Monday, February 18, 2013

Fennel, Zucchini and Feta Tart
and Tony goes on the Meat Free Week challenge


I'm a vegetarian and my partner Tony eats meat. We've been living this way together for six years and by understanding the reasons why we've decided to eat what we eat, we have a mutual respect for each other and the choices we've made.

Tony loves animals as much as I do, but he is on an eating plan designed for diabetics (Tony has Type 1 Diabetes) that includes a variety of proteins and very limited carbohydrates.

I love my carbohydrates, and I don't eat meat, chicken or fish so it is rare for us to ever be eating the same meal. Our differences in food choices also means that we are cooking our meals separately which is a shame because we both love to cook and it would be nice to cook together more often.

I don't give Tony or anyone else a hard time about their meat-eating choices, but I talked to Tony last night about an idea that I had, inspired by the desire for us to be a bit more creative in the kitchen so we can enjoy some cooking time together.

The idea goes a little like this: For one week Tony won't eat any meat, chicken or fish, and in return I will go without my beloved carbs. We will spend the week cooking meals together that we will eat together. And to add to that challenge, the meals will need to be based on Greek recipes so I can post them on the blog! Vegetarian, low-carb, Greek food. Now that will be a challenge!

It's no coincidence that this has come about at the same time as the approaching Meat Free Week. In fact, it was VegeTARAian's post on her blog about Meat Free Week that started this whole idea in my head in the first place.

Meat Free Week is an Australian initiative to encourage people to eat less meat. The idea is for people to go without meat for one week, from the 18th–24th of March, and to be sponsored for this challenge. The proceeds go to the Voiceless organisation who works on raising awareness of factory farming and the negative impact that eating too much meat has on animal welfare, the planet and human health.

Today I am signing Tony up to become a participant in the Meat Free Week challenge and we would love you to show your support by sponsoring him. If you'd like to sponsor Tony, please go to the Sponsor page on the Meat Free Week website, and search for Tony's username which is: "Tony Tries Tofu". Alternatively, you can go directly to Tony's personal Meat Free Week profile page by clicking here.

We think this is a great initiative and look forward to seeing it develop into a philosophy that more and more people will take on board.

I will be posting every day during Meat Free Week, detailing the meals Tony and I eat together (wow what a strange concept, Tony and I eating together!) and hopefully some of our recipes will inspire others to do the same.

There are so many yummy meatless meals that everyone can enjoy including today's Greek Vegetarian recipe, Fennel, Zucchini and Feta Tart. This is an easy peasy puff pastry dish, a little bit quiche, a little bit pie, a little bit tart and a whole lot of Greek.

With a giant fennel bulb and a fridge-load of zucchini that needed to be put to good use, I scoured through the wonderful Authentic Greek Recipes blog for something with fennel and zucchini. I came across their recipe for Kolokithopita (Zucchini Pie) which I adapted to create this lovely, light summer tart.


Fennel, Zucchini and Feta Tart

Inspired by Symposio from Authentic Greek Recipes

Serves 4–6

Ingredients

  • 1 large fennel bulb, sliced
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of whole fennel seeds
  • 3 large zucchinis, sliced lengthwise to 1/2 cm thick
  • 100g feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 potatoes, sliced to 1/2 cm thick
  • 1 large sheet of puff pastry
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 120ml cream*
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

* Many thickened creams contain gelatin which is an animal by-product. Be sure to check the label.

Instructions

  1. Fry the sliced fennel and onion in olive oil over low heat. Allow to cook until golden and caramelised which takes around 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the fennel seeds in the last 5 minutes of cooking.
  2. Meanwhile, fry or grill on a baking tray the potato and zucchini slices until golden brown.
  3. Preheat oven to 180 degrees celsius. Line a lightly greased pie dish with pastry, trim edges and pierce pastry lightly with a fork. Line with baking paper and fill with pastry weights or rice. Blind bake for 15 minutes.
  4. Carefully remove baking paper and beads/rice and put the tart shell back in oven for another 5 minutes. Allow to cool.
  5. Fill tart shell first with potatoes, then zucchini, then the feta, and topped with the onion and fennel mixture.
  6. Combine the eggs, cream, mint, parsley, salt and pepper to taste and whisk.
  7. Pour the egg mixture over tart and bake for 45 minutes or until knife comes out clean when inserted in the centre of the tart.


Linking this post with Veggie Mama's Meatless Monday.

12 comments:

  1. This looks delicious Lisa - I'm pinning it now!
    I hadn't heard of Meat Free Week, but it sounds like something I should have a crack at. Thanks for the heads up!

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    1. Thanks Cooker! Yes, Meat Free Week is a great idea and will make a world of difference if everyone gets on board.

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  2. Also pinned!

    I LOVE fennel! I do a roasted pepper and goats milk tart that's very similar but these flavours would be amazing together! It's on "the list" :)

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    1. Ohh yeah, I'll have roasted peppers in a tart any day. Thanks for stopping by Kelly!

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  3. Fantastic to see you and your husband have found a way to get involved in Meat Free Week together! Sounds like it will be a lot of fun for you both

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    1. We can't wait to get started with it. Already planning the menu now! Thanks again Tara for bringing MFW to my attention!!

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  4. That looks delicious!
    I hadn't heard of meat free week either but will try and help spread the word. I'm lucky that my partner is also vegetarian (in fact, he was brought up vegetarian so has never eaten meat!) but I can imagine cooking different meals every night much get difficult at times!

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    Replies
    1. Hopefully after making the effort to come up with inspiring dishes we both enjoy during Meat Free Week, we might be able to reach some sort of compromise and start cooking more meals together! Thanks for the comment Liz and yes, please spread the MFW word!

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  5. Lisa, another winner. You are on fire (he he ... can't help the slight reference to our discussion on Sunday)! I absolutely adore fennel so this one is definitely going on my "to do" recipe list! Andra x

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    1. And as you know I'm capable of setting my kitchen on fire too (home-made hommus post with kitchen-on-fire story coming soon), but yes, apart from that particular incident I'm really on a roll now, loving the cooking, the photographing and the blogging!!

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  6. Great to hear Tony decided to get involved in this cause with you! Good on him!
    The tart looks so delicious! Feta is one of my favourite cheeses, I do miss it :)

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    1. Thanks Deb! We're both really excited about coming up with a menu plan for the week. I think feta will feature highly for us though, Tony loves it, it's high in protein and it's Greek! If I do ever go vegan, feta will be one of the hardest things for me to give up so I know how much you must be missing it...

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