This leek recipe is excellent as a side dish to a roast, or with fish. Although leeks can be a bit stringy it’s worth it as the flavours of the leeks roasted with the parmesan, garlic and bread crumbs is delicious and leeks and Parmesan according to anti ageing doctors I have been reading about claim they boost your bodies own collagen production which helps reduce wrinkles…who knows but it’s delicious anyway.
This take on what is essentially a classic of mushrooms on toast with soft boiled eggs is deliciously flavoured with allspice and coriander seeds so it tastes much more Mediterranean or Middle Eastern. The mushrooms once cooked create their own unctuous sauce which you spoon over the crunchy bread and then you have the creaminess from the eggs with the fresh herbs and a squeeze of lemon to finish it off. It’s delicious I promise.
All the best food in one, Gatsby sandwiches are sandwiches with fries inside them also called chip butties here in England, however, this is a healthy version. So firstly you have char griddled bread, then a delicious avocado salad, then you garnish it with crunchy healthy fries. As all my girlfriends say, my kind of food. It covers all bases, sweet and savoury, crunchy and smooth. It’s a healthy tasty snack, starter or light meal. May I suggest only one for a starter as they are quite filling. An open sandwich taken to another level.
Tartines are open sandwiches on bread, Tartine means open faced sandwich in French. They usually are a really delicious combo of crunchy bread and fresh salad. I decided to make a Caesar salad version, so the crunchy bread base is there instead of the croutons. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Caesar salad or toasted bread for that matter. When I mention Caesar salad to people as a snack or meal suggestion they always jump at it, more than any other recipe! These tartines could be a great starter for a dinner party, or fantastic for dinner with my matchstick fries.
Beans make a smoother paler paste than chick peas, and I sometimes like that. I know versions of humus are everywhere. And bean humus can be served as an alternative to hummus and is a great healthy store cupboard standby. It’s also perfect if you are dairy free and want an alternative to butter that is healthy. They are now saying that margarines and damaged fats are really bad for you, so things like hummus are a much better and tasty alternative. I like to serve it with bread drizzled in a little olive oil, see my scorched bread recipe in the index, and dry fried in a frying pan till it’s got a slightly overdone crunchy chargrilled flavour with a nice thick layer of the bean humus and with salad and pine nuts on top. Its great with roast veg on it too or its fab with crudités or tortilla chips as a dip.
Toast is one of the best things ever. And this is one of the tastiest way of cooking bread and is so fantastic and crammed with flavour that when I gave it to Ralph to try he was as bowled over as I was. I like it even more than normal toast, which is, of course, a brilliant invention, but if you are going down the non-dairy route and you want your bread to be just as scrumptious as toast with butter, slices of bread roasted or scorched in a dry pan with a light spray of oil and a sprinkling of Maldon sea salt are ruddy marvellous. If you roast it, it becomes like a giant crunchy crouton, which can be the basis for a tartine or any breakfast where you have toast. (I have also put fried mushrooms on it as a starter) This is also a great way to make bread tasty without adding butter or margarine. So it’s perfect for dairy free and vegan diets. Go on try it, you will still like toast, but not as much.
I love peas and always have, and will always be excited if I know they are on the menu, and I try and find any excuse to put them in a recipe. I have wanted to make a pea bruschetta type scenario for ages, and now I have knocked one up for the blog. It’s a delicious mix of crunchy bread with the delicate pea mash and the flavours of the Parmesan and balsamic vinegar. Bloody delish and great as a canapé or starter or as a snack.
I know a nut loaf sounds retro, but this nut loaf is a bit more sophisticated than the nut loaves of old, it’s really scrumptious and hasn’t got a single lentil in it. It’s packed with the amazing flavours of porcini mushrooms, parmesan and cashew nuts and it’s got a great texture which comes from the shiitake mushrooms. It’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans at Thanksgiving and Christmas or any time there is a roast (It’s even delicious sliced cold from the fridge and put in a sandwich, with cranberry sauce and mayo)
Jo Fairly kindly wrote to me to say she has made a vegan version by replacing the eggs with 250ml of Bonsoy soya milk, instead of the eggs and the 150ml of milk, btw not ordinary plant based milk as it won’t work as well, and she swapped the parmesan for vegan parmesan which is now available in supermarkets or health food stores. I can’t wait to try it.
Serve it with my vegetarian gravy, which is also vegan, my cranberry sauce and the rest of the trimmings.
150g of dryish white bread crumbs
150ml of milk (or dairy free milk)
2 large eggs
30g of butter or olive oil plus a bit more for greasing the loaf tin
20g of dried porcini mushrooms (I get the cheaper porcini pieces in the supermarket) steeped in boiling water for 15 mins, drained and chopped
100g mushrooms chopped into small pieces (I use shiitake)
1 teaspoon of English mustard
1 teaspoon of grated nutmeg
2-3 teaspoons of Tabasco
1 egg white
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon of finely chopped fresh thyme
1 medium onion very finely chopped
2 medium celery sticks very finely chopped
Zest of one lemon
200g of chopped raw cashew nuts
100g chopped raw walnuts
1 large carrot finely grated
75g of Parmesan or vegan parmesan
A handful of polenta
Salt and pepper
1 large loaf tin, mine is approx for a one and a half pound loaf
This recipe is my favourite brunch. I love the combo of crunchy and creamy and sweet and savoury. But more interestingly, rosemary is, according to the centenarians in the Italian town of Acciaroli, the secret to a long life. They should know, they have 300 of them out of a population of 2000.
250g of baby plum tomatoes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons maple syrup
A small sprig of Rosemary
A small sprig of parsley very finely chopped
2 slices of sourdough bread
Salt and pepper to taste