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2011 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Christmas at Carluccio's - Press Review

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Carluccio's chocolate grissini sticks are perfect with a cappuccino!

Summer is over, the kids are back at school, the weather is autumnal and Christmas is on its way. Christmas? Oh no, I can't bear to think about it - we didn't even get a decent summer this year and pretty soon, it's going to be cold(er), dark and miserable.

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When it comes to Christmas, you can usually find me banging my head against the wall, racking my brains in the search for present ideas. Just what can you buy for those in-laws, teachers and work colleagues?

This year I might be a bit more organised because after spending a lovely afternoon picking through the festive offerings from the Carluccio's Christmas range (tasting every one of them) I've now got quite a few ideas! From chocolate covered breadsticks to mini hazelnut meringue buttons, there is something for even the most awkward person on your list, and all are beautifully packaged.

Here are just some of the things I liked from the event. You'll find loads more goodies in their stores from the end of October or order online from their comprehensive website - there are also gift sets, traditional panettones, crackers, oils, vinegars, pastas, mushrooms, antipasti platters, whole Parma hams, canapés and more.

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Carluccio's Christmas event

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FICHI RICOPERTI - chocolate coated figs stuffed with walnuts £9.95

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NOCCIOLINI - mini hazelnut meringue buttons £4.95

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CLEMENTE IN CAMICIA - chocolate coated candied clementine pieces £16.95

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PANDOLCE DE GENOVA - traditional Christmas cake from Genova £9.95

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BACI DI DAMA - hazelnut biscuits with a chocolate hazelnut filling £15.95

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GRAPPINI - chocolates with a liquid Grappa centre £7.95
and PANFORTE DI SIENA - Tuscan cake with almonds and spices £9.95

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GRISSINI RICOPERTI - chocolate coated breadsticks £10.95
and TORRONE - hazelnut torrone block £24.95 (or £7.95 for a slice)

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BIGLIE DI CIOCCOLATO - gianduja filled milk chocolates £5.95

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DOLCETTI ALLA CASTAGNA - chestnut cakes £5.95

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PIATTO DI RISOTTO - risotto gift box £29.95

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Chocolate cigars £4.95

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And my personal favourites... CIOCCOLATINI AL LIMONCELLO - chocolates with a limoncello filling, TORRONCINI - hazelnut torrone pieces, CIOCCOLATINI - cherries coated in dark chocolate, £6.95 each or you can get a GRAN MISTO - a large torrone and chocolate assortment £19.95

Carluccio's are having two special shopping evenings, Thursday 1st December and Thursday 8th December. From 6pm at Carluccio's caffès across the UK, you can enjoy a 10% discount on the entire Christmas range whilst enjoying a complimentary winter-warming glass of vino cotto (traditional mulled wine) and piccoli assaggi (festive canapés).

Buon Natale from Carluccio's!

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2011 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.