Goat’s Cheese and Asparagus Tart

Goat's Cheese and Asparagus Tart - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I thought I’d try something a little different on the blog this week, and share with you a rather tasty little recipe I whipped up over the Easter weekend.

Now, several years ago I was a rather intense cook, teaching myself quite a lot from cookbooks. Jamie Oliver and Nigella were particular favourites, although I also learnt (and continue to learn!) a huge amount from both Master The Art of French Cooking (Julia Childs) and the Larousse Gastronomique. I learned the basics of cooking, namely that almost every savoury recipe starts with olive oil, onion and garlic.

In recent years, and particularly since I’ve begun to work longer hours, I’ve slacked off in the cooking department and leant heavily on the repertoire of meals for I’d built up a relative degree of expertise. I still muck up, actually quite often, but it’s usually a result of being lazy or rushing, due to my famed appetite.

To cut a long story short, both Mr H and I were a little bit bored of our usual fare, and so the idea of an asparagus tart popped into my mind whilst we absent-mindedly wandered around Sainsbury’s. It’s been a long time since I indulged my penchant for goat’s cheese, and what is the Easter Bank Holiday weekend if not a perfect opportunity to indulge?

You Will Need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 100ml cream (although any milk will do, we just happened to have some that needed using up)
  • 1 bunch of baby asparagus
  • 3 spring onions
  • 100g soft goat’s cheese
  • 6 sheets of filo pastry
  • salt and pepper to taste

What To Do:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Grease a flan tray (preferably with a removable base). Lay your sheets of pastry one at a time, spiralling out so that there are no gaps. I sprayed each layer with Fry-Light, but that’s optional. Set to one side.
  3. Finely slice the spring onions and put to one side.
  4. Crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl. Add the cream (or milk) and whisk.
  5. Add the spring onions and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Pour the mixture carefully into your prepared dish.
  7. Gently dot the goat’s cheese around the egg mixture in generous blobs.
  8. Arrange the asparagus on top in any pattern of your choosing. Due to inherent sloppiness, my asparagus was too long and so I didn’t get the perfect wheel effect – was I bothered? Not in the least.
  9. Scrunch any excess filo around the sides.
  10. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.

This is perfect with a nice vinegary salad  – lots of onion to cut through the richness of the egg and cream! In the summer months, a nice cold glass of white wine wouldn’t go amiss either. Obviously.

 

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The Last Five Years :: Life as an Expat

LAST 5 YRS - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha
10 points to the Norbert Leo Butz fans

Very soon I shall have lived in the UK for 5 years. FIVE WHOLE YEARS. 6, really, if you count 2014 where I flew back and forth while studying, but generally I don’t.

When you live away from family I think it’s ridiculously easy to become used to living life at a relentless pace.  The years tend to be remembered by the immigration paperwork that was filled out in them.

  • 2010 was The Year I Arrived, with my Youth Mobility Scheme visa stuck neatly in.
  • 2012, The Year of the Returned Unmarried Spouse Visa (I’d used an old form that had been changed the day before I sent it), before getting the actual visa ID card.
  • 2013 was The Year of Figuring Out How to Stay in the UK, and more to the point, did I want to?
  • 2014 was The Year of Finding Mysterious Paperwork To See If I Can Get Polish Citizenship.
  • 2015 was The Year of Day Trips to Calais to Re-Enter on an EU Passport.

What immigration delights will 2016 bring? It may well have something to do with an upcoming Referendum. (Please dear God let them stay in the GD EU – I spent an awful lot of money on this).

I feel as though I can spot an expat at 50 paces these days. We all have the same characteristics:

  • You have an intimate knowledge of visa applications.
  • You irrationally fear the Border Control at any airport, even when you’re not flying!
  • You laugh in the face of people who think they deal with a lot of ‘paperwork’ – they don’t know the meaning of the word until they’ve tried to decipher what in the world the Home Office is actually asking you to prove.
  • You smile and nod blandly when friends start reminiscing about a TV program they grew up watching. Absolutely no idea what they’re talking about.
  • You still think you’re quite good at a quiz but in fact have no clue about 75% of the questions.
  • You’re not quite sure if you’re allowed to vote in any of the many  elections, but turn up anyway, just in case.
  • When you meet another expat, your first 5 minutes of conversation involved working out by which convoluted means have each of you managed to emigrate.
  • You’ve forgotten which friends know each other, only to be reminded when you’re greeted with a blank look from your partner.
  • You get the guilts from booking any holiday that isn’t back to your country of origin.
  • You’re not even annoyed when Skype automatically opens each time you start your computer.
  • You never go to School Reunions, choosing instead just to stalk Facebook photos.
  • At least once every six months you have a weird few days when you’re pissed off at everyone because they’re not your family and it’s their fault.

There is something quite unique about living in a foreign country that you just don’t experience when you’re travelling through. You end up seeing such a lot of the mundanity of life that you thought you’d escaped when you left home. But somehow it’s different, because you have just a tiny bit more distance – it becomes more quaint mundanity.

You have a marked card as an expat which can sometimes feel awful. Other times it’s a bit of insurance – I can always go home if I want to.

But, all things considered, I don’t want to. 5 years in and my relationship with Ol’ Blighty is stronger than ever. At this point, going home would mean starting all over again, and to be perfectly frank, I can’t really be bothered. I feel settled and while I’m sure the next 5 years will bring plenty of events that make me feel less so, I want to enjoy this feeling while it lasts.

Plans for Life

HSGS in the Lobby - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Mr Hello and I have spent the weekend making grand plans. Grand, extension sized plans.

You may remember that we’re renovating our Victorian terrace in Rochester (part 2 of the series so far is here). The thing about old houses is that they are always a bit of a money pit.

More than needing you to spend all of your money, however, these old houses simply demand that you spend all of your time on them as well. That is what is breaking our metaphorical bank at the moment – where is all this time supposed to come from? I’m in time debt to myself and my home and I can’t seem to make the repayments.

Instead of housework, or pottering about on the allotment, or marking the several thousand school books I always need to mark, yesterday we simply curled up on our sofa together, got our laptops and measuring tapes out, and spent the day planning what we want our house to look like in a few months time.

We have a rather snazzy set of drawings that Mr H pulled together, and now all we need to do is find the people we want to turn those drawings into their wonderful, life enhancing reality.

When the house is all said and done, surely, surely then I will have some more time? That’s the way it works, no?

Until then, let’s just take small comfort in the fact that the blue in our small lobby is deliciously on point.

Life Lately :: March 2016

Life Lately March 2016 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Long time, no blog! I’d apologise, but….I won’t. As the title of this post suggests, life kind of got in the way of documenting it. I’ve made peace with this style of blogging, and I hope you have too!

Since last we spoke, I’ve had a week’s half term (by which I mean, 3 days since I tend to work a couple of days during each break), and then have headed straight back into teaching, which I’m sure most of you can understand, is undertaken at quite the relentless pace.  Ho hum.

I also had a suspected broken nose after spectacularly hitting myself in the face with my car door. It was dark, I was trying to check my parking, and was sufficiently convinced of its poor quality that I went to move it and – WHAM. Door to the face time. Noice.

In the spaces between, here’s what I’ve been up to. Clockwise from top left:

  1. Super bargainous £4.50 hat from the M&S outlet down the road. Headache-inducing-frozen ears no more!
  2. Getting my allotment on – after a couple of month’s break Mr H and I got the ol’ wellies on and trekked up the hill to our piece of earth. There are few things as good for the soul as a couple of hour’s worth of fresh air.
  3. Work, bitch. I spent a small, insignificant, teeny, tiny (I swear!) portion of my most recent paycheque  in the Body Shop last week. I wanted to check the wear on it, so pre-work selfies it was. Plus, let’s all agree that the eyebrows are on point, no?
  4. I made a thing. A trial run quilt for a couple of lovely pals who are currently pregs. I completely and utterly winged it (shock horror), and to my actual surprise, it turned out rather well.
  5. Planting seeds in trays – I’m sure there’s a technical name for that, but let’s not dwell. One more example of my current obsession.
  6. Champs in front of the TV because broken noses hurt and being tired is laaaaame.
  7. I’m getting….older?! The shape of my face is changing, and getting a bit saggier, but I actually quite like it! Another example of the Body Shop Fresh Nude Foundation in Yorkshire Rose. It smells really nice, and it has Aloe Vera in it, so my skin has been rather good lately! I also picked up the Fresh Nude Foundation Brush, which is seems to be a cross between a regular foundation brush and a kabuki – I like it!
  8. Getting in to work at revolting-o’clock isn’t quite so bad when you get to see a sky like this.
  9. My main man. Over half term we went out on mini-dates several evenings in a row, and it was double delicious spending time out of the house, on a school night, with him. We made a pact to get out more during the week once the weather improves!

The days are now becoming lighter, and so I am taking it upon myself to take a few more photos for this here blog, and even once coat weather has been banished, perhaps even a mini shoot! What do you think, pals? Can I do it without being totes awks? Not sure.

Hope all is well for you all out there in Blogtopia.

xx

Sam