We are having an astoundingly lovely winter in Sydney. The days are short, but they are packed with plenty of sunshine and crisp blue skies. With weather like this, it was high time to fish out the picnic basket and celebrate Monsieur Zen's birthday.
Around this time last year, Mr K and I had met up with the Zen's to share a few days in Paris. We had a wonderful time selecting an assortment of super fresh vegetables, fruits, cheeses, breads and olives at the Marche Saxe Breteuil market (7th arondissment). The market has a perfect view of the Eiffel tower, and we trekked a few blocks with our haul of French deliciousness to enjoy a picnic on the lush green grass, right underneath the famous tower.
Back here in Sydney, while I couldn't provide a view of Eiffel tower this year, we did enjoy the soft filtered winter sun, glinting on the river near Como Marina and the giant blossoms on the wattle trees. We also enjoyed some delicious French inspired flavors. To share, I bought along a crisp French onion tart, the origins of which lay in Alsace, some pickled ruby winter beets to be enjoyed with a piquant French goats cheese and roasted red and green peppers, slick with olive oil and a tangy vinaigrette. As always - in a family full of foodies, the picnic table was absolutely groaning with an abundance of delicious goodies to share.
1 quantity of sour cream pastry (I use Maggie Beer's excellent recipe)
500g brown onions, sliced
30g plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
Salt & pepper
Full cream milk
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Make the pastry.
2. In a pan, melt the butter. Fry the onions over a medium heat, until starting to brown.
3. Stir in flour and the eggs, season with salt and pepper. Add a little milk if the mixture is too thick.
4. Roll out pastry (leaving a little extra for lattice) and line a tart tin. Fill with the onion pastry. Add a strips of remaing pastry to create a lattice. Bake for 30 mins or until golden.
Pickled beetroot salad
8 small beetroot
1 quantity of vinaigrette dressing ( 1 tbs white wine vinegar, 3 tbs olive oil)
1 small white onion, sliced
Pinch of ground cloves
3 bay leaves
Salt & pepper
1. Simmer beetroot in salted water for 1 hr or until cooked through. Peel and slice into small wedges.
2. In a non-metallic bowl, add sliced beetroot, vinaigrette, cloves, bay leaves and season. Let marinate, covered, in the fridge for 24 hours.
3. Serve with a crusty, French style bread and a young goats cheese.
4 red peppers (capsicums)
4 green peppers (capsicums)
Salt & pepper
1 quantity of vinaigrette
1. Preheat oven to 200C. Grease a baking tray with oil and place peppers on a tray. Season. Roast for 10 minutes or until skin blisters.
2. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Remove skins and seeds. Cut into thin strips. Toss with vinaigrette.