Tuesday 24th October 2017
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Serves 8
Preparation time: 45 mins
Cooking Time: 45-50 mins

Ingredients
For the shortcrust pastry
250g plain flour
75g butter
50g strong cheese – grated (I used Lincolnshire Poacher)
A pinch of salt
Water to mix

For the filling
3 large eggs – beaten
½ pint single cream
150g or ½ small tub of cottage cheese
1 large onion –finely sliced
20 tips of nettles
A large piece of Cote Hill Blue cheese
Salt and pepper
Butter

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Recipe by Dominic Franks

Nettles have become the latest fad with the celebrity chefs and are being used in many of the smartest restaurants, which I always find so funny when they grow absolutely everywhere and are considered the worst kind of weed. They’ve been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes for centuries and as many of you will know they also make a fantastically effective green dye. You should pick just the top four leaves on every plant and you’ll need to wear a pair of rubber gloves too! I’ve used them here along with a local blue cheese but if you’re still not convinced you can easily replace them with spinach.

This recipe is ideal for a nine-inch round, fluted, loose-bottomed flan dish

Method

Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour, add the salt and grate in the cheese and mix well, then bring it together into a dough with a little water.
Place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then roll out the pastry on a floured surface and place it into a well buttered, fluted flan dish making sure you push the pastry well into the fluted ridges.
Prick with a fork and blind bake for 15 minutes on 180C.

For the filling, caramelise the onions with a little butter and a pinch of sugar in a frying pan until golden – this can take up to 20 minutes.

Carefully place the nettles into a pan, pour boiling water over them and let them sit in the hot water for 5 minutes until they are soft. The boiling water will completely eradicate the sting!

Drain the nettles well and spread two thirds of them out, along with the caramelised onions into the base of the pastry case. Now crumble the cheese on top of the onions and nettles

In a large bowl beat the eggs, then add the cream and cottage cheese along with some salt and pepper, stirring all the time. Pour this into the pastry case and then lay the remaining nettles onto the top.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until well-risen and golden brown. Once cooked, let it cool slightly on a wire rack before slipping it out of the fluted dish.

Eat and of course, enjoy!

Don’t forget to follow Dominic on his blog: belleaukitchen.blogspot.com

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