Quick kitchen: Fig, hazelnut and goat’s cheese tart
You’re invited to an intimate dinner with friends. How lovely! It’s time to ask the host what you can bring, while simultaneously mentally preparing your usual salad that you’re able to make with your eyes closed and one arm tied around your back.
“Um, maybe a dessert? Someone’s bringing fruit so, a cake or something?”
Well, there goes your plan. Panic ensues and droplets of sweat start to trickle down your face. Your mind starts to oscillate wildly — what kind of dessert can you make that’s easy and fuss-free and will be enjoyed by everyone?
Is it just you or does it feel like it’s getting hotter in here?
Before you go out to the closest bakery to get your hands on a packet of stale chocolate brownies or run to your nearest supermarket and pick out a no-brand packet cake, know that as always, when it comes to recipes, I’ve got you covered.
This month I’m sharing a wonderful bake-and-take, a delicious Fig, Hazelnut and Goat’s Cheese Tart from my cookbook Supercharge Your Life. Cue: exhale.
This tart is the perfect bring-along if you’re invited to lunch or dinner and want to contribute a dessert with some very serious wow factor. The roasted crunchy hazelnuts intermingle beautifully with the soft sweetness of roasted figs and a tangy edge of creamy goat’s cheese. Yum! By the way, figs are also considered an aphrodisiac, so you know you’re in for a good time.
Letting go of a rule book approach to eating will bring you a sense of freedom but still allow you to commit to food choices that equate to vibrant health and longevity.
If you’re not a dessert person or tend to skip dessert out of fear of unhealthy foods, think about the 80:20 approach. By sticking to your nutritional values 80 per cent of the time, you’ll be able to say yes to the chocolate cake at a birthday party or, let’s say, a fig, hazelnut and goat’s cheese tart at your friends’ dinner. Who wants to say no to delicious spaghetti made by Italian nonnas at a delightful restaurant on the Amalfi coast because of the calories? Nobody. Absolutely nobody. There are some food opportunities that can’t and shouldn’t be turned down. Instead, allow yourself the space to occasionally stray away from your regular nourishing eating habits, because as you know life is all about balance. Embodying this attitude will give you a lot more freedom in social situations facing food.
The act of consuming food should never make you feel anxious, captive or worried. A supercharged life emphasises food that’s enjoyed and savoured. Once you’re in this space, you’re able to walk to the unforced rhythms that come with a common-sense attitude towards food and a balanced approach to eating. Letting go of a rule book approach to eating will bring you a sense of freedom, but still allow you to commit to food choices that equate to vibrant health and longevity — and a life fully lived. That’s the ideal space to be in.
If you’re interested in supercharging your life, the first place to start is from within, and one of the best ways to achieve this is through self-leadership. Self-leadership doesn’t need to be difficult or intimidating; you can keep it simple and start internally. Before we begin, we need to let go of any guilt we place around food. Embody a sense of freedom when it comes to the foods that you choose to eat. Think of it like creating a radio wave that embodies your authentic self and radiates outwards, without hype or evangelicalism, that gently rubs off on others. This, alongside understanding and recognising others’ viewpoints, even when they oppose your own, can be a catalyst for finding common ground and for collaboration.
Embodying an open mind will allow you to recognise and support the views of others while having empathy, equality and tolerance regardless of other people’s opinions. We don’t get to choose whether someone else’s viewpoint matters, it just does. A good way to move forward efficiently is to have a dynamic dialogue between opposing ideas and mindsets and to accept others and their differences as much as you can.
Self-leadership can have an impact on your family or close circle of influence on a smaller scale, too. Have you always wanted to cook a whole meal from scratch for your family or start buying from local food producers? Maybe you want to join a food co-op and gather your food from farmers’ markets or online organic delivery services instead of supermarkets.
If you’re looking for a greater sense of community and belonging, a potluck picnic is always a great way to enjoy your friends’ and families’ company while enabling everyone to try food that they may have never tried before.
So, where do we begin? With this tart. I hope you love it as much as I do, and remember that anything cooked with love will be thoroughly enjoyed by all!
Fig, hazelnut and goat’s cheese tart
- 55g hazelnuts, roasted & chopped + extra to serve
- 2 sheets gluten-free shortcrust pastry
- 55g unsalted butter
- ⅓ cup coconut sugar
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 150g goat’s cheese
- 10 figs, halved
- Honey or rice-malt syrup for drizzling (optional)
- Rosemary sprigs, to serve (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 220°C and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Grind the hazelnuts in a food processor. Carefully lay the pastry sheets side by side on the prepared tray, overlapping them slightly and pressing down on the join. Press around gently with a knife to mark a 2cm border without cutting all the way through. Fold the edges over along the score mark.
- In a medium bowl, mix the butter, ground hazelnuts, 2 tbsp of the coconut sugar, and the cinnamon and egg, working it into a paste with a fork.
- Spread over the pastry, keeping the border clear. Crumble half the goat’s cheese over the tart.
- Arrange the figs on top, then crumble over the remaining goat’s cheese and scatter over the extra hazelnuts. Sprinkle the remaining coconut sugar over the top.
- Bake for 12–15 mins, until the pastry is puffy and golden.
- Serve topped with a drizzle of rice-malt syrup and garnished with rosemary, if using.
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