A lady beetle was the highlight of my morning.

I opened a bag of baby spinach to put in a breakfast smoothie and she was there. I stared at her for a second, because it’s not what you expect of baby spinach. When you buy unwashed greens you sometimes encounter slugs or a teensy snail, or something equally squeamish…but mainly they’ve just got a little soil clinging to a few leaves.

She was so still and curled up that I assumed she was dead. I contemplated how long this gorgeous little beetle had been alive before she landed on the wrong leaf and was packaged up, shipped and refrigerated.

I thought it would have been pretty awful, being cooped up in that plastic box, slowly cooling on the refrigerated shelves of the IGA.

And then she woke up!! She stretched her little wings as though she was about to take off and then tested her legs out.

Ever the Instagram tragic, I instantly took photos.

aboveAnd as I was being paparazzi, she awakened further. I was amazed. She sped about on the leaves and tried to climb onto my hand a few times. I’d been contemplating her sad demise and it turned out she was just hibernating (or whatever the bug equivalent of hibernating is), the canny little thing!

I let her go into the garden. She brightened up my rainy morning. It’s funny how such small things can change your outlook. Thank you, little lady beetle.

I was so motivated after releasing her! I drank the smoothie that she nearly ended up in, and started planning a tart to use up the mushrooms I bought yesterday.

Mushroom tart

Makes 12roemary

  • 4 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry
  • 350g mushrooms
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan
  • 1 tbsp thickened cream

Season liberally with salt and pepper.



Shortcrust pastry is great to have in the freezer because it works for both sweet and savoury bakes. I love homemade pastry, but when you’re after something quick, it’s handy to have frozen store bought pastry on hand.

spring onionsPreheat oven to 200 degrees°C and spray 12 small tart tins with oil.

Grab your frozen pastry and cut out circles of pastry to fit in each tart tin. Press the pastry into the tins, prick with a fork and cook for 15-18 minutes.

While the pastry cooks, chop your shallots and slice up your mushrooms and rosemary . Cook the shallots with the garlic and one tablespoon of the butter and cook them for about two minutes. Add your mushrooms to the pan and sauté them with the second tablespoon of butter.

mushroomsSeason them with salt and pepper, add the rosemary and cook for five minutes. You don’t want to make the mushrooms limp and soggy, you just want them to get a nice coating of flavours and oils before you put them in the tart. If you over cook them at this stage, they’ll end up falling to pieces, and your finished tart will look mushy.

Set the mixture to one side to cool. If there is liquid floating about at the bottom of the pan, drain it off.

Grab your pastry from the oven and press the air out of any bubbles that may have formed. Be careful not to burn yourself though! Allow the pastry rounds to cool.

Whisk the egg, cream and parmesan cheese together, then add the mushrooms to the mixture.ingredients

Pour the mixture into the tart tins, then return them to the oven for 20 minutes.

Serve piping hot, they make a perfect entrée.

My apologies, savoury food photography is not my strong point. It’s harder than regular baking photography. I’ll just have to keep at it until I’m accustomed to the savoury ingredients…

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