Post Christmas Belt Loosening

Yikes - got a horde of friends coming over for a post Christmas catchup and need to feed and water them for lunch. As I'm never one to waste much I'm going to throw together some savoury tarts with left over ham off the bone and a cheese platter from Christmas Day, plus a green salad from the garden - sorted! Love these yummy tarts with the herb and sour cream pastry - makes a nice change from your bulk standard savoury shortcrust. 

Recipe by Dixie Elliot
2 c plain flour
125g butter - diced & chilled
2 tspn grainy mustard
200g brie (or camembert) - roughly chopped 
½ c Caramelised Onions or chutney
 c chervil or parsley (roughly chopped)
½ c sour cream
200g ham - roughly chopped
1 egg - lightly whisked

Put flour, chervil and butter in a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add sour cream and mustard. Pulse until dough just forms a ball. Turn ball out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth. Divide dough into 4 even portions. Flatten each dough portion into a round disc and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 
30 minutes or until firm.
Preheat oven to 200C. Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Roll each dough portion into a 19cm round. Spread a ¼ of the Caramelised Onions or chutney in the centre of each pastry round, followed by the ham and brie, leaving a 3cm border. Fold border over filling towards centre of tart. Brush tarts with egg and transfer to prepared baking tray. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until light golden and pastry is cooked through. 

Serve tarts with a salad and extra Caramelised Onions or chutney.

Serves 4 

When I have time I also make this recipe for Caramelised Onions by Annabel Langbein, it's  become a real favourite. The Caramelised Onions are great to add to all sorts of dishes, so I normally make double the quantities and freeze small pottles in the freezer. Try them in soups, casseroles, sauces, savoury tarts or pies, and I really like them in the bottom of a Bacon & Egg pie or the Ham & Brie Tarts above. But often simple is best and you can't beat having them with a wedge of cheese and a few slices of ciabatta - yummm!

Recipe byAnnabel Langbein - The Free Range Cook 

6 red onions
 c brown sugar
2 tblspn oil
ground black pepper
1½ cups water
 c balsamic vinegar
1 tspn salt

Peel and cut onions into thin wedges. Place all ingredients into a large pot and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently, stirring now and then, for about 40 - 45 mins until the liquid has all but evaporated and the onions are very soft. During the final stages of cooking take care the onions don't catch and burn, by giving them a stir now and then.

Remove from the heat and cool before storing in the fridge in a covered container. Serve at room temperature  or reheat in a small pan. The onions will keep, covered, in the fridge for a week.

All Images © Deborah Aspray - Motif Lifestyle Images Ltd 2012


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