That tart is exciting. It’s light and lemony and tastes of summer. And most importantly, it’s all about the mushrooms. I adapted this recipe from the one in the River Cottage Everyday cookbook, which celebrates food in way I really like. Simple ingredients, simple methods, big flavours. In this case, the central ingredient is the mushrooms. This tart would be perfectly adequate if you just used one type of mushroom, but don’t do that. There’s something wonderful about the range of textures and shapes that can occur within the category of things that are still mushrooms. The more of them you can have going on in this tart, the better. I used chestnut, button and oyster mushrooms.
150g puff pastry
200g mixed mushrooms
a pat of butter
1 clove of garlic, crushed
grated zest of 1 lemon
1 handful of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
20g parmesan, grated
Serves 2 as a light main or very substantial starter
Takes 45 minutes to make
Stage one: Roll out the pastry into whatever shape you like. Make it round or square, it’s all the same to me. Fold the edges over. Pop it in the fridge while you’re cooking the mushrooms.
Stage two: Preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C. Thickly slice the mushrooms where appropriate. By appropriate, I mean slice chestnut mushrooms, but only halve oyster mushrooms or other fiddly types.
Stage three: In a saucepan, melt the pat of butter over a medium heat and then add in the mushrooms, stirring occasionally. When the mushrooms start to reduce, stir in the garlic. Continue to cook until the water that seeps out of the mushrooms has evaporated. Remove from the heat, and then stir in the lemon zest and parsley. Season lightly – the lemon already adds a lot of flavour!
Stage four: Take the pastry out of the fridge and spread the mushrooms over the top. Sprinkle on the parmesan.
Stage five: Bake for 15-20 minutes until the pastry has gone golden. Serve hot or cold.
In certain contexts I really love lentils. Basically, they need to not be identifiable as lentils. Red lentils in a curry do this really well – you just cook them until they go soupy and creamy and wonderful. This also solves the problem of how to make a thick but healthy curry sauce. Plus you can adapt this curry to fit whatever you have in your fridge that needs eating. I call that a win.
250g chestnut mushrooms, halved
200g spinach, washed
200g lentils, washed
1 large white onion, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
3 tbsp thai red curry paste (or more to taste)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 litre vegetable stock
1/2 can reduced fat coconut milk (OR use the full can and 750ml stock if you want a creamier curry)
serve with rice
Serves 6 medium servings or 4 big servings
Calories: 190 (when serving 6, not including rice)
Takes 30-40 minutes to make
Stage one: Slice the onion and prep the mushrooms and pepper. Then fry the onion in the vegetable oil over a low heat until it is soft and lightly coloured. Add in the pepper, mushrooms, and 2 tbsp of the curry paste, raise the heat to medium-high and fry for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the stock if you’re using fresh stock, or boil the kettle if using powdered/cube stock. Wash the lentils in a seive until the water runs clear.
Stage two: Add the stock, 1 tbsp more curry paste, and boil. I know you’re meant to reduce it to a simmer immediately after reaching the boil, but I like my lentils really mushy, so I only reduce the heat to medium. Your choice! Leave for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, prepare your rice.
Stage three: Stir in the coconut milk. Give it a taste, and add more coconut milk and more curry paste depending on how sweet or how spicy you like your curry. My husband doesn’t like particularly spicy food, so I left it as it was and it still tasted great. Finally, stir in the spinach until it wilts – this will only take a minute. Serve immediately.