Domini Kemp: A Gruyère tart, a trout Scotch egg, and a blueberry cake for easy entertaining

These breakfast and brunch treats will leave you plenty of time for relaxation

“This thyme, onion and Gruyère tart also makes a lovely supper dish.” Picture: Dean Carroll

Breakfast and brunch treats are a super way of socialising, and can incorporate a walk, fresh air, outdoor eating and the Sunday papers with the radio on in the background.

While eating out is an absolute treat, eating early is what suits me best - hence my love of 6pm dinner reservations - so having friends over for brunch can be a great way to hang out without impinging on precious sleep.

This thyme, onion and gruyere tart also makes a lovely supper dish, especially with a crisp green salad and a strong Dijon mustard vinaigrette. The mushroom and leek sausage rolls will be a hit with veggies, while the are Scotch eggs with their blanket of salty trout would look wonderful in a picnic basket.

The cake is a dependable one and looks the business; it’s a perfect way to wrap up a lazy morning’s entertainment.

Thyme, onion and Gruyère tart

You will need a 27cm tart tin with removable base.

Ingredients, serves eight to ten

For the pastry

130g butter

200g flour

1-2 tbsp cold water

For the filling

100g butter

Approx 4 large Spanish onions, peeled and thinly sliced

Salt and pepper

Sprigs of thyme

250ml double cream

1 heaped tbsp Dijon mustard

2 eggs, beaten

4 egg yolks

300g good quality Gruyère, grated


1. In a food processor or cake mixer, mix the butter and flour. When it has formed fine crumbs, add in enough water until it forms a ball, then wrap it in cling film and chill down for an hour while you get started on the filling. You will need to preheat the oven to 180C, so bear that in mind.

2. Melt the butter in a heavy-based saucepan with a snug lid and sweat the onions with the thyme and plenty of seasoning, ever so slowly, for at least 25 minutes. They’ll need the odd stir and they should shrink down by at least half. Try not to colour them - the steam that gets trapped in the saucepan and the low heat should help keep them sweating rather than sautéing. Season really well, then remove from the heat and allow to cool.

3. Roll out your pastry between two sheets of cling film paper. You will not have a lot of excess pastry. Line the tart case, but leave pastry hanging over the edges to be trimmed after blind baking. Cover with scrunched up parchment/baking paper and fill with dried beans or rice and bake for about 25 minutes.

4. Carefully remove the paper and beans and then cook for another few minutes to dry out the tart shell. By this stage, the onions should be cool enough.

5. Beat the eggs and egg yolks with the cream, Dijon and stir well, adding three quarters of the egg mix to the onions, along with three quarters of the cheese. Spoon this mixture into the tart shell (which should be placed on a baking tray to capture spillages and make it easier to transport) and when the filling is evenly distributed, spoon the remaining egg mix into the tin and top with sprinkles of the remaining Gruyere.

6. Bake until just set, which is about 35-40 minutes in total. Let the tart cool down and rest. It will keep on cooking. This is best served while still warm or at room temperature.

Blueberry drizzle cake. Picture: Dean Carroll

Blueberry drizzle cake

You will need a 23cm springform cake tin.

Ingredients, serves eight to ten

140g butter

200g golden caster sugar

2 large eggs

180g flour

1.25 tsp baking powder

Qtr tsp bicarbonate of soda

180 g frozen blueberries

1 tbsp cornflour

300ml sour cream

1tsp vanilla extract

For the crumble topping

120g plain flour

50g granulated sugar

80g muscovado sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch salt

100g melted butter


1. Start by making the crumble topping. Mix all the dried ingredients together and add the melted butter then mix lightly, using a fork to create a crumb like texture. Set aside.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C, and butter and flour the cake tin.

3. To make the cake, in a mixer beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and keep beating - if the mix looks like it will curdle a bit, just add a tablespoon of the flour.

4. Mix in the sour cream and vanilla extract then fold in the dried ingredients (flour, baking powder and bicarb), and addthe berries. Pour into a cake tin, top with the crumble mixture and bake for about 45 minutes until a knife comes out clean. Cool fully and then serve with dollop of cream.

Smoked trout Scotch eggs. Picture: Dean Carroll

Smoked trout Scotch eggs

Ingredients, serves four

6 eggs

250g diced fresh trout

200g smoked trout

Zest and juice of one lemon

20g dill

20g flat leaf parsley

One tbsp capers, chopped

Black pepper

50g plain flour

Good pinch cayenne pepper


100g panko breadcrumbs

Vegetable oil, for frying


1. Cook four of the eggs in simmering water for six minutes for soft boiled. Plunge into cold water and leave to cool fully before peeling.

2. Blitz the herbs with the lemon zest, juice and capers in a food processor to form a paste, then add the trout and “pulse” to create a smooth paste but with some texture. Add some pepper.

3. Divide the mixture into four balls, then flatten out. In the palm of your hand, encase the eggs carefully with the ‘blanket’ of trout. Put on a baking tray and freeze for about ten minutes while you set up the crumb and heat the oil.

4. Put the flour and cayenne pepper in one bowl with some salt, the remaining two eggs beaten in another bowl, and then the panko on a plate. Dip the eggs into each coating in the following order: flour, egg, panko. Once evenly covered with a layer, chill until ready to fry.

5. Fry the eggs for about four to five minutes until golden brown on all sides. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with good mayo and some extra lemon wedges.

Veggie sausage rolls

Ingredients, serves 4-6 as a snack

400g chestnut mushrooms

3 tbsp olive oil

30g butter

Few sprigs thyme

Salt and pepper

2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tbsp sweet white miso

2 leeks, finely chopped

1 tbsp Dijon

100g grated cheddar

70g panko

1 x 320g sheet ready rolled all butter puff pastry

1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt

1-2tbsp black sesame seeds


1. Preheat the oven to 200C.

2. Fry the mushrooms with half the olive oil and butter with the thyme, and season well. Add the garlic and miso and once starting to brown a little, remove from the heat and blitz on pulse.

3. Sauté the leeks in the remaining olive oil and butter and when soft, add to the mushrooms along with the Dijon, cheddar and panko. Season and set aside.

4. Roll out the pastry a little more and then cover the centre with the mushroom mixture. Roll over the pastry to seal it in and “crimp” with a fork. Brush with the beaten egg and chill, then brush with another layer of egg and bake for about 25-30 minutes.

5. Sprinkle with sesame seeds half way through cooking. Cool slightly and then slice and serve.