Tag Archives: basil

Bruschetta with grilled marinated peppers

19 Jun

Toasted bruschetta with goats cheese, marinated roasted peppers and fresh basil.

Even though most of us are snuggled up inside our cosy homes this winter, there’s no reason to stop eating like you’re on a Mediterranean holiday. To me, alfresco foods like grilled vegetables on bruschetta is the perfect snack all year round. And with the intensely bright red, orange and yellow hues that comes with grilling really fresh peppers, it’s like a piece of sunshine on a plate.

You can certainly serve these peppers warm on a very cold day, grilling the goat’s cheese to toasty perfection, but I mostly prefer to eat my marinated peppers at room temperature. Freshly toasted warm bruschetta is obligatory though, as it really soaks up the lovely sharp marinade.

Buon appetito!

Baguette from De Oude Bank Bakkerij, perfect for making bruschetta.

Ingredients for grilled marinated peppers:

  • 4 large red/orange/yellow peppers (or 6 medium)
  • olive oil for greasing
  • about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • about 30-45 ml cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper

To serve:

  • slices of baguette (or sour dough or ciabatta)
  • soft goats cheese
  • fresh basil leaves

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 230 C.
  2. Remove the seeds and pith of the peppers, then slice into large flat “panels”.
  3. Grease a baking tray with olive oil, then arrange the peppers skin side up.
  4. Roast the peppers for about 25 minutes, or until the skin starts to blister and turn black.
  5. Remove the peppers from the oven, then place them immediately (with all the juices from the pan) in a plastic container that can seal tightly. Close the lid and leave to steam and cool for at least 15 minutes.
  6. Now remove the skins from the peppers – they should peel off easily. Discard the skins.
  7. Cut the soft fleshy peppers into smaller strips, then place them back into the plastic container. Add the olive oil and vinegar, then season well with salt and pepper. Mix well with a spoon, taking care not to break up the peppers.
  8. Leave to marinate for a few hours – flavours will improve with time. Refrigerate until ready to use, then return to room temperature before serving.
  9. Serve on slices of toasted bruschetta, topped with goats cheese, peppers and some fresh basil leaves.

Credits:

This post was written especially for The Pretty Blog.

Recipe, text and food preparation: Ilse van der Merwe from thefoodfox.com

Photographer: Tasha Seccombe

Styling: Nicola Pretorius.

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Summer linguine with basil & cashew pesto

15 Jan

Fresh linguine with basil & cashew pesto, mixed tomatoes and fior di latte (picture by Tasha Seccombe)

Every time I eat linguine or spaghetti with a basic basil pesto, I feel very Italian – in a “pretend” kind of way. It is the opposite of what we grew up on in South Africa, believing that pasta always needs a chunky, heavy meat sauce.

This simple way of enjoying pasta is synonymous with my motto for the new year, keeping things uncomplicated, yet robust. The most basic meal can turn into something fabulous if you use fresh, great quality ingredients, and do as little to it as possible.

For this recipe, I varied from the well-known classic basil pesto with the use of cashew nuts instead of pine kernels – a slightly more economical choice which means that you don’t have to use the nuts too sparingly and can add some as a final topping for extra texture. Cashews still provide a strong nutty flavour, and is in no way a compromise. I also added some fresh halved cherry tomatoes, which I tossed through the pasta while it was still piping hot. The tomatoes warm up slightly, but retain their fresh crunch and flavour.

As a last addition, I also added shreds of fior di latte – wonderfully mild and milky pieces that work so well in the traditional caprese salad of tomatoes, basil and mozzarella.

This dish makes me feel rejuvenated, inspired and longing for travels abroad. Buon appetito!

Ingredients for pesto:

  • 2 punnets basil (about 40 g in total)
  • a pinch of salt and pepper
  • 1 clove garlic
  • ¼ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese (preferably parmigiano reggiano)
  • ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil (best quality)
  • 50 g cashew nuts

Ingredients for pasta:

  • 500 g linguine (plus water and salt for boiling)
  • about 30 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 250 g rosa/cherry tomatoes, halved (or use a punnet of mixed small tomatoes)
  • 120 g fior di latte, torn into  shreds
  • 50 g cashew nuts, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. In a food processor or electric chopper (or manual pestle & mortar), process/pound all ingredients for pesto together to a chunky paste. Set aside and start making pasta immediately, otherwise discolouration might occur.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted boiling water to the boil, then cook pasta for 7 minutes or until al dente. Drain in a colander and immediately add olive oil, then toss to coat. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Add pesto, then toss to coat well.
  4. Now add tomatoes, mozzarella and cashews. Toss again, then serve immediately with some extra olive oil on the table.

Note: If you want to keep the pesto from discolouring, blanch the basil leaves in a large pot of boiling water for no longer than 3 seconds, then remove with a slotted spoon and immerse in ice water immediately. Continue making pesto as above, then transfer to an airtight container and top with a thin layer of olive oil before storing in the fridge, covered. Will keep for about 3-4 days, perfectly green.

WIN with SPAR Freshline! One lucky reader can win SPAR vouchers to the value of R200 when you answer this easy question: Name one  ingredient/product from the SPAR Freshline range which featured in this recipe. Leave your answer as a comment at the bottom of this post. Winner will be notified on Friday the 18th of January 2012.

Credits:

This post was especially written for The Pretty Blog by Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Food: Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.

Photography: Tasha Seccombe.

Styling: Tasha Seccombe & NicolaPretorius.

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Pizza my way

15 Mar

Pizza my way with spicy tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, salami, feta cheese and basil

I started making pizzas at home about 3 years ago. I got the recipe for the pizza base out of “Huisgenoot Top 500 Wenresepte”, and I haven’t looked back since. I now prefer my own homemade pizza to restaurant pizza, unless it is made by a proper Italian establishment who can provide me with the real thing!

I like my pizza to have a very thin crust, with really tasty tomato base spread generously, then mozzarella cheese and the toppings of your choice. […]

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Watermelon “carpacchio” with gorgonzola, almonds, cucumber and crushed basil oil

10 Mar

I bought a massive watermelon 2 days ago, so big and heavy I could almost not pick it up. It was on special, so I just crossed my fingers hoping that the texture and taste would be as impressive as the size. To my delight, it was perfect.

I’ve been a huge fan of watermelon in summertime since I was a kid. My father would cut us huge wheels and we would sit at our campsite in Keurboomstrand’s Arch Rock Caravan Park each with our own sharp knife to cut tailored bites and remove the pips. I am totally happy to eat my watermelon on it’s own, but sometimes a watermelon this big in a household as small as mine calls for some creative culinary adventures. […]

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