Avocado toast

Avocado_toastI had half an avocado left over from the night before (stone left in, flesh rubbed with lemon juice, covered with clingfilm and stored in the fridge). So here’s a very easy, tasty snack – serves 1.

  • 1/2 a ripe avocado (stone and skin removed, and thinly sliced)
  • 2 slices wholemeal toast
  • a squeeze of lemon juice
  • a dusting of cayenne pepper

Divide the slices of avocado between the two slices of (hot) toast. Press the avocado into the toast. Squeeze lemon juice over the avocado and dust with cayenne pepper.

Enjoy!

 

 

Caponata

CaponataTileEnough for 3:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1  aubergine (chopped into largish chunks)
  • 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
  • 2 celery sticks (thinly sliced)
  • 1/2 a large red pepper (thinly sliced)
  • 1 tbsp capers (rinsed)
  • 2 garlic cloves (crushed or finely chopped)
  • 1 tbsp raisins
  • 750g ripe tomatoes (cored, deseeded and sliced (save the liquid from the tomatoes by rubbing the seeds though a sieve))
  • Black pepper
  • 1/4 of a lemon
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • A handful of basil leaves

Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large heavy pan. Fry the aubergine chunks in hot oil until they begin to colour. Turn down the heat and add the remaining oil. Add the onion, celery, pepper, capers, garlic and raisins, and cook gently until the mixture is soft.

Spread the mixture over a large baking tray and scatter the tomatoes over the top. Mix together the tomato liquid, pepper, lemon juice, vinegar and sugar, and pour this mixture over the vegetables.

Cook in the oven at 140C (Gas mark 1) for about a hour or until the tomatoes begin to fall apart (I cooked mine (in the top of the oven) with slow roasted lamb, increasing the oven temperature to 140C for the final hour). mix in the basil leaves before serving.

Red pepper and butternut squash soup

Redpepper&Butternut_SoupI made this with butternut squash which had previously been roasted and a red pepper which had been ‘charred’ (see below). Both processes greatly enhance the flavour of the soup.

Enough for 3:

  • 1 large red pepper
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped or crushed)
  • 1 red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 1/2 of a large butternut squash (previously roasted (as one piece)) and cut into small chunks
  • 150ml passata
  • 500ml water
  • 1 tsp vegi stock powder
  • 2 tbsp double cream
  • Season with black pepper and lemon juice

Char the red pepper by blackening the skin all over using a gas ring (on high) or a blowtorch.  Rub off the skin in a bowl of cold water, and slice.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook gently for five minutes. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a further 2 minutes.

Add the red pepper, the butternut squash, the passata and the water, and stir in the vegi stock powder. Bring to the boil and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes.

Take off the heat and blend (using an electric blender or a liquidiser). Stir in the double cream and heat until just boiling.

Season and serve.

Onion focaccia

FocacciaTileThis is based on a recipe in ‘Muffins scones and breads’ in the Austrailan Women’s Weekly cookbook series. There is enough for 6 as an accompaniment to soup or salad. It’s fairly quick to make as it requires only one rising.

  • 1&1/2  tsp dried yeast
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 220ml warm (blood heat) water
  • 150g strong plain flour
  • 150g wholemeal flour
  • 35g Italian hard cheese (this is the ‘cheap version‘ of parmesan), finely grated
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small red onion (finely sliced)
  • Sea salt

Mix the yeast and sugar with 100ml of the warm water. Cover, and leave in a warm place for about 10 minutes until it starts to ferment.

Meanwhile sift the flours together into a large mixing bowl. When the yeast is ready, warm the flour briefly in the microwave (say, 20 seconds on high).

Mix the cheese and herbs into the flour, add the yeast mixture and 2 tbsp of the olive oil, and a further 100g of the water. Mix to a soft, but manageable, dough. If too dry add further water (if too wet, knead in some more flour). Knead for about 5 minutes.

Roll out the dough and place it so that it covers a baking tray (I used one 30cm square). Cover and leave in a warm place to rise (until it has doubled in depth).

Heat the oven to 220C (gas mark 8). Spread the onion slices over the top, and sprinkle with sea salt and the remaining olive oil.

Bake for about 25 minutes. Pleace on a wire rack to cool.

Chilli rarebit

Chilli_rarebiteI was feeling hungry, so stale bread, left-over soured cream and a glut of chillies (due to the sunny weather), resulted in this snack recipe. Chilli rarebit is usually made with chilli jam or chutney, but raw chillies seem perfectly OK. Enough for 2 people:

  • 4 small red chillies (deseeded and finely chopped)
  • 100g mature cheddar (finely grated)
  • 2 tbsp soured cream
  • 6 small (or 4 large) slices of wholemeal bread (toasted)
  • Black pepper

Mash the chilli, cheese and cream together with a fork. Spread the mixture evenly over the slices of toast.

Grill until the cheese starts to brown. Dust with black pepper and serve.

 

Banana bread

Banana_Bread_vertThe very hot weather had resulted in some very ripe bananas, so I made this banana bread – probably enough for 8 people for ‘tea’. The high banana content means that added sugar can be minimised:

  • Silicone baking parchment
  • 250g wholemeal flour
  • 3.5 tsps (generous) baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 125g butter
  • 50g soft brown sugar (sifted)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 very ripe medium sized bananas (mashed with a fork)
  • 2 tbsp milk

Pre-heat the oven to 180C (Gas Mark 4).

Line a bread tin (I used one 23x13x7cm) with baking parchment (or greased greaseproof paper).

Sift the flour, baking powder and cinnamon into a bowl.

In another (large) bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (I used a handheld mixer).

Add the eggs, mashed bananas, and milk, and continue to mix. If the mixture curdles, add 2 tbsp of the flour mix and continue beating.

Fold in the remaining flour, and spoon the mixture into the lined bread tin.

Bake for about 1 hour until risen and golden brown (take a look after 45 minutes).

Remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.

I sliced mine, ate some and froze the remaining slices.

 

 

 

Salad Niçoise

NicoiseEnough for 2:

  • 2 eggs (hard boiled)
  • 6 small new potatoes (cooked and cooled)
  • Torn green salad leaves (I used a mixture of little gem and rocket)
  • 12 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • 25 fine green beans (cooked lightly, cooled and cut in half)
  • Small tin of anchovies (c. 10 fillets), drained
  • 120g can of tuna steak (drained)
  • 12 small pieces of grilled/marinated artichoke
  • 2 spring onions (finely sliced)
  • Dressing: oil, vinegar, black pepper
  • Chopped parsley

Either combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl (for serving) or arrange neatly on two plates – the choice is yours!