I hope you all feasted well, to welcome the New Year 2012!! I surely did!
Normally, my husband & I ate vegetarian, 1 x a week, in 2011.
I wanted to change that a bit. I don’t like meat that much anymore for the moment. I wanted to eat more vegetarian & vegan. I agreed with my husband, that we are going to eat 3 x/ week vegetarian or vegan. I am so inspired now! I got a lot of vegetarian books from my local library & searched a lot in vegan websites.
Yesterday, I made these savoury fennel & saffron tarts & served them with a warm mushrooms, spinach & chickpeas salad. I love fennel a lot. This recipe is from one of my latest vegetarian cookbooks, only in Dutch for the moment: Donderdag, veggie cookbook . Authors: Micki Duerinck & Kristin Leybeart.
I would have never thought that this side salad would go so well with these tasty saffron & fennel tarts! Everything is home-made except the soy cream. They use a vegan pie crust with olive oil. I adapted the recipe to my needs. I used partly light spelt flour & half organic white flour to make it more healthy & more filling! I hope you will love this as much, as my husband & I did! This lovely dinner is great for entertaining vegetarians & vegans. Maybe you want to close this festive vegan feast with a tasty vegan coconut Panna cotta to complete the dinner. You can find this recipe: here!
Recipe: For 4 x 11 cm diameter tarts
1/ For the fennel & saffron tarts:
* * For the vegan dough:
150 gr organic white flour
150 gr white spelt flour ( I use Sharpham park, British organic spelt whole grain flour )
4 tablespoons cold water
4 tablespoons of a fruity EVOO ( Extra Virgin Olive Oil )
1 teaspoon of Maldon sea salt flakes
**For the fennel & saffron tarts:
670 gr of cleaned & pad dry fennel, cut into larger pieces, hard-core & green tubes removed ( weighted when cleaned & cut )
300 ml of a good soy cream ( I use Alpro soy cream )
1 part of saffron powder
1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder
2/ For the warm mushrooms, spinach & chickpeas salad:
250 gr normal mushrooms, cleaned & cut into 4 pieces
300 gr fresh spinach leaves, washed & spun dry
1 fat clove of garlic, peeled & finely cut
100 ml soy cream
150 gr chickpeas, from a can, rinsed & well-drained
1 teaspoon dried Provençal herbs
a fruity EVOO
Maldon sea salt flakes
1. First, make your dough. Take the bowl of your Kenwood or Kitchen Aid & place in here the 2 different flours, the olive oil, cold water & salt. Mix well with the dough hook for about 2 to 4 minutes until it all combines well.
2. I use tartlets with removable bottoms. I smear them all in with soy baking margarine, a vegan one, to prevent sticking to the tart tins. Place the dough mix on a floured silpat or counter. Flour your hands a bit. Knead the dough & make 4 equal balls from it. Each ball will be for 1 tartlet. Flour your rolling-pin. Roll out your dough thinly, about 3 to 5 mm & see that you have enough dough to fill one tartlet. Add a bit of the dough if necessary. Lay 1 rolled out dough & lay it over 1 tartlet. Let the dough hang over the sides a bit. Now, push with your hand the dough nicely & neatly into the tartlet. Push the dough carefully up high into the sides of the tartlet case. Now, with your thumb, push the dough round into the tartlet to fit neatly, all the sides up too. Roll with your rolling-pin over the tartlet to remove excess dough. Do the same with the rest 3 balls of dough. You know what I mean when you see the pictures afterwards.
3. Place the 4 lined tartlets on a plate into the fridge to stiffen up & take them out when you have prepared the filling.
4. Preheat your oven to 180°C (356 F ) for about 10 minutes. I always use a fan oven. Adjust the temperature according to your oven.
5. Prepare the filling. Take a food processor & add the fennel pieces. Pulse until it these are very small pieces, for a few seconds. If your food processor is on the smaller side, do this a few times. Place these fennel mini pieces in a large cooking pot. Add the soy cream, saffron & cumin powder. Stir well until it all is combined beautifully. Heat up on medium. Let it simmer until it is all cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir from time to time to prevent burning.
6. Take the tartlets out of the fridge. Fill them with the saffron & fennel mix. Fill them good. I had a bit of the saffron & fennel mix left. Place them on an oven rack in the middle of the oven & bake them for 30 minutes until golden-yellow on top & when the crusts are cooked through. In the meantime, make your warm side salad.
7. Take a large cooking pot & place 1 tablespoon of the fruity EVOO in it. Heat up on medium high. When hot & sizzling, add the garlic pieces & cut up mushrooms. Fry until browned & nearly cooked through. Add some grinds of black pepper, the dried Provençal herbs & some sea salt. Stir well. Add the spinach leaves & the drained chickpeas. Taste! It has to taste fab! Keep warm until serving.
8. When the tartlets are ready, turn the oven off & take them out of the oven. Place each tartlet on a can & let the outside of the tartlet fall off. Help with your hands if it sticks a bit. Carefully remove the loose bottom & place on a serving plate. Do the same with the 2nd tartlet & place on another serving plate. Serve a few spoonfuls of the warm salad besides the tartlet & serve immediately!
Enjoy, best with a loved one! :)
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