Posts Tagged ‘basil’
You may have noticed I’ve been away for a while. My return here is but momentary. You see it turns out when you have a job you’re interested in, and one that requires your full attention and more, your time for cooking, let alone photographing food and writing recipes shrinks. Rather considerably. Don’t get me wrong, I love working out which glasses Corton-Charlemagne should be served in as much as the next person (Chardonnay glasses because it’s white, unlike Corton, which is always red) but it means that other pursuits get squeezed and thus, unable to devote as much attention to this little space as I would like, I am taking a break. Not a permanent one I hope; just until the New Year for now, to allow me time to settle into my new job, devote myself fully to all the additional training and learning required and generally recentre. This is not to say that my cooking adventures will cease. Far from it; with an exciting career move into an area that occupies much of my waking thoughts (namely food and wine) I am surrounded by new sources of inspiration at work, not least a ridiculously skilled kitchen team who work wonders on humble ingredients. I aim to continue stretching myself in the kitchen and hope to return in the new Olympic year with plenty of new recipes, photos and, I suspect, kitchen disaster stories to tell. For now, I leave you with a beautiful seasonal bridging recipe, one that combines the end of the (Indian) summer’s fruits and herbs, with autumn’s bubbling and baked goods into one amazing dish that tastes of mini Cheddars. And if that doesn’t sell it to you, frankly, you’re just weird.
Adapted lightly from Lottie and Doof
1 large white onion, sliced into strips
500g cherry or other tomatoes, halved or chopped into chunks
2 clove garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons basil leaves, roughly torn
1 teaspoon crushed red chillies
2 tablespoons light olive oil
1 cup gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup grated cheddar
1/4 cup grated parmesan
150ml single cream
More cheese for sprinkling on top
1. Preheat the oven to 180 C. In a small baking dish put the sliced onion, tomatoes, garlic and basil. Sprinkle with the crushed chillies, some salt and black pepper, and drizzle with the olive oil.
2. To make the topping, stir the gluten-free flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt together in a bowl. Chop the butter into small chunks and rub into the flour mixture with your fingertips, until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the cheddar and parmesan, and most of the cream, then bring together with a fork. Add the rest of the cream, or enough to make a sticky, but not runny, mixture.
3. Spoon this mixture on top of the tomatoes and onions in big dollops, leaving a small space in the centre of the cobble for steam to escape. Flatten any obvious peaks in the topping, so they don’t burn, then sprinkle more parmesan on top. Then transfer the dish to the oven to bake for 45-50 minutes, or until browned on top, and tomato juice can be seen bubbling at the sides.
4. Remove from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes, and serve with a green salad and reminiscences of summer.
There seems to be some kind of battle raging between autumn and winter currently. Winter dawns with crisp, frosty mornings, a light fog settled over the country and steam rising from every surface, confident of its victory over autumn. Next day autumn returns with a vengeance, gales and storms, wind and rain battering the country proving it’s not over yet, before snow falls in the Highlands, as if to make a point. While they sort out their differences outside (personally, my money’s on winter to win this fight) I could do with some kind of pick me up in the food department.
Apt though the flavours of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and clove are at this time of year, “warming” cakes and hearty soups do tend to get old after a while, so I thought I’d intersperse them with something a little different, a little fresher, a bit more summery. This tastes almost Mediterranean, with the tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil, yet the ginger adds an essential, yes, warmth, which makes it totally fitting for an autumn/winter’s evening. I ignored the suggestion to serve it with bread and instead spooned it over creamy mashed potato so the juices soaked into the potato; it was a good combination. Warming, filling but with a scent of summer days lurking underneath.
1 medium white onion
2 cloves of garlic
1-inch piece of ginger, grated
1 tablespoon Thai basil, finely chopped
1 cup cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine
Salt and pepper
4 chicken thighs, boned and chopped in half
1. Preheat the oven to 200 C.
2. Chop the onion and place in the bottom of an ovenproof baking dish. Add the minced garlic, ginger, basil, tomatoes, olive oil, white wine and salt and pepper. Mix everything together well.
3. Place the chopped chicken thighs in the middle of the vegetable mixture, nestling them amongst the veggies and spooning some of the liquid over the top of them. Cook in the oven for 40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
Makes 2 large, or 3 small portions, when served with mash or big chunks of bread.