These recipes have been given to me over the years by friends and family. I hope you will try them. Happy Cooking! E.L.
CHERRY TOMATO TART (SERVES 4)
This is very quick to make as there is no chopping or peeling to be done. You can vary this tart to include other vegetables, such as courgettes and onions - it is best to fry these a little in the oil before adding them to the tart with the tomatoes. I also like using crumbled feta cheese instead of the cream cheese.
1 x 375g / 15oz sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry
150g / 6oz soft cheese (cream cheese, goat's cheese or Boursin would all be nice)
300g /12oz cherry tomatoes
Basil leaves or a herb such as thyme or oregano
2 tblsp olive oil
Preheat the oven to 225ºC / Gas 7. Unroll the pastry onto a baking sheet. Dampen the edges with water and fold in the edges to make a narrow rim all around. Spread or crumble the cheese of your choice over the base of the tart. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese, sprinkle over the herbs and drizzle with a little olive oil. Season with pepper.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, turning the baking tray half way through cooking. Serve hot or cold with salad.
BLACKBERRY SORBET (Makes about 1 litre / 1¾ pts)
When you tire of apple and blackberry pie and crumbles (if this is possible!) then try this recipe. It is delicious on its own or served with apple tart or baked apples.
Put 1kg / 2 lbs of fresh picked blackberries into a large pan with the juice of half a lemon, 3-4 tablespoons of water and 250g / 9oz caster sugar. Heat very gently until the juices run and stir to dissolve the sugar. Simmer for a few minutes then remove from the heat. Cool slightly then rub the fruit through a fine sieve to extract the juice and pulp. Discard the seeds and skin.
Taste and adjust for sweetness or tartness, adding more sugar or lemon juice to taste. Leave to cool before pouring into a plastic container. Freeze until almost frozen, then turn out and whisk to break down the ice crystals. It should not look slightly creamy. Return to the plastic container and freeze again. Repeat this as many times as possible - if possible 3 times! Alternatively use an electric ice-cream maker.
CREAMY COURGETTE SOUP (Serves 4)
This soup is unbelievably quick and easy to make and its surprise ingredient transforms it into a quite spectacular soup that you could serve for any occasion.
1 tblsp vegetable oil
1 small knob of butter
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
1 litre / 1¾ pts vegetable or chicken stock
4 courgettes, wiped and cut into chunks
1 x 160g pack Boursin (garlic and herb cream cheese)
Black pepper, to taste
Heat the oil and butter in a large pan. Over a gentle heat, fry the onions until soft but not brown. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Add the courgettes to the boiling stock (this way they retain their fresh, green colour) and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the courgettes and onion are soft.
Remove from the heat and cool slightly before liquidizing in a food processor. Return to the saucepan and crumble in the Boursin cheese. Whisk well until the cream cheese is completely melted into the soup. Season with black pepper. Heat gently before serving, but avoid boiling the soup.
PORK CHOPS WITH APPLE AND SAGE (Serves 4)
25g / 1oz butter
500g / 2lbs apples, peeled, cored and sliced
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 tblsp brown sugar
1 tsp dried sage or 1 tblsp fresh sage, chopped
4 pork chops, rinds removed
150ml / ¼ pt cider
Salt and pepper
4 tblsps coarse breadcrumbs
4 tblsps grated cheddar cheese
Heat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF) Gas 6. Butter the base of a shallow, oven-proof dish and spread the apple and onion over the base of the dish. Sprinkle with sugar and sage. Arrange the chops on top, then pour over the cider. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with foil and cook for 45 minutes. Mix the crumbs and the cheese together. Remove the foil from the dish and cover each chop with the crumb mixture. Bake for a further 15-20 minutes until the breadcrumbs are browned and the chops tender.