The Mustard Tart from my Childhood

Once upon a time, there was this specific trip, when I was almost 13 years old and a junior highschool student, that has marked with a cross the beginning of many years of me  having regular sleep-overs at one of my best friend’s of the time, Céline. We had already known each other for a few years – as we were in the same class in primary school, but we only were classmates and acquaintances back then. At the age of 11, I had already begun enjoying school trips abroad, as in 6th grade I was offered the chance to travel to the UK and to be hosted by a lovely British family, together with another classmate of mine.  Two years later, when starting 8th grade at the end of 1992, and when I was offered the chance to travel to Spain with my class, I felt like I couldn’t miss it and begged my parents to let me go, and this is how I got placed in a hosting family together with Céline in Barcelona.


We got our first “alone time” for this occasion and got to know each other better. As teenagers, we had a lot to chat about of course, whether about the trip, the boys, the hosting family, their bird that sang to us every morning in the bedroom – way to early – or our hopes and plans for life. I remember two of the main attractions that we really liked there, in this Spanish region of Catalunya. One of them was El Corte Inglés, a big shopping mall that we loved because of the variety of merchandises on which we could spend our small pocket money, but let’s be honest the real reason we loved it was that it was the only place our teachers would take us and would not be following us all around inside. We were free to wander about, with the only condition to meet with them outside at a given time. Pure freedom in a foreign country, for us teens!


The other touristic site we loved was the Wine Cellars of Codorniu. Obviously we were not drinking alcohol at that time, but the visit of the cellars was the occasion to explore for the first time an amazing wine cellar, as much as to get closer with some cute boys of our class in the dark corners of the rooms. For years, those memories remained really strong and very dear to our hearts. I have kept until not so long ago some postcards of the cellar that we had been offered during the visit, but it’s a pity I don’t have them anymore, otherwise I would have scanned them and uploaded them on my blog. I will soon be off to Spain for my Summer vacation, and I intend to go back to the Codorniu wine cellars if I have time, so that I can try the wine, at last!

Codorniu wine cellars in Barcelona – photo courtesy of

Since coming back from that trip in 1992, Celine and I had been long past the acquaintance stage, and we became really great friends, sharing everything and living the teenage life at full speed daily. Both of us were good students, and both our sets of parents trusted that our friendship would benefit each other in life as much as in school. This translated into the both of us finding every occasion to spend time together, whether for studying or for having fun. As a matter of fact, I was often invited over her place for sleep-overs. We were living in the same neighborhood, so these were easy to arrange, and even easier to improvise. I remember calling my mum many times from Céline’s house, to ask permission to stay overnight at my friend’s. 

Codorniu wine cellars bottles storage – photo courtesy of

It had been many years that I had not processed detailed thoughts about this time of my life, because truth be told nowadays Celine and I don’t see each other anymore. I don’t think there is any special reason to that, life just kind of separated us apart. Nevertheless, I keep excellent memories of my teenage years thanks to her and thanks to the great times we had. There were good times with our other friends, and there were great times at her house. Her father René used to challenge me during dinner with geography questions. He and I both were beyond fond of playing “Capitals”, so we often ended up challenging each other by asking what was the capital of this or that country; and counting points. It was right after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and less than two years after the end of the USSR and the Soviet Block; it also was around the sad years of witnessing on TV many African massacres, and Africa was all over the news daily, so there were many new capitals to learn in, around that dinner table.

Las Ramblas in Barcelona

Her mother Monique was always very nice and welcoming, and very often when I came and stayed over for the night, she would prepare that special Mustard Tart of hers. I just loved it. For me, with time, this tart sort of became part of the whole experience of staying at Céline’s. When Monique was announcing that she would cook her (now famous) Tarte à la Moutarde, I used to feel totally overjoyed inside. And when the delicious smell from the oven started to fill the house with extraordinary Mediterranean aromas, Céline and I would go downstairs and set the table for dinner.

Tarte à la Moutarde -

Monique’s Mustard Tart recipe actually was a lighter version of the one that I am presenting today. I remember she was keeping it simple, and it was just as delicious. If you want to make a vegan version (with vegan cheese and cream), that would be something based on Monique’s recipe, because it doesn’t come with eggs nor milk, and you can replace the original Mozzarella and light cream with something vegan. Also, she was not displaying full basil leaves on top of the tart as I do; just so you know! On the other hand, my version of the Mustard Tart tends to turn the tart into a light quiche because of the presence of eggs and milk, but pardon me, for personal reasons (all stated above), I prefer keeping the original name of this fabulous dish, a Mustard Tart. I hope you’ll enjoy it, as much as I have enjoyed sharing a piece of my childhood here. Bon appétit Céline, Monique and René! And all the rest of you!

A piece of Mustard Tart - by


  • 1 rolled pastry crust
  • 3 tbsp of mustard – more or less, to taste
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 1 large Mozzarella ball
  • 12 basil leaves
  • 2 eggs
  • 10 cl of milk
  • 10 cl of light cream
  • salt
  • a bit of dried oregano



  1. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Take the pastry crust out of the fridge and leave it as is, at rest, for several minutes.
  3. Wash and slice the tomatoes and mozzarella.
  4. Wash the basil leaves.
  5. In a small bowl, beat the eggs with the milk and cream.
  6. Now line an oven baking tart mould and unroll the pastry crust on it.
  7. Pierce the crust with a fork all over, so that it doesn’t swell with the heat.
  8. Bake the crust for about 5 minutes and remove from the oven.
  9. Spread the mustard on the bottom of the crust.
  10. Display the tomato slices, then the mozzarella on top.
  11. Pour the egg, milk and cream mixture over the dish.
  12. Salt. Sprinkle just a bit of oregano.
  13. Finish by adding the basil leaves.
  14. Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes. Check regularly, you may need a bit more or a bit less time, depending on your oven.
  15. Let it cool completely before serving, otherwise the tart may not remain totally assembled.
  16. Eat with a fresh salad of greens on the side.

Created and Written by Sophie Rebibo-Halimi. © 2018 All Rights Reserved. 



  1. Wow, I just loved reading about your early days with Celine and her family. It’s funny how we just move on from friends that were dear to us in our early years…you are right Sophie life just takes us in different paths. My dear school friend and I parted the same way then one Christmas I was over at my brothers (I was living in Western Australia at the time) and she called in to see me (turns out she had seen my dad and asked after me) now since that time 2003/4 we have remained dear friends again (she is one of the girls from school that meets with me every year for a weekend away). I am forever grateful she came over to my brothers. She actually came to visit me both in HK and Beijing when I lived there…amazing.

    But now onto the mustard tart – before I became vegan I would have eaten this all up in one sitting I am sure as it looks fantastic. But you are right there are options now with vegan cheese and other items that can replace cream to be able to make it. What a lovely memory for you my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sue, your story now gives me hope that friendship (and maybe mine with Celine) can start again, even after many years. I guess when time comes I’ll be curious to understand what motivated the separation – and then the reunion. Have you gals been curious about that too ? Or have you just kept going with your life and projects together without ever asking directly? I don’t mean to get into details of your story here on the public page, so my question really is more general.
    Anyway, thanks for your nice comment about the mustard tart, I do believe there are options for vegans to bake it too, I am just too unfamiliar with the detailed items that’d be necessary to adapt this recipe. I hope you’re doing fine, I miss reading you!! xoxox


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