This weekend has been a bit chaotic already, and here, now in the calm before the storm that will commence at 11.00 a.m. when a hoard (well, may be 12 - I'm not quite sure how many are coming) 5 & 6 year olds descend on us to celebrate Pink's 6th birthday, I wanted to quickly blog about last night's supper.
We were at friends' for lunch (and delicious it was too) but my mother in law was coming later on for the night (and above-mentioned celebrations) so I knew I needed to produce something more than a boiled egg for an evening meal. She is vegetarian, and although I have been cooking much more veggie food generally, I always feel a challenge to cook something other than the heavily lentil and garlic based dishes that we tend to have at her house. With an eye to the fact that I had to ice a pink heart birthday cake and make the werewithal to 'pin the crown on the princess' last night, it had to be easy. I also made extra on the basis that when the apocalypse is over, we (adults) might actually want something more substantial than cheese sandwiches and fairy cakes for lunch.
Summer Vegetable soup
The soup is based on one out of the current Good Food mag,. The recipe doesn't appear to be up on the website yet, so no link to the original, and here is my version:
3 sticks of celery, finely chopped
3 leeks, finely sliced
3 courgettes - quartered lengthwise and chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
11/2 litres of vegetable stock (I use marigold bouillon powder)
125g asparagus spears, woody ends removed and cut into inch long pieces (leaving the lovely tip bits intact)
Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a big pan, and gently cook the celery and leek till soft - about 8-10 mins. Add the courgette and garlic and continue to cook for 5 mins or so, then add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on for 10 mins. Throw in the asparagus about 4 minutes before the end of the cooking time, season and serve.
If you've got the magazine, the recipe is called Summer Vegetable Minstrone. I was a little confused as to the minestrone tag because there didn't appear to be any pasta or other carbs in it, and another time, I might add some little pasta in as soon as the stock started to boil. It would need to be little pasta though (quick cooking) because you wouldn't want to over cook the veg.
Sinple Tomato Tart
The tart was really good and dead easy. I got The Accidental Vegetarian secondhand on Amazon and it's definitely worth a read. I didn't quite follow his recipe, adding in some thyme, and I used more pastry to have a little left over for lunch today (although it was so good that there's not much left...). This could also be called 'How frozen puff pastry can save your life' - there are many, many variations on a theme of just topping a sheet of puff pastry and whacking it in the oven for 25 minutes. Genius.
375g pre-rolled sheet of puff pastry
8 plum tomatoes
a couple of sprigs of thyme (leaves only)
2 tsp of caster sugar
salt & pepper
1 good knob of butter, melted
First, peel the tomatoes. yes, I know, I wasn;t going to either, but then I thought I would just do it and I think it was worth it. So put on the kettlr, put the tomatoes in a bowl and as soon as the kettle is boiled, pour the boiling water over the tomatoes and leave them for a couple of minutes. One by one, get a tomatoes frm the water (you can spear them with a fork if the water is still too hot) and using a knife, make a slit in the skin. You should find that the skin just kind of shrinks back and you can just pull it off quite easily. Slice them into pound coin thick slices.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees fan.
Lightly grease the baking sheet you are going to use and put the pastry onto it. Lay the tomatoes onto the pastry, leaving a rim of uncovered pastry all round the edge. Youc an slightly overlap the tomato slices and it will look quite pretty! Sprinkle over the thyme leaves, and caster sugar and grind over salt and pepper, then brush with the the melted butter - or you could drizzle with olive oil - and then bake in the oven for around 25 minutes till the tomatoes are looking cooked and caramelised and the pastry is golden and puffed.
I did serve, as suggested with rocket, dressed with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (shaken together in a jam jar first).