A horseradish tart

After last nights meat extravaganza it seems only right that a bit of time should be spent today in making a vegetarian supper. Galen complained on Friday that when we eat meat there is always a vegetarian alternative but if the cooking is vegetarian then there is no meat to be had. He was eating an aubergine and mozzarella bake whilst I had made myself a fried chicken baguette to gird my loins before an evening watching Macbeth at The Royal Court. He sort of had a point if only because the vegetarian alternatives are often no more than a couple of spicy bean burgers from the freezer cabinet in Sainsbury’s.

Today I made more of an effort. Some of you may have noticed the horseradish root lurking in a picture last weekend. There is now a patch in the garden that is in danger of getting out of control. Last year all we had out of it were a couple of thin tubers not much more than half an inch wide but I must have left something in the ground. We now have a wide splay of thick green leaves and furtling under the soil there are obviously a few good sized roots. I will have to dig them out come the end of autumn but in the meantime I have the cooking of this years harvest.

A good 40 minutes were spent going through the books on Saturday morning and I was surprised and disappointed by how little there seemed that could be done with them. There were a few suggestions for mixing it with beetroot but little that made it part of the main attraction.

Eventually I was pointed towards a recipe in a book by Annie Bell Evergreen bought years ago after a lunch in The Good Things Cafe. Bought because she wrote (or co-wrote) one our most used books Living and Eating.  She wrote it with John Pawson the architect and the pictures and a large part of the text sketch out a way of living that is well beyond most of us. But the recipes work, and the pictures of the food make it look good, although she is responsible for the notion that my fish pie should be made with cider resulting in my white sauce splitting. The book has the added attraction of featuring my brother in law’s best man, Oscar, lounging on a lawn in one of its pictures.

Back to Evergreen  the recipe was for a Potato and Onion Tart with Horseradish Cream. It was another of those recipes that require the cooking of its constituent  parts before the whole was put together.

There were three parts to it. I started with the onions, two large Spanish ones from the grocers on Oxton Road, sliced thinly and cook down slowly for an hour or so in butter.

Then the potatoes, peeled, boiled for ten minutes, browned in more butter and sliced into rounds. The horseradish was peeled and grated and mixed with creme fraiche. Puff pastry was rolled out and put in a pie tin and cooked for twenty minutes then the whole thing was put together.

The onions were spread over the base of the pastry, the slices of potato were then laid out on top and the creamed horseradish was then spread on top. It all went back in the oven to cook and to brown together with the roast chicken the rest of the family were having.

Today we have been listening to Mark Mulcahy. He has a new album out soon and is playing in Manchester in early December. We should all have a bit of him in our lives.

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