This may seem like JUST a Roasted vegetable salad to you, but to me it screams out a whole lot more. One might say this resembles a Panzanella, a Tuscan bread salad with tomatoes, olive oil and herbs served in summer, maybe it is?
Throughout summer I always roast off a medley of these vegetables as the produce is pretty much all in season now and to me its just like summer in a bowl. I love the colours it gives off and the flavours are just immense. Another great thing regarding this little dish is that if you are a Kitchen gardener like myself, at some point, such as now in summer some of your homegrown vegetables will be used in it if not all. Its great for a glut of tomatoes, courgettes or peppers.
Roasting mediterranean vegetables can be the basis of creating so many other dishes from it. Here is just a short list of examples for you:
- Use it as a topping for Pizza or on bruschetta’s
- Turn into a gratin by adding cheese on top and placing back in the oven
- Make quiche or tarts
- Add chickpeas and some Moroccan spice or Indian spices to make a curry
- Also adding feta cheese and olives gives a greek feel
- Mix through Rice
- By adding it to Pasta, popping on a rich cheese sauce with some dijon mustard in will make an amazing Pasta Bake.
- I could go on…
Or simply of course this dish can be the great accompaniment for barbecued/grilled meats or fish.
However going back to the dish alone, Ive added fennel to mine and lots of herbs which give it that extra flavour. I personally love to sit outside with a big bowl of this and of course a large glass of wine to wash it down. As I said…Summer in a bowl.
- 2 tbsp Rapeseed oil or Olive
- 2 Cloves of Garlic roughly chopped
- 1 small courgette trimmed
- 1 red pepper and yellow pepper
- 1 Baby fennel trimmed , cut through the middle into 4-5 pieces
- 2 handfuls of cherry/baby plum/piccolo tomatoes halved, I used British Vittoria ones
- 1/2 Aubergine trimmed
- 1-2 red onions
- Handful of fresh herbs finely chopped: Oregano, Lemon thyme or normal thyme, Basil, parsley
( If you don’t have Lemon thyme, use normal and then grate about a 1/4 of lemon zest)
– Sea salt and cracked black pepper to season
Croutons for the Salad
- 2 Slices of Bread ( couple of days old) chopped into squares
- 1-2 tbsp of rapeseed oil
- 1 clove of garlic bashed
- Salt and cracked black pepper to season
- Sprig of Rosemary finely chopped
- Chop all vegetables into similar size chunks, 2-3 cm
- Place all vegetables ( not tomatoes )into an oven proof dish add the oil, garlic and season. mix through with your hands
- Pop into the oven for 15 minutes.
- Drizzle oil over croutons, season and coat with the rosemary. Dry fry in a pan until golden brown.
- After 15 minutes add your most of your fresh herbs and tomatoes and pop back in the oven for approximately 30 minutes or until cooked through.
* Toss the croutons through, add the rest of your herbs, a good drizzle of oil and serve in a large bowl.
Between Saturday 13th and Sunday 21st of June this year it is National Picnic week. A great opportunity for families and friends to get outdoors and involve food and drink.
I personally love picnics, I don’t do enough of them but am determined to have more this year, as I love being outdoors and love the countryside. I feel it’s a great way for children to experiment more with food and also learn things such as the wildlife around them from being outdoors.
Picnics are a great frugal way of spending time together with your loved ones and getting people involved with food. Now it doesn’t have to be all about “beige food” either, be as colourful as you can with food on picnics, use up your leftovers to create rice, pasta and noodle salads. Look in your fridge and come up with what you can. Don’t feel you have to go and buy a load of food in, thats the beauty of it, creating what you can on a budget, and thats exactly what I did here for this weeks Food Friday with Ben Jackson on my regular slot on BBC Radio Leicester. (Listen here)
I took a look at what I had that was on its last legs, of which were my lovely British vine tomatoes and an Aubergine I bought the day before for 10p!
I decided to do a lovely Summer tart, It is super easy to do, will cost you less to nothing but has some great punchy flavours.
Even if Picnics aren’t your thing, you may have some friends over for some “Al fresco” dining which I can assure you, this will impress them immensely!
One thing to also state is the versatility of this, you can change the vegetables to something such as Peppers or courgettes. Or as Ben suggested, crumble some feta on top.
I know one thing, I will be making many different versions of this including a courgette one, when mine come to harvest and look out for some more Picnic recipes for you to try soon.
(One Block of 500g Puff Pastry will make 2 Tarts)
– Some Plain flour for sprinkling
– Half block of 5oog Puff Pastry
– One medium sized Red Onion sliced
– 2-3 large tomatoes sliced into wedges
– A Few thin slices of Aubergine
– 2 cloves of Garlic finely chopped
– A selection of fresh herbs, I used Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Oregano, Rosemary
– Sea salt and Cracked Black pepper to season
– Drizzle of Chilli oil over the top if you wish or You could use Rapeseed or Olive oil
* Preheat Oven to 200-220c
* Roll out your Pastry on a floured surface with a Rolling pin to just under a Pound coin’s thickness.
* Score slightly with a knife a couple of cm’s in around the Edge of the Pastry to allow to puff up at the sides.
* Prick with a fork a good few times so that the Pastry won’t rise to high.
* Place your Red onion slices on, then your Tomatoes, Season with salt and pepper and pop in the Oven for 10 minutes.
* After 10 minutes, place your Aubergine slices in between the slices of tomato, add your Garlic, herbs and drizzle your oil over and place back into the Oven for a further 10 minutes or when the tart is Golden brown with no “Soggy bottom”
One Afternoon, sometime last week, I decided to drag out all the bits and bobs that needed to be used up in the fridge, as you do. Well, I always do as I save everything! I cannot begin to throw anything away, even if it is a 1/4 of an onion as it all links with another Recipe!
Anyway… I had numerous vegetables, cheese, milk, all sorts to use up so I decided to do a quiche but with Wholemeal Spelt Flour. It turned out great! I loved it, My partner loved it, in fact both of us said that the aubergines in this recipe tasted brilliant and adding that red chilli, really gave it some “Pizzazz” to it.
I was amazed how much interest I had for this recipe. People made some really nice comments and have been asking me to put it up on my site. So this delights me to say, By Popular demand, here is my recipe for…
Roast Vegetable, Chilli and Parmesan quiche with wholemeal Spelt Pastry:
* My Tin was approximately 9 inch wide by 2 inch deep.
I cannot state this recipe as vegetarian as it has Parmesan in it. But you could substitute for another cheese or simply none at all! *
(Pastry *I froze half down)
– 250g Wholemeal Spelt pastry, (Sieved half as I wanted some “crunch/depth” to it)
– 150g Unsalted Butter cubed and softened
– Pinch of Caster sugar
– Pinch of Sea Salt
– 1 Egg
– 1 tbsp of cold Whole Milk
– 3 Medium Free Range Eggs
– 100 ml Double Cream
– 100 ml Whole Milk
– Sprinkle of Ground Nutmeg
– 100g Parmesan Cheese
– Half and Aubergine Diced roughly
– 1 medium Onion Diced
– 6-8 small red and yellow tomatoes halved or quartered
– 1/4 green Pepper Diced
– 1/4 Red Chilli diced finely
– 3 leaves of fresh basil finely sliced
– 1/2 small green courgette finley sliced
– Splash of Olive oil
– Few dried herbs
– Sea Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
* Preheat Oven to 190c
* Pop ingredients for your Pastry into a food processor and mix until dough forms a ball. Or if you prefer, you can do this by hand.
* Place Pastry onto floured surface, knead slightly together, Cover with Cling Film and place in fridge until you want to use.
* Roast all vegetables in oven with olive oil and dry Herbs.
* Roll out Pastry to about 1/2 cm thick or if you can, slightly thinner.
* Blind Bake Pastry for approximately 12- 15 minutes
* Once Vegetables are cooked and Pastry is blind Baked, Pop your grated Parmesan into the pastry case, then vegetables, Everything else all in and bake in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes as different Ovens and Tins can make a big difference.
* When your Quiche is cooked, allow to cool first before slicing into.
This is a great Quiche eaten Warm or cold. Ideal for a picnic and can be served with many different things.