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Astar's garden celebration recipes - 30 September

Cheese and onion tartlets

Cauliflower and apricot tart

Last weekend we launched the garden by way of a lunch. It was such great fun that I've decided to do it again, but this time with less fuss and a much quicker menu.

Tangy moist and MOST delicious Ginger and Pear cake

I made it lots when I first discovered the recipe and have since modified to suit!

Shopping list
10 pears peeled, cut in half, cored - or use tinned drained then score tops
350g flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp freshly grated black pepper
1 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp milk - warmed
100g orange marmalade
100g treacle
175gm golden syrup
175g muscovado sugar
175g butter
2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
150ml water
50g oatmeal
2 very large eggs

- Pre-set oven to 170degC (or 150degC fan bake)
- Grease and line with baking paper a 20cm square baking tin
- Into a large bowl add flour, oatmeal and spices and stir to combine. 
- Into a cup add baking soda with milk, mix and set aside
- Into a bowl add 2 tbsp marmalade and treacle and set aside - this is for finishing glaze when cake is cooked
- Into a pan add remaining marmalade and treacle, syrup, sugar, butter and ginger.
- Pour in the water and heat gently until melted.
- Beat this mixture into dry ingredients, followed by eggs and soda milk.
- Pour a thin layer over base of tin (around a couple of cm) - and BAKE 10 minutes.
- Take tin out of oven push pears down into base, then pour remaining mixture around pears.
- Bake a further 1 1/2 hours.
- Warm the set aside marmalade & treacle mix and brush over cake while still warm.
- Serve cool with dollops of thick greek yoghurt.

Cauliflower and apricot tart

Shopping list:
375g pkt pre rolled short crust pastry - not the sweet variety
1 cauliflower cut into florets - rapidly cooked in boiling water, drain and mashed. I usually cook mine the night before.
4 eggs
150 ml cream
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley
2 finely sliced spring onions

For the spicy accompanying sauce
2 shallots finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apricot jam
5 cardamom pods - crushed finely
125 ml water
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

- Pre-set oven to 220degCc (or 200degC fan bake for 10 minutes)
- Then 180degC (or 160degC fan bake) for a further 20 minutes until set
- Grease and line a 23cm flan tin.
- Roll out pastry and line base of tin - set aside in fridge.
- Beat the eggs and cream together, along with cumin, coriander and seasoning.
- Fold in parsley and spring onions.
- Add cauliflower, then pour into pastry case and cook 10 minutes at 220degC (or 200degC), then reduce oven to 180 (or 160degC fan bake) and cook a further 20 minutes until set and lightly golden.

To make sauce
- Into a pan heat olive oil, then stir fry until soft the chopped shallots.
- Stir in apricot jam, cardamom seeds and water and bring to boil. 
- Simmer 5 minutes.
- Add lemon juice and zest and blend to make smooth.
- Serve with a nice fresh mixed lettuce salad.

Cheese and onion tartlets

Shopping list
375 g flaky pastry - ready rolled
Medium sized jar onion marmalade
2 tbsp freshly chopped rosemary
1 large egg beaten
3 tbsp mascarpone cheese
50g soft blue vein cheese
100g finely chopped ham

- Pre set oven to 220degC or 200degC fan bake.
- Grease and line medium sized muffin pan.
- Use a cup or similar to cut out pastry to a size to fit inside muffin pans.
- Brush pastry with a little beaten egg, and then bake 8 minutes or so until golden.
- Into the bottom of each pastry case add a tbsp or so of onion marmalade.
- Beat together the mascarpone, remaining egg, blue cheese.
- Add ham, freshly chopped rosemary and season with black pepper.
- Pour into pastry cases
- Bake a further 8 -10 minutes until bubbly and golden.