Zucchini, Baby Spinach and Cottage Cheese Phyllo Tart

Ummmm yes please !

I have finally come to the realization that I REALLY enjoy zucchini’s !, courgettes, or marrows or whatever you guys call them. (Sorry I did not mean to shout, I really just wanted to emphasize how much I really do enjoy them) It’s not a bad thing though as they are healthy, low carbs… but seriously, look at all my posts and 90% of them have zucchini’s in them !!!! (Okay, I still am getting used to the idea of calling what I know as ‘marrow’s’, zucchini’s or courgettes….I know I am carrying on about it, but this is a major for me.

So, this little savoury tart I have done like a billion times, over the years.  I decided that it clearly is good, and it is clearly time to share.  The combination of the marrows zucchini’s and cottage cheese is just delicious.  I have made it with both phyllo and puff.  Both are good, so basically when I am in this tart mood I use whatever pastry I have on hand, so clearly anything goes! (did you notice how many times I said ‘clearly’ in this paragraph?….yip! I am losing it !!!)

Zucchini, Baby Spinach and Cottage Cheese Phyllo Tart

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  30 – 45 minutes

Total time:  40 – 55 minutes

Ingredients:

6 – 8 sheets of phyllo pastry

1/2 cup (125 ml) melted butter, plus more if necessary

250 gram plain chunky cottage cheese

2 Tablespoons basil pesto (be generous)

8 small zucchini’s, sliced with a potato peeler

a handful of baby spinach, sliced finely

4 Jumbo-sized free-range eggs

1 cup (250 ml) crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup (125 ml) dry toasted pumpkin seeds

To Serve:  Rocket and Sour Cream

Instructions:

Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease an oven proof dish approximately 23 x 28 x 5 centimeters / 9 x 11 x 2 inches in size.

Layer one sheet of your phyllo pastry into the dish and brush the pastry with some melted butter.  Continue to layer and brush with butter until all the sheets of phyllo are finished.

Then blanch the sliced zucchini’s in boiling water for a few seconds, drain and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl add the cottage cheese and pesto.  Taste and if needed season with salt and pepper.  Spoon mixture onto the phyllo pastry.

In another bowl, add the zucchini, baby spinach, eggs and feta. Mix well. Then stir in half of the dry toasted pumpkin seeds.

Spoon the zucchini mixture over the cottage cheese mixture, and top with the remainder of the pumpkin seeds.

Place in oven and bake for 30 – 45 minutes or until egg has set and phyllo is golden brown.

Serve with rocket and sour cream.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  If you find that your phyllo is browning too quickly, cover the exposed phyllo with tin foil, so that it does not burn.

 

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Crustless Swiss Chard and Zucchini (Courgette/Marrow) Quiche

Now this is the easiest Quiche ever !!! You could probably throw it all together with your eyes closed, I am not kidding !

Three key ingredients only and then whatever filling your heart desires. 🙂

This time my filling consisted of Swiss chard, cheese (obvs) and zucchini’s.(seems weird me calling them this, as I have known them my whole life as ‘marrows’ but I know this has confused some people, so I am trying, to continue to call them zucchini’s here on my blog). Anyway…the beauty with this recipe is, literally anything goes.  I generally like to bump it up and put enough filling together so it is quite thick and I can barely mix it up with a spoon, that way I know the filling with be thick and not soggy. There really is no hard and fast rules with this one when it comes to quantity, just go with your gut. Oh, and by the way, this quiche does not have to be gluten-free, just use a normal flour if you are not gluten intolerant.

Crustless Swiss Chard and Zucchini (Courgette/Marrow) Quiche

Preparation time:  10 minutes

Cooking time:  20 – 30 minutes

Total time:  30 – 40 minutes

Ingredients:

350 millilitres milk of your choice

2 – 3  heaped Tablespoons of gluten-free flour * (oh, and don’t be shy, heap that spoon up!) 

4 free-range extra-large/jumbo eggs

Filling:

1 large onion, diced

1 – 2 large garlic cloves, chopped finely

3 cups packed chopped and shredded Swiss chard

3 large zucchini (courgette/marrow)* (approx 150 gram each)

2 cups grated matured cheddar cheese

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:                                 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small pan on medium heat, saute’ the onion and garlic together.  Set aside.

With you potato peeler, peel the zucchini/courgette length-ways, all around.  I leave the middle watery area alone, as that could make the Quiche a bit mushy. Don’t throw these away, they can be chopped and used for another meal..just saying 🙂 

Now this is the easy part.  In a large bowl, bomb all the ingredients in together, (milk, flour, eggs, onion, garlic, Swiss chard, zucchini/courgette, cheese, salt and pepper) Mix well.

Then, place all the mixed ingredients into a greased dish.  (The dish I used is a 6.5 x 11 inch /16.5 x 28 centimeter oven proof dish.)

Place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Once done, remove from the oven.

Enjoy 🙂

  •  I used Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour.

 

 

Four Cheese and Nut Tart

For all the Cheese Lovers out there….this one is for you!!!

I am an all or nothing kind of a girl, and I have pretty much been on a Gluten and Dairy-Free way of eating for quite some time now.  Well, this tart, just threw the gluten thing and dairy thing out the window for me.  But it was all good and totally worth it. I ate salad leaves and cucumber for a solid week just to apologise to my stomach and try and get it back on track from making it consume the gluten and dairy…but that is how it goes once in awhile :-). This was like my all time cheat.  Most people do it with chocolate, I did it with cheese, not one kind, but FOUR!!!

I cannot take all the credit for this amazing tart.  I have had this recipe for ‘yonks’ and every time I page through my recipe collection, this recipe practically haunts me. It is like….bake me, bake me….I swear I literally hear this timid little voice, it is just so sad…..so…. Finally I just did it ! I made it, and it was all that I expected and more ….yes, this tart was AWESOME.

Four Cheese and Nut Tart

Preparation time: 10  minutes

Cooking time: 45 minutes

Total time:  55 minutes

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Shortcrust Pasty (I used store-bought, purely due to laziness)

4 jumbo-sized egg yolks

a bunch of spring onions

1/4  small white onion, diced finely

200 gram Cream Cheese (I used Full-Fat as I was on a mission)

125 gram Mascarpone Cheese

250 gram grated Matured Cheddar Cheese

20 – 30 gram grated Parmesan

50 gram dry toasted walnuts, chopped

50 gram dry toasted almonds, chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Grease a springform cake tin, approximately 20 centimeters /8 inch in size.

Roll out the pastry and cut out a 23 centimeter /9 inch circle and place the shortcrust pastry into the cake tin.

Prick the pastry all over with a fork and allow to bake for 15 minutes.

Now, in a bowl, mix together the egg yolks and onions.

Add the cream cheese and mascarpone.

Season well with some black pepper.

Add the nuts to the cheese mixture.

Then scatter the matured cheddar cheese on top of the pastry.  Top with the nut and cheese mixture and then lastly sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top.

Bake in the oven for 25 – 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let it rest for ten minutes before serving.

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  This can also be made ahead of time and placed in the fridge.  Just remember to bring it to room temperature before serving.

 

Baby Spinach and Yellow Pepper Frittata

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OMW !!! Where do I begin?  I think this is my fave thing to eat right now. Today was Frittata day for me, well lunch was.  I just had to…….I had all the ingredients and a mountain of eggs, so Fritatta it was.  Super easy, one pan, throw everything in, cook and eat !!!  It just doesn’t get better than that.  Not only that, but Frittata’s are sooooo versatile.  If you want meat, just add it in, if you want just veggies, just go for it, and if you want to just finish off all the bits and pieces in the fridge at the end of the week, no problem, no judgement here 🙂 . Throw in some eggs and feta; bomb in the oven and that is it. In no time at all the Frittata is done, sitting in front of you just waiting to be devoured and trust me, your tummy will be happy 🙂 .

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Baby Spinach and Yellow Pepper Frittata

Preparation time:  25 minutes

Cooking time:  15 minutes

Total time:  40 minutes

Serves 4

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 large yellow pepper, sliced thinly

1 large white onion, sliced thinly

3 large garlic cloves, chopped finely or crushed

2-3 handfuls of baby spinach

10 free range jumbo eggs, beaten

2 disc’s of feta cheese (approximately 200 gram)

1/2 – 1 thinly sliced red chilli

Salt and Pepper to taste

Sweet Chilli Sauce to serve (optional)

Instructions:

Turn on oven/grill.

In a large ovenproof frying pan, add the extra virgin olive oil on a medium heat.

Add the peppers, onion, garlic cloves and chilli and saute’.

Add the baby spinach and stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until the spinach begins to wilt.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pour in the beaten eggs.

Crumble the feta over the beaten eggs and allow to cook on the stove top over a medium heat until the bottom of the base of the frittata is cooked.

Then transfer the pan into the oven/grill.  Let cook for about 15 minutes until the top puffs up and it becomes golden. (If you find that your frittata is browning around the edges too quickly, place some aluminium foil over to prevent burning) Once cooked and puffed, remove the frittata from the oven.

Slice and enjoy with a little sweet chilli sauce and salad.

Enjoy 🙂

  •  This is also enjoyable cold.

 

 

 

Caramelised Beetroot, Feta, Rocket and Walnut Tart

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Okay, this recipe sort of came by chance.  I had some beetroots in my fridge that were starting to look a bit sad, so decided that they better be cooked up and eaten and like now !  I hate any form of waste, so …. I was wondering how I could incorporate cooked beetroot into like a pie kind of thing or pizza.  The pizza idea intrigued me, but sadly I didn’t have enough gluten-free flour at hand, so that idea went out the window.  Then I remembered I had some frozen store-bought puff pastry ….yes, don’t stone me, it happens, I am all for the quick and easy sometimes :-), and really lets get real, all that effort in making pastry, for a quick little pie goodie…..store-bought wins! well, today it did !!!

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Once the pastry had de-frosted it was all plain sailing.  I caramelised the beets in syrup and butter, this is a trick my mom used to use for caramelising beets for a beets salad, and it works like a dream, so thought, why the heck not now… It’s quick and so delicious, I can literally eat the beets from the pot this way (just saying).

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The combo of feta and beetroot always works for me, so the rest was history with my fresh rocket in the garden looking a bit bedraggled with the weather we have been having…and of course, it wouldn’t be an invention with me if nuts weren’t involved.  I dry toasted the walnuts.  I am sure any nuts would do for that crunch, it is just that I had walnuts and I was sort of in the mood to use whatever I had at hand without venturing out to the shops.

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Need I say, this Caramelised Beetroot, Feta, Rocket and Walnut Tart is a keeper… It takes a bit of time to do, but it is definitely worth it 🙂 .  The time issue is really with the pastry, and really no biggie.  I just found it best to actually bake the pasty first to ensure that the pastry cooked through perfectly.

It is great just straight from the oven, of course…but it also is equally as nice cold.

Oh, and before I forget, please excuse the crazy shaped tart base…it just happened, and I honestly was so wanting this tart to happen…I just could not be bothered to re-roll it again…so it is, sort of rustic looking 🙂 .

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Caramelised Beetroot, Feta, Rocket and Walnut Tart

Preparation time:  20 minutes

Cooking time:  1 hour and 5 minutes

Total time:  1 hour and 25 minutes

Serves 2 – 4

Ingredients:

80 grams salted butter

130 grams traditional golden syrup

280 grams fresh sliced beetroot

400 grams puff pastry

100 – 120 grams feta cheese disc, crumbled

handful of fresh rocket

handful of toasted walnuts

melted butter for basting pastry

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius /350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Line a baking tray (approximately 40 x 28 centimeters/15.5 x 11.00 inches in size) with baking paper and dust with a little flour to prevent any sticking.

Cut the tops and bottoms off the beetroots and peel.  Slice the beetroots into fairly thin-ish slices.  This is quite a messy job, and your hands will end up looking ….ummmm not so good with pink/red beetroot stains all over.  Just work quite quickly with the beets and then wash your hands and hopefully they stains will go and you won’t look as if you were involved in a crime scene! (or put gloves on, or if you can operate with plastic bags over your hands, go for it).

Anyway once that is done, the worst is over.

Melt the butter in a small pot, this will take a few seconds, then add the syrup, stir around quickly. Place the sliced beetroot into the syrup mixture and allow to cook for literally 8 minutes on high, turn the heat off and remove the pot from the stove.

Then, sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and start to roll out your pastry to about 2 – 3 millimeters in thickness.  To give it a rustic feel (like mine), don’t be too pedantic about what shape it happens to be.

Place the pastry on your greased and floured baking tray.

Then, with a knife, gently but firmly make an indentation about 2 – 3 centimeters from the edge of your pastry shell all the way around, but not actually piercing the pastry straight through. (This acts as a guide for the pastry, and when it cooks that 2 -3 centimeter section actually rises very slightly and forms like a lip around the pastry base…quite cool hey.)

Using a fork, prick the inside of the pastry base.  Do not prick the section from the edge of the pastry to the line that you made 2 – 3 centimeters in from the pastry.

Brush the entire pastry shell with the melted butter for basting.

Now, place the pastry shell into the oven, and allow to cook for about 35 minutes and then check it. Mine by this time was getting slightly golden, but it still was not cooked properly through, so I put a piece of aluminium foil over with the shiny side upwards from the pastry and let it cook for a further 15 minutes.  Once the base is cooked, take it out of the oven.

Take the caramelised beetroot from the pot with a slotted spoon and place on top of all the fork holes (on your pastry shell)

Baste the edges of the pastry again with a little melted butter.

Place in the preheated oven for a further 15 minutes or until the pastry has turned a nice golden brown.

Once done, remove from the oven,  top with chunks and crumblings of feta cheese, loads of fresh rocket leaves and dry toasted walnuts.

This is best straight from the oven, so cut and serve hot !

Enjoy 🙂

NB*  To dry toast walnuts:  Place raw walnuts in a frying pan, do not add any oil, as nuts contain their own natural oils.  With a spatula, keep moving the walnuts around, otherwise they could burn.  After a few minutes you will find the walnuts starting to toast.  Do not leave them unattended on the stove or they will burn. Once done, remove the pan from the stove and allow to cool.

 

Baby Spinach and Pepper Frittata

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I am so grateful for the cooler weather today.  Don’t get me wrong I love the sun, but now and then welcome a cooler day especially when it has been so hot.

I had great plans today of all the things I wanted to do, but I have a feeling that not too much is going to be accomplished.  I just am in a relaxed frame of mind  and feel like taking things in my stride for a change.  (no real harm in that, is there?)

So here I am , sitting in my lounge, alongside two of my cats, Taylor and Dexter, drinking green tea and writing this post.  I thought I would share today my frittata recipe with you.  I love frittata’s, they are just so simple to make and best of all you can put anything in them !  This frittata is filled with goodness and all health.  I decided on vegetarian. I just had to, as the last several days I have been eating….lets say more ‘of what I should not be eating’. Yes…I am feeling a bit guilty, but it is fine…I will just eat loads of vegetables and attach myself to the treadmill.

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This frittata is filled only with a couple of vegetables, baby spinach which I love and peppers.  I usually like to use at least three different colours of peppers, but only had two in the fridge.  I enjoy the different colours of the peppers, and apart from the taste, they make the frittata look pretty 🙂  a clove of garlic which is also so good on the health aspect and loads of eggs.  If you are not keen on the garlic, you can leave it out, its really up to you.

My vegetarian frittata cooks for 3o minutes in the oven, and it rises ! But its okay, once it is nice and golden brown take it out of the oven.  Once it cools, it will flatten.  This frittata is so soft and succulent it practically melts in your mouth. It is not only great for breakfast but is ideal for any meal at any time of day.  For a light dinner, just add salad.

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Baby Spinach and Pepper Frittata

Preparation time:  8 minutes

Cooking time:  30 minutes

Total time:  38 minutes

Serves 8-10 depending on size of slices

Ingredients:

1 large onion, chopped

1 large red pepper, chopped

1 large green pepper, chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

Coconut oil for frying

10 extra large/jumbo free range eggs

2 handfuls of baby spinach leaves, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons of chopped fresh parsley *

1 1/2 teaspoons of chopped fresh thyme *

(or 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of any mixed fresh herbs) substitute for dried herbs will be 1 teaspoon only). *

Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven at 180 degrees Celsius / 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Saute’ the onion, peppers and garlic clove with a little coconut oil in a frying pan.

Once done take the frying pan off the stove and set aside.

In a medium sized bowl, lightly beat all the eggs with a fork or a hand whisk.

Add the onions, peppers, garlic, baby spinach herbs and spices into the medium sized bowl (with the eggs) and mix to combine using a metal spoon.

Transfer into a well greased oven proof dish (approximately 20 cm x 20 cm or 8″ x 8″) and place in oven for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

The frittata will rise in the middle.

Once taken out from the oven, allow to cool in the oven-proof dish and cut accordingly.

Enjoy 🙂

 

*  I use a Spray ‘n Cook for greasing

*  Feel free to increase the herbs and spices to your liking