Once upon a very long time ago Mr P and I went for a very fancy dinner at a place called Roganic.
It really was very fancy.
It was clearly back in the day before I decided to start my own business and spend all of my spare money on tiles.
Anyway, this very fancy dinner lasted for about 73 hours.
The reason for this very fancy dinner taking up so much time was not that the lovely waiters kept bringing out course after course (after course) of delicious food.
Nor was it because Mr P is possibly the nicest human on the planet and charmed the lovely waiters so much we got a tour of the kitchen and extra courses.
The reason that this very fancy dinner took so long was because the lovely waiters had to explain, in quite some detail, what each course actually was.
They would start:
'this is the smoked millhouse paint splodger, accompanied by a puff of air dried lenscap, on a bed of dehydrated carb cleaner'.
'Paint splodger?' I would ask.
'Yes Madam, it is a type of mushroom found only in Cumbria'.
And we would eat our plates of delicious paint splodger, and we would drink the delicious wine and when we had managed to forget (again) what we were actually eating, the lovely staff managed to explain it all to us in a way that didn't make us feel thick.
It was quite special.
At the end of our meal, because Mr P is the nicest human on the planet, we got a tour of the kitchen. The chefs were cleaning up for the night so they cracked us open a beer, sat on the bench, and told us all about their food.
Their eyes lit up, their faces came alive as they got us to look, to taste, to touch what was left in their fridges.
But the part that got one of the chefs super excited was the part where he had showed me what could be foraged.
Food that had come from the end of his street, or near a holiday home in Wales, or whatever.
Food that was free.
And he encouraged me to get out there and find my own food, starting with wild garlic, before cracking me open another beer and inviting us out for the night.
Fast forward a few years and I have moved to a street where there is wild garlic very close by and I have come to adore this free food.
Its available for a limited time, and tends to grow in wooded areas, usually to be followed by bluebells.
The long, elegent leaves have a delicate garlic flavour and in April and May I put them in salads, summer rolls, sandwiches and mayonnaise.
But one of my favourites is this tart.
Ask me about my favourite ingredients and I will get super excited about food that can be foraged.
Then I'll crack you open another beer.
No paint splodgers necessary.
Finely slice an onion.
Melt some butter over a low heat.
Sort out your ISO.
Add the onion to the butter and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly.
Wash the garlic well. My dog pees in the woods, your dog pees in the woods.
Dogs pee in the woods.
Wash your garlic well.
Stick the garlic in a blender with some oil and some salt.
By the way, I bought one of these nutrichangeyourlife blenders in a sale.
It has not changed my life.
And is actually a bit crap in comparison to my old blender.
Eat that, marketing.
Blend until you have a chunky paste.
A few bits don't matter.
Roll out your pastry.
I know making shortcrust is a piece of piss if you have a food processor but life is short and I have dogs to walk and garlic to find and wine to drink so nine times out of ten, I buy it.
Sometimes I even buy the ready-rolled stuff.
What a world we live in.
Its a new dawn, its a new day.
And I'm feeling good.
Use a splash of oil to grease a tin. You can use a proper fluted tart tin if you want, but I tend to just use a 23cm springform cake tin.
Lets just call it 'rustic'.
Put the pastry in the tin.
You can use any excess to fill in any bits that look a bit sparse.
Lets just call it 'rustic'.
Spread your garlic oil over the pastry.
Then add the onions.
Whisk together some double cream, eggs and salt.
Pour this over the tart.
Now if you buy good cheese, you can just crumble it into delicious salty chunks of cheesy goodness, like so.
If you prefer eating rubber, SORRY, a milder cheddar, just grate it.
If you go down the delicious salty chunk route, best to prepare some extra.
For, erm, quality control purposes.
Sprinkle the cheese over the tart, and grind over a little black pepper.
Bake your tart for 30 minutes.
Preferably after cracking open a beer.
Wild garlic, onion and cheddar tart
Serves 4. Cooking time 45 minutes.
- 50g bunch wild garlic
- 50g butter
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus a splash for greasing
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 250ml whole milk or double cream
- 3 eggs
- 250g shortcrust pastry
- 1 onion
- 50g cheddar
- Black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
- Finely slice the onion.
- Melt the butter over a low heat.
- Add the onion to the butter and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring regularly.
- Wash the garlic well and place in a blender with the oil and half the salt. Blend until you have a chunky paste.
- Roll out the pastry.
- Use a splash of oil to grease a 23cm cake or tart tin.
- Place the pastry in the tin.
- Spread the garlic oil over the pastry, topping with the onions.
- Whisk together the double cream, eggs and remaining half teaspoon of salt.
- Pour this mixture over the tart,
- Crumble or grate the cheese and sprinkle over the tart, along with a few grinds of black pepper.
- Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.
- Serve, hot or cold.