Thursday, September 25, 2008

Blue cheese and spinach tart, with caramelized onions

This is a truly delicious tart/quiche, and although you might think, from its name and ingredients, you have stumbled upon a French recipe, it isn't, it's from an Australian cookbook, but is thankfully reproduced in Books for Cooks Favourite Recipes (from Books 1, 2 & 3).
I got three of their little books the last time I visited the bookshop in London. I'll be honest and say I always feel a little intimidated there, because the place is small and cosy, and the books don't necessarily jump at you, being all packed in the crammed bookshelves, with only a few sticking out. It makes me reel a bit, all those cookbooks! It's a bit like landing in cookbook lovers' paradise, only to find that you'd have gladly settled for purgatory, if it means having less to choose from, and knowing what you want to buy.

Anyway, I'd return there any time, and would try to make it for lunch or tea freshly made in the test kitchen. This place is such a fantastic concept, I wonder why no one in, say, Paris, has thought of it yet. You can have your cake and then get the recipe book for it. Brilliant!

So instead of buying a fancy book, or a collector's item, I choose their own books, which are made with love, and offer carefully selected recipes, chosen by them, the ultimate experts in foodie books. As they have tried and tested, then approved of all of that makes it into the books, the recipes are indeed very attractive. You could bemoan the lack of photos, but the descriptions are rather vivid and they are prettily illustrated by a friend of theirs.

I have now made this recipe twice and can only suggest you try it too. I have substituted similar ingredients, but let me just say it is important to use fresh spinach here, not to be a bl**dy snob, but because it tastes much better here, and will prevent the crust from getting soaked.

I found the recipe on another blog (to which I have secretly subscribed via my google reader) here. Hers looks better because it is baked in a smaller tin. Also I have made my own crust, and as said, changed a couple of things, but it is still delicious and also lighter on the butterfat!

For my crust, I used :

200g semi-wholewheat flour (which is a light and finely ground wholemeal flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 tbsps olive oil
3 tbsps light cream
some cold water

Just mix everything by hand or in a mixer, form into a flat disc, cover in clingfilm and refrigerate fro about 30 mins. You can use your hands to press it down into the tim (here, a 28 cm silicone one).

As for the changes, here I have highlighted them with a star :

4 large onions, finely sliced
*a little olive oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs brown sugar
125 g (2 large handfuls) spinach leaves
*80g blue cheese, crumbled
*100g faisselle curd cheese (you could use cream cheese or yogurt or the original mascarpone)
1 egg, beaten

The method is the same. I like this tart warm, even cold, not hot straight from the oven. And you see, everything happens : I have eaten raw grated beetroot alongside of it, and even went for seconds.


Anna said...

That looks really good Julie. I tried blue cheese for the first time ever (I think) in Nigella's 'butternut squash with pecans and blue cheese' recipe. I really enjoyed it - more than I thought I would in fact!

julie said...

Anna, I thought of you this morning while buying blue cheese again, in order to make pumpkin with it, like you did with butternut.


Christina said...

I love Books for Cooks! They do great cookery demos too. I remember taking my daughters there a few years ago and my youngest sitting down to an enormous piece of chocolate cake almost the same size as she was at the time! She thought she was in heaven!
Congratulations on your pregnancy -blue cheese tart looks delicious. I wasn't allowed to eat blue cheese when I was pregnant! Maybe they are more relaxed here as to what you are allowed to eat. Chrissie
We are settling well in Luxembourg

julie said...

Hi Chrissie! and thanks.
Glad to hear you're settling well. Well they also make blue cheese with pasteurized milk so I can indulge once in a while :-)

Christina said...

Lucky you - didn't know that existed!
Just thought, maybe you could substitute the blue cheese for some of that feta you can get at Delhaize to make a Greek-inspired tart. Bit like an open Spanokopita! C x

Emily said...

Hi Julie!

This tart looks great. I love blue cheese. I know a lot of people don't like it, but I do.

Beata said...

Well written article.