Tag Archives: onion

Ain’t Potato the Sweetest Thing.

2 Oct

As you can see, I have an uncanny knack for appropriating song lyrics. A high point (or low, depending on which way you look at it) was when my flatmate and I changed the lyrics to ‘California Gurls’ (sic) by Katy Perry and instead made the song about California rolls. We even proposed taking it to our local sushi joint so they could frame it on the wall. Look, it made sense at the time.

So OK, I might not be destined for a lifelong career in lyric appropriation (if there is such a thing) but I can show you how to make a mean quiche. And ultimately that will take me further than wailing at the top of my lungs about how I know a place where the sushi’s really fresher.

Quiches are so easy and, in their most basic form, only take a matter of minutes to whip up. The extra bonus is that they stretch for days, making excellent cold lunches. I was lucky that I had the time to make my own pastry but by all means take the cheat’s way out and just use store-bought shortcrust. The filling can be chopped and changed according to what you like and what you can afford. Ham, chicken, cheese, herbs, tomatoes and various other vegetables make wonderful additions. And don’t do what I stupidly did and spend $2.50 on a single sweet potato – use pumpkin as a cheaper substitute.

I can assure you that this quiche is so good, the club can’t even handle it right now. I really don’t know what that means.

Sweet Potato and Caramelised Onion Quiche.

Sweet Potato and Caramelised Onion Quiche

Serves 3-4 (for days)


1 3/4 cups plain flour

125g chilled butter, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp iced water


2 TBSP olive oil

500g sweet potato, peeled and diced (or pumpkin)

1 large brown onion, peeled and sliced into rings

1 tsp brown sugar

4 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1 TBSP dried mixed herbs

salt and pepper

1. In a large mixing bowl, rub together the butter, salt and flour with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Add the water and combine to form a dough. You made need to add more water or flour, depending on the consistency of the dough. It should resemble play dough.

3. Wrap the dough in cling wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

4. In a medium saucepan, place the sweet potato and enough water to cover it. Add a pinch of salt. Bring it to the boil.

5. Remove the sweet potato from the heat when it is just cooked through and drain. Leave to cool.

6. In a medium fry pan, heat 1 TBSP of the olive oil.

7. Add the onions and fry until soft.

8. Add the sugar and keep frying until the onion caramelises. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

9. Preheat the oven to 200C and grease a 22cm pie dish or tart tin.

10. Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out until it’s big enough to cover the dish/tin.

11. Line the dish/tin with the pastry and place in the fridge for a further 15 minutes.

12. Whisk the eggs with the milk and herbs.

13. Add the cooled onion and season to taste.

14. Remove the pastry shell from the fridge and place in the oven for 15 minutes.

15. Remove from the oven and cover the pastry with the sweet potato. Then pour over the egg mixture.

16. Reduce the oven temperature to 180C and bake the quiche for 30-40 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.

17. Serve.


Feeling tarty?

2 Jun

I’m going through a bit of a pumpkin obsession at the moment – finding its deliciousness, easiness and, most importantly, its cheapness, rather seductive. For the sake of your sanity and gag reflex, though, I will not go on a 500-word rant about the sexual allure of an orange vegetable.

Instead I will merely advise that you go buy some, chop it up and eat it in as many ways as possible. These are endless: roasted, steamed, stir-fried, in a soup, mashed up (with potato for substance), in a delectable pie with cream…

In fact, the possibilities for pumpkin are endless. But here’s a way to cook it which seems fancy schmancy but is really quite simple. It’s similar to my Glorified Tomato Pie in that you can feign authentic cooking skills.

Roast pumpkin and onion tart.

Roast Pumpkin and Onion Tart

Serves 2

2 TBSP olive oil

2 large brown onions, thinly sliced

2 sheets puff pastry

1 egg, whisked

200g butternut pumpkin, peeled and sliced into wedge-crescent-shaped-things (see the picture. It’ll save you trying to work out what I mean)

a few sprigs of sage or basil (optional)

salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over high heat.

2. Add the onions and fry until well cooked.

3. Remove from heat and cool.

4. Preheat oven to 180C.

5. Take one of the pieces of puff pastry and cut a window out of it so that you have a frame that is about 1 inch thick all around.

6. Brush one side of it with the egg.

7. Place the ‘frame’ on the other piece of puff pastry so that you basically have a raised border type thing. Yeah, I’m good and I know it.

8. Place the fried onions inside the ‘frame’ and spread evenly.

9. Arrange the slices of pumpkin on top.

10. If using, scatter the herbs on top of the pumpkin.

11. Brush the ‘frame’ with more egg.

12. Season with salt and pepper.

13. Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the pumpkin is cooked through and looking roasted and the pastry is golden.

14. Cut in two or, if this week’s rent means you’re combining all three daily meals, keep it for yourself.

The Glorified Tomato Pie.

28 May

I wanted to be a bit wanky and pretentious this particular evening. And what better way to do it than with a tomato tarte tatin with caramelised onions, fresh basil and a balsamic reduction?

Lordy, I sound like I should really get into menu writing – if there is such a profession. If there is, though, I’m ready and willing to drop out of uni and give Matt Preston a run for his money in the snooty stakes.

Sadly the reality is that this was really a tomato pie with some onions, herbs and a pretty questionable vinegar and honey concoction splashed about on top. But such is the power of pompous vocabulary.

Anyway, I digress. A recipe on Taste (see bar on the right) inspired me to create this tomato thang for some guests we were having over. But the original recipe, to be honest, didn’t seem to have the right amount of pizazz – that is, I couldn’t really ham up and wankify its description in its initial form.

So I added some fresh basil leaves (from our, surprisingly, still alive basil plant) and caramelised onions and altered the balsamic vinegar component a little bit.

The end result was quite ‘tasty’ (I quote my flatmate here) and made me look like the ostentatious chef I so aspire to be. In reality? This recipe couldn’t be easier. And I couldn’t be any further from the aforementioned description.

Tomato tarte tatin

Tomato Tarte Tatin with Caramalised Onions, Fresh Basil and a Balsamic Reduction.

(translation: Tomato Pie with Some Onions, Herbs and a Pretty Questionable Vinegar and Honey Concoction)

Serves 4

For the pastry:

100g (2/3 cup) plain flour

1 tsp salt

50g dairy spread

1 TBSP cold water, approximately

400-500g baby roma tomatoes (depending on the quantities available to buy)

2 large onions, thinly sliced

2 TBSP olive oil

1 tsp sugar

6 or 7 basil leaves

salt and pepper, to taste

For the reduction:

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar

1 TBSP honey

For the pastry:

1. Rub the flour, salt and dairy spread together with your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

2. Add enough water so that the dough comes together to form a ball. Make sure it’s not too sticky – if it is, add a bit more flour accordingly.

3. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the rest.

1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over high heat.

2. Add the onions and fry until well cooked – they should be quite mushy and brown.

3. Add the sugar and keep cooking until the onions are well caramelised.

4. Remove from heat and leave to cool.

5. Arrange the tomatoes on the base of a 20cm-round cake tin. Make them look somewhat nice, mainly for the wank factor. And don’t use a springform cake tin – I did and ended up almost causing an oil fire.

6. Spread the basil leaves around on top of the tomatoes.

7. Top with the cooled onions.

8. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out so that it is big enough to cover the other stuff – if there is excess, just roll it back so that it forms a kind of ring around the edge. For a better explanation, click here.

9. Preheat the oven to 200C.

10. Cover the tin with plastic wrap and put the whole thing in the fridge for 10 minutes – this ensures the pastry doesn’t shrink while cooking.

11. Meanwhile, make the balsamic reduction/vinegar and honey concoction. In a pan over medium-high heat, put the balsamic vinegar and honey. Keep stirring and eventually it will turn into a thickish, molasses-resembling sauce thing. Don’t be deterred by guests telling you it resembles car oil. Looks are deceiving.

12. Take the tart out of the fridge and place in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes. You can put the grill on for the last few minutes to ensure the pastry browns up nicely. But watch it – that thing is wild and can turn your tart black in seconds.

13. Remove from the oven and turn out onto a plate so that it is upside down. Again, refer to here for better instructions. But ignore the wire rack thing.

14. Drizzle with the reduction, season with salt and pepper, garnish with something green for extra wank (I promise this is the last time I’ll use this word) and serve.

NOTE: If serving to guests, preferably use the first description. Cravat optional.