Saturday, 18 August 2012

Herbed Cheese tartlets

I like experimenting with food and pottering around the kitchen... when in good mood, when in bad mood... basically at all times except when I am feeling lazy (and I have been feeling that way a lot lately)! However, I don't normally document my cooking with photographs and end up feeling bad at the end of it. More so when the dish turns out as it's supposed to and I am all elated and happy and can't wait to tell everyone how yummy they were. You see the show off in me can't really show off without any photos!!!

Making the Herbed Cheese Tartlets.

Individual Pictures are Here

So yesterday when I decided to try this Herbed cheese tart recipe, I also promised myself that I would click the entire process. I found the recipe while browsing on pinterest in the midst of some very boring documentation I was working on. Reading the recipe that I found here I thought it looked amazingly simple even if I'd have to make the herbed cheese (since hunting for Boursin cheese wasn't going to give me much success in a dinky little Mumbai suburb. Besides, even if I did find it I wouldn't want to spend the atrocious amount that it would cost me). And I had most of the ingredients at home!!!

I bounced home enthusiastically in the evening, buying a few of the things I needed on the way and set to making myself some, what would hopefully be, very tasty dinner! I decided to make little tartlets instead of one huge tart for two reasons: one, I was cooking for one person and since I am hardly likely to finish a whole tart by myself, I thought it would be better to make little tartlets. Two, my tart dish is too big for the little oven I have here (Sadness! Do I buy a smaller tart dish or a bigger oven???).

I'd love to put up a recipe here but I am pretty bad at that because I don't usually measure ingredients out - I work more by feel and taste. I suggest anyone who wants to try this heads to the original recipe. It's well written and it's easy. I'll just list the little adaptations I made:

  1. I used capsicums and mushrooms in addition to the tomatoes since I was making tartlets and wanted more flavours.
  2. I marinated the veggies in a mix of Olive oil, spring onions (the green leafy part only), diced garlic, sea salt, pepper and oregano. That allowed the veggies to soak in some flavouring and tasted pretty good!
  3. I also drizzled a little bit of the marinate mixture over the tartlets before the final stage of baking to keep the veggies and cheese from getting too dry. 
To make the boursin equivalent here's what I did:
  1. 3 cubes of herbed cheese + 6 cubes of plain cheese (use a creamy, soft one. Any cheese spread will do. I used Laughing cow... it's texture is closest to cream cheese!)
  2. Whizz that with some butter (about 50 gms)
  3. Pop in some chopped garlic and parsley, pepper, salt (don't add salt if using salted butter like me) and spring onion greens (optional).
  4. Whizz some more.
  5. Take out in bowl and keep in fridge till you need it (it's tasty so you'll have to keep yourself from eating it all up as you work)!
To make the tartlets:
  1. Bake the empty tart shells (be sure to poke with fork before baking to let the air out. Else you'll have puffy tart shell) at 190 C for 10-15 min. Keep checking so as to not let it brown too much (there will be another round of baking no?)
  2. Spread cheese mix
  3. Top with veggie of your choice
  4. Bake again for 10-15 mins at 190 C till the veggies are just cooked.
There you go! Pretty simple no? 

I hope this start helps me do this on a more regular basis - cook, click, eat and post - in that order ;)

Monday, 13 August 2012

Tolkien - the influences that could have shaped Middle Earth

I was rabbit holing through the web today, as I am often won't to do on a light and/or moody day. I first stumbled onto to this infographic (I was searching for a Lord of the Rings book cover for a little home project and google images threw up this result):




After promptly pinning it to my bookworm pin board, I happened to browse through the blog on which this infographic was posted.

I was pretty surprised to find J.R.R Tolkien (and C.S Lewis) being described as Christian authors on the blog. Now I'll admit I don't research authors much but Tolkien is one of my absolute favourites and I've read most of what he's written on Middle Earth. And it never struck me as particularly Christian. However, now that I think about it, there are similarities - the creation story, that of the elves being exiled from the home of the Valar in the western lands (the fall from the Garden of Eden), the battle between good and evil. I wonder though if Tolkien meant it to be Christian so to speak.

From what I've read Tolkien's intention was to create a British mythology but I'd definitely be interested to find out if there was a strong (and intended) Christian influence in Tolkien's writing. As a first step I plan to pick up this compilation of letters that Tolkien himself wrote once the Kindle version is out in November this year. If anyone out there has any other suggestions, do drop in a note.

I'd definitely love to delve deeper into the influences that shaped Tolkien's expansive and wonderfully imagined fictional world. I think it's one of the most completely imagined alternate universes ever written about!

 

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