Tag Archives: basil

Tomato and Bread Soup Recipe

Who doesn’t love a ripe tomato? Unfortunately those that you buy in a supermarket, with some exceptions, are just NOT nice AT ALL. This recipe should ONLY be made with the ripest of tomatoes. And in this case, not even tinned tomatoes will do.
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Tomato and Bread Soup

Ingredients
Handful of fresh basil
1 head of garlic, cloves separated, peeled
25g Parmesan with rind
3 slices thick day-old or stale country-style bread with crusts, torn into 1-inch pieces
75ml olive oil, plus more for drizzling
salt, freshly ground pepper
1.5kg ripe tomatoes, cut into large pieces
Method
Pluck basil leaves from stems. Place stems and any larger or not-so-beautiful leaves in a large saucepan along with 2 or 3 larger garlic cloves; cover with 3 cups water. Set aside remaining smaller, prettier basil leaves. Cut Parmesan away from rind and add rind to pan; set cheese aside. Bring liquid to a bare simmer over medium heat, then reduce heat so mixture is steaming. Let ingredients steep while you start the soup. This step may seem like a lot of faff.  But is totally worth it.

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Preheat oven to 200°C. Spread out 1 cup bread on a small rimmed baking sheet, drizzle lightly with oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss to coat. Toast until edges are crisp but centres are still chewy, 8–10 minutes; set croutons aside.
Meanwhile, slice remaining garlic cloves. Heat ⅓ cup oil in a medium pot over medium and cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until evenly golden brown and softened, about 2 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes to pot and cook, stirring energetically with a wooden spoon now and then, until tomato juices are bubbling, 6–8 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper, then add remaining 3 cups bread.

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Stir to coat, then strain basil stock into tomato mixture and bring to a simmer. Cook, whisking occasionally, until bread disintegrates into a porridgelike texture and soup is velvety and thick, 10–12 minutes. (The whisk helps break the bread into smaller pieces; if you like your soup rustic, stick with the spoon. If you want it to be very smooth, use an immersion blender.)
Finely grate reserved Parmesan and whisk half into soup along with reserved basil. Cook, stirring, until soup is thickened and looks shiny, about 2 minutes. Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed.
Divide soup among bowls and top with reserved croutons, remaining Parmesan, and a drizzle of oil. Divine!

Tomato and Bread Soup

Tomato and Bread Soup

 

Apricot and Basil Frangipane Tart Recipe

I ‘m a fan of frangipane. And never would have been drawn to it when I was younger.  But for me it’s almost a perfect combination of spongelike texture with a pastry base. A match made in heaven once there isn’t an over-powering taste of almond essence. Ugh. Double ugh in fact.

The earliest mention is in a French Cookbook in 1674! Some believe that the name bears homage to St. Francis of Assisi. That a noblewoman named Jacopa da Settesoli brought some to him on his death bed in 1226.

Apricot & Basil Frangipane Tart

Apricot & Basil Frangipane Tart Prep

I like to make this tart a little hap hazard, no need for perfect pastry crust or to get the ruler out to measure the distance between the apricots. So I suppose it’s a pie really. The basil gives a lovely perfume to the apricot filing.  And somehow makes it a little less sweet, which, unlikely as it seems, is a good thing!

Apricot and Basil Frangipane Tart

Ingredients

200g plain flour

100g butter (from the fridge)

50g caster sugar

½ teaspoon of vanilla extract

1 egg yolk

For the frangipane

100g soft butter

100g  caster sugar

2 eggs

140g ground almonds

75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

About 5 basil leaves

8-10 apricots, stoned and quartered

To serve

Icing sugar, softly whipped cream and vanilla bean paste

Method

To make the pastry, mix the flour, butter and a pinch of salt into your food processor.  Pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add the sugar and pulse again. Add the vanilla, egg and 1-2 tablespoons of cold water, and pulse until the dough just comes together.  Tip out and shape into a disc.  Chill for 30 minutes, then roll out the pastry between two sheets of greaseproof paper, as this pastry is very crumbly.  Line a loose-bottomed tart tin with the pastry, pressing it into the sides. Chill for at least 30 mins.

Meanwhile, prepare the frangipane.  Using electric beaters if you have them, beat the butter until creamy, then add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition, then stir in the almonds, flour, and the torn basil leaves.

Heat oven to 160oC fan 4 and put in a baking tray to heat. Spoon the frangipane into the tart case and smooth. Poke the apricots into the frangipane. Bear in mind it’s a very rustic tart.

Apricots
Transfer to the baking tray, in the oven, and bake for 40-50 mins (cover with foil after 30 mins if the tart is getting too dark) until the fruit is tender and a skewer poked in the frangipane comes out clean.

Leave the tart to cool in the tin for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack.  Serve warm or cold, dusted with icing sugar, with a dollop of softly whipped cream mixed with a little vanilla bean paste, if you like.

Divine!

Apricots

Chicken Dinner- as seen on Facebook :)

You know when you are scrolling aimlessly through Facebook and you see all these little cooking videos.  Well one of them recently caught my eye. And although if I’d waited a few months for the tomatoes to be really fully in season, it might have been better, it was still pretty good.  And pretty simple.  As with everything, the ingredients are key.

Good Chicken- preferably organic, but definitely free range if not

Good Tomatoes- preferably in season

Fresh Basil

Nice fresh mozzarella

Baked Chicken with Fresh Herbs, Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Ingredients:

Good Quality Chicken Breasts

Tomatoes, sliced

Basil Leaves

Mozzarella

Olive Oil

Tin of tomatoes

Seasoning- salt, pepper,

Sugar

Tomato Puree

Jen's Kitchen- as seen on Facebook

Tomatoes, Basil and Cheese

Method: Pre heat the oven to 180oC.  Slice the chicken breast almost all the way through with a sharp knife, at the thickest point, to make a pocket for the filling. Add a decent amount of tomatoes, and cheese, with some basil leaves to this pocket.   Season well, and place in a well oiled oven proof dish.  Use a dish that will fit all your chicken breast snugly, as they keep together better like this.   Tuesday 05 April 071

Repeat for all the other chicken breasts.  Put in the oven for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile make the passata.

Tuesday 05 April 072Add some olive oil to a pan.  Heat until nearly smoking, add the tin of tomatoes, and a tablespoon of tomato puree. Simmer for approximately ten minutes until thickened slightly.  At this stage season well, and add a pinch of sugar.  Remove from the heat and either whizz until smooth, or use as it is. Remove the chicken breasts from the oven and spoon over some of the passata, and some more torn up cheese.  Put back in the oven for another 20 minutes, until the chicken is completely cooked through.  

I like to serve this with a green salad and something nice in a glass, but seeing it’s Monday an all, some Adam’s ale might fit the bill.  

Chicken Dinner- as seen on Facebook

Chicken Dinner- as seen on Facebook

Will I try other recipes from Facebook? Of course, will I serve them to friends without trying them first- don’t think so.  Sure half the fun is trying them out anyway!