Thursday, 25 July 2013

Week 25- School's Out!

Hurrah for the holidays!

After three of the worst days imaginable at work, I've finally finished. Until September that is, when it all starts up again- but that's ages away. So much to enjoy in the meantime.

The weather is hot, the sea outside my window is almost as blue as the Mediterranean, there's no urgency to do anything tomorrow feels like I'm almost but not quite in the South of France.

Time for an almost but not quite Mediterranean menu.

To start we have a vegetable fritto misto with aioli. Main course is Aubergine Cannelloni. Dessert is nectarines on toast with mascapone. Does that sound like holiday food? I hope so.

Fritto misto ( mixture of fried things) can be made with fish ( squid rings, prawns, shrimp, mussels) or vegetables or both. In the picture I have one made with squid, prawn, artichoke, green beans and courgettes. The recipe I've chosen to blog however is vegetarian.

Take a selection of veg- whatever you have in the fridge. I recommend cauliflower, aubergine, courgette, peppers, French beans,onion and fennel. Artichoke is good too if you have some in antipasti jars.
Chop the veg into bite-size chunks, and toss them in seasoned flour until coated. Then prang them with a fork or skewer and dip them into a bowl of milk quickly - then return to the flour and coat again.
Heat some vegetable oil for deep frying to 190 degrees or until a cube of bread fries golden quickly.
Drop in your veg one by one, taking care not to crowd the pan too much. As each batch cooks (really only a couple of minutes in the hot oil), drain them on plenty of kitchen paper and season with sea salt and black pepper.
Serve with cheat's aioli- two tablespoons of mayonnaise, mixed with a teaspoon of garlic puree and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Fritto Misto

Aubergines are well and truly in season- and blog followers are asking for ways to use them up.
This recipe seems a bit of a faff- but it isn't really. It just takes a bit of planning - and it is so cheap and delicious it is worth the effort.

Allow one aubergine per person, sliced really thinly lengthways. Roast the slices in a hot oven (190 degrees) for 10 minutes or so with a little olive oil until soft. Leave to cool. (I made mine the day before when I had the oven on for something else.)
Roast thin slices of aubergine

Lay 2 slices together
Spread the slices with filling
 Make a filling from chopped mushrooms, garlic, aubergine puree (use the bulbous bits that haven't made thin slices) and season well. Lay 2 slices together to make a wider double slice. Spread the filling mixture over each of these slices and roll up. (A lot easier than you think.)
Roll up the slices

Aubergine Cannelloni

Place in a baking dish and pour on some tomato sauce. Top with grated cheese and breadcrumbs and bake for 20 minutes in a medium oven (180 degrees) until bubbling and golden on top. Serve with garlic bread.

For dessert, I've used little canape toasts (but you could equally well use circles of bread cut from a sliced loaf.) I lay these on a greased baking tray, butter each one, toast them in the oven for 5 minutes
Toast the little breads until golden
until they start to brown a tiny bit -then lay thin slices of nectarine on each one. I melt a tablespoon of jam and a squeeze of lemon juice together in a pan and brush this onto the fruit as a glaze. I then bake them for another 5 minutes or so until the toasts are crisp and the fruit is soft. Serve with ice cream or mascapone.
Nectarines on toast

So- a quick taste of the Med for you, in the absence of the real thing.

I hope it gets you into the holiday mood. Now all I need is a sunbed, a Jack Reacher thriller and a glass of muscat- and I'm almost there!

Happy Holidays!

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