Panzanella

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We have said before that the Southern Italians can make what they have go a long way, and this dish is ideal for using up stale bread and slightly soft tomatoes.

Dawn: Just as we have the kitchen back up and running, here we have a no cook recipe.

Andrew: It is just ideal for the warmer weather, quite filling on its own, but excellent in a large bowl with a barbecue.

Dawn: And the longer you leave it before serving, the more the flavour develops.

Ingredients

Serves 4

100-200g day old bread, unsliced

300-400g tomatoes (any size or variety)

One red onion

2 tsp of capers

A handful of black olives

One tin of anchovies (optional)

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

1/2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and black pepper to season

Method

  • Roughly tear the bread into bite size pieces. No need for ceremony here, as this is a rustic dish where presentation isn’t the key issue.
  • Chop the tomatoes into different sized pieces. We have made this with a large beefsteak variety, some plum and vine tomatoes and a few cherry ones, for variety in colour and texture.
  • Place the bread and tomatoes in a salad bowl and mix well.
  • Add the capers, olives and anchovies to the bowl, then sprinkle on the vinegar and drizzle over the olive oil.
  • Mix well to allow the oil and vinegar to coat everything. They will moisten the bread, as will the juices from the tomatoes.
  • Season well, and serve when ready.

Andrew: There are no limits to this dish. A few cloves of roasted garlic, slices of roasted pepper and courgette can be added too.

Dawn: A few basil leaves, and a crumbly white cheese like feta might add to the colour and flavour too.

Andrew: Fantastic!

For more tips and recipes keep following our blog forfoodlovers.wordpress.com, Facebook and our Twitter feed @Love_Food_UK  for ideas and ways to make your food go further.

Aubergine and Hot Chicken Salad

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Here is another of our salad stable! A great way to use up ingredients and keep healthy, too.

Andrew: There are similarities to the spicy chicken salad here.

Dawn: With a more Mediterranean touch, too.

Andrew: We have used the giant garlic croutons, again.

Dawn: Those would be excellent in a soup!

Ingredients

Serves 2

1 day old ciabatta roll (or any day old stale bread)

1 garlic clove

1 chicken breasts cut into 1 cm pieces

1 aubergine cut into 1 cm cubes

1 tsp chilli flakes (optional)

A handful of spinach

1 fresh vine tomato

A few sun dried tomatoes, sliced

A handful of pitted black olives

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

Method

  • First make your giant croutons. Slice the ciabatta into 1 cm slices, cut the garlic in half and rub the cut side on both sides of the bread.
  • Fry these gently in a little olive oil until golden on both sides, and set aside.
  • In the same pan fry the chicken and aubergines, with the chilli flakes, until thoroughly cooked. You may need to add a little more oil, or if you want a healthier option, a spoonful or two of water.
  • Allow the aubergine to turn golden and soften up.
  • In your salad bowl, arrange the spinach, croutons and olives, then give a good stir with your fingers to mix everything up.
  • Slice the fresh tomato, and lay slices alternately with pieces of sun dried tomato.
  • Add the chicken, season with salt and pepper, and if you wish drizzle some of the oil from the sun dried tomatoes as dressing.

Andrew: This was superb served fresh!

Dawn: And equally as tasty the next day in a lunchbox!

Andrew: The garlic really infuses into the bread and aubergine, and develops its flavour into the next day.

Dawn: Great for busy bees!

For more handy hints and tasty treats, and actual alliteration, keep following forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and our Twitter feed @Love_Food_UK and on Facebook  Lovefood Forfoodlovers where it would be great to get more likes!

Simple Rustic Tomato Sauce

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This is one of the easiest and most economical dishes we know. It can be produced using store cupboard ingredients, and is incredibly flexible, served as a pasta sauce, on top of rice, as a pizza topping or as an alternative to ketchup with fish or steak.

Dawn: Is this another of your student specials?

Andrew: It is! By seeking out the discount ranges, a meal for four can be produced for about a pound! 

Dawn: A bargain!

Ingredients

Serves 2 as a pasta sauce

1 red or white onion, roughly chopped

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1 tsp dried basil

1 tsp chilli flakes

1 tin of tomatoes

Olive oil for frying

Method

  • Over a medium heat and in a little olive oil, cook the onion for 5 minutes until it turns translucent.
  • Add the garlic, chilli and basil and cook for a further minute.
  • Now pour in the tin of tomatoes and turn the heat to a low simmer.
  • Stirring occasionally, allow the sauce to thicken over half an hour or so. This will allow the flavours to develop and the sauce to turn a deep shade of red.
  • When cooked it can be served as warm with pasta, or allowed to cool it can be used as an accompaniment.

Dawn: Can we be flexible with the herbs and spices, too?

Andrew: We can. Whatever is to hand can be used. If we were Italian of course we would be using fresh ripe tomatoes!

Fabulous ideas abound at https://forfoodlovers.wordpress.com and the Twitter account @Love_Food_UK as well as our Facebook and Mumsnet links.