You say tomato, I say delicious

We’re bang in the middle of tomato season, and what better way to make the most of them than in a Summer Tomato Tart. Local residents and enthusiastic foodies Emily and Sophie Cook from the Cooks Cook website have kindly shared this great recipe – they popped down to the West Hampstead Farmers’ market on Saturday to get a fantastic selection of fresh tomatoes from the organic fruit and veg stall, before preparing this delicious dish.

Sophie chooses tomatoes at the farmers' market

Sophie chooses tomatoes at the farmers’ market

Over to Sophie for the recipe!

The tomatoes really speak for themselves in this tart, and are just divine against the caramelised onion and the pastry case. If time is short, simply use a pre-rolled sheet instead of making your own – this way it becomes super easy to prepare. Otherwise follow our recipe below. I’ve used wholemeal flour which I find doesn’t “puff” as much as plain flour but I don’t find that matters for this. Plus it’s healthier and tastes great against the sweet filling.


Puff pastry:
1 puff pastry sheet OR the below if you are making your own:
300g wholemeal flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
250g butter, softened
150ml ice cold water

Tart filling:
2 tbsp butter
5 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
2 red onions, sliced
1 pound tomatoes, cherry, grape or vine
Large handful fresh basil leaves
Salad flowers for garnish, optional

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees
2. Make the puff pastry. (If you are using a pre-made roll, skip to step 5). Whisk together 200g flour with 1 tsp salt, slowly adding and whisking in 100ml of water followed by 100g of butter. If too sticky, add more flour, too dry, more water.
3. On a floured surface, knead the dough for about 5 minutes. It should become more elastic and smoother in appearance. Bring back to a ball and slice through the top with a sharp knife. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes. Next is the second step to the pastry.
4. Whisk together the remaining pastry ingredients then knead until a smooth-ish ball is formed. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes. Now you can get on with the rest of the tart.
5. Heat 1 tbsp butter over a medium heat. Add onions, 1 tsp sugar, 1 tbsp water and stir occasionally until the onions have caramelised. This could take up to 15 minutes. Once you get there, transfer them to a bowl.
6. In an oven-proof frying pan heat the remaining sugar and water until it starts to turn brown. Now add the tomatoes, scattering the cooked onions around. Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.
7. By now the pastry should be ready to construct (if using a pre-rolled sheet, skip this step). Take the pastry with the slit down the middle and roll until flat. Place the buttery dough ball in the middle and completely wrap up with the pastry sheet. With a rolling pin, batter the pastry until flat, then roll out to a flat rectangle. Fold the pastry from each side into the centre and roll out again – repeating this step a few times.
8. Roll the pastry to about half a cm in thickness, then cut a circle as big as the largest width of your frying pan. Place this over the tart filling, ensuing the pastry edges are tucked in and completely cover everything. Slit the top several times with a knife.
9. Transfer to the oven and cook for about 30 minutes. The top should become golden in colour.
10. To remove the tart, simply turn the pan upside down over a serving dish. Now wedge the basil leaves between the tomatoes, scatter with the edible flowers if using, and you are ready to serve.

The finished tart, ready to serve!

The finished tart, ready to serve!

Recipe: The Wet Fish Café’s Salmon Salad

If you’ve ever yearned to recreate the West Hampstead dining experience in your own home, now’s your chance.

The first in this new series of recipes in association with local restaurants is this deliciously simple salmon salad, courtesy of The Wet Fish Café. We whipped it up in the West Hampstead Life kitchen and it turned out rather well – tender flakes of fish combined with creamy salad leaves, the fresh pop of garden peas, and a crunch and saltiness from the toasted seeds.

We found all the ingredients locally, though admittedly we substituted Japanese sesame seeds from Sainsbury’s for the Peruvian sesame seeds stated in the ingredients list and the pink Himalayan salt was just generic sea salt in our version.

Why not give it a whirl this weekend, and let us know how you get on! You can use the comments section below (where you can add photos) or tweet your culinary triumph with the hashtag #whampcooks.

Salmon salad. Left: The Wet Fish Café's dish. Right: The West Hampstead Life version

Salmon salad. Left: The Wet Fish Café’s dish. Right: The West Hampstead Life version

The Wet Fish Café’s organic salmon salad with quinoa and toasted seeds

Serves 2

2 fillets organic salmon (about 160g each) – organic salmon is paler pink in colour
120g baby spinach leaves
40g red chard leaves
About 12-14 small new potatoes
90g green peas
60g organic quinoa
sprinkling mixed toasted pumpkin seeds

20ml vegetable oil
14ml extra virgin olive oil
20g Dijon mustard
12ml lemon juice

Sesame mix
Black Peruvian sesame seeds
Pink Himalayan salt crystals
Black pepper

Pan-fry salmon fillet skin-side down until skin is golden brown, repeat all around (until fish is medium – total of around 12 minutes), leave on the side and keep warm.

Cook quinoa according to packet instructions; boil new potatoes. When cool enough to handle, slice the potatoes.

Make the dressing: combine all ingredients and whisk well.

Prepare the sesame mix: combine salt, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and sesame seeds and blitz into a dry, rough powder. (We used a coffee grinder, but a pestle and mortar should do the trick)

Wash spinach and mix with red chard leaves, add the cooked quinoa, green peas, potatoes and dressing.

Place salad on plates with the warm fish on top. Sprinkle with toasted pumpkin and crushed black sesame mix. Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice on top, and your dish is ready to serve!