Salmon-Fennel-Asparagus Tarte

Hey there :)

So this is the first time I post something that isn’t vegetarian. But I can say ahead, if you don’t eat salmon you can also leave it out at eat this tarte as a simple veggie tarte. But I personally really like the salmon in it, it pairs well with the fennel and asparagus.

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This is also my first time working with fennel, I have actually never used it before and also have only eaten it as a bonbon or drunk it as some tea. So I was actually a little concerned it may taste like some medicine. But it didn’t at all. I actually liked it so much that I made the tarte next time I got to buy some more salmon :)

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It is perfect for a light spring lunch, or fits well in a brunch as it has nicely fresh touch to it thanks to the fennel. It’s not too heavy on the stomach but still filling. And it’s kind of colorful plus it features the all-star asparagus that is finally ins season again  so in my book it fits the spring perfectly :)

 

Recipe Salmon-Asparagus-Fennel Tarte

prep time: 15 minutes + 45 minutes baking time +++ yields: one tart

Ingredients

  • 1 package puff pastry (or make your own if you are really motivated)
  • 200g smoked salmon
  • 5 spears green asparagus
  • 1 fennel
  • 1 medium red onion
  • 200g herbed crème fraiche (make your own my adding 2 tablespoons of herbs to plain crème fraiche)
  • 2 Tbsp. cream cheese
  •  3 eggs
  • 4 Tbsp .parmesan , grated + a bit more
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste

 

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 200°C.

Prepare the filling: Cut the salmon into fine strips.

Wash the fennel and asparagus. Cut off any hard ends of the asparagus.

Finely slice the red onion and the fennel (remove the stem!) into thin strips.  Cut the asparagus into about 3cm thick pieces, or however thick you prefer them.

In a pan, heat a tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 2 minutes. Then add the fennel strips and continue to cook for about 3 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for another 3 minutes until slightly tender. You can add a bit of salt, sugar and pepper if you want. But there will be some in the crème filling as well so don’t go overboard.

In the meantime prepare the cream filling: Mix together the herbed crème fraiche, cream cheese, 3 eggs, lemon juice, 4 Tbsp. parmesan, sugar and some salt and pepper. As the salmon is already salty, go easy on the salt.

Place the puff pastry in a tart pan (I used a rectangular one). Cut off the ends that are overhanging.

First layer the cut salmon evenly on the bottom of the puff pastry. Then add the veggies and also evenly distribute them.

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Pour over the cream filling. If you want, you can add a bit more parmesan on top.

Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the center is set and the puff pastry is nicely golden brown.

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Matcha-Cherry-Muffins

Hey there :)

Ok, I know I am some months late for the Hanami (花見) season, but who cares. I wanted to do a Hanami-interpretation, so I did. For those who don’t know what it is: Hanami is the blooming of the cherry blossoms in Japan. Well, actually I guess it doesn’t matter where you are in the world, but the Japanese celebrate the cherry blossoms especially. They meet up for picnics in parks, sit under cherry trees and eat, drink and spend some leisurely time. Oh, and the whole park will be filled with voices saying “waaah.. kireeeeiiii” or “sugoi desu, ne!!” and other mostly high pitched voices ;)

I sort of wanted to bake that feeling in a muffin. At least I wanted to try to do so :)

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So when thinking about Hanami, cherry is an obvious ingredient for an interpretation. Quite easy. Then I wanted to capture some of the picnic-atmosphere. That’s when the color green was decided. And since we are in Japan, the origin of Matcha (抹茶), what else could I use to get that color? Right, nothing. Ok, to enhance the color and flavor, I added a bit pistachio oil, which is also greenish. But that’s just enhancement :)

To be quite honest, Matcha is not my all-time favorite ingredient. When used too much it tends to get bitter, so I only like it, when it gives a subtle flavor, nothing dominating. I think when I was living in Kyoto I had too much of it. They are really going crazy with it and put in everything. Cakes, Cookies, Steamed Buns, Chocolate Ice-Cream, Crepes, KitKat. You name it. So I guess I just had my share of it. But I haven’t consumed it in a while, and this was actually my first time baking with it. If you decide to bake with it as well, don’t go for the most expensive Matcha-powder. The heat will change the flavor a bit and it would be a waste to use some high-quality powder. Save that for drinking ;)

But anyway, even cheap Matcha-powder is expensive, so be aware, those muffins will cost a bit ^^° The Matcha-Powder I used I bought in an asian tea shop which I personally find the best source. But of course you can buy it in most health-grocery stores and as always online.

Recipe

prep time: 30 mintues +++ yields: about 20-24 mini-muffins

Ingredients

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  • 1 egg
  • 1 ¼ Cups / 100g white flour
  • ¼ Cup / 55g sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. Matcha-powder
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/3 Cup / 75g Mascarpone
  • 2 Tbsp. Canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp. pistachio oil
  • ½ lemon, zest
  • (I actually doubled the recipe and made another strawberry-matcha cake with it ;))

Instructions

Wash the cherries but leave the stems for a fancier presentation. If you don’t like the stone, cut the cherry at the bottom and take it out.

In a big bowl mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, matcha, salt and lemon zest.

In another bowl mix together the eggs, masacarpone, and both oils (you can go all canola or pistachio if you don’t have one or the other. More pistachio will make the muffins taste nuttier.)

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ones and stir until evenly incorporated. You will be left with a dough that looks somewhat like wasabi ;)

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Line a mini-muffin tray with papers. Scoop one teaspoon in each muffin-hole and put exactly one cherry on top. Now place another 2 or so teaspoons around the cherry so it is completely covered.

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Bake the muffins at 175°C for about 15 minutes.

Take to a picnic and enjoy :)

Asparagus Tarte Flambeé

Hey there :)

So it has finally started. The asparagus season. For the next two months our pee will smell funny, we will see all those little stall selling them and our purse might suffer a bit. Hooh-ray.

I actually worked a stall selling asparagus some years ago. Back then we (my sister and I) often were given the left over asparagus (and strawberries, we had those, too :D). So back then I think I had asparagus 6 days a week. In all varieties I could think of, as soup, as gratin, as pesto, as salad … I think I almost turned into an asparagus myself. I was veeery close. I even dreamt of them.

Anyway, nowadays I have to buy them again. Or in this lucky case, my lovely grandma gave them to me. And then I had to think of what to do with them and because the weather was nice and sunny I wanted something that felt like spring to me. I went for asparagus tarte flambeé.

The thing I learnt here was if you are making something considering to also use for a blog it has to look pretty. At least a little bit. So I decided to leave the asparagus in whole spears. And yeah, it looked pretty to me. But it was hard to eat. It took a lot more effort to eat it them whole than when I would have just cut them into smaller bite size pieces. I don’t know… this feels like a dilemma. I want it to be nice to look at, but I also want it to be easy to eat… Also the fact that I had to count the number of spears used instead of just using as many as the dough allows… Cooking really becomes more work ^^° Still, I might be done with pretty ;)

Anyway, enough talking. Here’s the recipe. You decide for yourself whether to go for pretty or handy (I think handy still would look good) :)

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Recipe

prep time: 40 minutes + baking time 15 minutes   yields: two tarte flambeés

for the dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup / 140g whole spelt flour
  • 1 Cup / 140g whole wheat flour
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 Tbsp. walnut oil
  • ½ Cup + 2 Tbsp / 155ml water

 

Instructions:

Place all the flours and salt in a bowl and mix.

Add the oil and the water and work with your hands until you have a smooth dough.

Divide into 2 parts and form into balls. Cover with a damp towel and set aside

for the topping

Ingredients:

  • ¾ Cup / 180g Sour Cream
  • 2-3 Tbsp. of herbs (I used chives, parsley, thyme dill)
  • 20 asparagus spears
  • 2 small rods of leek
  • 2 carrots
  • 14 cherry tomatoes
  • 3 Cups / 120g spinach
  • 1 big red onion
  • Parmesan to taste
  • honey, sugar, salt, freshly cracked black pepper

Instructions:

For the cream mix sour cream with herbs. Add some salt, pepper and honey to taste.

Wash all the vegetables.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Quarter the leeks lengthwise and if necessary cut into smaller pieces. Set aside.

Peel the asparagus spears and cut off the ends if necessary. (Cut into pieces if need be). Peel the carrot and quarter it lengthwise. In a pan over medium heat with a bit of oil and a splash water and cook the asparagus and the carrot for about 7 minutes. Turn around frequently.

In the meantime roll out dough into to 2 flat rounds. Smear equally with the sour cream.

When the asparagus and carrots are done, divide equally and put on the dough together with the cut leeks. Arrange a bit.

Cut the cherry tomatoes in half and also put on the dough.

Salt and pepper lightly and drizzle about 2 tbsp. of honey over the assembly.

Put in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes. ( I chose to bake them separately on the upper rack)

In the meantime cut the red onions in very thin rings. With a bit of oil or a knob of butter and a teaspoon of sugar sauté in a pan over medium-high heat for about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

In the same pan put the spinach. Cook until tender and wilted on medium heat, about 3-5 mintues.

Take the tarts out of the oven and evenly put the onion rings and spinach on top.

Grate some parmesan on top.

Serve still hot :)