Beet Greens (or Chard) Ricotta Tart (page 47)
Young beets with pristine greens have started to pop up at my local farmers' market and though my family rather like their leafy greens, only I like beets. Instead of having to eat all the beets attached to those lovely leaves myself, I opted to use Swiss chard for this recipe.
Flavoured with onion, thyme and feta instead of ricotta salata, this custard filling had great flavour. It was quite soft out of the oven but I preferred it at room temperature once it had had a chance to set.
This was my first time making Hugh's all butter tart shell and the dough was very easy to handle. It baked up very crisp, a great textural contrast to the creamy filling. Trimming the dough after pre-baking was new to me but it worked just fine.
This was a very versatile dish that could be made with whatever greens and cheese you had on hand and would be great at brunch, lunch or supper but be sure to serve it the day it's made as the crust suffers a bit with overnight refrigeration.
New Potato Salad "Tartare" (page 79)
Ribollita (page 151)
Redolent with olive oil and rosemary, this slowly simmered vegetable-bean soup filled my house with a heady aroma as it cooked and tasted even better than it smelled.
I made it early in the month during a bout of cool, non-seasonal weather when a hearty soup was welcome. I added a Parmesan rind to the herb bundle for extra flavour and used white kidney beans I'd cooked and frozen. The soup was thickened with a purée of half the beans, a technique I'll use again since it added such a nice creaminess to the base while maintaining the integrity of all of the chopped vegetables. Locally grown kale was the final addition.
We really enjoyed this soup served over a slice of garlicky sourdough, and Hugh was right, good as it was freshly made, it was even better the next day.
Macaroni (Gemelli) Peas (page 264)
In my family, there's a fine line between a savoury dish that's pleasantly sweet and one that's too sweet, a line I've crossed many times eg Carrot Hummus that my dog and I ended up sharing. With a concern that this dish might fall into the latter category, I added 150g steamed baby spinach and a handful of fresh basil to the peas and garlic. After blitzing, just a little extra Parmesan was all that was needed to make it really savoury and delicious and a hit with family.
Pistachio Dukka (page 294)
Salty, savoury, nutty, and with a little bit of heat, this traditional Egyptian blend of toasted nuts and spices was the perfect complement to sweet potatoes roasted with a little olive oil and lemon. I did think the mix was a little too salty for me to be used as suggested, dipping bread first in oil then the dukka, but as the only seasoning on the vegetable, the salt level was fine. Until I make the next batch with a little less, I'll continue to use this one as a way dress up cooked vegetables simply and easily.
Halloumi, New Potato, and Tomato Kebabs (page 334)
After complaining about the saltiness of the dukka, here I am admitting I like halloumi, a particularly salty cheese. But it's all about balance and in combination with sweet new potatoes, even sweeter cherry tomatoes, and a herbed honey marinade, the flavour of these little kebabs was just right. I cooked them on the outdoor grill so they picked up the smokiness of that as well. These were delicious little starters that I'll make again, perhaps with a combination of vegetables that cook at the same rate since the little tomatoes were done before everything else.
That's it for this month. Visit here to see what everyone else made.