This months cookbook we are reviewing is “Jamie at Home: Cook Your Way to the Good Life” by Jaime Oliver.
We love this cookbook and we think anyone that loves food will as well. Jaime Oliver is passionate about whole fresh foods and it really comes across in this book.
The book is laid out according to season and the fruits and vegetables that are harvested in that season with a few protein sections thrown in here and there. He ends each section with tips and tricks for growing and harvesting that particular fruit or vegetable. I find those sections really interesting since I have a little garden of my own, but anyone that has an appreciation for fresh-out-of-the-garden vegetables will find interesting information in these sections.
The only thing I didnt like about the “furred game” section is a picture of a hunted bunny :(, but thats just because I am a serious animal lover. I’ll get over it…
There is also a section on jams, spreads, and pickled things and another section on pastry although its mostly savory pastries rather than desserts.
We loved all the photographs in this book and so many of the recipes looked amazing, it was tough to choose which ones to make first. We chose two recipes for this review, however, we will be using this book well in months to come! The recipes we chose are Jaimes Rhubarb Bellini that we posted on friday and this Italian Ham and Spinach Tart.
This savory tart is amazing! The tender flaky pasty crust is made with cheese, rosemary and thyme. We have never made a pastry with these ingredients in them before, but it certainly wont be the last. The flavor and fragrance of the rosemary especially makes this crust irresistible!
The tart is made in layers. Onions, spinach, garlic on the bottom and then a layer of ham, followed by creme fraiche mixed with eggs and cheese on top! This tart isnt easy on the waistline, but if you want to indulge a little bit, then this is your dish. The tart sort of has the same kind of consistency as a delicious quiche.
We didnt have Italian ham, so we substituted with cubed smoked ham and then we sprinkled prosciutto on top. We also lost patience looking for creme fraiche and substituted with double creme, however we think the creme fraishe would have added a little bit of tanginess to the tart that would have been really good.
Still it turned out amazing and everyone loved it! It was gobbled up quick!
We highly recommend this book to any lover of food or even to people who are becoming interested in food and learning how to cook. The instructions are easy to follow and well detailed. We honestly cant say enough good things about this book. It a great addition to our collection! To add it to yours, you can find the book on amazon by clicking on the picture of the cookbook below:
Italian Ham and Spinach Tart
- SAVORY SHORTCRUST PASTRY
- 3 1/2 cups organic all-purpose flour
- 7 oz lard (or butter), cut into cubes
- 2 oz freshly grated cheddar cheese
- sea salt
- a sprig of fresh rosemary , leaves picked
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme , leves picked
- 2 large free-range or organic eggs , beaten
- a splash of milk
- flower for dustingFOR THE TART
- a knob of butter
- olive oil
- 3 red onions , peeled and finely sliced
- 12 oz spinach (or nettles, swiss chard, or barage), washed, thick stems removed
- a few sprigs of fresh marjoram or oregano , leaves picked and chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups creme fraiche
- 5 oz freshly grated parmesan cheese , plus extra for grating
- 3 large free-range or organic eggs
- 7 oz smoked ham , torn into sheds or chopped
FOR THE PASTRY
Put the flour, lard or butter, cheese and a generous pinch of sea salt into a food processor and pulse for 20 to 30 seconds or until the mixture is crumbly and fine.
Add the rosemary and thyme.
Pour in the eggs and add the milk. Pulse for a few more second until the mixture comes together.
Scoop your dough out of the food processor onto a clean floured work surface and pat it a few times to make it more compact. Dont knead it. When you have a flat round, wrap the dough in a plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour.
FOR THE TART
Take the pastry dough out of the fridge and cut a generous half. Put the rest of the dough back in the fridge. Roll out the pastry into a rectangular shape about 1/4 inch thick and been enough to line a shallow baking pan about 11 x 15 inches.
Line the pan with parchment paper and place the pastry on the pan. Trim any excess off the edges, leaving an overhang. Pinch the overhanging dough to give it a little rim. Prick all over and place in the freezer to chill for about 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the pan from the freezer and bake the pastry crust for 6 to 8 mins until lightly golden brown. Set it aside
Heat a glug of olive oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onions on a low heat for 10 mins until they are soft and sweet, but dont let them color.
Turn up the heat and add the garlic, the spinach, and most of the marjoram. Season lightly and give it a good stir.
Take the pan off the heat when the spinach has wilted - this will only take a couple of minutes.
To make the filling mixture, put the creme fraiche into a bowl, stir in the parmesan, eggs and a pinch of salt and pepper, mix together and set aside.
Spread the spinach mixture over the pastry. Sprinkle the ham on top, and then spoon the mixture evenly over the top, smoothing it out with the back of the spoon. Grate over a generous helping of parmesan, sprinkle over the rest of the marjoram and drizzle with some olive oil.
Bake in the oven at 375 degrees for about 15 to 20 mins or until the top is golden and bubbling and the filling has set.