I get annoyed by the amount of smoothie bowls and chia seed puddings on Instagram. There, I’ve said it. Every other account seems to promote ‘wellness’, clean eating’ and the like, often accompanied by nauseous hashtags (#goddess). Whilst I don’t doubt that eating healthy food is good for you, I feel that too many people take it too far, and ‘healthy’ has come to mean ‘lets ban everything apart from fruit’. Oh, and the famous chia seeds.
I have gone through phases in my eating past of being pretty much vegan, a decision which was undoubtedly a product of all of the media hype surrounding this being the most ‘healthy’ diet choice you can make. And whilst I know many people who adapt well to a vegan diet, for me it made me feel listless and depleted. But I ploughed on, assured that this was ‘healthy’ and ‘natural’, so pretty soon my body would adapt and I would feel great. But this didn’t happen. I went to a nutritionist, who recommended eating more protein, so I started eating meat again. Organic, free range meat from a local butcher, but yes, meat. More protein, coupled with lots of veg and small amounts of dairy, for me felt healthy.
I know that what feels heathy is different for everyone, and many people are vegan for ethical reasons which I entirely respect. But I think it’s work reexamining what healthy means for you on an individual basis, and for some of us that involves the odd steak, glass of wine or bar of sea salted caramel chocolate. With this in mind, the following recipe has meat, cheese, eggs, cream and butter in it. Hallelujah.
For the pastry (adapted from Nigel Slater’s Kitchen Diaries 2)
200g plain flour
1 egg, beaten
50g Parmesan, grated (reserve a handful for the filling)
For the filling
70g cured chorizo, cut into cubes
50g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
100g fresh spinach
50ml double cream
salt and pepper
First, make the pastry. Rub the butter into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the grated Parmesan, reserving a handful for the filling. Add the beaten egg and bring together into a dough. Leave the pastry to rest in the fridge whilst you make the filling.
Finely chop the onion and saute it in a pan with a glut of olive oil. Add the mushrooms and chorizo, then continue frying until the mushrooms and chorizo begin to colour.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Take the pastry out of the fridge and line the tart tin. Bake the base of the tart in the oven for 10 minutes, until the top is starting to dry out.
Add the spinach to the pan with the chorizo and mushrooms and stir until it just starts to wilt, then tip the mixture onto the tart base. Whisk together the cream, eggs and parmesan with some salt and pepper. Pour the egg mixture into the tart case too, then bake for about 20 minutes, until the filling is set and starting to turn golden brown.