Cook Book Challenge: Week 27

Maggie Beer is one of my all time favourite cooks. Not only are her recipes intelligent, perfectly balanced wonders of deliciousness — she also has the most infectious personality. I still remember watching the Twitter feed exploding with adoration when she appeared on MasterChef for the first time. She's impossible not to fall in love with.

So are her cook books.

While her recipes are intelligent, they are also accessible to most everyone. Some require a bit more skill or practise than the next, but they're not recipes you'll feel too intimidated by to try. Her chatty style of writing talks you through the complicated steps and explains why you are doing what you are doing.

There were so many recipes in this book I wanted to try, but I simply couldn't go past the Olive Tart. Not just because I have an obsessive love for puff pastry…

Like, if I could marry a food, I would be Mrs. Puff Pastry. Combine that with olives and feta and I was gone. I had to make this. 

This is an outrageously simple dish. Her recipes calls for two whole heads of garlic. I felt like that would be serious overkill, so I used one instead. I needn't have worried, as the garlic flavour after blanching, simmering and baking is greatly reduced. It doesn't taste like a mouthful of garlic. It's much more subtle and beautifully balanced with the herbs, saltiness of the olives and feta and the sweetness of the orange rind. So have no qualms following her recipe to the dot – I will be next time. 

We had this as an entrée for a three course meal I made for the family. It also made for a light lunch the following day. 

Here's Maggie Beer's recipe:

Olive Tart


350g bought butter puff pastry, thawed
2 whole heads garlic, cloves separated
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
1 cup black olives, pitted
zest of 1 orange, finely peeled
2 tablespoons oregano, roughly chopped
1 tbsp rosemary leaves
80g marinated Persian goat's feta
oregano leaves, to serve


  1. Roll out pastry until 2.5mm thick. Cut a 3cm wide strip from each side of the pastry sheet. Place the trimmed pastry sheet on a baking tray lined with baking paper, then position the 4 strips on the pastry sheet to create a border. Prick the base of the pastry thoroughly with a fork. Refrigerate for several hours, or, if you're in a hurry, pop in the freezer for 15 minutes.
  2. Blanch garlic cloves in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain, leave until cool enough to handle, then peel; the skins will easily slip off after cooking. Place peeled garlic in the smallest frying pan you have; drizzle generously with olive oil, cover and simmer over low heat for 10-15 minutes or until golden, then leave to cool.
  3. Preheat fan-forced oven to 220°C (450°F).
  4. Brush pastry border with beaten egg. Bake pastry for 20 minutes, then remove from oven and dot with peeled garlic. Toss olives with orange zest, oregano, rosemary leaves, if using, and a drizzle of olive oil, then scatter evenly over pastry base. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temperature to 200°C and bake for another 10 minutes, or until pastry is deep golden.
  5. Place spoonfuls of goat's feta over the filling, and a final drizzle of olive oil, then scatter with oregano leaves and serve.

You'll find the printable version of this recipe here.

One thought on “Cook Book Challenge: Week 27

  1. This was a lovely entree (and lunch). I definitely could eat a whole heap of it. It looked really filling (and to a degree was), but seemed light when eating it.

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s