Math. I don’t like math. I really, really don’t like math. Ok I hate mathematics, always have and probably always will. *deep breath* I feel better. So, why am I telling you this now? Because photography and editing have totally fried my brains and I’m just as frustrated trying to figure out photography as I was trying to understand math. As I sit here typing these very words, it’s because all the photo editing I have piled up was making my head pound; so I shut down Lightroom, started typing and only a few lines down, I can already feel my headache subsiding.
I don’t really enjoy photography, never have; but I do love cooking and as things stand, I can’t do one without the other. Till about a year ago, all the pictures I took were from my phone camera; I didn’t even have a proper camera. And ever since I got one, I’ve been trying to figure it out. Trying to read up on metering and white balance and light, I feel like I’m back in Math class, trying to understand algebra and trigonometry. I used to dread math, actually I still do; I can do the basic addition and all but anything more and I zone out. That’s what happened to me every math class in school, I felt like I was in a foreign language class and everybody spoke the language fluently except me and after a few minutes I would just zone out, white noise. I mean I’ve learnt the basics (kind of) but there’s so much I can’t figure out, it’s beyond frustrating; makes me wish I had a magic camera.
So as you’ve probably guessed by now, I’m not too happy with the pictures I’m sharing today; bear with me please, I’m still learning; slowly, but learning. I came across some beautiful heirloom tomatoes over the weekend and the creature of habit that I am, I couldn’t help picking up a whole lot without a single thought as to what I would actually do with all the tomatoes. I don’t think I’m to blame though they were just so lovely with such beautiful hues, golden, shaded green, peachy reds; irresistible really. The only way I could think of showcasing their natural beauty and sweetness was by making some tomato tarts. I added some paprika to the pastry dough and kept the filling simple with just the tomatoes some goats cheese and herbs. I recommend blind baking the crust (baking the crust before filling it) otherwise the juices from the tomatoes make it soggy and there’s nothing worse than a soggy tart. Oh and this recipe is vegetarian! I didn’t use egg in the pastry and the filling is just fruit and cheese so hope all you vegetarians are happy and enjoy this.
I’m going to quickly write down the recipe now because I need to get back to sorting the pictures and getting this post to you, hopefully in time for meatless Monday.
For the pastry
All purpose flour/maida- 400 gm plus extra for dusting
Butter- 200 gm (I used salted) (cut into cubes and chilled)
Paprika- 1 ½ tsp
Chilled water- ½ cup (you may not require all of it)
For the filling
Heirloom Tomatoes- 3-4 medium (or any tomato you like)
Goat cheese- 1/3 cup
Dried Thyme- ½ tsp (optional)
Mustard greens- ¼ cup (optional)
- For the pastry- Mix the flour and paprika. Add the chilled butter, using your fingertips rub it into the flour till it resembles coarse bread crumbs. Add water, a couple of tablespoons at a time, just until the dough comes together to form a ball (you can also use a food processor for this, I prefer to do it by hand). Don’t knead the dough too much; just work it till it holds together. Flatten the pastry into a disk; wrap in cling film and stick it in the fridge to chill for 30 minutes (more if the dough has not firmed up). To check if the dough is ready, press it lightly with your fingertips, it should leave an imprint but shouldn’t sink into the dough easily.
- Take the pastry out of the fridge and on a lightly floured surface knead just a little to bring it together. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface roughly 3 mm thickness. Carefully lift the rolled out pastry and gently press it into the bottom and up the sides of the tart tin. Trim the edges and patch any cracks with the remaining dough. Place the crust in the fridge to chill for 15 minutes. This dough will easily make two 8 inch tarts; I used moulds with a removable bottom.
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Using a fork, prick all over the bottom of the crust, then place baking paper on top of the crust and fill it with baking weights or beans or rice (to prevent the crust from rising). Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Take it out of the oven and remove the baking paper and beans.
- Thinly slice the tomatoes (cherry tomatoes and grape tomatoes can be added whole). Arrange the slices in the tart shells sprinkle the thyme and add crumbled goat cheese. Bake again till the tomatoes have softened (10-15 minutes). Top with mustard greens and serve.
*You can make the pastry ahead of time and refrigerate it. The recipe can easily be halved.
*Use any variety of tomato you like; same with the cheese and herbs.