Hello friends! Remember me? I’m so sorry I deserted you all. I would like to say that I was off enjoying myself at a 5 star resort, sunning myself by the pool, visiting the spa, enjoying cocktails at sunset and magical romantic dinners on the beach. No, I have been doing something even more exciting (maybe not as relaxing, I really wouldn’t pass on a 5 star resort right now)! I’m growing a little bubba! Yes, I’m 12 weeks pregnant with a little brother or sister for Mr George. So for the last month or so the thought of entering the kitchen, let alone cooking has made me feel, let’s just say, a little green. On numerous occasions over the past couple of months I did question why I have a food blog and not a toy review blog (has anyone noticed how many hits these crazy videos get on YouTube? George is strangely obsessed with them). Instead I’ve been spending most of my time on my bum on the couch eating Chinese food…mmmmmmm! Never mind pickles and ice-cream or peanut butter and anchovy sandwiches, I have had serious, I mean serious cravings for Chinese food. Mmmmm dumplings and don’t talk to me about yum cha…[drool].
So finally this week I have been feeling somewhat back to my old self, well at least enough to get back into my beloved little kitchen. Don’t worry folks, you’re not going to see any crazy food craving combos dished up on my blog over the next 28 weeks. Well at least I hope not. But if you do suspect I am heading down that path please hold me back and let me know (I did do a strange tuna and boiled egg sandwich the other day which I thought was one of the best taste sensations I had ever had but I think this may have been just a strange pregnancy craving because while my husband did politely sit there and eat his sandwich he didn’t go back for his usual seconds and he did ask me whether I had been craving tuna and egg). Today I must admit I do have anchovies for you but there is no ice-cream or peanut butter in sight. In fact this recipe is an old school French combination. They call this tart a pissaladiere. The French use a bread base which is a little like a pizza base only thicker, a bit like foccacia. Instead I have used a flaky pastry because, well, what isn’t better with pastry right? It also makes it a lot simpler to make because all you need to do is defrost some pastry rather than the whole bread making palaver.
The weather in New Zealand at the moment is just stunning (although the dairy farmers don’t quite agree with me). This means lots of beach trips, lovely walks and picnics. Sandwiches are great for picnics, but I think a cold piece of pie or tart just makes a picnic. This Tomato, Olive and Anchovy Tart is great warm but just as wonderful cold on a picnic or even in a school lunch if you have an adventurous youngster (I don’t by the way!). The saltiness of the olives and anchovies contrasts so nicely with the sweet and soft onions and crisp buttery pastry…mmmmm my mouth is in love. This really is a cinch to make so perfect to whip up before going off for your picnic. The onions do take about 20-30min to really soften, darken and caramelise, so you do need to plan ahead a little for those. However, you can always make them the night before and store in the fridge ready for use, or even use a bought jar of caramelised onion jam – although I must warn you this is a lot sweeter than the homemade alternative, so you may want to use a little less, still its a great alternative if you’re pushed for time!
Enjoy the summer sunshine, enjoy my Tomato, Olive and Anchovy Tart and see you all really soon! I promise! (I also promise no chocolate dipped pickles and ice cream!)
Tomato, Olive and Anchovy Tart
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 2 medium onions thinly sliced
- 4 sprigs thyme stalks removed
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 400 g approx. 1lb ready made flaky puff pastry
- 10 cherry tomatoes halved
- 80 g 3oz jar marinated anchovy filets
- 30 marinated black pitted olives
- 1 egg
In a medium saucepan, over medium-low heat, melt butter. Add sliced onions, garlic, thyme, sea salt and pepper and stir. Cook until the onions have lost their bright red colour and they have have become very soft, approximately 20-30 minutes. Stir occasionally to avoid onions catching on the bottom of the pan and to ensure even cooking. If you have time, then allow onions to cool. This will ensure you have crispy pastry; however, I often don’t cool them and the tart works out just fine.
On a surface lightly dusted with flour, roll the puff pastry into a 20cm x 30cm (8in x 12in) rectangle. Place on a lined baking tray. Using a sharp knife, score a border around the edge of the pastry approximately 2cm (1in) in from the edges, ensuring you don’t cut right through the pastry. Place in the fridge for 20 min.
Preheat the oven to 200C (395F). Remove pastry from fridge. Spread the softened onions over the pastry, avoiding the border. Evenly scatter over the anchovies and olives. Again evenly scatter over the halved cherry tomatoes ensuring they are placed skin side down. This will ensure that the juice from the tomatoes doesn't make your pastry soggy. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg with 1 Tbsp of water. Using a pastry brush, brush the egg wash (egg and water) over the borders of the tart.
Place in the oven and bake for 20-30min or until the pastry has puffed and is a deep golden colour. Serve warm or cold - great for a picnic!