If you’re crazy and you know it, bake a tart

Roast Vegetable Tart

Hi, my name is Ellie and I’m an oven-addict.

I know you’re laughing, but you shouldn’t. You see, it’s a legitimate problem. I have a pastry-obsession and I need to bake at least once a week to feel sane. I love sifting flour, I adore beating eggs and working with butter sends shivers down my spine.

My mother has tried an intervention, but alas, to no avail. Her pleas, her reprimands, warnings and orders to stay away from the oven fall on deaf ears as I gaze affectionately at its temperature dial and cheekily stroke the inner shelves. We’ve been through a lot, this oven and me. We’ve had our ups and downs, our failures and our successes, but through it all we’ve stood firmly by each other, defiant in the faces of those who would try and tear us apart.

But, as is sometimes the case, loving something doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you, and after an incident last week, I think I need to explore other options. You see, I’m only just starting to recover from a cold which has held a firm grip on me for the past week and a bit, and I’m convinced that I would have started the recovery process a lot sooner had it not been for my obsession with baking.

The day that the cold hit me with its full force, I was miserably rummaging through the fridge, trying to find something that would whet my disinterested appetite, when I came across half a pumpkin and a sweet potato that was looking a bit dry. Further exploration revealed a slightly shriveled capsicum and a softening zucchini. One final poke about surrendered a handful of pitiful mushrooms and a lonely garlic bulb. I lay my ageing bounty on the kitchen bench and looked at it, feeling bemused. All these old veggies, what would I do to use them before they expired from the world of tastiness? In my sickened state, going shopping was no option so I would have to make do with whatever I had lying around the house. After casting my gaze over my bakeware, my eye finally settled on the new rectangular tart tin that I’d bought a month earlier but still not used, so I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to break it in!

Roast Vegetable Tart
Yes, I know the photos are awful and the presentation stinks, but I was coughing up a lung and could barely stand upright by the time this was finished so I think I did okay, considering the circumstances!

I trudged back to my room and sat myself down in my chair to try and find a recipe for a roast vegetable tart on the internet so I pulled up google and started hunting…but as soon as I pulled up the first search result, I laughed (perhaps a touch maniacally) as I had forgotten the fact that the cold was messing with my head so badly that I couldn’t focus my eyes on the screen long enough to read through the instructions. Hoo-bloody-ray. By this stage I was feeling a bit woozy from the walking about, cold meds and lack of energy and I should have taken this as a sign that I was in no condition to be in the kitchen, but nooooooooooooooooooo, not me! I completely failed to put them together, and in my spinning-headed state I decided that I’d just wing it.

(At this stage, I must advise that my family are not to fault – they were out and I was home alone so there was nobody to gently inform me that I was being a ninny…though to be honest, this is usually what happens when I’m home alone and left to my own devices!)

Having made a decision, I meandered back to the kitchen where I began to haphazardly chop the veggies and cook them down, growing slightly more spaced out as the process continued till the point where lay on the ground in front of the oven as soon as I’d safely bunged the tart inside. I eventually woke up and crawled to my room where I hid under the covers and shivered on the edge of sleep till the oven timer buzzed to let me know that I should attend to it right this instant if I didn’t want to burn my house down.

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, looking back I can see that me and the oven need to take a little break from each other. I’ll always love it, but in its current state it’s just not a healthy relationship. So, with this tart I bid adieu to my oven for a little while, just till I learn to love it wisely…

Or at least, I will once I’ve made another one of these ;)

Roast Vegetable Tart

Ellie’s Roast Vegetable Tart
(You’ll have to excuse the quantities, they’re rough…I’m surprised I can remember them at all!)

Ingredients
1x quantity of shortcrust pastry, rolled about 3-5mm thick (I had some home made in my freezer, thank god!)
1 cup butternut pumpkin, cut into a large dice
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthways and cut into roughly 5mm thick slices
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and roughly diced
1 red bell pepper (capsicum), core and seeds removed and roughly diced
1 cup mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped
1/2 cup chopped semi sundried tomatoes
1 large bulb of garlic
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup cream
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees C, then toss together the pumpkin and sweet potato in a light drizzle of olive oil and place on a lined baking tray. Slice the top off the garlic bulb, drizzle a little olive oil over the top and wrap in some foil, then place the pumpkin, sweet potato and garlic bulb in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes, or till soft enough to poke with a fork.

2. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and fry the capsicum till softened, then add the zucchini and mushroom and fry till softened. Place the fried veggies in a bowl and once the pumpkin and sweet potato have roasted, add them along with the semi sundried tomatoes to the bowl as well.

3. Once the garlic is soft enough to squish, remove from the oven (about the same time that you take out the pumpkin) and unwrap it and leave it to cool so that you can handle it, and reduce oven temperature to 180 degrees C. While that’s cooling, mix together the cream, eggs and parmesan then add to the veggies and mix to combine, then season with some salt and freshly cracked pepper.

4. Once the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out all the roasted garlic into the veggie mix and stir it through so everything is well combined. Line your tart tin with your pastry, then pour in the egg and veggies on top of the pastry and place it in the oven to bake for about 20 minutes or till the eggs have set.

5. Leave to cool and firm up slightly, then slice up and enjoy.

This is good whether hot or cold, and a slice of this along with a bowl of soup makes for a hearty lunch full of roasted vegetable goodness!

[tags] roasting, vegetables, tarts, pastry, baking, recipes[/tags]

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