Friday, 4 July 2014

Friday Brunch

Home-made Italian Tart & Hummus 
Perfect for summer!

Having a chef in the house has began to rub off on me, my love of food has been heightened to the extreme which is why I'm finding it hard to budge the baby weight even two years after the little munchkin arrived. Ralph inspires me daily to treat food as an art as well as a passion and to trust my taste buds, I've never been so confident in cooking as I am now and that's all pretty much thanks to him. I've watched him stare at ingredients in a cupboard which then becomes a three course meal and wondered, how on earth did he do that? When I could have starred at the same cupboard of ingredients and thought, "great, we need to go to the store again", or worse, "Time for a takeout!"

Not long after I had our son I decided to go on a gluten free diet in ode of my father who suffers from celiac disease, a harsh form of allergy to wheat (gluten) in food products which results in your intestines eating themselves. (Sorry, not a great image at the dinner table). He'd found the diet change extremely hard but pursued it like a champ. I felt that if I showed him I was willing to do the same and create some gorgeous meals for his yearning of gluten based food then maybe our bond could be that much stronger. Well, not only did I find I had a knack for baking, I suddenly realized I could look at a cupboard full of ingredients and go, "right, I'm making this!" too!

I've recently gone back on the gluten free diet again, but I TRY not to look at it as a diet, more of a challenge. It's so easy to pick up a biscuit or spread something on a slice of bread but when you're trying to avoid gluten you really have to challenge yourself on what to eat. Here is my now favorite dish other than my homemade gluten free pasta, great for summer picnics or BBQs or even instead of a pizza. The only thing really bad for you in it is the cheese, but hey, you need calcium in your diet right? And unless you know, you wont be able to tell its gluten free either! 

Tomato, Olive, Ham and Pesto Tart

1 slice of Serrano ham
4 cherry tomatoes
4-8 olives (depending on your preference)
2-3 teaspoons of green pesto
1 and a 1/2 tablespoons of Quark soft cheese
2 teaspoons of Parmesan cheese
Olive oil

1 & 1/3 cups of Gluten free flower (or regular flour)
1 Egg Yolk
2 teaspoons of butter (you will need more to line your tin)
1 tablespoon of strong cheddar cheese
1-2 teaspoons of green pesto
1-2 teaspoons of water

Pre-heat oven to 200 Celsius (390 Fahrenheit).
Sift the flour into a bowl, mix egg yolk, pesto, cheese, butter & water to create a paste. It should be a sticky paste like a batter but not watery. Line an 8x8inch tin with a generous amount of butter so the batter wont stick or burn. Spoon the batter in the tin and spread even.

Mix pesto, Quark soft cheese with slices olives, tomato and ham and gently spread on top of batter being careful not to pull the batter or mix it into the sauce. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top. Place in oven and cook until crispy and golden. The base should be fully cooked and not touching this sides of the tin.

Carefully take out of oven when done and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle a pinch of rosemary and sage on top of the tart. Cut to serve.

Ralphs Hummus Recipe

1 Tin of Chickpeas
2 Garlic cloves
A generous squeeze of lemon juice
Salt & Pepper to taste
Splash of olive oil

Combine all the ingredients and blitz up (in a blender if needed) don't worry if some of the chickpeas don't blitz it's more rustic this way. Taste and add extra salt,pepper, olive oil or lemon juice to your desire. For an added boost place a teaspoon of pesto on top when serving.

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