Saturday, 26 February 2011


I am skint. Skint.

I'm not unhappy about this really I just have to adjust to life as student/part-time employee/writer. It seems as the number of 'roles' I have increase my income takes a southern route...irony can be cruel.

Like I said, though, I don't feel hard-done-by or the slightest bit tempted to jack it all in and return to maximum pay, minimum satisfaction. Tougher times build character and, most importantly, inspire us.

A few Thursday's back I was tired and (you guessed it) skint. After a hungry rummage through my fridge I only really had bits and bobs that could be picked at alongside jars of jams, mustard, pickled onions and nowt much else. However, what emerged from half hour in the kitchen that evening turned out to be a special little something that was satisfying and made me feel like I was really treating myself. It was at this moment I realised the greatest thing about being financially bereft: simple pleasures. Pleasure is at its best unadorned: a warm bath, a good book, supper at the end of a long day – it’s cliché but I don’t care. The need to do something different, something new, crazy and exciting can render you anxious and unfulfilled.

The best way to illustrate it would be a New Years Eve equation: too much money + too much pressure = disappointment the antidote to this would be buying the Sunday papers, reading them with a cup of coffee and realising how good you already had it. The latter never disappoints as it's not trying to be anything other than what it is, it's not over complicated or marred by high expectations that often stem from little more than the amount of cash you've had to part with.

The recipe from that Thursday evening is a take on a goats cheese and onion tart - one of the vegetarian's most familiar restaurant/dinner party offerings - yet replaces the pastry with a seeded pitta base: sounds like 'diet food', it's not. I wouldn’t recommend the well known oval white flour pittas here, the bread needs to be damp and dense, the brand suggested in the recipe below was ideal.

Goats cheese & onion pitta tartelette with mustard dressed leaves

Serves One


1 round seeded pitta (I used Food Doctor multi seeded)

1 tbl sp Dijon Mustard

1 tbl sp oil, (olive, vegetable etc)

1 red onion, thinly sliced

2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked (optional)

1 tsp sugar



1 x tomato, thinly sliced into rounds

50g goats cheese (the type with a rind), thinly sliced

For the salad:

Salad leaves (rocket, watercress etc)

1 tbl sp extra virgin olive oil

1 tbl sp lemon juice

1/2 tsp sugar

1/2 tbl sp dijon mustard




Preheat oven to 200c.

Spread the mustard on the pitta bread, leaving out approximately 1cm around the edge, and place to one side.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onion, thyme, sugar and salt and cook until they soften and become 'jammy', season to taste.

Add the onions to the pitta and arrange the tomato and then the goats cheese on top, season.

Place on a baking tray in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden.

Whilst the tartelette is cooking make the dressing for the salad: add the oil, lemon juice and sugar to a bowl and whisk in the mustard, season to taste adding more sugar or lemon if needed. Dress the salad leaves just before serving alongside the tartlette, finish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil over the tartelette.

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