When I was at school, I remember one of my teacher’s telling us that she lived without an oven in her apartment during her 20’s. It simply didn’t come included. I thought, ‘What the hell is she talking about? How can you possibly survive without making food in the oven, without roast chicken, jacket potatoes, PIZZA?!?!’
Then I moved to France, and and lived that nightmare first hand (as well as having to use a communal toilet in the corridor instead of having one in my own room…that’s for another time though). Not being able to cook with an oven was definitely a pain at times but surprisingly easier than I imagined. I mean how often am I actually going to cook a roast? Exactly. Potatoes in the microwave, pan-frying chicken and salmon instead of grilling, it wasn’t really a problem.
In my second year however I moved into a much bigger, more modern apartment which instead of a microwave…had an oven! I was over the moon, seriously. Beouf bourguignon, cherry clafoutis, roasted vegetables, M&M cookies, etc yum etc. Now I’m in my third year here, and after moving in with the boy, I think you can already guess the pattern forming… Yep, stuck with that darn microwave again.
After getting so used to cooking more experimentally in my previous abode, it is definitely frustrating going back (again) to basics and trying to cook healthy, imaginative meals when you’re so limited with equipment and space. At least this time around it’s a microwave-oven so I can play around sometimes and get creative. For example, this lovely tomato and mozzarella tart I made last night.
I was sceptical at first that it would turn out to be anything but a disaster but I was pleasantly surprised at how good it tasted. I used shop-bought pastry, and after covering the tray and poking a few holes (my favourite part ha!) to prevent it bubbling up, I pre-baked it for about 5mins on 200C.
Then I started slicing the tomatoes ready to layer once the pastry was done. In the end I only needed two toms because the dish was pretty small. Before layering, I spread some Dijon mustard over the pastry to give the tart some bite. I sprinkled thym and about a tablespoon of olive oil over the tomatoes, as well as seasoning and adding a few bay leaves for extra aroma, then popped it back into the micro-oven for 20m again on 200C.
I was left with a reel of pastry trimmings due to my baby baking tin, so as I was waiting for the dish to cook I decided to get artsy and do what all people do with the left-overs: cut out some leaves. Ta-da!
With the rest of the pastry, I wrapped it up and put it back in the freezer – with enough left-over dough, I’ll be able to make another tart! After the 20m was up I then added mozzarella and also sliced some ham into the mix just to use up things in the fridge. I placed my pastry leaves on top, (that was just for my personal kicks; they’re honestly better suited when making a pie for example, and there is a layer of of pastry on top as well as underneath), and baked again for only 10m on 200C.
I was really happy with the end result and given we have another roll of pastry waiting to be used, I might make a chocolate and raspberry tart as the boy has been asking non-stop for one! I hope you enjoyed reading and for anyone else out there stuck with a darned micro-oven, you got a friend.