Monday, June 08, 2009

Wild Garlic Pesto and Tomato Tartlettes

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It's the small things that often make me emotional. Like the collective birthday song all 14 of the doctoral students sang for me on Tuesday, or the evening at the movies with Soeren and friends to celebrate my birthday and the choc-banana muffin with a candle in it from my friend B. and of course the huge bouquet of flowers from my other friend D. with a note "Because you love fields of Spring flowers so much!" Not forgetting dear Ivonne's lovely girly cake for me!


Tom and I have faced many challenges in our life together and I think we’ve mastered them all fairly well. Every time life brought us to a new crossroad we always supported each other to make the right choice for us as a family. A little while back we found ourselves at a new crossroad and once we decided which path to take we have been moving along that path at a speed of 200 km/h. Always asking ourselves “Is this the right move?”  The past 6 months we’ve been getting ourselves ready step by step for our move to Qatar, tackling each difficulty as it came. But we were certainly not prepared for what happened last week.

Last week Tom started at his new job – 2 weeks Essen to get to know the team here then off to Doha, then in 6 to 8 weeks family will follow. A day after my birthday and shortly after I wrote my previous post, they told Tom that the project has been delayed. Due to the fact that the Client (Emir of Qatar) wanted to have huge changes made to the bridge, they had to submit a new tender. This means that they want Tom to go down till October but first without the family!

What? It was a bit like having the floor collapse under our feet. You see Tom has been in contact with them throughout the several months and has been informing them of our progress. He even asked once “Is everything the way we discussed?” We always got the green light to go ahead. Move on and terminate Soeren’s school, terminate our house, sell our furniture. 6 weeks to go and we were literally sitting on packed moving boxes and then drop this kind of bomb.

So we have spent the weekend trying to get ourselves back on route here. We had to hit the brakes hard and take a sharp U-turn. Soeren is back on the list for the new school year here at his school. The landlord took us back with open arms and my job – well my colleagues and bosses were pretty ecstatic. I was fairly nervous about this one but everyone moved so fast and joined forces to support us. I was left baffled.

“Don’t worry Meeta! We are here – you guys are not going to hit the ground when you have a strong net below you. We’ll catch you when you fall!”
was what my friend D. told me and she brought me to tears. Because she spoke out what everyone was actually doing.

So, I look back at the gift of the muffin, the song and bouquet of Spring flowers with more meaning than ever before. It’s funny – because there has been one tenor right along the board this past week – of happiness. Our friends, my colleagues and Soeren’s school are excited that at least Soeren and I will be here for a little while longer.

Tom and I still are working on our options right now. It’s frustrating because we were not planning on being separated with the start of a new beginning. However, one of the options we have is that Tom really does go down for the next 4 months.

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At the moment my mind is somewhere in one of the several moving boxes that are currently awaiting to be unpacked again. I am in the process of digging it out again and a few other kitchen items that had been packed. I needed distraction and comfort and as food always offers me both I preoccupied myself with some experimentation in the kitchen.

The experiment produced these tartlettes. I adore them! They are simple but elegant and so full of flavor. They are small but I know they will really rock everyone's taste buds.

Wild Garlic/Ramsons

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What makes the tartlettes special is the use of wild garlic leaves or ramsons. An incredible and most delicious herb often found in patches in deep woodlands. I would have loved to forage for wild garlic leaves, but I bought mine at my organic store - expensive but really so worth it. The leaves were used to make a wild garlic pesto - lurid green in color with a fresh and pungent garlicky and lemony aroma. But wild garlic is very versatile and the leaves can be used in many ways. Risottos, omelets or soups all benefit immensely with the delicate garlic flavor from the herb.  My favorite way is to fry them until crisp, as one does with sage leaves, and then place them on top of quiche or tarts. I could have done that for this tart but I decided against it as I wanted to show off the vivid red of the tomatoes.

So what is wild garlic or ramsons? You'll find them often growing in woodlands near bluebells or by streams under trees. There is no mistaking them - just follow your nose and once you are greeted with an intense garlic aroma you've found them. Wild garlic leaves are long and lush, very similar in appearance to the leaves of Lily of the Valley. Wild garlic grows from late winter right through Spring. At this time of the year they are in full bloom with white flowers.

In the kitchen wild garlic is prized for its leaves rather than the bulb, as is the case for the domestic garlic. While the bulbs of wild garlic (and also the flowers), are edible, they are much smaller in quantity in comparison. With its deep green leaves, wild garlic lends its delicate garlicky flavor to any dish. Slightly sweeter than the domestic garlic, one can eat the leaves raw or cooked. Use wild garlic as you would other herbs, in salads, soups with meat and poultry.

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The recipe for the wild garlic pesto is fairly easy and prepared just like any other pesto:

Basic Wild Garlic Pesto
Large handful of wild garlic, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
100ml extra virgin olive oil
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
50g pine nuts
Sea salt
Fresh cracked pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Blend together in a food processor the wild garlic leaves, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts. Stop, pushing down any leaves, then add 50g grated Parmesan, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste plus the lemon juice. Blend and serve or spoon into a clean jar and refrigerate until needed.
Sticky Note 1 Meeta TipAdd a little more oil if you prefer it less thick.

Instead of pine nuts you can use walnuts or cashew nuts for a refined taste.
Once the pesto is prepared you can use it for several purposes. It tastes great with meat or stuffed into chicken breasts and is totally lovely with pasta or on bread. Then of course is the possibility of using the pesto in these delicious tartlettes.
wildgarlictomatotartlettes recipe card

Wild Garlic Pesto & Tomato Tartlettes

Printable version of recipe here.
Ingredients
3-4 tablespoons wild garlic pesto
5-6 tablespoons crème fraîche or sour cream
50-75g pine nuts
Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper
100g cherry tomatoes, sliced
200g puff pastry
Butter, melted to brush the forms
Spring onions, thinly sliced (optional)

Method



  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Brush 4 small tartlette forms with the melted butter.



  2. Line each form with a thin layers of the puff pastry. Set aside



  3. In a mixing bowl whip crème fraîche, pesto, salt and pepper into a smooth paste. Place a few tablespoons of the mixture into each tart form.



  4. Add the tomato slices evenly and sprinkle with the pine nuts. If using also add the sliced spring onions.



  5. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until puff pastry is golden brown. Take out and serve immediately with a nice green salad.
 
Food Guide Tips

Verdict
Wild Garlic Pesto tarts04a framed

Just what we needed to find our bearings. A glass of wine and a few of these flavorful tartlettes and we were thinking clearly again. This week there will be discussions between Essen and Doha. One thing is clear though we are not going to get pushed into doing something we do not want to. And our gut feeling tells us we should not be separated. Let’s see what the week brings.


You might like these tarts and pizzas from WFLH:
SpinachTomatoPizza 01 framed Pizza FennelRaddichio 02 framed Tomato-Olive Tart01
Caramelized Fennel, Radicchio, Pears and Goat Cheese Pizza Tomato Olive Tart
  DTtip6
Daily Tiffin Reading Tip
The Art of Rock Painting written by Mansi




All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2009 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

51 comments :

  1. I adore wild garlic! Your tarlets look so good! A wonderful flavor combo...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  2. Meeta really sorry to hear about this situation. I can really imagine what you guys are going thru..

    The tarlettes are beautiful & the love the sound of the pesto. Pretty picture.

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  3. You have so much class and courage - thank you for sharing. This is not easy - love your attitude!

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  4. My goodness, so many changes in such a short amount of time! (and you still produce absolutely beautiful recipes and photos even when your life is a whirlwind!!)

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  5. The tartlettes look amazing and delicious. But I've never even heard of that wild garlic and I don't think I can find it in a local supermarket. From now on I'll be on a lookout for this green everywhere :) I guess there's no real subsitute for it, right?

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  6. These look absolutely delicious. I just love the combination of pesto and garlic ... yum!

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  7. garlic pesto and tomatoes..screams YUMM!!

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  8. Hey Meeta, when like takes such a sharp U-turn,just think the almighty has some other good plans for you! You know, he was a bit sleepy and all of a sudden he realised that 'O! Where am I taking them! *screaching brakes* and that's when all this happened :D I am a strong believer of 'everything happens for good/reason' and believe me it's worked everytime and strangely I have managed to find out why it happened too ;D Am I preaching here! Oh no! Not again Ria!! :P Very happy to hear that you have such strong support around you! :)

    The tarts are really cool! I love anything with a touch of garlic! Smack!

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  9. Oh, my goodness! I cannot even imagine the emotional turmoil you are all in... Am really sorry to hear about this monkey wrench. I sincerely hope that everything works out for the best.

    The tarts look amazing! I'm so impressed that you managed to take such gorgeous pics in the midst of all the chaos!

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  10. Love your tart ideas! I just acquired a bunch of tart pans, so I'm eager to use them. Thanks for the great ideas!

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  11. Oh Meeta as you always say Life is a roller coaster. Think that God's given you the oppurtunity to understand how much people around you love and adore you. How many angels are there around...The tartelettes look so yummy and I wonder how much to get to do on food styling and photography in this point of time. Have a great time!

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  12. Hey... I'm sorry for you and happy for you. It is good to know that things fall into place when you need them to.

    My dad went to the US when we were kids... and the idea was to take us along, about a month later. The US consulate didn't give us our visas for a long time. It was only when my dad decided to chuck the job and come back... when he started selling off everything he'd bought... that we got our visas :)

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  13. Hi Meeta.
    I m sorry for what happened I m sure you ll get through it all soon. Good luck. These tartlettes look delicious!

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  14. I do hope things work out for you guys...sometimes these things can help highlight a light at the end of the tunnel. Good luck with it all! As for your tartlettes Meeta they look delicious!

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  15. Ups and downs are part and parcel of life....you said you had faced many...this is one of them...be brave and you will fight back...big hug from me.....beautiful and pretty luscious tartlettes.....keep rocking...

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  16. Sorry to hear about your unexpected setbacks. Good to see that the people around you have been really supportive. Best of luck with your move!

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  17. Thank you all so much for the support. I know we will get through it but the support is a major help for us to take the step in the positive direction.

    Smita - I like that class & courage! :-)

    Megan - i guess changes and whirlwind is just a part of life and these ups and downs define us as people.

    Ria - yes i believe that too. although not a firm believer and i always have the knack of questioning "WHY?" but somehow in the end I do realize it was for the best. Thanks for the wonderful words!

    Kalai - it will I am sure. Thanks for the support

    Nirmala that is very true. I do take this as a sign to be with my friends and loved ones!

    Raaga - tricks that are played. but hey these things happen right. it makes us stronger and hopefully wiser!

    Peter - Thanks!

    KF/Jude thanks you for the advice and supportive words.

    I appreciate this so much!

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  18. Sorry to hear about the current setbacks, but I am sure you both will come out with flying colors :)

    Tartlettes look so colorful and delicious...you really have a class and we all love it :)

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  19. Life is so full of surprises for us ... this surprise seems very startling to say the least. It also sounds like you learned a lot and are rolling with it.
    Your tartlettes look equally as startling and I would love to find them on my table! The wild garlic sound like something from heaven, I've never seen anything like that. I'll have to ask around, I know I would love it .... maybe I should just find a woods and go walking that would help walk off my bread ;)

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  20. Never knew of wild garlic leaves. But your tartelettes look beautiful.
    I've never tried using cashewnuts in pesto. I shall as we get them aplenty here.

    What a setback! Its not the best situation, but I'm sure you will be able to work things out for the best.

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  21. Sorry to hear about your traumas. It's a shame that you all can't go out to Doha in October as the weather is unbearable over the summer months.
    I've been there for work a couple of times...when (note: when, not if) you get out there make sure you check out Souk Waqif - it has the most amazing linens and pottery for sale.

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  22. Hi Meeta,

    Been following your blog for a long time! Good luck with the current situation...I understand how tough it is (I'm in a similar situation too!).

    Also, love your blog :)

    Cheers

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  23. So sorry to hear about the whole happenngs around you. Even i am disapointed as i was looking forwad seeing the food you were going to whipp up from there.
    You do have a bunch of good friends which is wonderful. Evne if Tome takes up the new job condition, the 4 months will fly.

    Love the tartlette, first time i am hearing about wild garlic.

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  24. Wow, that U-turn was really rough but all's well that ends well and glad that at least Soeren will be admitted back at school and you have your house and job back again. Those tartlettes sound amazing.

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  25. Hi Meeta

    Sorry about these sudden changes - but glad to know you all are taking things in your stride...

    One thing about ramson and lily of the valley which I think is useful to highlight is that the lily of the vallet plant is poisonous and deadly - so one should not confuse the two - it's easy though with the strong garlicky flavour and smell. We did a foraging conference with Slow Food and learnt really lots of stuff about wild food!

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  26. Yes, life is full of sharp U turns indeed...I'm sorry that you had take one, but it's heartening to know of the support network around you.

    Your tartlettes look so adorable :-)

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  27. Meeta,

    I am so sorry to hear about the sharp turn in your plans, but glad to know it has settled for you and for the time being. It will all work out in the long run ...

    On another note, beautiful tarts, as always you have outdone yourself! I love tarts like I do quiches - savory are fantastic for a light dinner. By the way, the cooling rack, is adorable!!!

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  28. Hi Meeta...so sorry to hear about the sudden change of plans and having to re-arrange your lives again even if only for a little while longer. Wish I could pop in for some tea and a chat...maybe some Nutella too...and a few of these tartlettes!

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  29. Oh it was your birthday? Well... HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY! It sounds like you had a great time, with tears and everything LOL. It's also nice that you keep us informed about the big change you guys are facing. I really hope everything goes well, my heart is with you. And last, but not least, beautiful tartlettes! It's lunch time here and this is making me hungry :)

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  30. That must have been something, great to keep your cool and take a U-turn
    Pretty pics

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  31. That must have been so frustrating to have to re-organise everything with such a short notice!!!!
    I've blogged about wild garlic pesto earlier (here), and made it few times this year as well (stirred some in pasta, also made a wild garlic pesto risotto). Too bad the season is over here already, or I would have tried your tartlettes!!!

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  32. First off, belated Happy Birthday Meeta!
    Sorry to hear about the craziness. I hope everything works out for the better. However, it is always nice to know that your friends will always be there to support you! Your friends are lovely! :)

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  33. Isn't it amazing that food has such a connection with our moods. What ever happens and when ever it happen happens for a reason. Especially in the current world climate we have to take each out come as something bigger and better is out there. If nothing else it will make your relationship stronger, just hang in there. Best of luck {{{}}}

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  34. I loved the tart ideas...thanks for sharing!

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  35. Gosh Meeta, what a tough time. So many decisions and hurdles. I wish you and your family all the best.

    Those tartlets are comforting at least. Gorgeous photos as always.

    Take care,
    Lisa

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  36. Glad you were able to turn things around despite the turn of events. I'm sending good thoughts your way.

    Scrumptious-looking tartlettes.

    Paz

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  37. Meeta, my heart goes out at your current situation! But yes, you have so beautifully taken it in your stride! Shall pray for you, that you both be wt Tom asap! Am sure you will steer thru this soooon!
    The garlicky tarts look very comforting n perfectly done! Tks for sharing, the moments of your life, and the lovely recipes! God Bless!

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  38. Oh I forgot to wish you for your b'day! Wishing you many more happy returns! May all your dreams come true and I wish more love and peace in your life!

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  39. Hope everything gets sorted out soon darling! Lots of hugs coming your way! Never seen wild garlic here, gotta find some soon!

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  40. Once again - thank you so much for all your support. It makes me stronger to face what ever comes our way. I appreciate the wise words of advice and best wishes! The tartlettes are a pure pleasure and I hope you do find some wild garlic and discover a whole new exciting flavor and herb!

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  41. I love the tartlets.... but hate the situation you've been put in with Tom's job and the move. I do know that you will find your way through it... and that if absence makes the heart grow fonder, as they say, your family will be stronger after this experience. We are all here for you.

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  42. wow.it's my first time here and I fell in love with your blog...Amazing photos.

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  43. What loving friends and colleagues you have - although it's frustrating and difficult now, it 6 month's this will all be a memory.

    The tartlettes are stunning, so packed with flavor!

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  44. Meeta, may the almighty guide you and tom to make the right decision. sending you best wishes and positive thoughts from dxb!

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  45. Thanks for sharing the delicious looking recipe Meeta, especially when you are going through the operational and emotional roller coaster. I am glad you have the support net that you do, and wish you all the best with everything.

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  46. Oh dear Meeta, what an absolutely uphill drive. But I know u'll manage beautifully & come out with flying colours. It's these challenges in life that tell us what friends & family are there for...these tartlets are gorgeous. No wild garlic here, no streams with bluebelss, SIGH...but your pictures are awesome. These are tartlets my dreams are made up of! YUM!!

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  47. First, your tartlettes are so colorful and pretty. Second, I wish we could have met while I was in Germany this week, and sorry it did not work out this time. I understand how hard it is to be separated from the one you love and hope that everything will be ok. It sounds like you have wonderful support.

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  48. O that must have been such a hard message to hear, but how great that you're getting back on track and that everything seems to work out for you. What a shock that must have been!!

    I love your tartlettes! I have been making similar once this week but with feta and smoked chicken. Absolutely loved them, but I find it difficult to line the small cases with pastry... Do you have a special trick for that?

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  49. that's an awful situation to be in.... take care and i hope everything will turn better.

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  50. Wow, I can't believe that happened. And after all the planning and preparation you must have done. You are so lucky you've got such wonderful people behind your back who helped you out.
    On a lighter note, I love the tartlettes. They actually look like mini pizzas. So yummy too.

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  51. That's my kind of meal when I am alone. That and a glass of wine and a chick movie! Looks perfect!

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta