Onion and goat cheese tart, smoke signals and tyrannical parrots

I have learnt three surprising things in the past few weeks. One: Results of recent genetic testing revealed that I have considerably more French genes than either Luc or Léo. (Which doesn’t stop everyone referring to me as ‘l’Anglaise’.) Two: Hugo, the labrador, hates violin concertos with a passion, something he made quite clear last week, when I had the audacity to listen to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D Major. He growled in distaste and scratched frantically at the door to flee the aural offensive. And three: there exist worse-behaved dogs than Hugo and Java. In a restaurant at the beach last weekend, there was a beautifully leggy and elegant red setter casually sauntering over the table tops, checking out the plates, their contents, and their owners, as if it was the most normal thing in the world. Red setters are notoriously batshit crazy and disobedient, so now of course, I want one.

Yesterday morning, we caught sight of a friend sitting outside in the car. When, 10 minutes later, he still hadn’t moved, Luc went out to get him. Our friend explained that he’d been waiting to see smoke coming out of the chimney before coming in, as he didn’t know whether we were awake. We will know for next time: three billows means coffee!

Once inside, coffee in hand, he told us that when he lived on a boat in Brasil, he had a parrot. At the time he was a very heavy smoker (the friend, not the parrot; everything seems to revolve around coffee and smoke with this guy!), but knew it was time to give up when the parrot started to cough every time he saw him! That must have been some pushy parrot, because he hasn’t touched a cigarette since…

Ingredients (serves 4)

225g puff pastry

50g butter

4 medium onions, sliced

1 tsp sugar

200g goat’s cheese, sliced into rounds

4 sprigs of thyme

Sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Arrange the pastry in a baking sheet (or sheets). Melt the butter in a large frying pan and add the sliced onions, cover and fry gently for about 10 minutes, until softened. Remove the lid, add the sugar and continue to cook until golden and slightly caramelised. Spoon the onions onto the pastry, then top with the cheese and thyme, and season. Drizzle with oil and bake for 20 minutes.

9 responses to “Onion and goat cheese tart, smoke signals and tyrannical parrots

  1. Gorgeous and sounds absolutely delicious!!

  2. RE the setter: I had one. They are gloriously beautiful, psychotic to an extreme, and seemingly unable to hear, when commands are issued. However, if you can put up with their nearly-religious focus on doing whatever the blazes they want, when they want, they do bring a smile to one’s face. Maybe it is their audacious behaviour which is so appealing? Perhaps.

  3. Yum! That looks so good and like an easy thing to create when friends are perhaps dropping by unannounced (but not coming in until they receive the proper smoke signals). I didn’t realize Red Setters had that sort of reputation. (I think we call them Irish Setters here.) That explains this one dog I used to see all the time at the dog park where we used to live~ it was always happily nuts and the bedraggled owner always looked…tired.

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