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.

Potting Shed Update (28th June 2016)

I shot this quick video yesterday in the potting shed. I’d been meaning to do an update on the tomatoes and peppers a while ago, when things were looking a little better than they do now. Things started off well, but the slugs have ravaged the peppers, completely destroying the Lipstick Peppers that were in the first trough, and I can see they’ve been nibbling else where too. So far there is very little in the way of peppers, and also the tomatoes, which also started off well, have stalled a bit. They’ve grown really well, but are either not putting out many flowering trusses or when they do they’re not getting pollinated (even though I’ve been trying to do it by hand) because the weather has been so poor, and there have been very few flying insects about to do it for me.

That’s gardening, and on the whole, the allotment is doing so well, that I’m not too worried that the tomatoes and peppers aren’t.

Potting Shed Update

The potting shed is now fully over to it’s “summer” set-up, with all the troughs for peppers and tomatoes full. I’m not growing cucumbers in there this year, as I’ve switched to outdoor cucumbers on the allotment this year as an experiment. I’ll have more tomatoes than I originally planned too, as I’ve lost the first trough of peppers to the snails!

I’ve sown some radish seeds in some of the spare space around some of the plants too. I want to see if I get better luck with a more frequent watering regime, than I have so far on the allotment. The radishes there are coming up very woody, and not very big and I think that might be due to the infrequency of watering.

Short video update below on the potting shed.

I Say Tomato

A Label That Doesn't Quite Reveal All
A Label That Doesn’t Quite Reveal All

I wasn’t going to grow any tomatoes this year. The previous couple of years, have resulted in such a dismal crop of fruit, that it really wasn’t worth the effort, so I thought I’d take a year off from tomatoes and just grow cucumbers instead.

That was until two separate people offered me a couple of plants. I changed my mind, not because I was particularly expecting any greater success, but because I thought I’d just give it a go, and I never like to turn down a gift of plants.

Now the first lot had the label in the picture to the left, not very revealing. The second, the person who gave them to me was honest and said, he had no idea what they were, but he knew he’d sown a cherry and a beefsteak variety, so they would be one or the other. So I took them, grew them on, and eventually planted them into their final spot, when the first flowering trusses appeared.

They’ve grown quite successfully, and I now have green fruits on both plants. It looks as though the cherry / beefsteak are in fact both beefsteak, or some kind of weird heirloom beefsteak, as they have grown some interesting fruit.

Weird Fruit
Weird Fruit

The others are slightly more interesting. They rapidly grew fruit, and at first I thought they were going to be the good old gardner’s staple, Moneymaker. However, something weird started to happen. The fruits grew to a standard tomato size and started to ripen, turning from green, to yellow. They did not however reach the red that you would expect from a tomato. Instead they seemed to hold as this golden yellow for days. Eventually I realised that perhaps this was their final show, so I picked one. Now slightly over-ripe, they were a great tasting tomato, but they were never going to be red, only ever a golden yellow.

2015-07-30 19.18.48
Never Going To Be Red

I’ve still no clue as to what variety they really are, just that they taste great. Always a bit exciting to grow a new plant, even when it’s only the humble tomato!