Archives for posts with tag: Tomato

Cheese Swirls

At work this week we celebrated a Macmillan Coffee Morning.  Because I am lucky enough to work in a generous and perhaps greedy office, we actually did a weeks worth of cakes and savouries with people donating food, time and money to raise money for Macmillan nurses.  I am fortunate enough not to have experienced the work of Macmillan, but recent years have brought me closer to the effects of cancer upon people and their families so the cause which has always been extremely worthy has become increasingly poignant for me.

I am not a baker and am definitely not capable of baking a cake (although my new friend at NR11 Blog has inspired me to try…soon!) so I did a quick cheat and made my team some cheesy pastry swirls.  Dead simple and I didn’t use shop bought pastry because I am incapable of making my own, but because all the TV chefs have said that it’s okay and they do it too.  I believe that they were a success, all gone by tea break in the morning, so I thought I’d share the recipe!

Cheesy Pizza Pastry Swirls

1 roll of puff pastry

1/2 an onion, chopped finely

100g grated cheese

50g tomato puree

Herbs and seasoning for the tomato base, I used some fresh thyme, black pepper and a little bit of dried basil as that was what was within easy reach!

First, take the pastry out of the fridge and let it reach room temperature.  While it’s warming up a little, use the time to finely chop the onion and grate the cheese.  Now’s also the time to preheat the oven to about 200C.  Make sure you eat the bit of cheese that won’t grate because you are fearing for your finger tips.  No one wants fingertips in their swirls, so you’re doing it for the greater good.

Put the tomato puree into a little pot.  Add your herbs and seasonings, plus a tiny bit of water.  Mix it so that it’s all well incorporated and at a consistency that is thicker than your standard pasta sauce but that you’ll be able to spread.

Once everything is prepped, now’s the fun part.  Unroll the pastry, but keep it on the little bit of plastic so you don’t have much washing up.  Take your tomato paste and spread it across the pastry.  I made sure to cover the whole area right up to the edges, but left about 2cm on the far end.  This means that when rolled, you can use the ‘dry’ part of the pastry to finish the seal at the end.  Now take the onion and cheese, sprinkling it across the tomato base.  Make sure it’s even and not too thick in any place.  Once you’re happy everything is spread nicely, it’s time to roll!

The joy of buying shop bought pastry is that once you’ve unrolled, it’s really easy to roll it back up again.  Make sure that you keep it even and fairly tight as you go, you don’t want the cut pastries to fall apart in the oven!  Squish (technical term) the dry part against the roll to be sure to close it all up.  Slice your nice swiss pastry roll up, about a finger width per slice.  Pop the pieces on a baking tray, making sure to leave a couple of centimeters between each one.  This is puff pastry, after all, and it will puff.  A quick glaze with some milk (an excuse to use the pastry brush you have in the back of that drawer!) then put it in the oven and – ta-dah! – about 20 minutes later you’ll have a house that smells of pastry and cheese and anyone who popped over for a cup of tea will be bitterly disappointed that they don’t get to eat the tasty treats.

Well, unless you are nicer than I was at least.  Dead easy, still a bit homemade, and delicious all within 30 minutes.  What more can you ask for?

There would be countless variations on this theme too.  Feel free to add other bits (maybe some chorizo? Peppers? Fresh tomato?) as you fancy but make sure you don’t over-fill it.  If you do, they may fall apart which would be a disaster.  They wouldn’t be suitable to serve for any charity bake, you’d have to eat them all and start again.  And no one wants that, do they?!

Advertisements

I’ve spent a busy summer working around the country, but in my down time I have been doing what I can to live The Good Life.  Some of this has worked much better than others.  My personal crop of lettuce was a success til the slugs found it, and of the herbs grown from seed I do believe the rosemary has a fighting chance to be taken from its protective pot and graduate in spring to being Planted Out in the beds.

Rosemary

I’ve even had remarkable success with a chilli plant purchased on the reduced aisle at Tesco and repotted into the greenhouse. For the past three months my nam prik pla has had homegrown chillies (the way that the Thais would certainly approve of!) and the kick in the salsa has been entirely of my making.

Chilii

But my tomatoes. Oh, my precious, lovely tomatoes. I have watched the plants grow into fine young beings, tall (but not too tall!!) enough to make any mother proud. I had visions of Moneymaker’s bountiful crop providing tomatoes for everyone in the district. Roma’s tomatoes would be special, I would experiment with sun drying them (a real plausible option this summer, dag-nab-it!). I was going to introduce them to some wonderful herbs and the freshest olive oil in Norfolk to create juicy, delicious sun blushed and preserved tomatoes to sustain me through the long dark winter. Too good even for my salsa (sorry chillies), the Roma tomatoes were destined for greatness, destined to be savoured, destined to be worshiped…

But what happened?!

tomtomtom.jpg

Instead of plentiful crops, I have beautiful plants with only one or two fruit.  Other bloggers boast about what to do and I am struggling to make my babies grow and mature into red young adults.  I love them, I check on them daily, I moved them in and out of the greenhouse as the weather dictated.  And when I wasn’t able to give them my full attention because I was drinking energy drinks in Scotland, or Stratford, or elsewhere, for the week in order to pay for my little tomatoes upkeep, they were being carefully looked after by my less enthusiastic but equally dedicated other half.  I have watered them with rainwater, but not given them any fertiliser.  Is that really where I have gone wrong?

Please give me some advice, my tomatoes need you before it gets too cold and they give me up for good!

%d bloggers like this: