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April Cottage Cooking Club, Upside-down onion tart


Welcome to our April gathering of the Cottage Cooking Club where we monthly gather to share recipes from the cookbook “River Cottage veg everyday!” the vegetable centric cookbook written by British author and television cooking celebrity, Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall .

Early on in the month, our fearless leader, and talented blogger/photographer, Andrea, of The Kitchen Lioness, notes from a very small German Kitchen, provides a seasonal list of recipe choices from among the books collection. The Cottage Cooking Club, members choose what they plan to prepare before again gathering together late in the month, sharing personal experiences and thoughts on each of the dishes among those recipes they have tried.


First up in April I chose to prepare the Upside-down onion tart. Peeling the outer skin of a few onions cutting them into eighths while keeping the root ends attached, the slices were fanned across a buttered and oiled tart pan whose concentric resembles an apple Tarte Tatin. Sprinkled with salt and pepper, the onions cook about twenty minutes until tender nearly producing that rich brown edged color of caramelizing. The magic flavor transforms in sprinkling the onions all about with Balsamic vinegar, cooking another ten minutes, before placing a shaped round of puff pastry right onto the onions and baking until the pastry is puffed and golden all around. Once inverted onto a platter, well, perhaps you agree, the Upside-down onion tart is quite lovely in its appearance. It’s flavor, I thought, equal to its appearance. I would prepare this dish again though I think I might opt for cutting off the small root pieces while still taking time and care to arrange the onion in its pretty fan shape.


The second dish, well fitted to the bright colors of spring, Pasta with new potatoes, green beans and pesto. Easy to whip up, herbs basil, parsley, and mint took a nice little wiz alongside the other usual pesto suspects, garlic, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and of course, olive oil. With bit of fresh lemon juice bringing it all home, the penne worked nicely with the gracefully slender, fresh haricot verts which I was lucky to get my hands on at the market, as I had a hard time finding them early on in the month. Admittedly, by the time I found them, I had already used my batch of little spring potatoes, initially purchased for such purpose, and these were then not available at the market at the same time, ugh. Not my preference for this dish, but the Idaho russets fit the bill for all practical purposes.  Not only did I like this dish for a picnic, but, thought it fit perfectly for after game Tailgating. I do have a pasta/pesto that I have prepared for such occasions but do like the idea combining the green beans and new little potatoes and the stoned green olives.


And finally, for April, I’ve prepared the celery gratin side dish. Once baked, the retained celery liquid is then drained into a measuring cup and combined with cream, seasoned, and poured back into the gratin dish with the roasted celery before being topped off with buttered bread crumbs and cheese. Quite brilliant really. I did indeed enjoy this little gratin heightening the flavor of celery.


A month filled with lots of activities, April definitely induced spring fever, including a start on my edible container garden on the deck, the big vegetable garden readied for planting beneath, there was a 65th Birthday celebration at a winery in Virginia for one of the Dads among our now graduated former field hockey team families, the annual Philly Farm and Food Fest, a few seminar classes at an area university, group gatherings, and even surprise contacts from old friends not seen in years… including one from high school, a long, long, long, time ago. These then precluded the preparation of Chilies stuffed with beans, and a couple of other recipes in our April selections from River Cottage veg everyday, but then, we’ve plenty yet ahead to prepare as we continue gathering together in our very special Cottage Cooking Club.

Too see what other members of the Cottage Cooking Club have prepared this month click here. If you are a food blogger and would like to join our group you are most welcomed by all, lots of fun, food, and friendship, and some laughs sprinkled in there as well! See you in May!




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  1. Posted April 29, 2015 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    These dishes look and sound fabulous. That tart is impressive. It would look great on a brunch table. You must be close to finishing this project. 🙂 What’s next?
    Kelly recently posted…Exploring Galicia, Spain: BetanzosMy Profile

    • Posted April 29, 2015 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      Hi Kelly, Thanks so much, the dishes were all lovely, as are so many recipes in this book, along with being quite easy and quick to prepare. We’ve still a way to go to complete the book, I think close to a year but not sure. We’ll see where it goes from there! See you soon.

  2. Posted April 29, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Why do I read your blog when I am stuck at work, haven’t eaten lunch, and starving?
    Phil recently posted…The Danger of Entering an Empty NYC Subway Car!My Profile

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      LOL, Phil, so funny! Lots of great food to be enjoyed, and beer too, per your recent post on the diverse beer venue wrapped together with that great spicy wings photo! Oh wonderful spring!

  3. Mary Hirsch
    Posted April 29, 2015 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Peggy, You and I are both crazy about the onion tart and the pasta salad. How delicious were they? In fact, I had the pasta “cold” on the second day. I think it’s a perfect lunch to take into the mountains when I am doing my Rangering this summer. If I pack it against my ice cold water in my Camelback it will stay cool for lunch. Plus it’s so darn filling. That onion tart – easy peasy but looks special. My congratulations on explaining how the tart is made so clearly. Everyone made the celery gratin but me – it goes on my growing must-try list. I envy you your herbs. We are still getting snow here in the mountains but cannot complain about any moisture we receive (except that Las Vegas and LA, to name a few, take it!) Great post.

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

      Hi Mary, Thanks so much! Though I’ve stuck to posting on our designated CCC day, unlike other months, I’m a bit behind my time in reading and commenting due to getting my garden and yard coordinated this week along with the other spring details. The herbs on my deck are are doing fantastic already! I’ve just shared with Zosia that next time around I may prepare the onion tart in small individual tart dishes, the flavor was a hit, but it seemed folks preferred smaller portions of it. Oh yes, the pasta was quite lovely with its added extra ingredients. The celery gratin is worth a go, though not a fav of the others, I think stringing it, and cooking the celery longer than indicated on the recipe brings forth more flavorful and tender results. I heard there was snow in Colorado last week, and it certainly would be a benefit for that moisture to move on to Vegas and LA, a worrisome mix there on the droughts. I am completely fascinated in your Rangering and am hopeful to read some about your experiences in future posts over the summer!!! Talk to you soon.

  4. Posted April 29, 2015 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    Hi Peggy, That tart is so tempting. I really need to make one. I’ll admit I wasn’t as crazy about the celery gratin as you were. It was beautiful, but so stringy. Sounds like you had quite a busy month. I love seeing your herbs in the garden! Have a wonderful month!
    Betsy recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club: AprilMy Profile

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Hello Betsy, the tart is lovely, and now I’m just writing for the third time (since you may not see my comments to the others) that next time around I may prepare this dish in small individual size tart pans. The flavor and display are amazing but folks tended to smaller portions of it and in this case, a little bit goes a long way! I did very much like the flavor of the celery gratin though I did string the celery and cook it for much longer than indicated on the recipe. Even so, I could see the cutting issue as a minor inconvenience. I’m loving my herbs too Betsy. You have wonderful month too!

  5. Posted May 1, 2015 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Great selection this month, Peggy. I’m seeing these gorgeous onion tarts and hearing how delicious they were and am really wishing I had made one….perhaps I’ll do it as a make-up. I enjoyed the pasta dish as well and am happy to hear it works with regular potatoes in a pinch, and I love your idea of taking it to a picnic. Glad you enjoyed the celery gratin – it wasn’t a success for me. I’m looking forward to May recipes and using some local spring produce (I hope!)
    Zosia recently posted…Cottage Cooking Club – April 2015My Profile

    • Posted May 1, 2015 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Hi Zosia, Thanks so much. The onion tart was delicious. I’ve been reflecting on it the past couple of days because it is a large amount for a type dish where folks tend to take smaller portions. I think in the future I may prepare this is small individual tart pans whose yield then would be ‘just enough’ per person alongside other dishes. I’m rather behind due to getting my garden and yard work coordinated the past few days so my apologies on the delay. See you soon!

  6. Posted May 3, 2015 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    I like your idea of serving the onion tart in small tart pan size. We (my sis and I) loved this tart – had probably a bit more than we should have! Ha ha. I did cut off more of the stem end, because I thought it might be unpleasant to bite into the root. However, they did separate when it came to turn them over – it was a little tedious, but still turned out beautiful. The pasta I did not care for so much – I’m sure it was due to the pesto I used – not my usual brand. I am one of the few who enjoyed the celery gratin. I did not mind having to use a knife and fork to eat it, and was so happy to find a recipe that uses the whole bunch of celery, instead of a stalk or less. Your basil and mint are so beautiful and healthy looking. So happy spring is here! I just planted today – tomatoes, basil, and Thai red hot peppers. Wish I had an area for a large garden!
    Cathleen recently posted…The Cottage Cooking Club | April RecipesMy Profile

    • Posted May 4, 2015 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Hi Cathleen, Thanks for dropping by. Yes, I’m sure the pasta dish was enhanced due to having all of the fresh herbs at access for preparing it fresh, and I love the added mint. Nice that you enjoyed the celery gratin which did indeed produce a good flavor. I’m so delighted with all of my fresh herbs now growing, and it is a big relief to now have big planters replacing my rosemary and thyme which I use throughout the year -and lost it all due to the harsh winter this year. We’ve just planted tomatoes, peppers, and green beans over the weekend- so garden space is now finishing up beneath the deck- looking forward to reaping the outcome throughout the season ahead. Talk to you soon!

  7. jora
    Posted June 29, 2015 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m belatedly catching up on reading CCC posts (I also still need to write my posts for April through June!), and it’s fun to be reminded of all of the dishes. Out of those three, the onion tart was definitely my favorite. Yours came out beautifully!

    • Posted July 6, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Hi Jora, so happy to see you and hear on your going on back to some of the recipes from the past months. While there have been many recipes in the book already part of my repertoire, I have tremendously enjoyed some new dishes and a few new ideas on vegetable preparations along this journey! I did enjoy the onion tart as well. Thanks again for stopping by. See you on the CCC trail.

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.