Archive for ‘Breads’

November 7, 2012

Yesterday’s Lunch: Our Fattoush

Fattoush is basically a bread salad from the Levant made from toasted or fried pieces of (stale) pitta bread. Added to it are herbs – flat leaf parsley and mint – and fresh vegetables including tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and even radishes. It’s often seasoned with sumac.

Sometimes peppers, feta cheese, olives, carrot and lettuce are added. Really it’s up to you, but choose good fresh ingredients that are in season.

You’ll notice that ours has some chickpeas in it. You’ll often notice that on ETP. It’s not quite trad in Fattoush recipes, but not really a heresy either.

We lightly fry the pitta. Don’t blacken it. It will also continue to crisp up once you take it from the frying pan to cool, so don’t overdo it. The rest is chopping and assemblage. Don’t cut the vegetables too finely – you’re not making tabbouleh.

That’s it really: a combination of fresh flavours and pleasing textures. A great lunch or light supper. Oh, and yes, we often have feta in ours. This one didn’t.

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August 25, 2012

Last Night’s Dinner: Summer vegetable and goat’s cheese bruschetta

Until recently there hasn’t been much summer round these parts, which means we haven’t done what we usually do with our dinners at this time of year.

But… the sun has started making occasional appearances and thoughts have turned to lighter meals that make the most of delicate summer flavours and fragrances. And bruschetta – we haven’t made bruschetta in, well, ages. Certainly not since we moved from London last year.

Bruschetta. Stuff on toast. Wild mushrooms and thyme; roasted cherry tomatoes, mozzarella and basil; sweet roasted peppers with chilli and parmesan; chargrilled aubergine, ricotta and pesto… all with a good hunk of lightly toasted bread, rubbed with garlic and drizzled with a good olive oil. Yum.

We had none of the variations above on this occasion. What we had was half a loaf of bread from the Village Deli in Wivenhoe (they do good bread, I try not to look at it as I pass – I’d eat little else), plus a few leftovers from our weekly veg box and recent trips to the supermarket. Which meant we had courgettes, beetroot, broad beans, a green pepper, some grilled globe artichoke hearts, a mild red chilli – and a nice block of crumbly-ish, creamy goat’s cheese (again, from the aforementioned Deli).

The only method with this is to treat each ingredient with respect: so, the peppers and beet are roasted separately, in a little olive oil, and chopped into chunks; the chilli goes with the pepper and is then sliced; courgettes get sliced and cooked on a griddle; broad beans are shelled, blanched for 4 minutes and slipped from their pithy skins; artichokes, already cooked, are ready to go.

When it’s all done, toast the bread, rub it with garlic while it’s still hot, and pile up the veg on top, attractively if possible, interspersed with the broken-up goat’s cheese. And then drizzle with a little olive oil.

Does bruschetta really require a recipe? I don’t know: it’s just toast with stuff on it. Nice stuff though. And nice toast. And a nice, light, summer’s evening meal.

February 1, 2012

Recipe: Jamie Oliver’s Ribollita

It’s such a cold day here in the south east, as I’m sure it is elsewhere in Britain today. East London was perishing at lunchtime and when I got back to Wivenhoe, old puddles at the side of the road hadn’t thawed.

The perfect day, then, for a chunky bowl of Italian peasant food. A classic Ribollita is a heartwarming soup of vegetables, beans and bread – used to thicken the soup to an almost stew-like consistency. Everyone will have their own favourite way to make it, but I do like this one from Jamie Oliver. And he’s right, it’ll taste even better tomorrow.

The recipe is here.

December 29, 2011

2011 leftovers: Homemade parathas recipe

I thought we should end the year with some of the recipes and dinner ideas that never quite made it to the blog when they were initially intended.

First of these is a recipe for parathas, the shallow-fried bread that is a great accompaniment to Indian food. We made them, or should I say Ella made them, a couple of months ago. We compared and contrasted a couple of different recipes before beginning, mainly because the wording wasn’t always clear, especially as to the rolling out of the dough.

The general idea is that you make your dough, divide it into individual portions, roll it out, add a little oil, and then bring in the ends to the middle (using one method or another) to create a kind of folded sack that traps air inside. The dough then gets rolled out again before being shallow fried.

With the shallow frying, don’t leave them to get too crisp, the finished bread needs to be soft and doughy.

There’s a recipe here, and another here. Okay, and another here.

It’s worth taking a look at as many as you can before commencing, but really, once you get the idea, they’re incredibly simply and a something of a treat.

December 7, 2011

Recipe: Angela Hartnett’s wild mushrooms and fried egg on toast

We know Angela Hartnett can do posh nosh, but it’s rather nice when she does cheap and cheerful too. Good ingredients are probably key with her breakfast/brunch/snack/litebite plate of mushrooms, eggs and bread. And there’s nothing exceptional about her recipe, published in the Guardian newspaper today… except that it makes me want to eat it. Now.

It’s here.

August 31, 2011

Recipe: Bill Granger’s flatbread with red onion and chard

We have got some chard in the kitchen at the moment so will probably be tempted to make this light supper. The prospect of making your own flatbread is always rather exciting and, given that it doesn’t need to rise very much (although it does use yeast and need to prove), it’s rather more fail-safe than proper, full-on, up-to-the-elbows-in-flour bread making.

I haven’t kept up to date with the style of food Australian chef and restaurateur Bill Granger makes. I interviewed him once, by email, and he sent back a well-written, considered and quite passionate response to the questions, so he’s remained in ETP’s ‘good books’ since. But back then his big thing was luscious Aussie-American breakfasts at his waterfront cafe – this recipe is distinctly more European.

The recipe is from the Independent, here.

May 2, 2011

Last Night’s Dinner: Quesadillas

Saturday 30 April

I won’t include a recipe for these – there are so many variations. Basically, we filled a tortilla with spicy black bean paste (mashed black beans with spices, coriander leaf and lime), a salsa made with avocado, tomato, red onion and lime – and, in a break from authentic tradition, feta cheese. I had feta in a burrito years ago at a little place in Southwark and my it works. It replaces the sour cream and Cheddar/Monterey Jack combo you often see in Britain and it adds a really good tang to the meal. Pile up the tortilla, fold over and warm in a dry frying pan. Perfect.