Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Garlic & Sherry Mushroom Tart

Hello, bloggers, it's been a while. I hope everyone has had a great Christmas break, and that you're looking forward to whatever 2016 has in store.

This has been a bit of a weird year for me. I started off, as I always do, with a hundred ideas and aspirations and half-formed goals... and then life happened. In particular, my mother in law has been diagnosed with dementia, and a lot of my weekends earlier in the year were devoted to helping Andy organise her move from a large house (full of stuff) to a smaller, more manageable flat. Plus I've lost count of the number of hours I've spent attempting to wrangle my PhD data into pretty-looking charts.

Which is not to say it's been a bad year, by any means. I've had some amazing travel opportunities: Egypt, Sweden, Poland (twice), Austria. My use of fiction to escape stress has resulted in reading about a hundred books. And I even managed to write a short fantasy-crime novella. (You can download The Falconer for free here -- it's also available on Amazon and other major ebook sites, but sometimes they decide to charge for it.) So there's been a lot of good, it's just that I haven't really felt in control. I've had to focus on managing the little daily goals -- doing enough exercise, eating decent food, meditating regularly -- and my bigger plans have fallen somewhat by the wayside.

However, I'm determined to get back into a regular blogging habit, and I thought I'd start by sharing this yummy tart that I put together for my Christmas dinner this year. I always have a preference for keeping Christmas simple and low-pressure, so something like this that's quick and easy to make -- but still delicious -- is perfect for me.

Garlic & Sherry Mushroom Tart
Serves 4

500g (1lb 2oz) chestnut mushrooms
1 red onion
4 cloves garlic
50ml (3tbsp) dry sherry
160g (6oz) puff pastry
150ml (¼ pint, ½ cup) white sauce*
2tbsp fresh basil
100g (3½oz) cheddar cheese
1-2tsp milk

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (355°F).
  2. Cut the mushrooms into thick slices.
  3. Slice the onion, and dice the garlic.
  4. Sauté the mushrooms over a low heat for a few minutes, until they have shrunk to about half the size.
  5. Drain the mushroom liquid from the pan.
  6. Add the onion, garlic, and sherry to the mushrooms, and continue to sauté until the onions and garlic have softened. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
  7. Roll out the puff pastry to a thin sheet approximately 23cm by 18cm (9in by 7in), and grate the cheese.
  8. Grease a baking sheet and lay out the pastry. (To make individual servings, cut the pastry sheet into quarters and make up each one separately.)
  9. Mix the basil into the white sauce, and spread the sauce in a layer across the pastry, leaving about 1.5cm (½in) around the edge.
  10. Sprinkle half of the cheddar over the white sauce.
  11. Drain any remaining liquid from the mushroom mixture, then pile up the mushrooms on top of the pastry. Again, keep a clear border of pastry around the edge.
  12. Scatter the remaining cheddar over the top of the mushrooms.
  13. Brush the exposed edge of the pastry with the milk.
  14. Bake the tart for 15-20 minutes, until the pastry case is golden brown and the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.

* Make the white sauce before beginning the main recipe prep. Use your favourite recipe, or if you don't have one, melt together equal quantities of butter and plain flour in a saucepan, and add milk a little at a time, stirring constantly, until the milk thickens. It's hard to make sauce in the small quantities required by this recipe, so you may find it easiest to make this recipe when you have leftovers from another dish, which is how I did it. Failing that, shop-bought sauce granules aren't that bad, particularly in a recipe like this where it's simply a base for other ingredients.

I'm linking this up on Meat Free Mondays, don't miss all the other great veggie contributions.


Pauline Persing said...

Good to see a post from you.

mypixieblog said...

Oh, Rachel... I'm so very sorry to hear about your MIL :( I hope your hubs is holding up okay--he's lucky to have such a sweet and caring wife who is willing to step up and help however possible.

This looks fabulous, Rachel--I'm always so impressed by your recipes and this one looks like a winner. Thank you for sharing. And it sounds like you've had quite a year full of great travels and adventures. Here's to a great, happy, and healthy 2016! XOXO

Rachel said...

Lovely. Except what would you suggest instead of dry sherry for a teetotaller?

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