First Swallow of 2017 

I know that “one swallow doesn’t make a summer”, but I did see my first of the year yesterday. I checked my notes from last year and it is a day later than in 2016, but still pretty consistent. (The first Swifts of 2016 were 7th May). 

This year is marching on at a pace. 

Making Summer Vegetable Tart

This is an easy and quick way to use up gluts of some vegetables, and you can swap out ingredients for whatever you happen to have. For this version you’ll need:

Sheet of ready made puff-pastry (or hand make a sheet)
2 medium or 1 large courgettes (make sure that the skins aren’t too tough)
3 large tomatoes or a couple of handfuls of cherry tomatoes
2 medium red onions
100g Goats Cheese
Small bunch of basil (or dried flakes)
Small bunch or oregano (or dried flakes)
Regular olive oil & extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & Pepper

1. Preheat you oven to 200°C or whatever temperature recommended on you pastry packet.

2. Take a baking tray that’s large enough for you to roll out your puff pastry sheet out onto. Pour a little regular oil on the sheet and grease the sheet thoroughly (use a pastry or oil brush if you need to).

3. Put the puff pastry sheet onto the baking tray, and with the tip of a sharp knife, score around the outside edge of the pastry about 1 to 2 cms from the outside edge – be careful not to cut all the way though the pastry, and don’t cut to the edges. (This allows for a crust to form around the outside of your tart when it cooks). Put the sheet to one side.

4. Now slice up all your vegetables. Slice onions to form rings, and thin to medium slices of courgettes and tomatoes (if you’re using cherry tomatoes, slice in half or if really small leave whole). Cut goats cheese into slices too.

5. Now layer the vegetables onto the pastry sheet starting with the onions, next the tomatoes and finally the courgettes. Sprinkle the herbs over the top of the courgettes and then add the goats cheese.

6. Drizzle lightly with extra-virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and add a good sprinkle of salt and pepper.

7. Cook in the oven for about 20 mins. at 200°C or until the pastry is cooked. Be careful not to burn the edges of the pastry!

8. Serve with a light green salad.

Thoughts On Summers Past

In just under four weeks, I’ll have had my last day in my current job, two weeks after that is my last contractual day. I’ve obviously been thinking a lot about what happens next. My plan (barring a job offer) is to take a few weeks off, while starting job hunting.

In some ways this reminds me of summers of my childhood, with 6 week holiday breaks. I have memories of spending time on boating lakes, at the beach, in the woods; in the garden. Playing by myself, with friends and with the dog(s). When I was older I would head off for long morning walks with the dog, trying to get out and back before it got too hot and the insects started biting. I remember one summer, I would have been 9 or 10, when each morning before I got up, I would read a chapter of “The Hobbitt”.

 

 

Dogs of Summers Past
  
These are good memories, although I suspect a little enhanced by the passage of time. I don’t expect this summer will be much in comparison. There will undoubtedly be dog walks and books to read, but an element of my focus needs to be on finding my next job. I appreciate that the job market is quieter over the summer, but I’ll still be looking. Maybe I’ll find something different or something the same to what I do now, really now my options are open.