Cape Gooseberry, Labneh & Lemon Verbena Tart

I wanted something with an emphatic tang rather than a delicate flavour of the cape gooseberries and this beauty is the newest addition to my repertoire. It is not dauntingly difficult, the flavours are anything but subtle and the colour, might I add, is splendidly celebratory.

What you will need – (for 1 x 9 inch tart)

For crust:

  • Oat flour – 1 1/2 cup 
  • Almond meal – 1/2 cup almond meal (sub with whole wheat/millet flour)
  • Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Butter – 60g (sub with 45ml light Olive oil)
  • Brown Sugar – 2 tablespoon
  • Water – 1-2 tablespoon

For filling:

  • Cape gooseberries – 300g (approx 3 cups), dehusked
  • Castor sugar – 1/3 cup (sub with golden or granulated sugar)
  • Fresh Lemon Verbena – 6 leaves, if using dried ones, use 12-14 leaves (sub with 1 tbsp lemon zest)
  • Lemon juice – 3 tablespoon
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cornstarch – 1 tablespoon, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
  • Labneh – 500g (sub with greek or plant-based yoghurt)

For topping: (optional)

  • Fresh Cape Gooseberries – 10-15
  • Lime slices
  • A handful of fresh Cranberries
Method –
  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • To make the crust, add oat flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt, brown sugar and olive oil to a food processor. Pulse for 5-6 seconds. Now add 1 tablespoon water and pulse again. The mixture will be moist and have a coarse rubble-like texture. Use your hands to bring it together into a malleable soft ball. Add more water if needed.
  • Grease a tart tin with oil, place the dough in the centre. Firmly press into the bottom and up the sides of tart tin. Make sure its evenly spread out and the walls are the same thickness throughout.
  • Bake for 18-20 mins or until the edges are lightly golden. Do NOT over-bake. Gluten-free crusts do not signal doneness by turning a gorgeous golden. I wouldn’t recommend baking the crust for longer than 25 mins.
  • Rest on a cooling rack.
  • In a large, heavy saucepan, add cape gooseberries, lemon verbena leaves, sugar, lemon juice and salt. Cook on medium heat for 5 mins. Once the berries soften, use a wooden spoon or spatula to lightly crush them. Add cornflour slurry and cook for another 3 mins or until lightly thickened.
  • Set aside to cool slightly.
  • Add the mix to a blender and make a fine puree.
  • Whisk labneh until soft and fluffy, add in the prepared fruit puree and fold to combine.
  • Pour the mixture into the tart shell and smooth the surface. Refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  • Once the tart is set, top with fresh berries, few mint leaves or mustard microgreens and serve.

Storage notes –

Keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

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Gluten-free Amaranth Crackers

These pseudo-cheesy pseudocereal crackers with their crumbly texture and a delectable eathy-nutty flavour are surprisingly easy to make. Crackers strike me as the type of pantry project that is seemingly way more high-effort than it actually is. I suppose it’s because picking up a pack at the grocery store feels easier than everything else.

You will be able to make these with untroubled ease even if you’ve never baked anything in your life. Unlike other pastries, this one does not intimidate. The dough is mixed up in the processor and rolls effortlessly. And I re-squidge and re-roll to the bitter end. A fork can be used to make quaint dotted perforations on the crackers and very satisfying work it is, too. But should you want to skip it, they will turn out just as good.

What you will need – (for 24-26 crackers )
  • Amaranth flour – 120 g (1 cup)
  • Olive oil – 3 tablespoon (45 ml)
  • Baking powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Garlic powder – 1 teaspoon (or use 2-3 fresh cloves, grated)
  • Onion powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh Rosemary – 2 sprigs (about 1 tablespoon leaves), roughly chopped
  • Fresh Thyme – 3-4 sprigs, picked
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
  • Nutritional yeast – 1 tablespoon (optional)
  • Water – 3 tablespoon
Method –
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Add all of the ingredients to a food processor and pulse to combine. The mix will be clumpy and will likely not come together into a ball. Take the mixture out and knead gently for 2-3 mins. The dough should be soft but not sticky. Add a little more flour if needed.
  3. On a floured surface, roll the dough out to roughly 0.5cm thick, use a sharp knife or a cookie cutter to cut out the crackers. This dough, unlike all other pastry doughs, does not change characteristics once rolled. So resquidge and re-roll till the wee end. Waste nothing.
  4. Prick lightly with a fork to prevent them from puffing up.
    (You might be able to tell from the photograph that I completely forgot to do this, but the puffy ones tasted just as good)
  5. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 12-14 mins or until lightly golden around the edges.
  6. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container.

Storage notes –

Store in an airtight container for up to a week. (They’ll be eaten way before that)

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram. Use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Passionfruit Orange Tart

This is my disc of winter sunshine on a plate, and it tastes like it too. The uncompromisingly tart flavour of passionfruit shines bright with the nutty curry leaf crust perfectly countering its intense fragrance. And the cranberry topping turns it into an absolute dazzler. I know the flavours sound rather bold here but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

And here’s the deal: if pastry making or rolling scares you in the slightest, or like me, you’re too lazy to do it, this tart is for you. There is pitifully little work to be done to make this tart crust that meets all contemporary culinary strictures. This soft pliable dough is to be pressed into the tin using your fingers and takes the rolling out of question.

What you will need – (for 1 x 9 inch tart)

For crust:

  • Oat flour – 1 1/2 cup 
  • Almond meal – 1/2 cup almond meal
  • Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
  • Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Light Olive oil – 3 tablespoon (45ml)
  • Brown Sugar – 2 tablespoon
  • Curry Leaf – 8-10, stalks removed
  • Water – 1-2 tablespoon

For filling:

  • Passionfruit pulp – 1 1/2 cup, (about 12-15 passionfruits) 
  • Orange juice – 1/2 cup, (approx 1 whole orange)
  • Zest of 1 whole orange (approx 2 tablespoon)
  • Maple syrup/honey – 60ml (1/4 cup), adjust to taste
  • Coconut Cream – 220 ml (a little over 1 cup)
  • Agar agar powder – 3 teaspoon

For topping:

  • Cranberries – 100g (fresh or frozen)
  • Sugar – 2 tablespoon
  • Lime juice – 1 tablespoon
  • Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  • Cornstarch – 1.5 teaspoon, dissolved in 1/4 cup water
Method –
  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • To make the crust, grind curry leaves to a powder like consistency in a spice grinder. (If using a normal grinder, blitz with sugar to help incorporate evenly). Add oat flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, curry leaf powder and olive oil to a food processor. Pulse for 5-6 seconds. Now add 1 tablespoon water and pulse again. The mixture will be moist and have a coarse rubble-like texture. Use your hands to bring it together into a malleable soft ball. Add more water if needed.
  • Grease a tart tin with oil, place the dough in the centre. Firmly press into the bottom and up the sides of tart tin. Make sure its evenly spread out and the walls are the same thickness throughout.
  • Bake for 18-20 mins or until the edges are lightly golden.
  • Rest on a cooling rack.
  • Meanwhile, to prepare the filling, add passion fruit pulp into a blender and blitz for no more than 8-10 seconds. Rest a fine mesh sieve over a small bowl and pour the passion fruit into the sieve. Use a spatula to press all the juice out.
  • In a saucepan, add passionfruit juice, orange juice, orange zest and coconut cream to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cook for 6 mins, stirring constantly. Add agar-agar powder, stir until completely dissolved, about 2-3 mins. Now add honey/maple syrup, stir to combine. Taste the filling and adjust sweetness if needed. Turn off the heat and allow mixture to cool slightly.
  • Pour mixture into the tart crust and set in the fridge to set for at least 5 hours.
  • Meanwhile, prepare the cranberry topping by adding cranberries, sugar, lime juice and salt into a pan on medium heat. As the sugar begins to liquify, use a wooden spoon or spatula to lightly squish the berries. After 2 mins, add cornstarch slurry to this, stir and reduce heat to low. Cook for another 2 mins till the mix has thickened to a jammy consistency.
  • Once the tart is set, spoon over the cranberry topping, garnish with toasted coconut (optional) and serve.

Storage notes –

Keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram. Use #theslowkitchen on your posts!

Aubergines stuffed with Lentils

This creation is inspired by the classic stuffed aubergine dish from the Ottoman cuisine – Imam Baylidi. The aubergines are simmered in olive oil and though it is quite a delightful dish, I find it rather oily. For this recipe, I cook the aubergines in a skillet first and then roast in the oven.

What you will need – (for 2 massive servings)
  1. Aubergines – 2 large, halved lengthwise
  2. Cooked masoor (red) lentils – 1 cup
  3. Onion – 1 medium, finely chopped
  4. Tomatoes – 4 large, puréed
  5. Garlic – 1 large clove, finely chopped
  6. Harissa paste – 1-1.5 tablespoons (can sub with Gochujang paste)
  7. Rosemary – 1 sprig
  8. Broth – 3/4th cup
  9. Olive oil – 2 + 2 tablespoons
  10. Salt and pepper to taste
  11. Grated parmesan or cheddar (optional) – 1/4th cup

For garnish –
Fresh coriander and toasted sesame seeds

Method –
  • Slit aubergines lengthwise and score in a criss-cross. Drizzle with salt and 2 tablespoons olive oil.
  • Heat a cast iron skillet on medium flame and place the aubergines slit-side down.
    Cook till the skin begins to wrinkle (about 7 mins).
  • Take the aubergines out of the pan and scoop out a little flesh from the centre to create a cavity. Set aside. (You only want to scoop out the tender bits in the centre. There should be enough flesh remaining on all sides.)
  • In the meantime, preheat oven to 180°C.
  • In the same pan add remaining oil, garlic, chopped onions and rosemary. Sauté on medium heat till the onions become translucent.
  • Add tomato purée, salt and pepper. Cook for 4-5 mins.
  • Now add cooked lentils, scooped aubergine flesh and harissa. Stir to combine.
  • Add broth to the pan, bring to a boil and simmer till thickened.
  • Add this mix into the aubergines and roast at 180°C for 30 mins or until the aubergine is completely cooked.
  • Garnish with grated cheese and fresh herbs. Serve immediately.

Serve as is or alongside a vibrant salad or rice or cauliflower rice or quinoa.

Storage notes –

The stuffing can be stored for upto 3 days. Advisable to cook the eggplants when you’re ready to eat.

If you make this recipe, you know the drill: Let me know!

Take a picture, tag @the_slow_kitchen on Instagram and use #theslowkitchen on your posts!