The other day I cooked for a couple of girls that I’ve known for a long time. From temple tits (remember? Of course you do – you either owned a pair – bad luck – or, if you’re a boy, once mistakenly confused them for proper tits – double bad luck – they’re not) & those freaky elasticated Puma shoes that I know you thought were wicked but were actually just a bit creepy, through to lush lads/top totty etc. & finding a job & getting on with L.I.F.E, we’ve had each other’s backs. Awww shucks.
It was a Wednesday, and as any fool knows, Wednesday is Hump Day (durrr…the hump of the working week you sickos). And Hump Day is the day above all other days when one glass of wine just won’t do (piss off Janu-pause, nobody likes a smuggins). So there we were, being the perfect lushes, sprawling on the sofa telling New Year abstinence where to stick it, basically being what my pa would only describe as utter tarts.
Until recently, I had begun to think of myself as a strong, independent woman (shout out to ma homegurl Beyonce). As of that supper, I realized I just couldn’t be further from that bootylicious pinnacle of maturity and wisdom (though I’m actually kinda nailing the booylicious vibe after my festive period indulgences…). We were behaving the same as we have since we were young’uns, but just with less unsightly bodily proportions and slightly better shoes. We were just being such “girls”. The kind of girls that boys just don’t get and certainly don’t find very funny (soz lads). The kind of girls that just sit and chat about the sort of sordid wantonness that would make your nan’s coffee curdle. And the kind of girls, that while maybe you wouldn’t want to be all the time, are bloody funny to be for a little bit.
So what do you give a bunch of tarts for supper? Don’t make me say it…because I won’t. Because it’s actually a very shit and not-so-witty witticism fabricated just so I had something to write about. I think you can work it out.
This creamy leek & squash t**t was, I hope, delicious and certainly easy enough for even the biggest tart to whip up, no matter how much of a lush she is. We had it with green salad and green beans (OMFG WE ARE SUCH GIRLS). No photos – whoops. It was really pretty though I promise.
A Tart for the Tarts – serves six generously
– Half a butternut squash, cut into crescent moons about ½ cm thick
– 1 red chilli, finely chopped
– Olive oil
– Knob of butter
– 2 large leeks, washed and sliced into fairly thin rounds
– 3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
– 1 box of chestnut mushrooms, sliced
– Leaves from 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
– 200 ml crème fraiche (half-fat is fine)
– Salt and pepper
– 1 packet pre-rolled puff pastry
– 1 egg, beaten (optional)
- Pre-heat your fan oven to 180 degrees C. When your squash is chopped into pretty half-moons, put it in a roasting tray large enough so none of the slices overlap. Add the chilli, some salt and pepper, and enough olive oil to stop the squash from sticking – a few tablespoons should do it. Roast for about 45 minutes; you want it to be cooked but not browned.
- While the squash is roasting, melt a knob of butter with a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan, and add the leeks and garlic. Fry slowly until soft – again, you don’t want any brown bits. When the leeks are beginning to look like they’re cooked, add the sliced mushrooms and thyme and season generously. Fry for a further five minutes or until the mushrooms are done. Remove from the heat, and stir in the crème fraiche. Leave until the squash is done.
- Ten minutes before you’re going to put the pastry in the oven, remove it from the fridge. This should leave plenty of time for the oven to heat up if need’s be (check the packet) and to assemble the tart. Unroll the pastry and lightly score a border about 2cm in from the edge of the pastry. Keeping within this box, spread out the creamy leeks and mushrooms, and lay the squash slices on top in columns so that they slightly overlap.
- Brush some beaten egg on the visible bits of pastry, if using, to give it a nice glaze, and cook in the oven according to the packet’s instructions, or until it is looking puffy and crisp and golden. Leave to cool very slightly before eating.