Sunday, 11 November 2007

Tomo Tomato Salad

This is a salad for people who don't really like salads, plus its really good for salad lovers too.

Serves 2


12 - 15 cherry tomatoes
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pine nuts
A few torn basil leaves

Chop the tomatoes into small pieces. About 0.5 - 1cm in size but it doesn't need to be precise. Put in a small bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix it all up gently with your hands, and hey presto, its ready to serve as a great accompaniment to a quiche, tart or whatever you like.

Saturday, 10 November 2007

Perfect English Pancakes

This recipe makes superb English pancakes without any oil or butter. They'd be really healthy if I didn't fill them chocolate and jam.

The recipe makes enough to feed about 4 people, but the exact number depends on the size of your pan. In a normal 8inch (20cm) pan it probably makes about 10 pancakes, but in my 12inch mega pan it doesn't make that many.

110g plain flour
2 large eggs (organic eggs give a richer batter, plus the usual benefits)
200ml milk mixed with 75ml water

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and break in the eggs. Use a whisk to mix the egg into the flour until its all fairly well combined.

Stir in the milk, a little bit at a time until you have a smooth batter with a consistency similar to single cream.

Heat your pan really hot (oil it only if its not non-stick, by wiping a little oil on with kitchen paper). Now pour in a ladleful of batter (use your judgment according to the size of the pan). Pick the pan up and quickly rotate it around so that the batter runs to all sides of the pan. If there is any excess, quickly tip the remainder back into the bowl of batter.

Put it back on the heat. After a minute, loosen the edges with a spatula. It should start to shrink slightly. Lift the edge with the spatula and look underneath. When it starts to go slightly golden brown, its time for the flip.

Don't be afraid! Its all down to practice so don't worry about losing a few the first time. Just make sure that no one is standing nearby, as a crazy chef whirling a hot pan around can be hazardous.

Now put it back on the heat and cook until you get nice brown spots underneath, like the surface of the moon.

Tip onto a plate, cover with your favourite filling (lemon & sugar, chocolate spread and jam are always good options). You can also make savoury fillings, recipes for which will be coming soon.

Spaghetti Tetrazzini alla Tomo

This is a really tasty pasta bake, but not as you know it. Rich, full of flavour and if you're anything like us, you won't be able to leave the leftovers for tomorrow.

Serves 4

4 chicken thighs cut into 2cm pieces
2 garlic cloves - grated or crushed
350g mushrooms
20g dried porcini mushrooms
300ml vegetable stock
400g creme fraiche
200g grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil
A handful of basil leaves - torn into pieces

First preheat your oven to about 200degrees C.

Put the porcini in a cup and pour over just enough boiling water to cover them. Leave them to soak for a few minutes.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and start cooking your spaghetti according to packet instructions (usually 10-11mins).

At the same time, heat a little olive oil in a big saucepan and brown the chicken pieces. Once browned, drain the porcini (saving the now deep brown water) and add to the saucepan with the garlic and fresh mushrooms.

Now pour in the vegetable stock and the reserved water from the porcini and stir it all together. Turn the heat down a bit and simmer gently for about 5 minutes to evaporate some of the liquid.

Add the creme fraiche to the pan, stir through and turn off the heat.

Your spaghetti should now be ready. Drain it and then stir it into the chicken mixture. Stir in three quarters of the Parmesan and all of the basil leaves.

Now transfer into an oven-proof dish, sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top and bake in the oven until the top is golden brown and bubbling.

Serve onto plates and if its not delicious enough already, you can always sprinkle a bit more Parmesan and olive oil on top.