I made this recipe a fair few weeks ago now but, I completely forgot to post about it until now. I really enjoyed it at the time as it was very different to any of the meals I've ever made before and I always think it's nice to try new things. The roasted red peppers with polenta, pesto and halloumi were absolutely gorgeous and really flavourful and the mini egg and bacon tarts were really tasty and cute. It did take quite a bit of time to prepare everything and to get everything ready but, it was definitely worth it as it all tasted delicious in the end. The peppers actually didn't take long to prepare at all and so if you are a fan of polenta, pesto, red peppers and/or halloumi then I would definitely recommend giving these peppers a try as they are quick, tasty and a really unique little side dish that could accompany so many different things from pizza to quiche or chicken to sausages. Whatever you like. I am in love with halloumi and pesto at the moment so they were particularly great for me as well. I then served them alongside my little egg and bacon tarts (a vegetarian version for me ofcourse and real bacon for the family) and they went together great. The slight sweetness from the peppers went perfectly with the savoury flavour from the tarts.
I will admit though that the preparing of the tarts didn't go too well initially :/. I didn't really feel like putting greaseproof paper and baking beans in the bottom of each individual little pastry case and so I decided to just pop them straight in the oven without the baking beans and thought, what could possibly go wrong? Well, apparently the whole tart goes wrong. The pastry sinks and collapses and goes all soggy and although, I already knew this was likely to happen for some reason I thought, ten minutes in the oven... I'm sure they'll be fine. They weren't. Me and mum were there trying to stretch the hot pastry; burning our hands and just so you know, it doesn't work anyway. And then we decided to squash some raw pastry into the holes and cracks and risk the oven again and at that point the cases weren't looking too professional but, once the filling was added I think they actually worked out quite nicely so, it all worked out in the end. I think they look really sweet and I love the cheerful little yellow egg yolk perched on top.
If you decide to make these little tarts yourself, and I really hope I haven't put you off as they are really yummy and quirky, don't be lazy like me and use some baking beans :P... or don't I guess, it seems it all works out in the end anyway. I really enjoyed them served warm with the peppers but, it is also suggested to eat them as picnic food with ketchup and I think that sounds really yummy. If you do decide to give this recipe a go or to just try the peppers or the tarts I hope you really enjoy them!
For the mini egg and bacon tarts- makes 6
375g packet of ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
8 rashers bacon (or veggie bacon)
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tsp. chopped sage
75ml single cream
1 egg, beaten
6 egg yolks, separated (the whites can be used to make meringues or frozen and used later).
For the pesto polenta peppers- serves 4
2 tbsp. olive oil
1-2 tbsp. pesto
1x 500g pack ready-made polenta, cut into medium cubes
1 large red onion, cut into wedges
4 pointed red peppers, halved and deseeded
1x 225g pack lighter halloumi, sliced
handful of fresh basil leaves to serve.
To make the egg and bacon tarts-
1. Preheat the oven to 180C. On a lightly floured surface roll the pastry sheet out until it is a few centimetres larger all around. Trim the edges, cut into 6 even squares, then use each square to line each hollow in a large, 6-hole muffin tin, or 6 individual ramekins. Don't worry if the corners stick up or look untidy. Chill for 20 minutes.
2. Line each pastry cup with a square of non-stick baking paper and fill with baking beans or dried pulses. Bake for 10 minutes then carefully remove the paper and beans and return to he oven for a further 5 minutes, until the pastry is just golden.
3. Meanwhile, lay 6 bacon rashers on a baking tray and bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.
4. Chop the remaining 2 rashers of bacon and gently fry with the onion in the olive oil for 10 minutes, until the onion has softened but not coloured. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the sage, cream and beaten egg. Season.
5. Tuck a bacon rasher into each pastry cup, curling it around to fit. Divide the onion-and-cream mixture between the tarts and place one whole egg yolk in each. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the pastry is golden and the bacon rashers are just brown. Set aside to cool for a few minutes before turning out.
To make the pesto polenta peppers-
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil and pesto together until well combined. Put the polenta and red onion in a large mixing bowl and drizzle with half the pesto mixture. Toss until well coated.
2. Scatter the polenta and onion on a baking tray. Nestle the pepper halves on the baking tray and brush each with the remaining pesto mixture. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes and then top the peppers with the halloumi slices and cook for a further 10 minutes until golden.
3. Finally, scatter over the basil leaves to serve.
Thankyou for reading!
Love Courts x