Tag Archives: tomato

Rainbow Vegetable Puff Pastry Tart

Vegetarian tarts are some of my favourite savoury bakes to make. It’s very easy to create a delicious vegetarian meal without feeling as if you’re missing the meat using puff pastry. And this Rainbow Vegetable Tart is an easy and delicious vegetarian puff pastry tart that can be ready in just 45 minutes!

There’s no shame in using ready made puff pastry, especially when it’s so readily available, cheap and good quality from many supermarkets. The tart has flaky and delicate buttery puff pastry with a layer of smooth cream cheese and lots of good vegetables which are tasty and texturally all different; the cucumber provides a soft mellow base, the carrots add slight sweetness as well as a tiny amount of crunch, the tomato adds moisture and sweetness as it roasts on the surface and the red onions cook down and become crisp. The tart is finished off with melted brie and gorgonzola.


1 x 375g block of shop bought puff pastry

75g full fat cream cheese

Ground black pepper

20ml lemon juice

Pinch of salt

½ a cucumber, cut into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler, seeds removed

½ a carrot, cut into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler

3 tomatoes, sliced

½ a red onion, sliced thinly

50g brie, cubed

25g gorgonzola, cubed

Beaten egg, to glaze


Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Cut a piece of parchment to fit a square baking tray.

Roll out the puff pastry into a square on a lightly floured surface measuring 23cm by 23cm. Use a knife to lightly score a mark 2cm in from each side.

In a small bowl, beat the cream cheese with the black pepper, salt and lemon juice until it has a spreadable consistency. Spread the cream cheese on top of the puff pastry up to the marked edge.

Arrange the cucumber and carrot ribbons over the pastry so that the cream cheese is concealed, again reaching up to the border. Place 16 tomato slices on the tart in a 4×4 grid as in the picture and scatter over the thinly sliced red onions and the brie and gorgonzola. Finish with a crack of black pepper and brush the top of the puff pastry with egg wash.

Bake the tart for around 25 minutes or until the pastry is well-risen, golden and crisp and cooked all the way through to the base. Leave to cool on the tray for 5 minutes before slicing into 4 pieces and serving hot with a lightly dressed side salad.

Chickpea Chilli Con Carne

There’s something comforting about coming home and knowing that you’ve got a tub of something in the freezer that you can just stick in the microwave and you can eat straight away. And my Chickpea Chilli con Carne is just that!

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Cooking large batches and storing it away is a great way to save money and prevent food waste. As a student, you have to find innovative ways to use up things in your vegetable box in the fridge and cans from the cupboard; chickpeas and carrots in a chilli might be somewhat unconventional but it works!

I counted the cost for the 1 meal and the 2 tubs that I made and it originally came to £1.06 per tub. But the tubs each gave me 2 meals and so realistically, the price of this chilli per portion is £0.64. I served this chilli in 2 ways, firstly with rice and a good dollop of sour cream, bringing the price up to £0.79 per person, and secondly with homemade tortilla chips and lettuce leaves (the recipe for the tortilla chips you can find by clicking here!) which brought the price up to £0.76 per person.

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With nutritional fibre and protein in the chickpeas and plenty of vegetables, this is a great way to boost your vegetable intake. I use both dried chilli flakes and chilli powder to provide heat in the chilli. And using what I had in the cupboard, I used a 500g jar of Bolognese to create the sauce to which I added plenty of spices to take away that pasta sauce flavour. And I didn’t have any onions at home so I just used the vegetables I had in the fridge but feel free to saute or sweat the onions to begin with.


1 tbsp sunflower oil

1 carrot, finely diced

1 green pepper, diced

500g beef mince

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dried chilli flakes

1 tsp chilli powder (you can add more to suit your liking!)

100g tinned sweetcorn

1 x 400g tin of chickpeas, drained

1 x 500g jar of Bolognese sauce

Cornflour, to thicken

1 large tomato

Salt and pepper


In a large saucepan or wok, pour in the oil over a medium heat and cook the carrots and pepper until softened. Add in the beef mince all at once and start to break it up into pieces, whilst allowing it to brown slightly too. Stir occasionally and season.

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Add in all of the spices at this stage along with all of the sweetcorn and chickpeas and continue to mix and cook until everything is coated in the spices and leave for 5 minutes on a lower heat.

Add in the jar of Bolognese sauce and fill the jar up to halfway with water, swill and pour in the contents into the pan. Remove 4 tablespoons of the liquid and add 2 tablespoons of cornflour and create a slurry (mix the liquid with the cornflour) and add back into the pan and mix it through. This will thicken your sauce.

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Allow the chilli to boil on a high heat with no lid on for around 5 minutes until some of the water evaporates away, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile chop up a tomato into around 1 inch pieces and scatter on the surface of the chilli and allow those to cook and soften.

Give everything a good mix and leave for a further 5 minutes to thicken up. Taste and adjust the heat to your liking, adding in some sour cream if it’s too spicy.

To serve, spoon over the chilli over some rice and serve with sour cream or serve with homemade Paprika Cumin Tortilla Chips to help scoop up the delicious chilli!

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The Basic Rules of Cooking: Fruit, Vegetables, Oil, Herbs and Spices

Fruits and Vegetables

Amalfi lemon growers Bananas Braeburns Conferences

Squeeze lemon juice over cut fruits like pears, apples and bananas to prevent them oxidising and browning.

Do not be afraid to use tinned or frozen fruits.

If you are putting fruits into a cake batter, dust them lightly in flour to prevent them sinking.

Use a serrated knife to cut through fruits with soft flesh such as tomatoes to reduce the risk of cutting yourself.

Do not be afraid to use tinned or frozen vegetables.

Chestnut

Never wash mushrooms in water. If they are dirty, clean them with a brush or a sponge.

For nutritious and tasty vegetables, do not overcook greens in particularly.

Chillies Peppers

I never tend to end peppers raw; cooking them lightly in oil for 2 minutes is best for me. Many other vegetables can be eaten raw.

Remember that the heat from a chilli pepper comes from the seeds; reduce the heat by removing the seeds.

To use iceberg lettuce to make a dish look nicer, roll up some clean lettuce leaves into a tight bunch. Chop finely to sprinkle on top of dishes for great colour.

Oil

Rapeseed

The rule with oil is not to go too expensive; cheaper vegetable oil or even rapeseed oil are great for general frying or pan cooking.

Olive oil and extra-virgin oil (which is way above my price range) is used to finish off dishes, and never to cook with as the flavour is lost. Olive oils are good for salad dressings or vinaigrettes.

If you are using sesame oil, always add it towards the end of cooking or as part of a dressing.

Herbs and Spices

Cinnamon Stick Star Anis

Dried herbs and spices are the most affordable way to add interest to your food.

Dried herbs must be added during the cooking process and not sprinkled on top like fresh can be.

Check that your dried herbs and spices are still potent as they can lose flavour and especially with spices like cinnamon, can clump together.

Basil

Some herbs, especially basil, can bruise when they are cut with a knife, so they should be torn up instead.