Rainbow Chard, Goats Cheese and Mushroom Pie

I picked up some very nice looking rainbow chard this morning.  It’s not a vegetable I often buy, although I do often have the baby stems in prepared bags of salad.  I decided that it would be good with the field mushrooms I also bought, together with some goats cheese.

Swiss chard

This is a very quick pie that makes the most of the autumn produce available right now and uses ready bought puff pastry. The cheese really brings it all together and the finished pie makes for a very nice meat-free lunch or supper dish with salad.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie1

Ingredients:
1 bunch of fresh rainbow chard, washed
2 onions, halved and sliced
1 punnet of field mushrooms
1tbs mixed fresh herbs, I used thyme, rosemary and one sage leaf, all finely chopped
1 small goats cheese
50g Gruyere cheese – grated
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2-3tbs double cream
1tsp Dijon mustard
1 pack of ready rolled puff pastry
1 knob of butter with a little olive oil
1 egg, lightly beaten

Method:
Prepare the onions by halving and slicing them.  Strip the leaves from the stems of the chard and chop the stems fairly small.  Tear the leaves.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie

Heat the butter and oil in a pan and add the onions and herbs.  Cook on a medium heat for a couple of minutes with a pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.  Add in the chard stems and cook together until softened and translucent.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie3

Slice the mushrooms and add to the onions and chard, cook until golden, before adding in the chard leaves to wilt down.

When the leaves have wilted, stir in the mustard and cream and remove from the heat.

Stir in the grated gruyere cheese off the heat and leave to cool before assembling the pie.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie6

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment or a non stick liner.

Place the pasty sheet onto the lined baking and cut in half.

In the centre of one half of the pastry, pile the filling, leaving a border of around 2cm. Dot with the crumbled goats cheese and brush the border with beaten egg.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie2

For the other half, I have cut out little holes, but you can just cut steam holes.  Place the second half directly over the filling and crimp the edges together with a fork.  Brush the top with the beaten egg.

Swiss chard and mushroom pie4

Bake for 45-50 minutes or until crisp, golden and completely cooked through.  Leave to cool a little before serving with salad and a nice glass of chilled white wine.

Fall Salad with Pita Chips

It’s definitely starting to look autumnal outside now and I couldn’t be happier.  I know some people are feeling sad that summer is over, but autumn is SO much better.  All the colours, flavours, smells, fashion and even the angle of the sunlight make this my favourite time of year.

Fall salad3

Now all the squashes and pumpkins are starting to come into the shops, I like finding as many ways of using them that I can.  I think roasted butternut squash is really good in a salad with greens, tasty cheese and a nice dressing to bring it all together.

Fall salad2

This is a hearty, autumnal themed salad with roasted squash, red chicory, apples, walnuts and a really punchy blue cheese that I picked up – Buxton Blue.  This is a deep russet coloured cheese with blue veining and has a really good kick to it.  I also topped the salad with some Parma ham and a few pita chips for a bit of crunch – these are very quick to make.

I like to serve the dressing on the side, or if I am taking one to work with me, I love those little screw top pots that hold just the right amount.  This one has grain mustard, maple syrup and yoghurt which really works with the bitter red chicory leaves, salty cheese and sweet apples.

Ingredients:
1 small butternut squash or pumpkin
1tbs olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head of red chicory or radicchio, end removed and leaves separated
1 bag of mixed salad leaves, or any other greens like baby spinach or kale
1 crisp, red dessert apple
Half a lemon
1 handful of walnut halves
Around 100g blue cheese – I used the Staffordshire Cheese Company’s Buxton Blue
1 pack of Parma ham
1 large pita bread

Dressing:
3tbs plain yoghurt
2tsp grain mustard
2tsp lemon juice
1tsp maple syrup
Pinch of salt and black pepper

Method:
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/395°F

Peel and chop the butternut squash into bite-sized chunks.  Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a lined baking sheet.  Roast for around 20-25 minutes, giving them a turn half way through.  The chunks should be tender and the edges just staring to catch.

Squash

Brush the pita bread with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Cut into into bite-sized squares, place onto a sheet and roast with the squash for 5-10 minutes – keep an eye on them, they should be crisp and golden.

Pita chips

Set aside while you assemble the rest of the salad.

Whisk the dressing ingredients together and check the seasoning.  Add a little more lemon or maple to adjust to preferred taste.

Core and slice the apple and toss in the juice from half a lemon so it doesnt discolour.  Arrange the leaves and red chicory on a platter and scatter over the squash, apple slices and walnuts. Break the cheese into crumbles and scatter those over too.  Gently turn to mix the salad together.

Fall salad1

Take slices of the Parma ham, gather then together, tear and place little ‘heaps’ in and around the rest of the salad.  Finally, top with the crunchy pita chips.  I prefer to serve the dressing on the side.

Fall salad4

The salad can be scaled up or down, depending on how many people you are feeding and of course, it can be plated individually.  I normally serve 1-2 slices of the Parma ham per person and sometimes use pecans instead of walnuts.

Fall salad

I think this colourful, autumnal salad is a great lunch dish and any left overs make a good packed lunch too.

 

Fresh Tomato Galette with Goats Cheese

This galette has lots of fresh tomatoes, goats cheese, balsamic caramelised onions and thyme – all baked together in a buttery crust, flavoured with Grana Padano cheese.

Tomato galette6

It makes the most of the summer tomato harvest that is so good right now and would be even better if you use home-grown, or heirloom tomatoes.  I picked my tomatoes up from my favourite farm shop and they were locally grown – so much better than forced tomatoes that have been flown half way around the world that taste of nothing!

Tomato galette5

Galettes have to be one of the easiest tarts to bake as they are supposed to look rustic!  This crust has the addition of the cheese to give it an extra savoury note that really sets the whole thing off.

I start with a base of slowly cooked onions, caramelised with balsamic vinegar then crumbled goats cheese, thyme leaves and topped with the sliced tomatoes and a little gruyere.  You can never have too much cheese – right?

Tomato galette4

Make the most of these late summer days and enjoy at a picnic in the park, or in the garden with salad and cold white wine.

…or alternatively; inside, with the doors shut – well away from wasps!

Crust Ingredients:
240g plain/all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Grana Padano cheese
170g very cold butter, cut into cubes
1tsp salt
Iced water
1 egg beaten with a splash of milk to make a wash
Black onion seeds and seseme seeds for sprinkling

Filling:
1 punnet of fresh tomatoes
Goats cheese – approx 220g, crumbled
Gruyere cheese – around a handful, grated
3 medium sized brown onions
Pinch of brown sugar
Balsamic vinegar
Small bunch of fresh thyme, leaves picked
1tbs olive oil
Small knob of butter
Salt and black pepper

Method:
For the crust, I use the food processor, fitted with the steel blade.  Place the flour, salt, cheese and butter and pulse until just incorporated.  Add the iced water a little at a time, pulsing until the dough just comes together.  Take it out, form into a flattened disc, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling, slice each onion in half and cut thinly.  Heat the oil and butter and cook the onions with a good pinch of salt.  Cook until they start to become translucent.  Add a pinch of sugar and they need to be left on a low heat, stirring occasionally, until they are a lovely walnut colour, but not burnt.

Leave them cooking low and slow for around 30 minutes.  When they are looking ready, stir in a splash of balsamic vinegar (balsamic glaze would also be ok here) let it cook in for a couple of minutes and turn off the heat.  Set aside to cool.

Tomato galette8

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F

Slice all the tomatoes and place onto some kitchen paper to absorb extra juices.

When the onions are cold, its time to roll out the chilled dough.  I prefer to sprinkle a little flour onto my baking sheet liner and roll out directly onto it.  This helps transport the galette into the oven.

Roll out the dough into a rough circle, about half a centimeter.  Spread out the caramelised onions, leaving around a 5cm/2 inch border around the edge.

Tomato galette

Top with the crumbled goats cheese, a grind of black pepper and a little of the thyme leaves.

Tomato galette1

Place the sliced tomatoes over the top, season with salt and pepper and grate over a little gruyere cheese and more thyme leaves.

Tomato Galette2

Bring the pastry up over the filling, leaving the centre exposed, folding and pleating as you go.

Tomato galette3

Brush with the beaten egg wash and sprinkle a few onion and seseme seeds over the outside of the crust.  Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for around 45 minutes, but keep an eye it, it should be golden brown and the filling just starting to catch on the edges.

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Leave to cool for a few minutes if serving it warm with salad for a delicious lunch.  I think its just as good cold and would be a great addition for a picnic or lunchbox.

Tomato galette9