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12 May 2014

developing an idea

i decided to expand on my flavour of bruchettas from last time and decided to do garlic pesto,(which i made myself) basil, aubergine and gruyere and then another flavour with homemade garlic pesto, basil, tomato and mozzarella. My family really loved them!
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10 May 2014

The challenge of leftovers - bread and tomato soup?

A recent e-mail from Foodcycle, a National campaign to limit food waste, has requested recipes for a cookbook to be sold to raise money for charity (image 1). Below is my contribution that I discovered recently as a means of using leftover hard cheese rind (always seems such a waste!), although this isn't strictly vegetarian as requested I tweaked it a little and left the cheese as optional. Bread and tomato soup: From the Tuscany area of Italy this is a great recipe for using up a few leftovers such as old stale loaf bread, fresh or tinned tomatoes, cut herbs, and even hard cheese rind. Though it is an hour cooking time you can walk away from the pot for large chunks of time while the smell fills your kitchen! Preparation time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour Serves: 4 Ingredients: 400 g of ripe tomatoes (peeled, de-seeded, and coarsely chopped; or roughly 1 tin of tomatoes) 1 celery stick (chopped; or substitute with 1 small white onion, chopped) 1 garlic clove (chopped) 1 tablespoon olive oil Salt and pepper 2 slices of stale bread (cut into small cubes including the crusts; although not sliced white packaged bread!) A handful of basil leaves, or alternatively flat leaf parsley or coriander (torn, at end of cooking) Recipe: Add the tomatoes, celery stick, garlic, olive oil and 1.2 liters of water to a pan with a pinch of salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer with no lid for around 30 minutes (adding leftover hard cheese rind here if using), then add the bread and simmer over an even lower heat for 30 more minutes with no lid. Note that at this point you essentially have a tomato soup you could just go ahead and eat, but it's also a useful way to use up bread. Taste and season to your liking then serve in warmed soup bowls topped with the punchy herbs, tear these by hand at the last moment so that the oils aren't lost on the knife blade. Notes: To easily peel whole tomatoes gently score a knife across the bottom and top in a criss-cross fashion and place in boiling water for 20 seconds, wait for them to cool then peel away the skin. You can add leftover hard cheese rind at the simmering stage to add flavour (e.g. parmesan or pecorino, buy vegetarian or only use rennet-based cheese for non-vegetarians).

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6 May 2014

Day 6: Local Food Tastes Better

I have done zero revision today and instead of feeling exceptionally guilty I actually feel great! I had two lectures so had no time to think about making an extravagant breakfast this morning, so porridge again but I added an extra twist by putting walnuts on top. It was great because this added to the creaminess of the porridge but also gave me an early morning protein boost. With lectures from 11-1 done I was about to head home until I remembered I had to pick up a report on Owl Pellets that I had completed last term. I think this is where today’s drive for revision died! I miraculously managed a first and after having a celebratory high-five with a course mate (so cool), I walked home with a spring in my step. I had another portion of my spaghetti bolognese for lunch and there is still yet another portion to go in the fridge! Instead of returning to my room and reading more exciting things about how plants have adapted to life on land, I spent the entire afternoon watching catchup TV on my laptop! Felt very cheeky. And the revision front didn’t improve after this… By 6 o’clock I had to go to my weekly Zumba class and revision time was disappearing fast! But with the combination of moves like ‘jazz hands’ and ‘milking the disco cow’ I had forgotten all about the need to learn more about plants and the only thing now on my mind was supper. This came in the form of roasted and pan fried chicken leg with roasted peppers, swede, onion and potato with some steamed broccoli on the side. Amazingly tasty! Chicken on the bone is so flavoursome. Think it also has something to do with buying it from the butchers – another reason to support our local food shops.

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