Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

This is a very different kind of dish than just a salad and makes for a nice refreshing, quite light, starter. Works well when having pasta or pizza, but I often have it as a salad amongst a range of other salads.

It’s also really easy to make. Take a beef tomato, and slice into thin slices. Doing this makes you realise how important a really good sharp knife is in the kitchen. You can of course use other tomatoes, I quite like using small ones.

Having cut your tomato, now get some mozzarella. I do prefer buffalo milk mozzarella, but this is about twice the price of cow milk mozzarella. Slice the mozzarella into slices and place with the tomato on a plate. Drizzle with olive oil, white wine vinegar and then add some freshly ground black pepper.

Roasted Vegetables

Roasted Vegetables

I really do enjoy roasted vegetables either as a meal in itself or as an accompaniment to another dish.

On this platter I have roasted squash, red onions, red pepper, mushrooms, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergine, parsnips and sweet potato.

The method I used for this was in the roasting pan I placed the squash, the parsnips, red onion and sweet potato with a good splash of olive oil. This was then roasted in the oven for about 15 minutes. I then added the mushrooms, tomatoes, aubergine, courgette, red pepper and another splash of the olive oil. This was then roasted for about 15-20 minutes.

Simple and delicious.

Pasta with Tomato and Rosemary

Pasta in a tomato and rosemary sauce

This was a quick pasta dish I threw together recently which was enjoyed by all around the table.

I took some tricolour fusilli pasta, you know the one with plain, green (spinach) and red (tomato) pasta spirals. There I cooked in a large pan of boiling water.

MushroomsIn the meantime in a large frying pan I cooked some mushrooms. When they cooked I added the tomato sauce. For the bulk of the sauce I used a jar of Red Onion and Rosemary Pasta Sauce from Jamie Oliver. The rosemary was quite strong and certainly overpowered the tomato and I couldn’t distinguish any hint of red onion. Now I like rosemary, so I quite liked the sauce, but I can imagine that if you don’t then you wouldn’t, but you probably wouldn’t buy a jar like this anyhow!

After cooking the pasta, I drained and added the sauce to the pasta before serving.

Mozzarella, Tomato & Pesto Salad with Rocket & Pine Nuts

Fancying a salad for lunch I found this Mozzarella, Tomato & Pesto Salad with Rocket & Pine Nuts in Sainsbury’s.

Pesto Pasta with Mozzarella and Tomato

It was quite nice. The pesto wasn’t overpowering, there was enough to cover the pasta and there were ample pine nuts too. The pasta was the right texture, the sunblush tomatoes were nice and the mozzarella was fine.

Overall it was a nice packaged salad and certainly much nicer than a sandwich.

Breakfast

A traditional English breakfast usually consists of bacon and eggs with sausages, beans, fried bread and maybe a portion of tinned tomatoes. Obviously there are other things you can add such as grilled kidneys, black pudding, mushrooms, hash browns.

Actually the more you think about it, a cooked breakfast can be quite diverse and much more than just bacon and eggs. Eat a little later and it turns into Brunch.

I quite like a cooked breakfast now and again, but very rarely go down the traditional route. This was the basis of a recent breakfast and consisted of grilled tomatoes, mushrooms and onions.

Cooked

I took some cherry tomatoes and halved them. If you halve them with the stalk point at the top then they will always look nice. If you slice them through the stalk point then they may (well usually) don’t look as nice. I splashed a little olive oil on them and some torn basil leaves.

Grilled Tomatoes with Basil about to go in the oven

For the mushrooms I trim the stalks and then spread a small knob of butter on them and some freshly ground black pepper.

For the onions I just again splashed a little olive oil and more black pepper.

These were all then roasted in a hot oven for about 10-15 minutes.

I served them with some toast and a poached egg.

British Beef Steak with a Peppercorn Sauce

The other day I posted a blog post about a steak with a peppercorn sauce. One of the reasons I cooked that dish was because a few days earlier we had eaten the Waitrose Easy To Cook version.

The Waitrose version says

British beef steaks with a creamy smooth peppercorn sauce made with roast shallots, brandy and pink peppercorns.

That did sound quite nice when I read the packet and at £4.49 wasn’t a bad price either.

Having cooked the steak according to the instructions I served it with some sautéed mushrooms, steamed vegetables and oven roasted tomatoes on the vine.

The instructions were quite simple, cook the steak, remove from the pan, add the sauce and pour the sauce over the steak.

So what were they like?

Well it certainly wasn’t horrible, it did taste okay.

However at £4.49 you can’t expect the steak to be top quality sirloin, fillet or ribeye, and it wasn’t. It was quite a tough piece of rump I think, maybe even a cheaper cut of steak! The sauce should have had a real kick with the shallots, brandy and peppercorns… but alas it was bland and lacked any depth of flavour.

I always like the ideas behind much of the food and dishes I buy at Waitrose, but looking back over the blog I realise I don’t really enjoy them. Time to rethink my shopping habits.

Oh the tomatoes were fantastic by the way, very simple, take some fresh tomatoes, dribble some olive oil on them, roast them in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Delicious.

Casarecce Pasta in a tomato sauce

I have been quite impressed with the Seriously Good pasta sauces and very easy to use. Unlike other sauces I have used in the past these taste very fresh, though obviously they’re not! I used the Bolognese and Red Wine sauce in the above picture.

An authentically rich tomato Bolognese sauce which puts the rest to shame. Loaded with balsamic vinegar, red wine and thyme – it’s all you need to make a classic Spag Bol or Lasagne al Forno. Perfection.

I used it with some Casarecce pasta, finished off with some fresh parmesan.

I served it with some Jamie Oliver Italian Sausages, which I was less impressed with.

Red Pepper, Basil and Tomato Salad

A nice accompanient to grilled meats is a salad. This recipe is one of my regular salads and is very simple to make. It consists of lettuce, halved cherry or small tomatoes and thinly sliced pointed red pepper. This time I also added some basil leaves.

I dress the salad with olive oil, white wine vinegar and ground black pepper.

Simple, refreshing with a hint of heat from the pepper (red and black).

Alba Ristorante Part Three

I was recently lucky enough to go to dinner at the Alba Ristorante in London with some friends., not just once, but enjoyed it enough the first time to go for a second meal. Unlike a lot of Italian restaurants I have been too, the menu here was not full of pasta and pizza, on the contrary it was very different and as a result much more interesting and refreshing.

Misto di Verdure alla Griglia Condite al Balsamico

On my second visit for my starter I had the Misto di Verdure alla Griglia Condite al Balsamico or in English, Mixed grilled Italian vegetables balsamic & extra virgin olive oi.

This was very nice, a simple dish which worked very well. There were courgettes, pepper, tomato and aubergine.

Out of the two starters I had, I think I preferred the duck.

A nice green salad

 A nice green salad

One of the things I like to have with a meal is a nice and simple green salad.

A few mixed leaves, maybe some tomato. Dressed with olive oil and white wine vinegar and some freshly ground black pepper.

Simple yet delicious and refreshing.