About thirteen years ago, I travelled to the USA with three of my dear friends Paul (he of the Famous Butternut Soup), Duncan and Adrian. Most of my friends who had been to the USA had been to New York, Las Vegas or San Francisco, all home to a multitude of tourist attractions. But not us. Oh no, we went to… Wisconsin.
Nothing wrong with Wisconsin, the cheese state (in fact, it is exceedingly lovely in the summer!), but it's not exactly the numnber one destination for visitors is it? Well, that may be true for most of the year, but for one week in August, the town of Oshkosh suddenly becomes the epicentre of the entire flying world as the annual Oshkosh EAA AirVenture takes place. As my three friends are all professional pilots, it's not hard to guess how Oshkosh was chosen as a destination
The holiday was phenomenal – from our arrival in Chicago and a brief visit to Six Flags Great America in Waukeegan (where Paul tricked me onto a roller coaster and I had 30 seconds of insane, terror-induced Tourettes swearing); to the 5 days we spent at the EAA Airventure (looking for Wisconsin farm boys in dungarees or US Marines in tight T-shirts at Molly McGuire's!); to the final few days in New York City (where I missed the train back to the hotel and nearly the flight home).
Paul had decided in advance that our little group should have a name and a website, and the name he came up with for us was "The Tarts". The website featured a fetching photo of us, together with a caption which read:
1) a pastry shell with a sweet or savoury filling
2) a woman of ill repute
Of course, all those years ago before blogging, Facebook or Twitter, being on the 'Net was a great novelty and everyone who knew us went to take a look. It didn't take more than a few days before Paul got a call from a concerned relative, who wanted to know "is your friend really a prostitute?".
Since then, I can never make or order or even think of a tart without recalling my fleeting and fictional career as a "woman of ill repute."
If you are feeling like a bit of a tart, the far less controversial way to give vent to those feelings is with this delicious zucchini and tomato pesto tart.
QUICK ZUCCHINI, TOMATO PESTO & PARMESAN TART (serves 4) Click here for printable recipe
1 x 500g roll ready-made puff pastry
100g sun-dried tomato pesto
2 large zucchini, sliced into very thin rounds
Parmesan shavings (about 150g)
a handful of fresh basil leaves (and a few more to garnish)
a little milk (for brushing)
Bring the puff pastry to room temperature and pre-heat the oven to 220C. Roll the pastry out until it is roughly 35 x 25cm and place on a baking sheet.
Spread the pesto evenly all over the pastry, leaving a small edge on all sides. Cover the pesto completely with a thin layer of shaved or grated Parmesan cheese. Scatter some torn fresh basil leaves over the cheese, then top with the zucchini rounds, overlapping them slightly like shingles. Brush the exposed pastry border with a little milk
Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry edges are puffy and golden. Garnish with fresh basil leaves (optional) and serve with a fresh green salad.
You might also like my zucchini, tomato and feta pasta sauce, zucchini Peppadew and feta bread, or carpaccio of courgettes. And in other news… please don't forget to go and check out my first ever guest post at fellow-South African foodie blog Add to Taste – I'm making Mexican potato salad!