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Sunday 19th October 2008

Spring Asparagus, Lemon and Olive Cottage Tart

Spring Asparagus, Lemon and Olive Cottage Tart

Looking around the garden it is easy to understand why the Northern hemisphere chose Spring to celebrate new life and the Christian holiday of Easter. Seeds are pushing forth, fresh vibrant greens and more beautiful colours appear every which way. And even while I sit and write here I’m able to enjoy watching a flurry of dickie birds, racing back and forth from the lawn to the trees, finding grubs and worms to feed their newborn young. Even if I couldn’t see them, I would still know what was going on from the chorus of twittering and the short bursts of silence when the Mama and Papa bird return with their tucker.

Spring Asparagus, Lemon and Olive Cottage Tart

We are so fortunate to see many creatures come and go about their busyness here on our wee 5 acres. There are not many days we aren’t visited by some wild hares, bunnies, Pukeko, Paradise Ducks or simple mallards. The feathered couples we’ve seen dedicately foraging for food over Winter, now come and show off their cute little babies. We count them 1, 2, 3,… 7 little ducklings. Sadly often by the time I get my camera ready, they’ve moved on over to the neighbours - which is probably just as well with our two black panthers on the loose. Besides that, the fact is I’m not too happy about them thinking my vegetable garden is an all you can eat buffet!

Spring Asparagus, Lemon and Olive Cottage Tart

This “buffet table” is also under threat by our own hens at times, however they are fun to watch too and are supplying us abundantly with super-sized fresh eggs each and every day, especially now the days are longer, whereas through Winter we would only get 2 or 3 a day.

Spring Asparagus, Lemon and Olive Cottage Tart

Spring Asparagus, Lemon and Olive Cottage Tart

Armed with a gorgeously fresh bunch of asparagus last Monday, I knew I wanted to make a tart. Yet, I wasn’t feeling like the rich cream and many egg laden tart you often find enveloping asparagus. That’s when I was reminded of images past, images of La Tartine Gourmande’s Spring Legume Tarts. I looked through the Spring months (that’s March, April, May in the Northern Hemisphere) of Bea’s blog, and sure enough there were the images I had remembered - I’m sure you’ll agree Bea’s photos are hard to forget?!

I knew at once this was the kind of tart I wanted to make.

The lemons in my fruit bowl were beckoning me too, so I knew I had to incorporate them in some way. Actually I welcomed their zesty flavour to the mix. Some Kalamata olives and oregano would finish my Spring tarts nicely.

Spring Tarts inspired by Béa - so imagine my surprise when later in the week when I returned to Béa’s blog, to see she had posted the most exciting news, perfectly timed for our Spring - the season of New Life!

Congratulations Béa and Phillip - these are for you!

Spring Asparagus, Lemon and Olive Cottage Tart

  • Spring Asparagus, Lemon and Olive Cottage Tart
  • 400 grams / 14 oz Puff pastry
  • 1 bunch of thin fresh Asparagus
  • 1 small leek
  • ½ cup of fresh or frozen Baby Spring Peas
  • 6 to 8 black olives, sliced - I used Kalamata
  • 1 free range organic egg, separated
  • 150 grams / 5oz of cottage cheese
  • 4 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese
  • Grated zest of one spray/wax free lemon
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh Oregano
  1. Preheat the oven to 210°C, 410°F or gas mark 6½.
  2. On a lightly floured board roll out your puff pastry to make 2 rectangles 25cm by 12cm (10 inches by 5 inches).
  3. Place the rectangles on a lined baking sheet/tray and using a fork dock little holes in the dough.
  4. Rinse and trim the asparagus and leek, halve any thick asparagus spears lengthwise and slice the white part of the leek lengthwise too.
  5. In a medium sized bowl whip the egg white until frothy.
  6. Toss the asparagus, leek, peas and sliced olives through the frothy egg white - this helps the vegetables from turning to brown and drying out.
  7. In another bowl mix together the cottage cheese, parmesan, egg yolk, lemon zest and a little salt and pepper.
  8. Evenly spread half of the cottage cheese mixture on each pastry rectangle, leaving a 2cm (1 inch) edge.
  9. Create a border by gently pressing and crimping the edge with a fork.
  10. Place and layer the coated vegetables over the cheese mixture.
  11. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the pastry is lovely and golden.
  12. Leave to cool slightly and before serving tear over a few fresh oregano leaves.



  1. Certainly envious that you’re heading into Spring and for us Northerners its winter that draws ever nearer; love how you have captured a really spring feeling in these photos too.

    Andrew — Sunday 19th October 2008 7:56 pm

  2. Bron this looks absolutely dreamy. And your pictures are stunning. I’m so glad you’re back!
    xx fanny

    fanny — Sunday 19th October 2008 9:28 pm

  3. Oh Bron,

    This is so sweet of you. Many many thanks for this post. And your tart, as well as the other photos, look deliciously fresh, soft and cute. And you know well how much I would love to be able to be in NZ with you now. P. has not seen much of the West coast of the South island — with the Punakaki rocks, for example — and I promised he had to!

    Bea — Monday 20th October 2008 1:07 am

  4. What a gorgeous Spring post! I can’t wait for Spring to come back here, but will have to get through Fall and Winter first. The tart looks delicious!

    Shari — Monday 20th October 2008 2:41 am

  5. Gorgeous photo’s, especial as I head into the fall. Gives one the promise that spring will return!

    MyKitchenInHalfCups — Monday 20th October 2008 5:19 am

  6. Great post, I do feel Spring through these cute and fresh photos and tart !
    I also enjoyed asparagus yesterday night, simply on’tartines’ with cheese and ham…

    Vanille — Monday 20th October 2008 9:45 am

  7. Absolutely beautiful, Bron! I am loving the spring air in Melbourne, too. Oh all the freshness!!

    Anh — Monday 20th October 2008 10:48 am

  8. What a fresh, delicious tart, Bron! I love asparagus and I’m glad they are back in season here, too.

    Patricia Scarpin — Tuesday 21st October 2008 3:18 am

  9. What a lovely gift to P and Bea! I agree this tart fits her and the baby perfectly. Your images are so fresh and so springy!!
    I am so happy to see you posting such delicious recipes and wonderful pictures!

    Tartelette — Saturday 25th October 2008 10:59 am

  10. Thanks so much Andrew!

    Hi Fanny, thank you for your sweet, sweet words, I’m very happy to be back!

    You’re most welcome Béa, we can’t wait for your return and to think you’ll be bringing an extra little person…wee hee ;-)

    Thank you Shari and Tanna

    Hi Vanille, ah yes Asparagus, cheese and ham tartines sound perfect!

    Thank you so much Anh, I’m sure Melbourne is just beautiful also.

    Thank you Patricia and thank you too Helen, it sure is fun to be back, I really appreciate for your kind words.

    Thank you again everyone, so very much indeed!!

    bron — Tuesday 28th October 2008 12:13 pm

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