I am a big believer in will power. I think that if a person really wants to do something, they can, and that we all have extraordinary capabilities if we only put our minds to it. I always thought that with careful planning, there is no reason why one can’t both have their cake and eat it.
I knew that I was running the risk of taking on too much when I began a course to become an Aerobics Instructor a few months ago. In addition to my job, my master’s degree, family commitments and social life, it would be a crazy six months. An eyebrow was raised by certain loved ones, but I was determined. Like the Little Engine that Could, I decided to push up that hill and go for it. While I knew it would be hard to cope with everything, I decided that with good time management, hard work and a lot of drive, I could do it all.
So this week I learned a very important life lesson for an over-achiever who isn’t as good at time management as she thought. It is indeed possible to have one’s fingers in many pies, but it is perhaps a bit too much to expect that all of those pies will taste delicious at the end of the day. Success is relative – but I have understood that I cannot excel on multiple plains. I have been known to be a little over-ambitious at times – to expect to get 100 in an Anatomy exam yesterday was probably one of those times. When doing so many things at once, I have to readjust the high expectations I hold for myself, and give myself a break. And so, in a way, I can breathe a sigh of relief.
Sometimes, it is okay not to be the best, it is okay to ‘just’ do well, it is okay to identify priorities in life, and in doing so, understand that some people/projects/ventures/recipes will receive more time, love, and attention than others. I’m sure that other over-achievers can identify.
With that happy realization, I am sharing with you a recipe for a Caramelized Onion, Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Tart that I made for lunch on Friday. It was my attempt to use up the pile of peppers I found in the fridge and to try something new and different (inspired by various recipes I found online). The tart turned out very well, but could do with a bit of tweaking. Primarily, I would change the pastry – perhaps even use a large rectangle of puff pastry instead. The pastry was quite plain and almost too heavy for the deliciously light and tasty combination of caramelized onion, roasted peppers and feta. If anyone has a good recipe for a savory tart pastry, I would love to hear from you.
Caramelized Onion, Roasted Red Pepper and Feta Tart
Pastry (Adapted from La Tartine Gourmande)
200g flour (I used whole wheat)
Pinch of salt
1. Place the flour on a work area or in a bowl.
2. Add the butter cut into small cubes (butter should be room temperature).
3. Rub the flour into the butter until a crumble mix forms.
4. Add the salt and water (1-2 tbsp) and massage dough. It should detach easily from your hands (in food processor, it detaches from the bowl).
5. Form into a blob and place in the fridge, covered with plastic wrap for a minimum of one hour before using.
6. When ready to bake, roll out pastry into a circle (as thinly as possible) on a lightly floured surface. Transfer it to the tart dish, pressing it lightly and firmly over the base and sides of the tin, easing any overlapping pastry back down to the sides, as it is important not to stretch it. I had to do a bit of a cut and paste job here.
7. Prick the base all over with a fork and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Check halfway through the cooking time to make sure that the pastry isn’t rising up in the centre. If it is, just prick it a couple of times and press it back down with your hands.
3 large onions, 1 red onion, vertically sliced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt
few grinds of black pepper
2 tsp thyme
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 bay leaves
3-4 bell peppers (I used red and yellow)
1 cup Feta Cheese, crumbled
1. Preheat oven to high heat and cut peppers in half, lengthwise, discarding seeds.
2. Place the pepper halves, skin side up, on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and spray with olive oil cooking spray. Roast for 30-40 minutes, or until they are blackened. When cool, coarsely chop.
3. While peppers are roasting, heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet, add onion and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in salt, pepper, thyme, garlic and bay leaves and cook for 15 minutes on a medium heat or until deep golden brown, stirring frequently.
4. Remove from heat and discard bay leaves.
5. Arrange onions, pepper and small cubes of feta in baked pastry case and bake for a further 20-25 minutes.