Meat Free Monday – spring, week 05

Today’s post is going to to be back to front – dinner first! Not that I ate dinner first. Absolutely not. It’s just that breakfast was meant to be porridge with blueberries. I say meant to be because I’m afraid I really don’t like porridge so I didn’t make it. My mother used to say that I loved it when I was a baby. I’m not sure what happened in the intervening years but suffice to say its w-a-y, w-a-y down my list of things to eat for breakfast.

I don’t think I’m doing very well today – I was out at lunchtime and wasn’t able to make either of the dishes (butterbean and rocket salad or Caesar salad) but I’ll definitely make one of them for lunch later in the week.

So, here we are at dinner – spinach tart with a side dish of globe artichokes with broad beans and oregano. I was quite late home but quickly made some shortcrust pastry and rested it in the fridge. Homemade pastry is so much better than bought. The spinach was supposed to be cooked in butter but I just wilted it down in a tiny bit of water. The recipe said two whole eggs and two yolks but when I lifted one of the eggs up I saw it was broken (I only had four) so I used three whole eggs instead. I halved the amount of cheese and just shut my eyes when I poured in the cream – I’m not sure what I thought that was going to do! There is no need to blind bake pastry in the AGA – just cook the filled tart on the floor of the roasting oven. The tart was excellent and there’s some left for lunch tomorrow. Doubly excellent!

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For the side dish I used what was left in the jar of artichokes from last week (half the recipe) and some frozen broad beans which I blanched and skinned. Skinning broad beans is a tedious job but well worth doing. I sautéed a clove of garlic very gently in some extra virgin olive oil then added the artichokes, broad beans, salt, pepper and a little fresh thyme (no oregano!) to heat through. Once everything was warm, I transferred it to a serving bowl and added lemon juice to taste and some freshly chopped parsley. I used a slightly different method to the book but I don’t think it mattered – the end result was delicious!

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Immediately after breakfast this morning (Tuesday) I made the cherry shortbread which was last night’s dessert and in the interests of my blog, of course, I’m having some with my morning coffee.

I made this in two batches because I make plain shortbread quite often (to my mother’s secret recipe!) and I make it thinner but to about the same oven temperature. Result for the cherry shortbread? The thicker shortbread browned very quickly so I turned the oven down and the thinner ones burnt! Tastewise? They’re not too sweet and they have a good amount of chewiness from the dried cherries. I don’t have a hugely sweet tooth so I enlisted the assistance of my other half – he thought they weren’t sweet enough. I don’t think I’d make them again – mainly because I prefer my shortbread plain although it might be a good exercise to undertake to see how they do at a lower temperature. I baked them in a fan oven. I reduced the recipe temperature from 180degC (conventional oven) to 140degC for my fan oven and they were still too brown. Unfortunately there’s no picture in the book to compare them to but you can have one from me!

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I’m off to have the leftover spinach tart for lunch . . . . . 🙂

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