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Angela Hartnett: Watercress and goat’s cheese tart

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2012 by Robin Gosnall

(Source: Grauniad)

Celebrate the fact that spring has sprung with some fresh watercress, which is just coming into season. If goat’s cheese is not your thing, a good cheddar or blue will work just as well. The most important thing to get right with a tart is the pastry – too often it’s soggy and the ruin of any good filling.

300g ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
2 bunches watercress minus the large stalks, torn roughly
125g goat’s cheese, rind removed
3 free-range eggs
200ml double cream
salt and pepper

You will need a tart ring of around 8in in diameter – use one with a loose bottom, or put it on a baking tray.

Roll the pastry out to overlap the edges of the tin. Blind bake the pastry – prick the base with a fork, add some baking beans (or dried pulses or rice) to preserve the shape. Bake for 15 minutes at 180ºC.

Remove the baking beans and cook the pastry for a further five minutes, until golden brown, then allow to cool.

Beat the eggs and cream together and season.

Steam the watercress to wilt it, dice the cheese roughly, then scatter both around the tart base and pour over enough of the egg mix to cover (we’re binding the filling, not aiming for an eggy tart).

Bake in the oven at 180ºC for 15-20 minutes until set. Allow to cool, trim the excess pastry and serve with a green salad.

• Angela Hartnett is chef patron at Murano restaurant and consults at the Whitechapel Gallery and Dining Room, London.

Angela Hartnett’s midweek suppers

Cauliflower Cheese

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 20, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

1 large head cauliflower
8 tbsp butter
10 tbsp plain flour
2 pints whole milk
salt & pepper
freshly grated nutmeg to taste
2 rashers bacon, diced
200g smoked cheddar, grated
200g breadcrumbs

Break the cauliflower into florets. Steam it for 15 minutes until tender, and set aside and keep warm.

Sauté the diced bacon in a wok on high heat until crispy – then remove from wok with slotted spoon (so fat is drained) and set aside. Reserve bacon grease for other uses.

Make a béchamel sauce: melt a stick of butter in a pan over a moderate heat and then stir in flour a spoonful at a time until you have a thick paste (a roux). Cook the roux for a couple of minutes, stirring, stirring all the time and watch it expand. Slowly add milk and keep stirring until you have a smooth, thick sauce. You may want to switch to using a whisk. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Gradually stir in two-thirds of the grated cheese. Save the rest to sprinkle on top.

Put the cauliflower into a baking dish and then pour the sauce over it. Then, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. In a small saucepan, melt 3-4 tbsp butter and then mix it through the breadcrumbs to moisten them. Sprinkle the buttered breadcrumbs on top.

Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes or until breadcrumbs are browned and casserole is bubbling. Sprinkle the reserved bacon on top when it comes out of the oven, and serve.

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