Roasted Vegetable Terrine

Roasted Vegetable Terrine

Roasted Vegetable Terrine

Roasted Vegetable Terrine

I’ve never attempted a ‘terrine’ before. I like the look of all the layers of colourful vegetables and have seen it being done on cookery programmes so decided to give it a whirl as part of a Mother’s Day lunch…

I loosely based it on this recipe  for Roasted Vegetable and Goats Cheese Terrine but my mum isn’t keen on goats cheese so I went for mozzarella instead. I also went to town when buying vegetables so used ALOT of different ones. In hindsight it is probably better to stick to a few vegetables that you can repeat the layers with, less time consuming to prepare and allowing the flavours to shine through individually too…

I pretty much spent three hours individually roasting the slices of vegetables and pan frying some. I seasoned with salt and pepper as I went along and added extra flavour by using a layer of sun-dried tomato paste in the middle. You can use whatever takes your fancy! 🙂

So this is how it was constructed:

Vegetable Terrine- Aubergine Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Aubergine Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Sweet Potato Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Sweet Potato Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Sweet Potato Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Sweet Potato Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Red Pepper Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Red Pepper Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Mozzarella Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Mozzarella Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Sundried Tomato Paste Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Sun-dried Tomato Paste Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Portabello Mushroom Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Portabello Mushroom Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Courgette Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Courgette Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Artichoke Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Artichoke Layer

Vegetable Terrine-  Asparagus Layer

Vegetable Terrine- Asparagus Layer

Vegetable Terrine-  Final layer!

Vegetable Terrine- Final layer!

Vegetable Terrine-  Ready for the fridge

Vegetable Terrine- Ready for the fridge

 

The terrine needs to be made ahead so that it can be kept in the fridge for at least 8 hours to allow the flavours to infuse. I put a heavy bottle on top to squash the layers down so that the terrine holds it shape on turning it out.

Vegetable Terrine - The result!

Vegetable Terrine – The result!

I served the terrine with rosemary and garlic roasted chicken, garlic hassle-back potatoes, red cabbage coleslaw and ‘no knead’ oatmeal bread- all home made!

Roasted Vegetable Terrine, Roast Chicken, Hassel-back potatoes, Red cabbage coleslaw

Roasted Vegetable Terrine, Roast Chicken, Hassel-back potatoes, Red cabbage coleslaw

The different colours and layers looked great but did fall apart a little on cutting. The flavours worked well together, but I’d use more sun-dried tomato paste and cheese next time and fewer different types of vegetables… worth the effort for a special occasion! 😀

 

 

 

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Goats Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Tart

Goats Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Tart

Goats Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomato and Pesto Tart

This was a quick last minute starter made for a casual dinner with friends. I has originally planned to make some soup but missed a vital ingredient off the shopping list. After a quick scout around the fridge and freezer I found some puff pastry and goats cheese, so the beginnings of the tart were born!

I made some basil pesto with half a bunch of left over basil, some toasted pine nuts and olive oil (no parmesan as I had none!). All were blitzed in the blender with a little salt and pepper to taste.

Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto

To assemble: Roll out the puff pastry onto a baking sheet (I didn’t line mine so it stuck a little, best learn from my mistakes!) then spread the pesto thinly onto the pastry leaving about 1cm border around the edge. Then add the toppings, I used goats cheese and sun-dried tomatoes with some extra pine nuts scattered over.

To bake: Stick it in a hot oven for 15 minutes but keep an eye on it after 10 minutes.

To serve: Cut up into slices and serve with salad (I halved some cucumber slices and cherry tomatoes and dressed them with left over pesto)

Et voila! A quick and easy starter enjoyed by adults and kids alike…

Ciabatta: Learning how to work with sour dough

Ciabatta: Second attempt

Ciabatta: Third attempt

Bread is a staple food in our household. We go through mountains of store bought wholemeal pita bread because its is tasty and easy to throw in the toaster straight from the freezer! Pita is great for scooping up whichever curry or stew has been made for a mid-week dinner. One day I want to try and make my own pita bread…

After a recent trip to abroad, my partner came home asking me to make some ciabatta as he had really enjoyed the bread whilst away. I’ve never tried to make a sour dough bread before. It’s always seemed a big challenge as the ‘starter’ takes at least 7 to 10 days to get going before it can be used. A few years ago I went on a bread making workshop for beginners and learnt about the science behind the craft. Sour dough breads were mentioned and some of the more experienced students were sharing stories about ‘feeding’ their starter. It was all a bit scary sounding so I put it to the back of my baking mind.

When looking up ciabatta recipes, I found that it was made with a similar ‘starter’ called ‘biga’ that only needed to be made the night before so using this recipe I set about on this new challenge! While researching ciabatta recipes I also found out that the meaning in Italian is ‘slipper bread’ because it looks like an old man’s slipper!

Ciabbatta: one with sun-dried tomatoes and mixed herbs

Ciabatta: one with sun-dried tomatoes and mixed herbs

Ciabatta

Ciabatta

When making these loaves the dough was so wet that it wouldn’t hold a shape so I resorted to using cake loaf tins to bake them in, hence the different shapes and sizes! I added some sun-dried tomatoes and mixed herbs to add flavour to one loaf, which proved worthwhile as the flavour was delicious!

During my second attempt at this recipe I managed to get the consistency of the dough much better as they could be baked ‘free form’, however I’ve forgotten to take pictures!

For my third attempt at ciabatta, I found that the taste and the bread didn’t have the characteristic big holes in the middle as in previous attempts. This may be because I used a different recipe or it could be because it’s freezing cold in Manchester these days, and may too cold for the biga so it may have just been dormant overnight. The depth of flavour wasn’t there and though the dough was very bubbly when proving. Next time I want to try and make it from whole meal flour!

Compared to standard home made bread (baked in a bread machine) the taste of ciabatta is far superior. However remembering to do the ‘biga’ the night before is still a challenge for me so this will have to be a weekend bread to make when I have more time and don’t have a 6am start!

Ciabatta: Second attempt

Ciabatta: Third attempt

 

Goats cheese, Caramelized onion, Spinach, Sun-dried tomato, and Pine nut tart

Caramelized onion, Goats cheese, Spinach, Sun dried tomato, and pine nut tart

Caramelized onion, Goats cheese, Spinach, Sun dried tomato, and pine nut tart

I often start cooking and get a little carried away with the different flavour combinations. This tart is one of many examples of such cooking exploits. This started off as a goats cheese and caramelised onion tart but then I also wanted a feta and spinach tart. The end result is a layered Caramelized onion, Goats cheese, Spinach, Sun dried tomato, and pine nut tart.

Caramelized onion, Goats cheese, Spinach, Sun dried tomato, and pine nut tart

Caramelized onion, Goats cheese, Spinach and Sun dried tomato tart

  I didn’t actually follow a recipe, so don’t have one to share! Here’s the basic steps I took: 1) make caramelized onions 2) make bechamel sauce and add some frozen spinach 3) part bake pastry case 4) layer on the onions, then the spinach bechamel sauce 5) crumble over the goats cheese then chopped up sun-dried tomatoes 6) half way through baking add pine nuts and freshly ground black pepper I used shop bought short crust pastry (it is mid-week after all!) but sprinkled on cumin seeds and rolled them into the dough before pressing the pastry into the tin. The end result was a lovely crisp, fragrant, pastry edged tart. However all the moisture from the filling meant the base remained wet. Anyone who is a massive fan of baking (like me) will know of Mary Berry, she’s more recently better known for being a judge on ‘The Great British Bake Off’. Whenever I bake now, I always wonder what Mary would think of it. On this occasion she would say ‘good flavour combination, just a shame about the soggy bottom!’ Sorry Mary! Lesson learned: cumin seeds in pastry is delicious! Second lesson learned: self restraint, every so often, is worth observing…

 

Emergency Saturday Breakfast: Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto Muffins

Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto Muffins

Breakfast should be the most important meal of the day. My weekday breakfasts usually consists of a banana with a cup of tea at my desk while reading my emails, so I really look forward to my Saturday late-morning breakfasts!

In the UK, 7.2 tonnes of food is wasted each year. Love Food, Hate Waste estimates that this costs £12bn per year. Unimaginable in the developing world… So in my efforts to waste less food, and save money, I try to shop a couple of times a week and buy enough food for a few meals. However as life gets pretty busy, tiredness takes over and that trip to the supermarket on the way home from work is just far too much effort!

On a regular basis this results in my partner telling me on a Saturday morning that there is nothing for breakfast then looking at me expectantly. The last thing we both want to do is leave the house to pick up food from the local convenience store, so a quick rummage through cupboard stores and the fridge, coupled with a little imagination usually results in breakfast of some description. Today this was Feta, Sun-dried Tomato and Pesto Muffins. As long as there is 1 egg, oil and flour then savoury muffins are easily made with any kind of filling. So this is when the fridge raiding comes in!

Finding a block of feta cheese, I took inspiration from this recipe for Sundried tomato, Feta and Herb Muffins and adapted the recipe for what ingredients I had. There was only a drop of milk left in the bottle, so I used natural yoghurt instead.  I used half a block of feta as there was no Cheddar. I also found a little sun-dried tomato pesto and put the rest of the jar in (about 3 tsp) so skipped the herbs.  I had to add some extra flour as the batter was quite runny. Luckily I could save the milk for my essential morning cup of tea.  20 minutes later, breakfast was ready!

The sun-dried tomato pesto gave the muffins a lovely colour and loads of extra flavour. I think the yoghurt added richness and helped to keep the muffins lovely and moist, so I will keep using yoghurt in place of milk from now on. I’ve made savoury muffins for many emergency Saturday breakfasts and these have been the tastiest by far!

Feta, Sun-dried tomato and Pesto Muffins

Feta, Sun-dried tomato and Pesto Muffins