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Miguel de Cervantes

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Entries in basil (7)

Sunday
Oct092016

Marcello's margherita pizza

This recipe from Marcello Basini, trader at Borough Market, is probably the closest you'll get to a proper pizza at home. A domestic oven is never going to give you the crisp base you get from a wood fired oven, but Marcello has some great tips to help you get as close as possible. This recipe first appeared on the Borough Market website as part of my series, I Am What I Eat, where I interview Borough Market traders about the foods that are important to them and why. 

“If it’s a good pizza, I like it simple,” says Marcello Basini of Jumi Cheese. “As an Italian my favourite is the margherita.” Marcello uses a ‘mother’ or ‘starter’ for his pizza dough, but as most people are unlikely to have that to hand, I’ve given the option of using yeast as well.

He makes his dough the night before, then knocks it back in the morning and leaves it to rise again until the evening. You can get away with letting it rise for 2 hours first time, knocking it back and then letting it rise again for another 30 mins, but the longer it proves, the better.

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Monday
Dec292014

Christmas fare and a recipe for beurre blanc

A belated Merry Christmas to you all! I am just awaking, bleary eyed and pot bellied, from a food coma.

My sister and I spent Christmas with our dear friend Chrissie and her family in Cambridge. Chrissie makes a fantastic roast and was responsible for convincing me a few years back that turkey doesn’t have to be a dry and dull affair when treated correctly. Still, I was very excited to discover a few weeks ago that we’d be having crown of pork instead; I’d choose fatty, juicy pork and crispy crackling over turkey any day.

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Friday
Sep062013

Heritage tomato salad

A few weeks ago we hosted a BBQ and moonlit cinema in Jenny’s magic garden*. It was magical.

My contribution to the feast was two salads, a fig and goats’ cheese salad and this heritage tomato salad. I was working on Borough market during the day and I couldn’t walk past this colourful and vibrant array of tomatoes: 

This salad is so simple it doesn’t really warrant a recipe. It is all about the tomatoes, with minimal interference from other extras. If you want to keep things really simple you could skip the Dijon and onion.

I used sherry vinegar, cause it is my current favourite, but I also like balsamic or red wine vinegar. What’s your favourite? Use that.

I recommend tossing the onions and tomatoes together half an hour before you dress the salad as it gives the tomatoes a great flavour.

It was a pity that it was dark by the time I served it because half the fun is seeing all the different shapes and colours. This photo doesn't really do it justice:

I made this salad for 12 people as a side. I have halved the quantity here, so this recipe should serve 4 as a starter or 6 as a side dish.

Ingredients

750g heritage tomatoes
½ small red onion
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
2 tbsp sherry vinegar, or to taste
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Handful basil, roughly chopped

Method

Side salad

Chop or slice the tomatoes into whatever shape you fancy. Slice the onion into thin, half moons. Toss them together in a large bowl. Cover and leave for half an hour.

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon, salt and pepper in a bowl. Pour the dressing over the salad, add the basil and toss together. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary.

Starter

Slice the tomatoes into full circles. Arrange it on 4 plates in concentric circles. Slice the onion into thin, half moons and sprinkle the onions over the top. Cover with clingfilm and leave for half an hour.

Whisk the olive oil, vinegar, Dijon, salt and pepper in a bowl. Drizzle the dressing over the salads just before serving and sprinkle the basil over the top. 

* My flatmate Jenny does the gardening at our house. She makes it look so pretty and colourful, it’s enchanting. One of our friends,  Fran, crowned it the magic garden. He’d been zoning out in a deckchair for an hour or so when he finally came to and declared, “Jen, your garden’s like magic, innit!” It is.

Thursday
Sep302010

Uova in purgatorio (eggs in purgatory), for one of those days

 
I’m tired. I started the day with a hangover, remedied temporarily by a bacon butty and coffee at 8:15am. At 11:30 when the caffeine buzz was wearing thin, I went in search of a Coke Zero. I ended up eating my lunch at the same time, so I had already consumed a large tub of spaghetti carbonara by the time the clock struck 12. The afternoon wore on and by 5 to 5 I was packed and ready to go. 
 
I had to do the grocery shopping tonight, having bypassed it last night in favour of beer. Had everything gone to plan, I should have been in and out of the supermarket by 6pm, but my bus route was diverted and I ended up having to walk there. As a result, I did I not arrive at the supermarket until 6pm and by this time I was very hungry again. I know it's dangerous to shop on an empty stomach, so I headed straight to the deli counter for a sausage roll, which was suitably disgusting and did the job.
 
By the time I got home, I was in no mood for cooking, or eating for that matter (the 24% pork meat was congealing in my stomach with the 76% of God knows what else was in the sausage roll). But the boyfriend was hungry and he had picked me up from Sainsbury’s, so I felt I ought to make something.

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Thursday
Aug192010

"The tart" inspired by Elizabeth Hodder's Tomato, onion and goat's cheese tart

On Saturday I put up a recipe for shortcrust pastry from my friend Lizzie’s book, The Book of Old Tarts. That post was really just a preamble to this most important of recipes. It is not just any old tart, it is the tart, or so it has come to be known in my household. Indeed for a long time it was the only tart I ever made, because although I was very tempted by other recipes, it was just so damn tasty I could not think of any reason to make something new. My sister loves it so much that she would brag about it to all her friends, but not a single one ever got to try it because I was not allowed to make it for guests; the tart was not for sharing.

Until this week, I had only made the original recipe once and I now feel rather guilty for having written it off so quickly. The first time I made Lizzie’s recipe I found it a little bland; this is probably because I did not season it well enough, but also because at the time I was a teenager with little appreciation for the less is more approach to cooking. Having made the original recipe for a second time, I can now appreciate that its simplicity is its most appealing quality, a perfect balance of flavours and textures. As Lizzie says in her introduction to the recipe,

Successful tomato recipes are those where the distinctive taste of the fruit surmounts the other flavours. I think this tart succeeds in this, but partly through its soft texture.

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