Anyone who grows their own vegies inevitably reaches a tipping point with their summertime bounty. I call it 'too many any vege syndrome' and over the years I've picked up a trick or two to deal with this seasonal glut. It's always good to share with friends, family and even strangers without their own vegies. Soup, sauces and pickles are reliable stand bys for later in the year. Relishes, ferments and jams are inevitable too but by far my favourite solution is to tart it up…literally! My simple tart recipe below uses a buttered leek and kale combo but you can concoct a great savoury tart with many an excess vege. Other favourites of mine are beetroot and goats cheese, tomatoes, thyme and caramelised onions, roast spud, garlic and rosemary... the possibilities are endless. They are easy to make, always taste awesome and they look pretty schmick too.
Buttered leek and fetta tart with crispy kale crumbles
For this vege combo, start with some kale chips. I'm not big fan of kale to eat - nutritional powerhouse it may be but I recently tried making kale chips and I'm sold. They're easy as - wash the leaves then trim out the main stem and any fat veins. Rip the leaves into chip-sized bits. Stick them in a bowl and splash with macadamia oil, shake some salt over them (I use herbamare) then gently mix it all up so the kale is completely coated. Lay them out on a parchment lined baking tray and cook in a moderate oven for about 7 minutes. Check them often - it's a fine line between perfectly cooked and burnt to a crisp. Remove and set aside. You can add some finely grated parmesean or nutritional yeast for a little extra yum factor at this point too.
Onto the tart...if you're feeling motivated and have cream cheese left over from making whey (to ferment your other excess vege!) then this cream cheese pastry is really yummy and makes a beautiful base to any tart. Having said that, we all get busy so this is the quick and easy version with puff pastry sheets.
Trim and slice your leeks, lob a generous dollop of butter in a pan and sauté leeks until softened. Towards the end of cooking, sprinkle a little rapadura or brown sugar over them and add a splash of apple cider vinegar. Take them off the heat and set aside to cool a bit.
Lay your pastry on a parchment lined baking tray. Score a line around the edge with a sharp knife and stick a few holes in the middle with a fork. Pre-bake pastry in a moderate (180c) oven until it gets puffy then remove from the oven.
Sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese over the pastry then arrange the buttered leeks evenly, taking care to push them out to the edges (but not over). Sprinkle a little more parmesan and then crumble some fetta cheese over the top. Pop it back in the oven until it's golden around the edges and the cheeses are a little crispy. Garnish with crumbled kale chips, cut like a pizza and serve.
As a side note, despite all my tricks, I'm struggling to find new ideas for the yellow button squash. Seriously, it's one plant and it is totally out of control with what it's producing. I'm really interested if anyone has any wicked and wonderful ideas with what to do with those. Just putting it out there...ideas anyone?
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