Autumn Vegetable and Ricotta Tart w/ Caramelised Figs. Wahcumba St. Dutton Park, Brisbane.
The address of one of the best little share houses of all time. Well, to my mind.
As a young apprentice chef working at Southbank, Wahcumba St provided everything I needed for a good four or so years. Cheap accommodation, a short walk to work, nearby watering holes, cafes and take aways, the best house mates ever and a constant stream of their colourful friends as well.
We had a vegetable garden, home-brew beer, bunnies, snakes, dogs, cats, chickens and pet rats and I forget what else. We dressed in brown corduroy and called ourselves The Wahcumbans.
I’ve never listened to so much Pink Floyd. Kimberley wore his Atom Heart Mother shirt like a thread-bare badge. We were all raging vegetarian, urban hippy types and proud of it.
Stop me before I get all Nick Earls on you.
1.5 cups wholemeal spelt flour
1 rolled oats
1/2 cup mixed grains and seeds – we used buckwheat, sesame, nigella and chia.
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup buttermilk – water or almond milk for dairy free.
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Heat your oven to 180*c. Grease and flour a medium, 2 cm deep oven tray. Combine everything really well until a dough is formed. Press the dough evenly into the tray and a little bit up the sides. Use your hands, or whatever you like really. A tin of tomatoes works well. Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before blind baking the base for 15 minutes. Cool.Like a giant savoury Anzac biscuit.
300g Ricotta cheese
1 large egg
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp chopped dill
Mix until well combined and spread fairly evenly over your pastry base.
1 small quarter of Jap pumpkin – de-seeded and sliced 1 cm thick
1 medium bulb fennel – stems trimmed, bulb cut into eighths.
1 large leek – trimmed of dark green bits and washed
1 medium red onion – cut in half – top to bottom
Smother everything in olive oil, a little salt and a little lemon juice. Bake for 25 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender.Remove the pumpkin skins and chop into pieces. Slice the leek into half cm discs. Peel the onions and slice into 1cm pieces. Arrange the vegetables over the ricotta mixture and bake for 20 minutes. We scattered a few extra oats about the place before baking.Dem Figs
6 ripe figs – cut in half from top to bottom
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 small sprig rosemary – stem removed
In a hot fry pan place the oil, figs and rosemary. Toss gently for just 10 seconds. Add the balsamic and sea salt and toss for a further 10 seconds. Remove from the heat and refrigerate.
What Kid Did
After gathering some fresh herbs from the ‘garden’…Spreading the filling into the base and arranging the vegetables evenly on top (looking good Kid)..Kid still had time to finish homework before Grandma and Grandad arrived for dinner.
We served our tart with the figs, salad, some crusty rye bread and a side of crispy roast potatoes.
My brother came for dinner in the end too. Catching up over food is the best way.
This dinner sings Autumn like nothing else. The sweetness of the roasted vegetables, the aromatic ricotta, crunchy pastry base and tangy-sweet figs all marry together like a houseful of young, urban hippy vegetarian types.
You could substitute the vegetables for your own preferences of course. Sweet potato, roast capsicums, olives, artichokes etc…
I haven’t seen a fellow Wahcumban in years now. Life, love and travel scatter people to the wind sometimes, but I still think of them all fondly.
Shine on you crazy diamonds.