Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Summer Meals

A query re sun-dried tomatoes. These I've seen used in many recipes such as adding them to bread dough when making a savoury loaf or a ciabatta. Or used as part of a pizza topping. They can also be whizzed in a blender to make a tomato puree (you can buy tomato puree made from sun-dried tomatoes).
Just think of sun-dried tomatoes as ordinary tomatoes which have been reduced by drying down and so have a more concentrated flavour, then you will be more inclined to add them chopped to salads where you might use ordinary tomatoes in tabbouleh for example).

Green and Red Timbale: serves 8 or more slices
2 lb (1kg) fresh spinach leaves
1 oz (25g) butter
1 onion, very finely chopped
1 tblsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
6 large eggs
6 fl.oz (175ml) single cream
2 oz (50g) Gruyere cheese, grated
2 oz (50g) Parmesan cheese, grated
salt and pepper to taste
Keep back about a dozen spinach leaves. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and cook gently until softened. Chop the remaining spinach, add this to the onions and cook until wilted. Stir in the chopped tomatoes.
Take a large bowl, add the eggs and beat well, then beat in the cream, the cheeses, the onion, and the spinach and tomato mixture, then season to taste.
Put the saved spinach leaves into boiling water for one minute only, drain and leave to cool. Grease a pie dish or loaf tin (approx 2 1/2 pint capacity/1.5 ltr) . Line with spinach leaves leaving surplus hanging over the sides. Fill with the beaten mixture then top with more leaves folding over the surplus. Place in a bain marie and bake for 50 minutes at 180C, 350F, gas 4 until firm to the touch. Leave to cool. When ready to serve, turn out onto a plate and cut into slices.

Mexican Rice: serves 4
2 tblsp olive oil
1 clove garlic
6 oz (175g) long grain rice
2 tblsp sun-dried tomatoes mashed to a paste
2 sprigs of fresh parsley
1 small onions, finely chopped
1 green chilli, deseeded and chopped
2 oz (5og) each, peas, sweetcorn, diced carrots
18 fl.oz (1/2 litre) of chicken stock
Put the oil in a large frying pan and fry the garlic clove until golden. Stir in the rice and cook until the oil has been absorbed. Remove the garlic. Add the tomato paste and cook/stir for one minute then add the rest of the ingredients. Stir then bring to the simmer, cover and cook for half an hour by which time all the liquid will have been absorbed.