Hermit No More

In an effort to do as I promised in my New Year’s resolutions list, I have recently been making a concerted effort to be more sociable.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not an utter recluse.  It’s only when school is in session that I tend to retreat from the world of chummy human contact and immerse myself completely in a work/home-hermit routine. 

Still, I wasn’t happy with the situation and, so, last month I decided to get proactive and start seeing my friends and family much more whether I was busy at work or not.

The result has been a lot of folk coming to my place for dinner and I’ve been loving it.  Lasagnes and curries and pies and ribs and tapas have all been shared around my table recently and, to my utter amazement, it has only made me more energetic not less as I had feared.

It’s like my friend Shona used to tell me: the more you do, the more you can do. 

Anyhoo, I’m particularly enjoying making starters at the moment.  Unike Nigella (who in How to Eat focuses on two course meals with a dessert rather than a starter) I’d much rather have a starter and a main than a main and a dessert.  There’s something about little portions of food that I absolutely adore. 

The following is one of my two current favourite starters and a wee beauty of a recipe it is too.  These pastry-less mini quiche-like tarts are wonderfully light, tasty and easy to prepare.  Not fond of goat’s cheese?  Try parmesan.  Want something meaty?  Add some ham or chorizo.  More veg?  Go for it.  Much like a normal quiche, there are a million directions one could take these wee tarts.

Red Pepper and Goat’s Cheese Tarty Things (inspired by Jill Duplieux and Charlotte)

(makes 8)

2 red peppers – roasted, skinned and sliced thinly

50g (or to taste) crumbly goat’s cheese

6 eggs

50ml milk

2 heaped tablespoons ricotta cheese

2 tblspn chopped parsley


  • Preheat an oven to 180oC and lne a muffin tray with 8 circles of baking paper.
  • Pop a few slices of roasted pepper into each muffin mould.
  • In a large bowl mix together the eggs, milk and ricotta.  Stir through the parsley and crumbled goats cheese.  Season.
  • Divide the egg mixture between the 8 moulds, ensuring the goats cheese isn’t all left to the end.
  • Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until risen.  If the tarts aren’t golden on top I tend to pop them under a hot grill for a minute rather than over cook them.
  • Eat warm rather than hot.

11 thoughts on “Hermit No More

  1. Love the look of these! I’m like Nigella and tend to go with the main and dessert option so I’m often a bit stuck for ideas when I decide to do a starter. I shall bookmark these as they will be just the thing when I’m stuck next time!

  2. I’ve made tarts like these on a number of occasions – aren’t they a great find? Like a cross between a quiche and a frittata.

    Mine usually revolve round fetta, herbs, at least one vegetable and so on. But I’ve never made them for a dinner party – only cooked up a a few to have as a quick breakfast. I’ve also tried freezing them, but they go a bit watery.

  3. Pia – Expect it would be lovely. 🙂

    Antonia – I do offer a dessert but it’s usually ice-cream or something else store bought.

    Kathryn – Thought about making some for lunches. Suspect they’d keep a few days in the fridge…

    Johanna – They are much lighter. Almost souffle-like.

    Heather – It really, really is but being one as much I as I was probably wasn’t the best idea. 🙂

  4. I wondered how you’d approach that particular resolution.

    Cooking for people. Yes. Brilliant thought.

    I’ve got 2 dozen biodynamic smarty-pants eggs just waiting for such an outing… couldn’t agree more. Give me to savoury courses over dessert any day.

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