Monday, March 23, 2015

Recipe: Mushroom Tart

Monday, March 23, 2015
Mushroom tart, quick and easy recipe,
Technically, this is a part recipe, part Tiny Tales from Paris post. There's no denying that the French do their tarts well and value the importance of a good pâte. That is, it needs to be perfectly crisp and buttery. I had my fair share of outstanding tarts while in France, both savoury and sweet, so as a souvenir, it was a no brainer that I decided to pick up a cookbook full of tart recipes, found in a  meticulously curated design bookshop called 'Artazart' in Canal St. Martin. 

Translating the recipe for a Mushroom Tart from French proved a potential health and safety hazard; I have had a good deal of kitchen disasters in the past as it is! To my surprise though, the recipe was easy to follow and the tart even easier to put together. The only time consuming aspect is the pastry, and you can just use store bought if you prefer (I highly recommend making it yourself though. You really notice the difference in quality!). All in all, the process of making this tart was a lot of fun, and the result is the ultimate in comfort food, especially if you're a mushroom fiend like me. 

Recipe adapted from espèces de tartes! by Seymourina Cruse and Carole Chaix
Pastry ingredients (to fit a tart pan 28 cm in diameter):
150g grams plain flour
A pinch of salt
75g butter, room temperature and cut into little cubes
1/2 cup water
1. Mix the flour, salt and the butter together, pressing and rubbing the mixture with the palms of your hands.
2. Add the water. (I didn't end up using the full 1/2 cup, just add enough to form a ball of dough). Knead the pastry and then assemble it into a ball.
3. On a floured surface, knead the dough with the palms of your hands 2 or three times so that the dough becomes smooth and homogeneous. 
4. Assemble the pastry into a ball and place it in the fridge for up to 2 hours before using.
5. Once ready to use, roll out the dough and place into a tart pan. Blind bake with baking beans for 15-20 minutes in a 180 degrees oven, or until the pastry is golden. Remove from oven and put aside until you are ready to add the filling.

200g mushrooms, sliced
Assortment of herbs (I used thyme)
Juice half a lemon
30g butter
30g flour
1 egg
100g cheese (cheddar is fine)
1 cup milk
1. Place the mushrooms into a frying pan and season to your taste with oil, herbs and lemon juice.
2. Once cooked, reserve the cooking juices.
3. Melt the butter with the flour, and season with salt and pepper
4. Add the cooking juices to the butter and flour mixture along with the milk
5. Cook until the mixture thickens, stirring occasionally.
6. Take the mixture off the heat. Add the egg, cheese and mushrooms. Make sure to stir in between each addition
7. Pour the filling into the pastry shell and cook in a 180 degrees oven for 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the tart comes out clean.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Tiny tales from Paris #3: Montmartre

Monday, March 16, 2015
<<Être parisien ce n’est pas être né à Paris, c’est y renaître>>

"Being Parisien doesn't mean being born in Paris, it's being reborn there." Sacha Guitry

Catching up with friends over the past few weeks, I have been met with the same question numerous times: "How was your trip?". I always struggle to accurately describe my experiences in Paris. I usually resort to simply saying how enriching it was and that I am already planning my next trip. If I wasn't so fearful of sounding terribly pretentious though, I would probably respond to the question with the above quote. I really do feel like a part of me was reborn during my visit. I see the world with more inspired eyes. 

The summit of Montmartre in particular was a place I felt most at 'home', or where I can imagine living someday. It's a pipe dream, I know, but inevitable to think such things in a place that was once home to some of most distinguished artists such as Monet, Picasso, Van Gogh and Dali. Montmartre has so much character and soul. I visited three times while I was in Paris, all of which were rainy days, but not even the weather tainted its beauty, although it did prove a health hazard what with the steep and slippery cobblestone streets! Never one to be deterred, I was still able to see quite a lot of Montmartre asides from the stunning Sacré Cœur, including the restaurant pictured below, La Maison Rose, the market stall that featured in Amélie and metro station Abessess. If you ever find yourself in the 18th arrondissement, I recommend taking your time. Stroll the narrow streets, have your portrait sketched by a local street artist and delight in the simple pleasure of cracking a crème brûlée in a nearby cafe. C'est une belle vie after all.
Montmartre, restaurent Poulbot
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