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05/05/2010 21:01:00

Topsy Turvy Munchies

This week's recipe comes from a set of cute glossy recipe cards in a set called Kids Kitchen (no, not the book I reviewed last week, another one!) by children's food campaigner Fiona Bird. The box says it is for age 8+ but loads of the recipes are fine for younger ones, some with a bit of tweaking.

It's a great idea, essentially small tomato tarte tatins, a good twist on the ubiquitous pizza with all the fun of turning something upside down.

Anna picked this recipe out, which was a surprise because she's not very keen on tomatoes and it is almost entirely made of tomatoes! I think she liked the name so much she was prepared to overlook the main ingredient.

The Recipe
1 onion
1 clove garlic
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 dessertspoon thyme leaves
6 cherry tomatoes
250g puff pastry (although we ended up using twice that)

The first thing we had to do was make a tomato sauce. We needed to chop an onion, and although I am all for improving their chopping skills, my two are not quite skilful enough yet for the half-squeaky-half-hard-shoot-out-of-your-hand-ness of an onion, so I chopped that up and softened it in some olive oil. Jacob peeled and squeezed in the clove of garlic though.

Then we added a tin of tomatoes and Anna stripped off the thyme leaves and popped them in and we left the sauce to bubble and thicken for about ten minutes.

While it was reducing we got the rest ready. The children put their new found 'bridge hold' skills to work and halved 6 cherry tomatoes to make 12 halves. They are still a bit nervous about 'grown up knives'. I am also nervous, not when they are cutting, which they do with great concentration, but when they then proceed to talk about the food with enthusiastic hand gesticulations, forgetting there is a knife in their hand... We will get there!

Then we greased the cups of a muffin tin by rubbing around them with kitchen towel and some olive oil. And placed a half tomato into each cup.

Next we got the pastry ready. This was the one time the recipe didn't quite work for us. The original recipe uses a half pack block of puff pastry and rolls them out. I bought ready rolled because that's what they had at the shop, and it is rolled to the same thickness the recipe asks for. But there is no way I could have fitted twelve 9cm circles into one sheet, so we used both sheets (450g worth). We did have some left over but I'm not convinced you'd manage it with half so I would suggest having the extra as back up just in case the first time you make it. In any case we cut six circles from each sheet and the kids mashed up the leftovers to make two extra little right-way-up pizzas. Jacob's sheet was slightly stickier than Anna's as sometimes happens with ready made pastry, so it was a bit harder to twist and get a clean cut, but he did a good job.

Then when the sauce was reduced I split it into two bowls so they could each do six tarts and they spooned the mixture on top of the cherry tomatoes. Jacob pointed out that the sauce was "like a bolognese sauce for vegetarians".

Then the pastry circles are put on top of the tomato mix and tucked in slightly so it doesn't stick and burn too much. Anna liked this, tucking them into bed.

The tarts go into a preheated hot oven (200 degrees) for about 7-8 minutes. Mine had to be a bit longer but then I am currently living with an oven I bought for peanuts off ebay as a temporary measure, so you can't draw any conclusions from that! After that you take them out and let them cool down in the pan for 5 minutes, and then run a knife around the edge to loosen them up and turn them upside down to get them out. I actually raised an 'oooh' when I put the baking sheet on top and turned both tins upside down and then raised the muffin tin to reveal the tarts. Only one stuck a bit and a couple left bits of tomato behind which had to be spooned out but almost all of them came out perfectly. I felt like a magician.




The Topsy Turvy Munchies are described in the recipe as a snack, but we ate them all with some salad for tea. Jacob ate four, Anna two, and me and Dad three each. The kids also ate their leftover pastry pizzas, and some bread and honey and a milkshake. I think we're in the middle of a grow!

The Verdict

This was a real hit. Anna had a moment of realising that she had let herself in for a plate of tomatoes and voiced a half hearted "I don't want to eat the tomatoey bits." I laughed and pointed out that she picked it, she knew her number was up and in fairness ate the lot without any further comment except for about a dessertspoon of the tomato mix.

We're not quite into tomato season yet, so the cherry toms were still a bit sharp, but the sauce tasted great. I would happily make this all year round with either no cherry toms, or with something else instead, and can't wait to see how it will taste when we get to the summer and can make it with sweet greenhouse cherry tomatoes.

8/10 Jacob (8) "I love tomatoes, and this is really nice.I like the mixture of the crunchy and soft pastry and the tomatoes."
7/10 Anna (6) "I like this. The pastry is really good. It is nice together. I would eat this once a week and not mind at all."
8/10 Dad "I love this kind of pastry, I love tomatoes, what's not to like? I would happily munch through this a couple of times a week."
8/10 Mom "This is tasty and easy and uses storecupboard stuff and the upside-down-ness stops it going soggy and makes it fun. Everyone liked it so it's a sure thing which is reassuring."





















06/05/2010 16:03:00 by ClaraRix

These look nice.
My puff pastry things go soggy sometimes, did these go soggy at all?

06/05/2010 16:20:00 by Moderator

No they didn't really because the pastry was on top. You always get a bit of soggy with puff pastry and wet sauces, that's part of what's nice, the mix of chewy and crispy?
This recipe had a slightly gooey middle, but the edges were very crispy and flaky.

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