Our lovely friend and Oberon local, Simmone Logue cannot even remember a time she didn’t love food. Immersed in an environment where fresh produce was plentiful, she spent her childhood picking fruit, fishing for crayfish, and fossicking for mushrooms. Back in the kitchen, Simmone learned the art of cooking from her nannas, who both had recipes to bequeath and secrets to share.
After moving to Sydney, Simmone turned her passion into a profession, starting her very own cake business in 1990. Thanks to her talent and special touch, things took off quickly – and before long, Simmone had set up shop in Balmain and branched out into ready-to-eat meals, unforgettable wedding cakes and online store.
Simmone has very generously shared this recipe from her best-selling book, In the kitchen, a treasure trove of classic recipes and inspiration. We use this book so often and love Simmone’s philosophy: a commitment to using fresh seasonal produce and making beautiful, wholesome food that brings joy to many.
Spring Asparagus & Goat’s Cheese Tart
Cooking with asparagus takes a light hand. You need to know when to take it off the heat and to my mind the less you accompany it with the better. Asparagus goes with eggs, parmesan, toasted bread crumbs, anchovies, chives, goats cheese, sesame oil, and smoked salmon, just to name a few. There is nothing more special than pulling asparagus from the earth giving it a gentle wash and cooking it within the time you can poach an egg and make a hollandaise. This is my favourite way with asparagus.. or if you are feeling super tres romantic you could cook an egg, just 4 minutes on a rolling boil, crack the top and dunk your just-cooked asparagus spears in the gooey goodness… all you need is salt and pepper and you’re in heaven.
Special tips on preparing your asparagus
There are some special tips for preparation. The best time to pull your asparagus is near dusk when the heat of the day is subsiding and the asparagus draws up the moisture from the earth.….. after washing, bend the spear from the base until it snaps naturally where it is tender. Some people like to peel their asparagus although that’s not for me.
You will need...Sour cream pastry with chia seed
150g chilled salted butter
300g (2 cups) plain all-purpose flour, sifted plus extra for dusting
125g sour cream (1/2 cup)
2 tablespoons chia seed
The filling2 tablespoons olive oil
2 leeks white and pale green bit only sliced and washed
1 zucchini, about 150g grated
2 tablespoons mint
2 tablespoons chopped chives
6 free-range eggs
200ml pouring cream
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
12 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
100g grated gruyere cheese
100g crumbled goat’s cheese
Chop the chilled butter into chunks and place it in a bowl and rub the butter in until it’s the size of cherries.
Add the sour cream and mix until just brought together
Turn onto a cool floured surface and shape into a flat rectangle
Cover and leave to rest for 20 minutes or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 180*
On a lightly floured workbench, roll out the pastry to about 8mm thick. Press into a 23 cm loose-based fluted tin and trim the edges. Rest for 20 minutes in the fridge
Line the tart shell with a piece of baking paper and fill with rice or beans. Bake for 15 minutes then remove the baking paper and rice or beans and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Remove the tart shell from the oven and reduce the temperature to 150*.
While the pastry is blind baking, heat the olive oil in a non-stick fry pan. Sautee the leek for 5 to 10 minutes on medium heat until soft and fragrant. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Spread the cooled leek over the tart shell. Squeeze as much water as you can out of the grated zucchini as possible and arrange over the top of the leek. Sprinkle with mint and chives.
In a bowl whisk together the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the tart. Lay the asparagus spears over the top and sprinkle with Gruyere and goat’s cheese.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the filling is cooked in the centre and the tart is golden. This tart is lovely served warm with a salad of leaves from the garden and a perky lemon dressing, but it’s wonderful cold as well.
Great to take to a picnic!