Caramelised Onion Tart

Caramelised Onion Tart
Onion Tart

Caramelised Onion Tart

This  recipe for Caramelised Onion Tart is based on a recipe in  Vegetarian Kitchen by Sarah Brown.    I bought this book many years ago, in my early twenties, when I was a vegetarian.  Subsequently, I have changed my diet to include fish and some meat, but I still love vegetarian food and often cook meat-free at home.

I have cooked this recipe many, many times.  It is, in my opinion, simply the best onion tart ever.  Occasionally, I will think that I will try a different recipe but I always come back to this one.  The key to its luscious loveliness is to cook the onions really, really slowly for a long, long time so that they soften and gently caramelise without burning.

Nutmeg

The taste of the caramelised onions is enhanced by the nutmeg, a spice that has a myriad of uses in both sweet and savoury dishes.   It is really worth buying whole nutmegs and grating a bit off them  when you need it rather than buying ground nutmeg.  Just use an ordinary grater, there is no need to buy a special nutmeg grinder.  The pungency of fresh nutmeg is a revelation and adds an extra dimension of flavour to the tart.

Caramelised onion tart, onion quiche, caramelised onion quiche
Pastry case for tart

Equipment

Large, heavy frying pan, quiche or flan dish  (28 cm)

Caramelised onion tart, onion tart, onion quiche, caramelised onion quiche
Eggs and cheese

Caramelised Onion Tart

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Caramelised onion tart, onion tart, onion quiche, caramelised onion quiche

Caramelised Onion Tart

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 55
  • Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
  • Yield: 1 tart serving 8 people 1x
  • Category: Tart
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This luscious tart is filled with caramelised onions, subtly flavoured with nutmeg, set in a rich cheese custard.  It is fantastic for hot, warm or cold which makes it very versatile.  I honestly believe this is the best onion tart!


Scale

Ingredients

For the pastry:

  • 275 g plain flour
  • 125 g fat (I use a mix of half butter and half Trex as I think this makes the lightest pastry)
  • Salt
  • A little water

For the filling:

  • 6 large onions (white or red is fine) plus a further 3-5 onions or shallots for decoration
  • 40 g butter and 1 tbs oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (optional)
  • Grated nutmeg  (best to grate this from a whole nutmeg as this has best flavour)
  • 100 ml double cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 g strong cheddar cheese (grated)
  • A little olive oil

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 180 C, 350 F or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Make the pastry. Put the flour in a bowl.  Add the fat and combine –  either by “rubbing in” by hand or processing – until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add a little cold water (2-3 tbsp) and shape the mixture into a dough.
  3. Peel and chop the onions.
  4. Heat the butter and oil in your frying pan.   It helps if the pan is good quality with a thick bottom as this will disseminate the heat evenly and prevent burning.
  5. Add the onions to the pan, season with salt and pepper,  and cook at a very low heat for about 30 minutes.  Keep an eye on them to make sure they are not burning and stir occasionally.  The onions are done when they are light brown, soft and, when tasted, are sweet.
  6. Season the onions with the grated nutmeg to taste (about half a tsp – although I add a bit more as I like it!).   You can add a tsp of brown sugar to increase  the sweetness of the onions at this stage if you wish.
  7. Set the onion mixture aside to cool slightly.
  8. Roll out your pastry and use it to line your quiche or flan dish.   Bake for 5  minutes in the oven to allow the pastry to “set”.  This will stop the filling making it soggy!
  9. Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl, add the cream, and beat until combined.  Finely grate the cheddar cheese and add to the mixture.
  10. Now place the onion mixture in your pastry case.  Pour the egg mixture over it.
  11. Thinly slice the onions or shallots that you have set aside for decoration.  The aim is to have a number of different sized circles of onion or shallot which you can use to decorate the top of the tart.  Arrange artistically (!) and then brush with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  12. Place your quiche or flan dish in the oven and cook for 25 minutes.
  13. The tart can be eaten hot, room temperature or cold.

Keywords: onion, tart

 

Caramelised onion tart, onion tart, onion quiche, caramelised onion quiche
Put your onions in the tart…
Caramelised onion tart, onion tart, onion quiche, caramelised onion quiche
…add cheese and egg mixture…

 

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Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

Lemon verbena ice-cream, lemon verbena ice cream
Lemon verbena ice cream

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

My Lemon Verbena Ice Cream is a great way of showcasing the unique taste of this herb.  In addition to the taste of lemon, it also has additional subtle notes of ginger which make it an excellent flavouring for ice cream.     As lemon verbena may be hard to source, I have also included the option in the recipe of using grated lemon zest as an alternative flavouring.  This will make an excellent ice-cream but the taste will be different.

About Lemon Verbena

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia citrodora) is a small shrub, native to western South America.  It was was brought to Europe by the Spanish and Portuguese in the 17th century.  Its leaves have a strong lemon scent with other flavour notes, in particular ginger.  They can be used to produce flavoured oil and  herbal tea.  Lemon verbena can be used to bring a lemon flavour to savoury meat and fish dishes and marinades.  It can also be used in sweet dishes such as puddings, cakes, sorbets and, of course, Lemon Verbena Ice Cream.

Lemon verbena ice-cream, lemon verbena ice cream
Lemon verbena ice cream

Grow your own!

Adding fresh herbs to a dish is such a  quick and  easy way of transforming it into something special.  Once you get to know the different flavours, there is endless potential for experimentation.   You will get to know which herbs you prefer, which go well with each other and which ones enhance particular dishes.

I am a great advocate for growing your own herbs.     They take up little space and can be grown in pots on a window ledge or balcony if you do not have a garden.  Most of them are also very easy to grow.   If you grow your own, you will have access to a much wider range of flavours as, unfortunately, it is hard to find more unusual herbs in the supermarkets.

Sourcing lemon verbena

If you want to grow your own herbs, including lemon verbena, there are a number of specialist herb nurseries, which will provide herbs by mail order, including  Herbal Haven where I bought a number of my more unusual herbs.

Equipment

Whisk and bowl.  This recipe is a breeze using an but you can still make it if you don’t have one (see instructions under point 8 of Method)

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Lemon verbena ice cream, lemon verbena ice-cream

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Ice-cream
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This ice cream showcases the subtle herbal flavour of lemon verbena which has additional notes of ginger in addition to lemon.   As it may be hard to source lemon verbena, I have included an alternative using lemon zest.  This is a good, but different, ice-cream.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 425 ml double cream
  • 2 tablespoons of very finely chopped fresh lemon verbena leaves (or the grated zest of one unwaxed lemon)

Instructions

  1. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
  2. Put the cream and chopped fresh lemon verbena leaves (or grated lemon zest) in a saucepan and heat gently. Do not allow to boil – it will be the right temperature when you are just about able to bear to dip a finger in it!
  3. Remove the saucepan containing the cream and lemon verbena (or grated lemon zest) from the heat.  At this stage you can strain the cream to remove all the pieces of lemon verbena leaf (or grated lemon zest).  I generally don’t strain the chopped herbs out as I like them distributed through the ice-cream but I know some people prefer a totally smooth ice-cream with just the flavour.  If you are going to leave the pieces in the ice-cream, you need to make sure that the leaves are very finely chopped – no one wants huge fragments of leaf in their pudding!
  4. Pour the infused cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks and sugar, whisking all the time.
  5. Transfer the combined mixture into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or, ideally a double-boiler, as you need to reheat it very gently.
  6. The mixture will gradually thicken until it looks like a custard (which is what it is).  Stir regularly to make sure it does not stick while it is thickening.
  7. Remove the thick custard from the heat and transfer into a bowl.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
  8. When you are ready to make the ice cream, transfer to your ice cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions.  If you do not have an ice cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen.  Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.

Notes

Although the preparation time and cook time totals 20 minutes you will need to allow additional time for the ice cream mixture to become completely cold before you freeze it.

You can make this ice cream either using lemon verbena or the zest of a lemon.  Both will taste lemony (and very good!) but the taste will be different – a subtle soft herbal lemon flavour with hints of ginger – if you are using lemon verbena.  If you can get hold of it, it is really worth a try!

Keywords: lemon, lemon verbena, ice cream, lemon verbena ice cream, lemon verbena ice-cream

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Lavender Ice Cream

Lavender Ice-cream, lavender ice cream recipe
Lavender Ice Cream

Lavender Ice Cream

I make Lavender Ice Cream using my standard ice cream recipe. It has a wonderful floral creaminess which is perfect eaten in the garden on a sunny English summer day!

Lavender is a strong taste and needs to be used in moderation to avoid echoes of furniture polish!  Don’t be tempted to increase the amount in this recipe.  What you are looking for is a subtle whisper of lavender rather than a full-on bombardment of your taste-buds.    As it is such a strong flavour,  I would serve this Lavender Ice Cream on its own or possibly together with plain vanilla ice cream or maybe Lemon Shortbread biscuits.

You only need the egg yolks for this recipe which means you will have spare egg whites.  As I hate waste, I pretty much always make some form of meringue, when I make ice cream and, very conveniently, my meringue recipe requires four egg whites.  If you feel in the mood for meringue, you could check out my basic Meringue  or Pavlova recipes, or if you want something slightly different, you could try my Rose Meringue recipe.

 Equipment

Whisk and bowl.  This recipe is a breeze using an but you can still make it if you don’t have one (see instructions under point 8 of Method)

 

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Lavender Ice-cream, lavender ice cream recipe

Lavender Ice Cream

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Ice-cream
  • Cuisine: English

Description

Rich and creamy, this Lavender Ice Cream is a great way of using the wonderful, floral taste of lavender.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 85 g caster sugar
  • 425 ml double cream
  • 3 fresh lavender flowers broken down into petals (or 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh lavender leaves)
Lavender Ice-cream, lavender ice cream recipe, lavender ice cream
Cream and lavender

Instructions

  1. Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar in a bowl until the mixture looks paler and resembles a mousse.
  2. Put the cream and lavender flowers or leaves in a saucepan and heat gently. Do not allow to boil – it will be the right temperature when you are just about able to bear to dip a finger in it!
  3. Remove the saucepan containing the cream and lavender from the heat.  At this stage you can strain the cream to remove all the lavender.  I generally don’t strain the lavender out as I like the little blue petals distributed through the ice cream but I know some people prefer a totally smoothe ice cream with just the flavour and no petals!
  4. Pour the infused cream into the bowl containing the egg yolks and sugar, whisking all the time.
  5. Transfer the combined mixture into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water or, ideally a double-boiler, as you need to reheat it very gently.
  6. The mixture will gradually thicken until it looks like a custard (which is what it is).  Stir regularly to make sure it does not stick while it is thickening.
  7. Remove the thick custard from the heat and transfer into a bowl.  Allow to cool to room temperature and then transfer to the fridge to become thoroughly chilled.
  8. When you are ready to make the ice-cream, transfer to your ice-cream maker and use according to your machine’s instructions.  If you do not have an ice-cream maker, you can place the mixture in a freezer-proof container, put in the freezer for several hours until half-frozen.  Whisk the mixture and then return to the container and replace in the freezer until totally frozen.
Lavender Ice-cream, lavender ice cream recipe
Lavender Ice Cream

Notes

Make sure that you only use fresh lavender that you are sure has not been sprayed with chemicals.  The best place to source it is from your garden – it is very easy to grow!

If you do not have access to fresh lavender, you can use 2 teaspoons of dried culinary lavender.  The flavour is strengthened by the drying process, so the amount is less than that for fresh lavender.

Keywords: lavender, ice-cream, lavender ice-cream, lavender ice cream, recipe

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Honey Cream Tea with Lavender Scones

Lavender Scones
Honey Cream Tea with Lavender Scones

Honey Cream Tea with Lavender Scones

This Honey Cream Tea, made with Lavender Scones, is a variation on the traditional English Cream Tea which uses plain or fruited scones sandwiched with jam and cream.

I first tasted a Honey Cream Tea many years ago when visiting Quince Honey Farm in Devon.   Understandably, given the primary product of the farm, they served scones sandwiched with cream and honey, rather than the traditional jam.   When I decided to write a recipe for Lavender Scones, it occurred to me that a honey and cream filling would go very well with their floral flavour – and so it proved!  If you have lavender-scented honey, so much the better.

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Lavender Scones, Honey Cream Tea

Honey Cream Tea with Lavender Scones

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 15 scones 1x
  • Category: Scones
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This Honey Cream Tea is made with lavender-flavoured scones sandwiched together with honey and whipped cream.  It is a variation on a traditional English Cream Tea, which combines plain or fruited scones with jam and cream.

Lavender Scones
Honey Cream Tea

Scale

Ingredients

  • 350 g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 85 g butter
  • 25 g caster sugar
  • 4 fresh lavender buds (or 2 tablespoons of culinary lavender)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 ml milk
  • A small pot of good quality (ideally locally-sourced) honey
  • 300 ml double cream (whipped)
Lavender scones
Lavender scones

Instructions

  1. Set your oven to 200 C/400 F/Gas Mark 6.
  2. Put the flour and baking powder in a large bowl.  Cut the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour.  Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the sugar to the flour and butter mixture.
  4. Detach the small flowers from the lavender stalks and add them to the mixture.
  5. Lightly beat the eggs and add them and the milk to the mixture.
  6. Use your hands to very gently combine the mixture so that it forms a soft dough.
  7. Press the dough out onto a floured surface.  It needs to be about 1cm thick.  Use a round cutter to cut out dough shapes and place them on a greased baking sheet.
  8. Put the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 minutes until the scones have risen and are a light golden colour.
  9. Transfer the scones to a cooling rack.
  10. When they are cool, split them in half and sandwich together with honey and whipped cream.
Lavender scones, honey cream tea
Lavender scones

Keywords: lavender, scones, lavender scones, honey cream tea

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Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Red Cabbage Coleslaw is a really simple and easy recipe which can be put together in a few minutes.  Coleslaw is a salad made with raw vegetables, usually including cabbage, mixed with mayonnaise.

I make all kinds of coleslaw but I particularly like this recipe which uses red cabbage, carrot, radish and apple as you get a bowl full of bright bold colours. The combination of colours means that the coleslaw looks very attractive. It is great as part of a cold buffet or at a lunch party.   It also seems to appeal to children as it looks pretty – and the mayonnaise turns pink – and the apple adds a bit of natural sweetness.  I have found it a good way to get them to eat a wider range of vegetables.    Although the mayonnaise may not be that healthy there is not too much of it in this recipe and it really does bring together the taste of the different vegetables. I tend to use shop-bought, reduced fat mayonnaise for this recipe.

It is really beneficial from a healthy-eating point of view to eat food that is raw. It is high in fibre and vitamins and minerals are retained. Different colours typically denote the presence of different vitamins and minerals in food. Therefore, a really easy way to eat more healthily is to eat foods with a range of natural colours (“eating the rainbow”).

Red Slaw
Other easy salads

I love salads and eat them all the year around – not just in summer. If you like this Red Cabbage Coleslaw recipe, you might also like some of my other salad recipes.

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

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Red Cabbage Coleslaw

Red Cabbage Coleslaw

  • Author: Tastebotanical
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Total Time: 30
  • Yield: for 6 people 1x
  • Category: Salad
  • Cuisine: English

Description

This colourful Red Cabbage Coleslaw, made with red onion, red cabbage, carrot, radish and apple, looks pretty and is a great way to eat lots of healthy vegetables.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 red onion
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Half a red cabbage
  • 5 large carrots
  • 5 radishes
  • 1 apple
  • 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise

Instructions

  1. Slice your red onion thinly.   Place the slices in a ceramic dish together with the juice of half a lemon.   Leave for at least half an hour.   The lemon juice will make the raw onion taste milder but still retain its fresh crunchiness!
  2. Prepare the other vegetables.  Thinly slice the red cabbage.  Grate the carrots.  Cut the radishes into thin disks.
  3. Put the prepared vegetables, together with the marinated onion, into a large bowl.
  4. Cut the apple into small pieces, omitting the core, and add it to the bowl of vegetables.
  5. Add the mayonnaise to the bowl and stir to lightly cover the other ingredients.

Keywords: slaw, coleslaw, red cabbage, onion, carrot, red slaw

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