Briam – Greek roasted vegetables

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IMG_9325This is a Greek summertime favorite recipe. Crispy and fluffy potatoes, sweet, flavourful aubergines and juicy courgettes garnished with fresh herbs form an amazing vegetarian dish full of Mediterranean flavours.  The vegetables are coated with olive oil, flavoured with sweet onions and garlic and then baked to perfection.  You can even serve it hot or cold.  This popular dish is traditionally eaten with feta, but it’s also delicious with pork or lamb. Simply delicious!

Serves 8

Ingredients:

  • 150 ml / 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large aubergine , halved length-ways, then thickly sliced
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 600g / 1.3 lbs potatoes, peeled and cut into 5mm / 1/4″ -thick slices
  • 6 medium tomatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • 4 courgettes, sliced
  • 300g / 10oz tomato passata (strained tomato sauce)
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp flat-leaf parsley , finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 200°C /400°
Heat some olive oil in a sauté pan over a medium heat
Add the onion and garlic to the pan and sauté for 5 minutes, until softened
In a large ovenproof dish spread the potatoes out in a single layer
Season with salt and pepper
Layer on the aubergines, courgettes, tomatoes
Add the onions and garlic
Pour the passata over the top, followed by the olive oil
Sprinkle with oregano and parsley and season generously with sea salt and ground black pepper
Cover the roasting tin tightly with foil and bake for approximately 30 minutes
Remove the foil and bake another 30 minutes or until the top has browned and vegetables are tender
Allow to cool slightly before serving
Enjoy!
If the vegetables have released a lot of juices, carefully pour them off into a wide pan and boil rapidly until nicely concentrated in flavour.

Pour back over the vegetables and leave to cool slightly before serving.

 

Strawberries in red wine with mascarpone cream

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Fresh strawberries do not need much dressing up but these take on another flavour dimension in this incredibly simple yet elegant French dessert.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

400 g / 3/4 lb small strawberries, hulled and halved (if large)
250 ml / 1 cup dry red wine, I used a Merlot
50 g / 1/4 cup sugar
180 ml / 3/4 cup heavy cream
120 ml / 1/2 cup mascarpone
2 vanilla beans, split, seeds scraped out and reserved
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Preparation:

Place the strawberries in a large bowl and pour the wine over them
Sprinkle in the sugar and stir
Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours but not more than 12
Remove from refrigerator just before serving
In another bowl, whisk the cream, mascarpone, vanilla seeds and confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form
Spoon some cream into each bowl and top with the strawberries and wine
Enjoy!

 

Parmesan sablés

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IMG_3024These savoury biscuits are crisp, delicate, buttery and oh-so-cheesy! They are perfect for snacking on, especially as party nibbles and apèro snacks.

Makes about 24

Ingredients:

150g / 11 tablespoons salted butter, soft but not melted
150g / 1 1/4 cup flour
150g / 1 cup finely grated Parmesan
4 sprigs fresh thyme
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 180C / 360F
In a large bowl mix the flour, butter cut into small pieces and Parmesan
Add the thyme leaves
Add the egg and mix with your finger tips until all comes together
Remove the dough and form it into a ball
Place it in between 2 pieces of baking parchment
Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to about 5mm / 1/2″
Place on a tray and chill for 1 hour
The dough can be frozen at this point until ready to use
Line a baking tray with baking parchment
Unwrap the dough and using a cookie cutter, cut out circles
Arrange slices on the baking tray and bake for 12-15 minutes or until lightly golden
Transfer the biscuits to a wire rack to cool
Store in an airtight container until ready to serve
Enjoy!