Sunday, 24 June 2012

Peperonata pasta salad

I originally made this as a cooked meal, but was so hot and frazzled the other day that I couldn't face standing around a cooker. In my opinion it actually made a better salad, with fresher flavours, more juice and more filling. I even had some left over for lunch the next day.

Peperonata pasta salad 

Serves 2-3

Takes 20 minutes

2 sweet peppers (I usually use one yellow and one orange)

2 large 'beef' tomatoes

Half a red onion

A handful of kalamata olives each

100g crumbly salad cheese

170g brown spaghetti

A handful of torn fresh basil leaves

Olive oil and vinegar for seasoning

* Put some water on to boil for the pasta and slice the peppers and onion into very thin slices. Slice the tomato as finely as you can, but don't get rid of any juicy bits. Slice the cheese into small chunks and prepare the basil leaves.

* Once the water is boiling, drop the pasta in and cook as per instructions (mine said boil for 9-10 minutes).

* Put all the other ingredients into a bowl and toss with a little of the oil and vinegar (don't forget the olives!)

* When the pasta is cooked, drain and either add to the bowl and drizzle with the rest of the oil and vinegar or leave to cool a bit first. Toss in with the rest of the ingredients and serve.

This doesn't need anything else with it as the pasta and raw veg are really quite filling.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Nectarine and goat's cheese tart

This was supposed to be made with figs, not nectarines, but my local supermarket is quite tempremental when it comes to fruit and vegetable stock. Nectarines actually worked quite well, and we not nearly as sweet as you'd think. There's a lot of contrasting flavours in here and it packs quite a punch. Best served with boiled potatoes (I sprinkled mine with some fresh thyme) and baby spinach salad leaves. This is just so easy to make and it looks great. Not the lightest meal in the world though.

Nectarine and goat's cheese tart

Serves 2

Takes 30 minutes if you're snappy with your timing

1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry or around 220g cut off of a block

125g soft goat's cheese

2 nectarines

A jar of ready made olive tapenade (black is best)

A handful of cherry tomatoes, around 10 will do

Beaten egg or milk to brush over the pastry - optional. I'm too lazy.

* Preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan) and roll out the puff pastry, if needed.

* Score the edges of the pastry to form a crust, then spread a couple of tablespoons of tapenade inside the filling area.

* Slice the nectarines and arrange onto the tapenade.

* Crumble the goat's cheese into any bare areas, then plop the tomatoes down where you can.

* If you wish, brush the crust with egg/milk, which will make the pastry nice and golden and crisp when it rises.

* Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes - it's really best to keep an eye on it here. There's a fine line between well cooked puff pastry and burnt puff pastry!