Tomato Bruschetta (summer on toast)

Anna May everyday Tomato bruschetta

Is this the taste of Summer?  I think it might be.  It is also one of the simplest and most rewarding.  All you need is a loaf of sourdough (or similar), a pile of tip top, super ripe, full of sun juicy tomatoes, some really good olive oil, garlic and a few herbs if you have them.

My family love these and we eat them several times a week when the tomatoes are on top form.  I toast the bread, chop the tomatoes and then set up a production line – a plate full of these bruschetta are always greeted with delight and never hang around.

I urge you to make these.  The toms in my garden are still a little small and green but the ones at my local farm shop are perfect right now (Washingpool Farm Shop in case you are near the coast on the Dorset/Devon border this summer, superb shop and worth a visit).

Surprisingly these also work for a picnic, just toast the bread at home and then take the tomato mixture in a tub.  When you get where you are going rub some garlic over the toasts (undressed sourdough stays crispy for ages) then top with tomatoes and drizzle with a little of the oil.  Tuck in with your toes in the grass or better still the sand and remind yourself what summer tastes like.

Anna May everyday Tomatoes

Tomato Bruschetta

It is difficult to be exact as I don’t know the size of your sourdough but this is a guide.  This amount would serve 4 with drinks before lunch or dinner but I bet they will want more.

1/2 loaf sourdough

Tomatoes, around 300g

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 clove of garlic peeled and halved

A splash of red wine vinegar

Pinch of salt

Fresh marjoram or basil of you have some to hand

Slice and toast the sourdough.  Finely chop the tomatoes and put in a bowl with the oil, vinegar, a pinch of sea salt and some black pepper if you like, stir.  Rub the toasts with a cut side of garlic, top with the tomato mixture.  Pour over any remaining oil and sprinkle with the herbs.

 

Ginger Cake

Anna May everyday ginger cake sliced

This cake has been to the beach (several times), to the cricket and to London.  Not the same cake of course, what I mean is that I make it often as it is always goes down well and travels happily (useful when it is hot and sunny).  It is heady and spicy with the ginger, rich and slightly damp (in a good way) and keeps well.  At least I think it keeps well, it never has the chance with us.  Children love it despite (or because of ) the gingery heat and the current record holder is George with 4 slices in one sitting.

To make it is the matter of minutes, some melting, weighing and mixing and then it sits happily in the oven for an hour.  This is the cake I mentioned in Summer Lunch (Part 1) as it is perfect for a picnic.  However,  should the weather disappoint it makes a fabulous pudding and, with the addition of a quick butterscotch sauce and some vanilla ice cream becomes the thing of dreams.

Anna May everyday Ginger cake whole

Ginger Cake

110g butter

110g brown sugar

110g golden syrup

1 egg

Pinch of salt

175g plain flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 tablespoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

150ml milk

Preheat the oven to 140 and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.  Melt the butter, brown sugar and golden syrup in a small pan.  Measure the flour, cinnamon and ginger into a large bowl.  Add the butter mixture to the flour and beat well until combined and put the milk into the pan to warm. Beat the egg into the mixture then put the bicarb into the warmed milk and then add this to the batter.  It will seem rather liquid but don’t be alarmed.  Pour into the prepared tin and bake in the middle of the oven for an hour or until a cake tester comes out clean.  Leave to cool.

Anna May everyday Gingier cake Minty 1

 

 

Fresh Herb Sauce

Anna May everyday Iced tea Grenita-3

I cannot rave enough about this sauce – it is simply beyond useful and thoroughly delicious.

We have it with grilled or roast chicken and I wouldn’t contemplate a barbecue without it.  Smoky charred chicken wrapped in a soft flatbread with this fresh herby sauce is a lunch supreme (see Summer Lunch Part 1 last week).  With roast lamb I add mint to the parsley base and it becomes a modern twist on a traditional mint sauce.  With some marjoram or oregano and a pinch of chilli flakes it is the perfect accompaniment to a steak which makes sense as it is a simplified version of an Argentinian chimmichurri.

You can fiddle around with the ingredients to suit your taste, change the herbs as suggested above, add more garlic (or less), substitute lemon juice for the vinegar if you prefer.  Really it  is up to you, the only thing I would urge is that you try it.

Green Herb Sauce

1 bunch parsley (around 30-40 grams)

6 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon sugar

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional)

Put all the ingredients into a jug and blend with a hand held blender.  Alternatively blend in a liquidiser.  Taste and adjust, you may need a splash more vinegar or a pinch more salt or sugar.  Enough for 4.

 

Iced Tea Granita

Anna May everyday Iced tea Grenita-2

 

It is not a secret that I love a granita – they are easy to make, refreshing and delicious.  My first foray into granitas was a gin and tonic version which was an absolute belter to serve after a curry.  You may remember my blood orange granita earlier this year which was just fabulous, the citrus  flavour singing out and the colour simply beautiful.  Seasonal that one though, which is both good news and bad.

This granita however you can enjoy any time of the year.  Iced tea is something I rarely drink here but have enjoyed in America where it is on most menus.  I rustled up this granita one day and entered it into one of Food52’s weekly recipe competitions (www.food52.com).  Well, blow me down, not only was it selected as one of the Community Picks in iced deserts which is a great honour, it has also been viewed over 1,000 times.  Woo hoo I think the expression is.

All this excitement aside, it is a great pud on a hot day and one you can make a couple of days ahead and keep in the freezer.  I am willing to bet you will have the ingredients anyway and if not it is cheap as chips to make.  Serve in little glasses, the glorious amber crystals deserve to be shown off.

Iced Tea Granita

I use Yorkshire Tea for this as it is my every day tea (being a Yorkshire lass).  The flavour and balance is spot on and makes this granita exactly how I like it.

250ml freshly made tea, cooled

2 tablespoons lemon juice

40g caster sugar

Dissolve the sugar in the lemon juice over a low heat then mix with the tea.  Strain into a shallow container with a lid.  Freeze for 3 hours and then mix well,  breaking up the frozen crystals around the edges and mixing them with the slushy centre.   Freeze for an additional 2 hours and then mix again.  Repeat.  When ready to serve, scratch up the granita with a fork and serve in small glasses.  If you have made this ahead and it has frozen solid take it out of the freezer about 30 minutes before you want to serve.  This would do 4 small glasses but can easily be doubled.

Note – if you want to make an orange version similar to the Blood Orange Granita (February 2012) I would use ordinary oranges and add the juice of a lime for that extra zing.

Summer Lunch, home or away (Part 1)

Anna May everyday kebab lunch

So, here we go, the season for eating outside, barbecues and picnics is upon us.  If the  weather would oblige that is.  We need things to eat that work inside, cooked in the garden or taken on a picnic without having to completely revise the menu or shopping list if the weather turns against us.  Here’s what we have.

First, lovely juicy chicken kebabs which can be grilled or griddled at home or barbequed outside.  A bulghar wheat and roasted veg salad with a punchy dressing is easily transported in a tub and put into pitas, wraps or rolls along with chicken, some herby green sauce and garlicky  yogurt.  Then, a sticky ginger cake is easy to take out and about or can be transformed at home into a glorious rich pudding with the addition of a quick butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream.

Anna May everyday kebab plate

I would marinade the chicken on Friday when the nippers are at school (it is the work of minutes), make the cake and roast the vegetables for the salad then too.  On Saturday make the flatbreads if you are homebound and have time on your hands and children to entertain or buy wraps and get on out there.

The above is not a lot to transport but along with some chilled grapes and drinks for the children and icy cold wine for you makes an absolute feast.

Chicken Kebabs

4 Chicken breasts, skin off and cubed

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 lemons juiced

3 cloves garlic crushed

Sprig of rosemary and/or thyme

Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)

Give everything a good mix and put in a bag, I use those ziplock ones, or a bowl and cover with cling film.  Put it in the fridge for a couple of hours or overnight.  Thread onto skewers (remember to soak them if they are wood so they don’t catch fire) and then cook on your barbecue or under the grill until cooked through.  Season with salt then wrap in a flat bread or put in a pitta, add the sauces suggested below and tuck in.

To serve, flatbreads or pitta, garlicky yogurt (see Lamb Meatballs October 2012), rocket, fresh herbs (we like marjoram/oregano and mint), fresh herb sauce (recipe to follow) and chilli sauce, phew.

Anna May everyday Minty ginger cake

Here is the Ginger Cake out and about, I will post the recipe later in the week.