Although I love food and cooking there are times when my cooking mojo is absent. This usually happens when life gets a bit too busy and I am lacking in sleep. I sat down after putting the baby to bed last night and found that all mojo I had was gone. I wasn’t even hungry, despite not having eaten all day. Thankfully my better half put some vegetable soup under my nose and once it was consumed I felt a little more alive.
The house was quiet and I had the television to myself, so I took the opportunity to watch a recorded episode of a Nigel Slater show. As I watched my cooking mojo slowly returned and by the end of the show I was full of inspiration. I love Nigel’s approach to food. He takes such joy from creating something tasty from simple, wholesome ingredients that you can’t help but be inspired.
I went to my fridge to see what needed to be used up and was faced with some neglected wenslydale cheese, some onions and a defrosted piece of puff pastry (that was taking up too much room in my freezer and needed to be used up). This was the dish that resulted and in truth, it was a result of pure greed. Soft caramalised onions, sharp, creamy cheese, aromatic thyme and wonderful butter puff pastry. What more could you ask?
Cheese, Caramalised Onion & Thyme Pastries (makes 9)
1 large onion, thinly sliced
75g cheese (I used wenslydale)
a sprig of thyme
salt and pepper
250g all butter puff pastry
egg or milk to glaze
Heat your oven to 190 celsius. Using a non-stick pan, melt the butter and cook the onion in the butter over a low heat for about 10 minutes until soft and slightly browned. Set the onions aside. Grate the cheese and set side.
On a floured worksurface, roll the pastry out into a rectangle, about 0.5cm in thickness. Cut the pastry into nine equal pieces. Place a teaspoon of the caramalised onions on the right hand side of each pieced of pastry & spread it out lengthways, leaving a half centimetre gap between the onions and the edge of the pastry. Sprinkle some thyme leaves onto the onions and top with a teaspoon or so of grated cheese. Repeat on all nine pieces of pastry. Using some beaten egg or milk, brush the right edges of the pastry and fold the left side over on to the pastry and the topping, pinch to seal.
Transfer to a baking sheet and brush the top of the pastries with some milk or egg. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and has risen. Cool on a rack before serving.