>I am a self-confessed food addict. My day revolves around my next meal, my mood revolves around how good my meal was and most of all an excellent meal can make my week!
The majority of my best meals, if not all, come from cooking at home. I get an immense amount of fulfillment when I take raw ingredients and create something special to share with friends and family. The only time this feeling can be topped is when I have also played a part in the raw ingredient. I believe there is a farmer in us all, whether it is a veggie patch on the balcony or a chicken coop in the backyard.
One hundred years ago if you were given a plot of land, one would have planted a seasonal vegetable plot and an abundant herb garden. One would have purchased a cow, pig and a sheep and would have bred them for their meat and milk. A never-ending circle of self-sufficiency would evolve and the need for other sources of food would simply disappear. If given a plot of land now, I would most properly sub-divide the land and build property!
The evolution of our urban lives has left behind the skills of the producer/farmer in everyday life. We now rely on a select few who keep these traditions alive to provide us with our cheese, bread, meat and even wine, which once would have been done in the home.
I would like to think that I could throw my modern-urban life in and move to the country to become self-sufficient, but I secretly know that this is a very impractical dream. The artisan producers give me comfort through this realisation, as I know my next meal can include traditional ingredients produced as if I had done them at home.
ONION AND RED WINE TART
Ingredients 12 baby onions 750ml red wine 200ml white port 200ml balsamic vinegar 100g sugar 2 sprigs of thyme Puff pastry 100g sugar Splash of water 40g unsalted butter
Method 1. Peel and half the baby onions, keeping the end on to ensure the onion does not come apart while cooking. 2. In a frying pan heat the red wine, white port, vinegar and sugar until it comes to the boil. Leave to reduce for five minutes. 3. Add the thyme and onions, upside down. Reduce the heat. 4. Cover with a lid and cook until tender but not falling apart. 5. In an ovenproof frying pan, heat the sugar with a splash of water until a dark, brown caramel has formed. 6. Add the butter and leave to foam for approximately two minutes or until the mixture has come back to a caramel. 7. Remove from the heat and place the onions upside down tightly around the base of the pan. 8. Place a circle of puff pastry, slightly larger than the circumference of the pan over the top of the onion bottoms. Tuck loosely in around the sides, and dot the pastry with a knife. 9. Place in a preheated, 180-degree oven for 20-30 minutes until the pastry is golden and brown. 10. Turn upside down and serve warm from the oven with goat curd and rocket salad.