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nicola graimes


A pack of puff pastry always makes a useful standby and can be transformed into all sorts of sweet and savoury goodies. For instance, impress friends and family with this roast vegetable tart with a puff pastry base. It puffs up majestically during baking and looks much harder to make than it actually is.


Serves 4
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes

  • 1 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for brushing

  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into long slices

  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into long slices

  • 2 onions, each cut into 8 wedges

  • 1 tsp courgette, cut into long thin slices

  • 320g/111/4oz ready-rolled sheet puff pastry

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 200g/7oz sun-dried tomato pesto

  • 4 tbsp cream cheese

  • 2 tbsp toasted pine nuts

  • 30g/1oz Parmesan cheese, grated into shavings

  • 1 handful of basil leaves (optional)


Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Lightly oil a large baking tray.


Put the peppers, onions and courgette in a large bowl, pour in the oil and with your hands, turn the vegetables in the oil until coated all over. Spread the vegetables out on 2 large baking trays and roast for 30–40 minutes until tender and golden in places.


While the vegetables are roasting, unroll the pastry and place on the oiled baking tray. Fold in the edges of the pastry to make a raised border and brush the whole thing with egg. Bake in the top of the oven (above the vegetables) for 25 minutes until almost cooked.


Remove the tart from the oven. Turn the roasting vegetables at this point and swap the trays round. Spoon the pesto over the top of the pastry and return it to the oven for another 5–8 minutes until risen and golden and the base is cooked and crisp.


To assemble, arrange the roasted vegetables on top of the tart and add spoonfuls of the cream cheese. Scatter over the Parmesan, pine nuts and basil, if using, before serving.

Hero food: Onion
Antibacterial and antiviral, onions are also a good source of antioxidants – a healthy all-rounder.

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