Mushroom tartlets

The start to 2020 has been…well…not as we had expected it to be.

There were the fires, the loss of the family farm and our camper-trailer,  and the lingering smoke haze. Then there was the freak hail storm that left my car looking like a golf ball, caterers that pulled out the day before my husband’s birthday party and a mobile cool room who’s compressor decided to blow – meaning it was more of a “hot box” than a cool room.

But here we are. More than half way through February and things are starting to look up. My car was finally assessed as a ‘write off’ (no surprises there) , and I found a replacement car with low kms that I’m hoping pick up next week. The insurance claim for the camper is also in its final stages, and I’m pleased to report that my husband’s birthday went off without any more hitches and a great time was had by all!

So its’s time to get back in the kitchen and get a little creative. Making dishes that I wouldn’t normally make, and trying some new flavours and ingredients. For it’s no secret that the kitchen has always been my happy place.

When I looked back at my photos, I was reminded of one such afternoon in the kitchen – baking. On the menu were these lovely little mushroom tartlets, that we served as an appetiser when we had guests over for dinner.

Mushrooms, cooked in a creamy sauce that was laden with sherry, and served in crispy puff pastry. They were actually quite simple to prepare, from memory, and were a nice alternative to the cheese plate or charcuterie board that we normally serve as a starter.

I think they’d be lovely for lunch too, served with a green salad. I could probably even sneak them into the kids’ lunchboxes, although I’d probably omit the sherry.

So here’s to a 2020 that is filled more with baking and creating, than dealing with insurance companies!

Print Recipe
Mushroom tartlets
Course Appetiser
Servings
tartlets
Ingredients
Course Appetiser
Servings
tartlets
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 12-hole muffin pan.
  2. Cut puff pastry into 10cm rounds and press into the prepared tin. Prick the bases with a fork. Place some baking paper in each and fill with pastry weights. Bake for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove weights and baking paper and continue to bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown.
  4. To make the filling - heat butter in a large frypan and sauté until golden. Add the sherry and allow to evaporate. Add the cream and lemon juice and simmer until the mixture had reduced slightly. Remove from heat and stir through egg yolks. Season to taste.
  5. Spoon the warm filling into the pastry cases, and bake for a further 5 minutes. Serve.
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Strawberry Cheesecake

I don’t tend to bake sweet treats much these days. Not because I don’t enjoy it (I really do!) – its just that I generally crave savoury snacks over sweet – particularly when the weather is warmer. But now that the days are getting shorter, and t-shirts are being replaced with snuggly knits and scarves – there is something quite comforting about indulging in something sweet.

This strawberry cheesecake made an appearance at our Easter lunch. Actually it was one of two cakes we made for the occasion (the other being a tim tam cheesecake). I loved its simplicity – and the fact that the beautiful strawberries were the star of the show. It was also a non-baked version – so we could pull it together the day before.

I used shortbread for the base – flavoured with a little coconut. The creamy filling was made with cream cheese, cream, sweetened condensed milk and, of course, fresh strawberries. Jazzed up with a little fresh lime juice and zest.

The overall result was a cheesecake that was effortlessly delicious. Packed with flavour (and had me going back for seconds in the days that followed). A nice break from the chocolate overload over Easter too!

Print Recipe
Strawberry Cheesecake
Course Baking
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Baking
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Grease and line a springform baking tin.
  2. Process biscuits and coconut until they are a fine crumb. Add the melted butter, and process until combined. Press into the prepared tin, and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  3. Add the cream cheese and condensed milk to a clean food processor, and process until smooth. Add 400g of the strawberries and cream, and continue to process until smooth.
  4. Heat the lime juice in a small saucepan until simmering. Squeeze the water out of the gelatine leaves, and add to the heated juice. Stir until dissolved, then allow to cool slightly.
  5. Add the gelatine mix to the processor, along with the lime zest, and process until combined. Carefully pour the mixture on top of the base, and refrigerate until set.
  6. Remove the cake from the tin, and top with extra strawberries to serve.
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