This may feel like a little bit of cheating, but it is ideal when you're too busy or get surprised by some guests turning up to your house. Yes, I am using a store-bought puff pastry in this one and feel no shame, as this was a result of sustainable thinking. Simply, instead of throwing away the pastry I found in the fridge, I decided to freeze it and therefore buy some valuable time to have a think about what to do with it.
After consideration, I decided to upgrade it with a mixture of items I usually have in the fridge. As there is nothing worse than buying a special new ingredient you use once, and it forever lingers in your pantry. The spirit of this recipe is to inspire you to practice your creativity to save the food you would normally get rid of and come up with something you will enjoy. Nevertheless, I was pleased with the result and wanted to share it with other cheese lovers. It is also a great way how to bring seasonal veg (and sometimes fruit) to your menu, even if it’s a little bit.
As our household is dominated by our love for cheese, we always have a few different ones in the fridge, including a small variety of chutneys. This was my major inspiration, as I wanted to combine using some of the veg with the resources we already have. Long story short, this is essentially a larger version of cheese on a cracker.
Goats' Cheese Tart
Rolled puff pastry 3 tbsp of passata 3 tbsp of onion chutney Soft goats’ cheese (approx. 150g) One medium raw or pickled beetroot or two small ones One red onion Two figs Walnuts Fresh rosemary
Preheat your oven to 150-150°C.
Roll out your pastry, place onto a tray and fold the edges around to form a little crust. Cover it with a mixture of passata and chutney. Chop your onion into little strings and cover the pastry with it. Then cut your beetroot into thin slices and again, cover your tart and continue with quartered figs and walnuts. Bake for about 20 minutes and sprinkle with fresh chopped rosemary at the end.
About the ingredients
As I mentioned, this is more of a practice to use seasonal ingredients. As all the above ingredients are rather seasonal to autumn, I wanted to highlight the way they are or were originally preserved to supply us with nutrients during the colder months.
Goats’ cheese – Making cheese was just another way how to preserve milk, discovered by our ancestors and keeping its popularity. Including goats’ milk products in your diet brings you benefits of different nutrient profile than in cow’s milk; resulting in anti-inflammatory properties, improved satiety and anti-atherogenic properties (Bermudez-Silva et al., 2017).
Beetroot – Raw or pickled, beetroot is a root vegetable that tends to keep for months if stored appropriately. Some prefer it pickled, which makes it easy to use however, you can always add it raw to salads to add some earthiness and colour to your meal. Considered a medicine in ancient Rome, beetroot tends to lower blood pressure and is full of phytonutrients including betalains, which are beneficial in reducing inflammation or even arthritis (Clifford et al., 2015), which is likely to flare up during the colder months.
Red onion – Used in this recipe in two forms; raw and preserved in chutney due to the amount of sugar. Red onions are rich in quercetin, which helps us to balance sugar levels and acts as a prevention of type II diabetes (Campbell et al., 2014). Onions are also great as a part of prevention against colds as a result of straightening your immune system (Abdel Sattar et al., 2014).
Figs – This Mediterranean fruit usually appears in our supermarkets during the late summer or autumn but is also well known for its preserved form -dried. Figs are rich in minerals, supporting your overall wellbeing as well as containing polyphenols (Akbar et al., 2015), which are beneficial to weight management, digestion and metabolism overall (Cory et al., 2018).
Walnuts – Harvested in autumn, walnuts were an ideal source of goodness during wintertime, especially in the past when no supermarkets were around. That is also why they appear in so many Christmas recipes, mainly combined with something sweet as they were a rare treat. They are full of good fats and fibre, which helps us feel fuller and gives us energy. They are also good for lowering cholesterol (Izquierdo-Pulido et al., 2018).
Rosemary – This little sprinkle can help protect your brain cells and improve cognition, as well as work its antibacterial power (Habtemariam, 2016) to help you prevent coming down with something.
Abdel Sattar, E., Al-Maghrabi, J., Elberry, A., Gabr, S., Ghareib, S., Mosli, H. and Mufti, S. (2014). Immunomodulatory Effect of Red Onion (Allium cepaLinn) Scale Extract on Experimentally Induced Atypical Prostatic Hyperplasia in Wistar Rats. Mediators of Inflammation, pp.1-13.
Akbar, M., Al-Adawi, S., Essa, M., Guillemin, G. and Subash, S. (2015). Long-Term Dietary Supplementation of Pomegranates, Figs and Dates Alleviate Neuroinflammation in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Alzheimer’s Disease. PLOS ONE, 10(3), p.e0120964.
Bermudez-Silva, F., Caracuel, A., García-Escobar, E., Lima-Rubio, F., Olveira, G., Peláez, L., Rojo-Martínez, G., Rubio-Martín, E., Ruiz de Adana, M. and Soriguer, F. (2017). Comparison of the Effects of Goat Dairy and Cow Dairy Based Breakfasts on Satiety, Appetite Hormones, and Metabolic Profile. Nutrients, 9(8), p.877.
Campbell, W., Cefalu, W., Chang, J., Dunville, K., Forney, L., Gettys, T., Henagan, T., Morrison, C., Noland, R., Ribnicky, D. and Stewart, L. (2014). In vivo effects of dietary quercetin and quercetin-rich red onion extract on skeletal muscle mitochondria, metabolism, and insulin sensitivity. Genes & Nutrition, 10(1).
Clifford, T., Howatson, G., Stevenson, E. and West, D. (2015). The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease. Nutrients, 7(4), pp.2801-2822.
Cory, H., Mattei, J., Passarelli, S., Szeto, J. and Tamez, M. (2018). The Role of Polyphenols in Human Health and Food Systems: A Mini-Review. Frontiers in Nutrition, 5(87).
Habtemariam, S. (2016). The Therapeutic Potential of Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) Diterpenes for Alzheimer’s Disease. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2016, pp.1-14.
Izquierdo-Pulido, M., Ros, E. and Sala-Vila, A. (2018). Beneficial effects of walnut consumption on human health. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 21(6), pp.498-504.