EXTRACT FROM Eat Your Words by Louise Gelderblom, Courtesy of Quivertree
Not all readers are good cooks, which may make hosting book club a stressful affair. This is what inspired artist Louise Gelderblom to write a cookbook for bibliophiles.
“I think of entertaining as a little show that I put on, and I really enjoy the preparations as much as the actual event, says Louise, an artist who is best known for her ceramics. “It’s a sort of a zen activity, and I really believe food tastes better when the cook has been completely present mentally in the preparation thereof.” We selected a recipe from her book for a dish to serve at book club on a warm summer’s evening.
Enjoy these individual puff-pastry tartlets with drinks and good conversation.
Makes 18 Tartlets
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp picked fresh thyme to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
250 g all-butter puff-pastry sheets, thawed but still cold
1 free-range egg, beaten
18 anchovy fillets, drained
18 stuffed green olives
1. Heat oil in a saucepan and fry onion over a gentle heat for 10 minutes or until soft and just starting to colour. Add garlic and caster sugar, and fry for 5 minutes or until the onion is golden, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Remove from the heat, stir in thyme and season with salt and pepper.
2. Preheat the oven to 200°C and grease a baking sheet or line it with baking paper.
3. Roll the pastry out on a floured surface to measure 15 cm x 30 cm. Trim to neaten. Cut the pastry rectangle into 5 cm squares. Transfer the squares to the baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between them. Brush the tops of the pastry squares with beaten egg.
4. Top squares with onion mixture, leaving a little border. Cut each anchovy fillet into 2 long strips and lay them in a cross on each square. Top with an olive. Bake for 10–15 minutes or until the pastry is golden on top.
5. Serve warm or at room temperature.
VARIATION: Substitute the anchovies with a thin slice of Chevin goat’s milk cheese or crumbled blue cheese.