June 4, 2008

Savoury Tarts

This potluck we were invited to required me to bring along a dish for dinner. I had long chats with S over the phone and we decided to take Lemon Rice. Then I had a chat with Siri who convinced me that finger foods would be much easier to handle. I decided I’d take savoury tarts along. I have never made these before. I didn’t exactly have a recipe on hand. But I did have a fair idea of what I wanted. And I had tart tins that I brought back from my last trip to Madras. So I set down to work. I didn’t have much time to click nice pictures, but I quickly took a few pictures before packing them in boxes.

Of all the ladies present at the potluck, I was the only working woman and all evening I had to answer/ward off questions like, “Do you plan to continue working?” and “Don’t you think it’s high time you started a family?” I find it bad enough that friends and relatives ask such questions so it is anyone’s guess how irritated I was when some total strangers asked me about my future plans. But what amused me was the fact that all 5 ladies I met there were stay-at-home mothers and none of them cooked anything for this pot luck. One brought stuff from outside and the rest got their cooks to make a dish each. I felt like a museum piece there. A working woman who actually cooks. And everyone there also inspected me like I was some figure at Madame Tussaud’s. The evening got me wondering about what these people do with their time. They don’t even read and they actually got excited about the fact that one of the children in the group had actually finished a book. I asked how old the child in question was and pat came the reply, “She’s in her final year BBA.” The less said the better here.

Anyway, the tarts came out very well and along with these Date-Walnut mini cakes , they were a great hit that evening.

For the crust:

1 cup Flour
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour / Atta
2/3 cup Margarine
5-6 tbsp Ice Cold Water
1 tsp Paprika
1 tsp Mixed Herbs
1 tsp Salt
Oil for greasing the tart tins

Grease the tart tins.

Place the flour, salt, paprika, herbs, and butter in a bowl and mix together till the mixture resembles small peas. Gradually add the water and knead gently till it forms a dough. (Do not knead as you would for chapati/poori dough.) Divide the dough in twenty portions. Roll out each portion and place it in the tart tin. Bake at 450 F for 10 minutes. (You may use baking beans to help retain the shape of the tarts. I used some dried beans and will use them only for this now.)

For the filling:

1 Onion, chopped
1/4 cup Broccoli, chopped

1/4 cup Mushrooms, chopped

1/4 cup Sweet Corn
2 tbsp Carrot, chopped

1 tbsp Olive Oil

1 tbsp Flour

1/2 cup Milk

1/2 tsp Parsley

1/2 tsp Basil

2 tsp Chilli flakes

1/2 tsp Garlic Paste

Salt and Pepper to Taste

1 slice Low Fat Cheese (optional)

Steam the broccoli, corn and carrot.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and fry for a minute. Add the parsley, basil and chilli flakes and fry for another minute. Add the flour and fry without browning the flour. Add the mushrooms and fry for about 30 seconds. (Do not fry the mushrooms for too long as the water in them gets released.) Add the vegetables along with the milk and bring the mixture to a boil while stirring continuously. If adding cheese, add it at this point and stir the sauce well. As the sauce thickens, add the salt and pepper.

To proceed, fill the semi baked tart shells with the filling and return to the oven. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. Carefully remove from the tart tins and serve.

While I’m sending this to Mansi over at Fun and Food for Meeta's Monthly Mingle, the theme of which is Appetizers & Hors D’oeuvres. But when Siv is back, I’m sure he’ll take Sig out for drinks and they can have these tarts along with their cocktails. I do hope they enjoy this little treat. Happy anniversary!


Siri said...

the tarts came beautifully Raaga..and U are so funny..LOL.. a museum piece.. Madame Tussaud's.. U really cracked me up dear..I know how wud it feel, when ppl prod about 'questions' on our future....:))


Unknown said...

same old story about being prodded :) atleast the tarts are actually made these on a weekday? I made tarts only once, got put off by the amount of cold butter that needs to get into the base dough ;)

Sig said...

I avoid such people like plague... You actually cooked for them? :)
Those tarts look delicious, it will really go nicely with some cocktails... Thank you so much sweetie pie, you made my day!

Finla said...

I have no idea why you went to a party with such ppl.
I dislike ppl like that with a passion.
Why can't they just mind their ow buisness.
Tarts look delicious.Elegant too
Pity it was wasted to nosey bunch.

Arundathi said...

where do these people come from? i can't believe you made these fabulous looking tarts for them! :-)

Suganya said...

Expectations, expectations. I don't give a damn for somebody else's expectations.

TNL said...

wow. Some people just have way too much time on their hands....and obviously don't know how to use it wisely. I could write a thesis on such ppl.....I have encountered many in my time. Is it worth my time? hell no.

tarts are cool, good job. :)


Deepa said...

Hmmm. Did any of the working Dads cook?!!! But anyway, when you have a kid, the prodding still remains, only the argument changes to "When are you having another kid?" I feel really sorry for SINGLE women, who have all of these things to deal with in their future. The formula is alive and well everywhere. Everyone is required to make the same set of choices - or some people feel threatened. The fashionable thing for desis in America actually, is to NOT stay home with kids. I always get, "What? You don't work fulltime after studying so much?" You can only do what seems right to you...whatever that might be. True freedom is the freedom to choose! --Deepa

Chitra said...

Babe, Lovely tarts. I take this as my 6th wedding anniversary treat :-)

Asha said...

Beautiful tarts, love the veggie fillings. So colorful. You go to lot of parties, lucky you!:))
Did I ever tell you I would rather be friends with a guy than gal? ;D
It's true.Guys are uncomplicated, lot easier to talk to, not nosy and mind their business!:)

Raaga said...

@Siri: I did feel that way... such scrutiny.

@Nandita:On a Saturday...on a weekday, I can at best manage a cake :-)

@Sig: I cooked for you... but I thought they'd go stale... so I fed them to the crowd :-) I didn't know the people there... just the hosts.

Raaga said...

@Happy: I could avoid them if I knew who'd be coming :-)

@Namesake: One lucky group, eh?

@Sug: If I had, I should have been married at 23 and had 2 babies by now and should have perfected the art of making fluffy idlis... sadly, I'm 0 on all counts :-))

Raaga said...

@Trupti: I wrote some stuff on my other blog :-)

@Deepa: There weren't any "working" dads in that group... there were "businessmen" dads... :-)

@Chitra: Belated wishes da... time flies

Raaga said...

@Ashakka: we don't go to that many actually... but we do have a good social life... agree with you.. men have been very good friends and confidants in my life too

EC said...

oh...its really bad that friends, relatives keep asking personal was really funny to know that u were the only one to have cooked for the party...nice dish

Anonymous said...

next time you will be feeding such an obnoxious bunch, add some jamaal gotta (diarrheas inducer) to the filling....or a healthy dose of sarcasm always works for me!!but its true...sometimes you just dont know what kind of people you will run into!!

Deepa said...

I am very impressed you made the crust yourself. I have bought them in the past, and that worked very well - a quick fancy appetizer. Now I am inspired to try making the crust.

About the other stuff, these are complex subjects. I've been a fiercely ambitious person, a totally Marry-Poppins-wannabe stay at home mom, and a working mom and having been in all these situations, have learnt not to judge. I think my comment about working Dads was a bit hasty. It does bother me that men are not even expected to know to cook, in desi social gatherings, and my husband's accused of being a "joru kaa gulaam" because he enjoys cooking :). of well, as I said, complex subject. --Deepa

Pritika said...

The tarts looks awesome! I've been a bad girl these past few months, cooking only chicken biryani (which is yum though!), pasta or bhindi-roti for my husband...thankfully we mostly never eat at home (late hours at work) but i'm running out of excuses real fast...your blog may just save my life! :D

sorry to hear about the amusing company you had that night...i love books with a passion..pity to hear about the BBA girl :(

Deepa said...

Hey, you said "(You may use baking beans to help retain the shape of the tarts. I used some dried beans and will use them only for this now.)". What exactly does this mean? Would love to learn - never heard of this. Pls elaborate if you could!! Thanks. --Deepa

Jayashree said...

The tarts have turned out really well. People will never stop doling out free if they tell you it's high time you had kids, tomorrow they'll tell you how your way of bringing up your kid is wrong.

Deepa said...

I just thot of something. Your mom would probably have really interesting ideas as well. I am going to ask her for interesting ideas for kids' treats...My mom's great at that, as well as my aunt Uma mami (have you ever met her?).

I am making your tart thingies today. I am going to buy the pie crust tho (eggless bcuz A is allergic to eggs)--Deepa

Miri said...

What can I say - That's Delhi for you. No not the questions about kids and stuff, thats universally Indian. But the other stuff you mentioned, cooking seems to be an ancient art form here and everywhere I go its a big deal that I have cooked everything "from scratch" - heylo? the maids for everything concept does not exist in many parts of the country, so its a no brainer then that you like to do things yourself. No offence to the other reasonable Delhiites I have met(and there are quite a few of them thankfully), but I get irritated when I am judged - I don't judge your lifestyle of lesiure, so dont judge me my lifestyle of activeness! Its like the only reason to exist is to show off hiw much you have in material terms - well, I do too - lots of books! ;)

The tarts came out wonderfully, and from scratch!! wow! :)

Rajitha said...

arre...atleast you did not get asked..'kuch problems hain kya' for no bachhas!! i basically clam-up and people think i am a bitch..oh well! ;)

Sia said...

ah, same old story!!! i started getting those questions as when we will start a family 3 months after we got married!!! can u believe it?
and girl, stop making tarts for them and how abt sending me some across?

Hetal said...

Wow,the tarts look amazing...

Bharti said...

Hi Raaga
I have lurked many time but this post compelled me to write. I think I know what these people do with their time- "not mind their own business". Not everyone likes to or wants to cook but there are many other creative and useful things to do with one's time. Sorry you had to go thru that nonsense. The tarts look lovely. They could probably be covered with the pastry and baked in to pot pies, ya?