Old Mother Hubbard

when I grow up, I want to be one of those mothers that never suffer from an empty pantry. Instead of shelves heaving with staples, crispers bursting with all manner of colourful meal ingredients, my cupboards are bare.

I blame my mother and her impeccable organising skills, which she passed on to me. If it isn’t on a list I cannot/will not buy it. Grocery shopping is a chore, one that I take little pleasure in, unless of course its Haberfield on a Saturday where I am quite happy to empty the contents of our bank account on artisan bread, cheese, wine and all manner of delectable goodies. The rest of the time however, its a snatch and grab. I practically run around the store mimicking some contestant from Supermarket Sweep in my need to get in and out.

It all sounds fabulously cohesive in theory, until four days later, contents of our store cupboard depleted I am left with little desire to cook and zero ingredients should inspiration strike. Which is usually when I fall back on my perfect supper for two, four or ten.

Caramelised Onion Tart with Goats Fetta

I’m pretty sure I could walk into any home and find puff pastry in the freezer, onions in a bowl, balsamic and olive oil in the pantry, thyme on the window sill, which is all you will need for this recipe. Goats cheese/fetta optional.

I like to use red onions as they are sweeter and caramelise a good deal faster than the brown ones. You really ought to keep a stock of them handy for Lady Hunts Salsa, last minute tomato salads and this recipe of course.

Simply warm up a generous slug of extra virgin olive oil in a large saucepan. When I say warm, I mean a slow to medium heat, you do not want any change of colour with the onions, only translucent is acceptable here.

While your oil is heating begin working on your onions. I do this by chopping the ends off, slicing through the middle and removing the outer skins. You then have a flat  surface to slice the onions as thinly as possible rather than the heavy handed BBQ rings my husband adores. For one piece of store bought puff pastry you will need about 2 red onions.

Gently and ever so slowly cook your onions adding thyme leaves for flavour, pepper and salt. You want the onions to be completely translucent before adding a tablespoon of balsamic or Vino Cotto should you have it.

Your oven should be very hot as you preheated it to 200 degrees C earlier. At this point spray an oven tray with oil and lay your defrosted puff sheet on it. Pop it into the oven for about five minutes. Keep a very close eye on it you only want it to puff up slightly and start to turn a nice beige. Pull it out immediately and heap your onion mix onto it. Place it back in the oven and lower the heat to 180 degrees C. Again it should only need five minutes, you want your edges nicely browned and crisp. By precooking your pastry slightly it prevents it from staying raw underneath the onions.

While the tart is warm I love to crumble goats fetta over it, cut into smaller squares and plate with a peppery rocket salad. I have served this at picnics, cocktail evenings, as an entree and of course as a fallback dinner. Its always been delightfully received.

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