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Ombre tomato tart

This recipe doesn’t even deserve to be called a recipe - it’s more of an idea on how to make a quick and effective snack with summer heirloom tomatoes. The ombre tart is bound to get you some attention and compliments, so, in case you had no idea what to bring for the next potluck picnic/barbecue/garden party, I just solved this challenging problem. No need to thank me.

The to success is to get the right tomatoes. The more different shades you’ve got, the more spectacular the ombre effect. You could also use the ombre idea to prepare something else, like a salad patter.

Recipe: Ombre tomato tart

Ingredients
  • one sheet puff pastry
  • a handful heirloom tomatoes of various colours and shapes, thickly sliced
  • 50 g Greek feta cheese
  • 1-2 branches rosemary, chopped
  • one tsp olive oil
  • one tsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 tsp salt
Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.
  • Roll out the pastry on a parchment paper, forming a rectangle.
  • Place tomato slices on the pastry - group the colours together and try to achieve a fluent transition from one shade to another.
  • Drizzle the tomatoes with olive oil and evenly sprinkle with sugar, salt and rosemary.
  • Top with crumble feta.
  • Place in the hot oven and bake for about 20 minutes.

Chinese tofu pancakes

Traditionally served with crispy duck, this pancakes make a great vegan dish as well. Thick hoisin sauce and fresh cucumber and spring onions go great with fried tofu. Perfect snack for a small gathering.

Recipe: Chinese tofu pancakes

Ingredients
  • 200 g firm tofu
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 1/2 cucumber, cut into matchsticks
  • 1/2 bunch green onions, cut into matchsticks
  • a few branches fresh coriander
  • 1/4 red chilli pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce
  • 10 thin pancakes
Method
  • Slice tofu and combine with 3 tbsp of hoisin sauce.
  • Fry tofu slices on heated sesame oil, about one minute each side.
  • Steam the pancakes and keep them warm in a bamboo steamer or covered with foil.
  • Arrange fried tofu, cucumber and spring onion stick, coriander leaves, chilli and hoisin sauce on the table and allow everyone to help themselves.
  • Spread some sauce on each pancake and top with tofu, cucumber and spring onions. Sprinkle with coriander and chilli and roll up.

Recipe: Homemade hoisin sauce

Ingredients
  • 7-8 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp rice vinegar
  • 3 tsp sesame oil
  • one tsp finely chopped chilli
  • one garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
Method
  • Combine all the ingredients in a small pot.
  • Simmer over low heat, stirring, until well combined.
  • Set aside to cool.

Vegan taco buffet

Perfect tacos: crispy, aromatic, colourful and vegan. Great for small or larger gatherings. All you have to do is prepare the toppings and ask your guests to compose their ideal snacks. I chose roasted sweet potatoes, black beans and corn, creamy cashew paste, pomegranate seeds, fresh chillies, aromatic coriander and lime juice. You can add your favourite fruit, vegetables and herbs.

Recipe: Vegan tacos

Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 8 soft corn tortillas
  • a bunch coriander
  • one corn on a cob
  • one cup cooked black beans
  • rosted sweet potatoes (recipe below)
  • cashew paste (recipe below)
  • 2 green chilli peppers
  • 1 small pomegranate
  • 1 lime
Method
  • Roast the corn at 180C for about 30 minutes, until tender.
  • Kut off the kernels and combine with cooked beans.
  • Deseed the pomegranate, slice the chillies and cut the lime into quarters.
  • Heat the tortillas in the oven or on a pan and cover to keep them warm.
  • Serve all the ingredients together and let everyone compose their own tacos: roasted sweet potatoes with pomegranate and fresh coriander or corn and beans with cashew paste and fresh chillies. Or everything altogether :)

Recipe: Roasted sweet potatoes

Ingredients
  • 2 sweet potatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • one tbsp olive oil
  • one tsp smoked paprika powder
  • one tsp sweet paprika powder
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Peel and dice the potatoes.
  • Cut the onion into eitghts.
  • Mix diced potatoes with onion, olive and spices.
  • Transfer into a baking dish and roast at 180C for about 30 minutes.

Recipe: Cashew paste

Ingredients
  • 100 g cashews, soaked overnight
  • 2 tbsp plant-based milk (I used coconut milk)
  • 1 lime (peel and juice)
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Blend soaked chashews with milk, to make a smooth paste.
  • Add lime juice and peel, combine. Season with salt
  • Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Pomegranate and rosemary cocktail

I hope you are having a lot of fun this holiday season! I would love to wish you all a beautiful new year and a magical New Year's Eve. You can celebrate with this festive pomegranate and rosemary cocktail. Of course you don't have to save it for the New Year's, it's works great for every occasion.

Recipe: Pomegranate and rosemary cocktail

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 80 ml of gin
  • 80 ml of chilled pomegranate juice
  • one tbsp. of rosemary simple syrup
  • one tbsp. of lime juice
Method
  • Mix all the ingredients in a shaker with ice.
  • Pour into glasses and garnish with rosemary springs and pomegranate seeds.

Recipe: Rosemary simple syrup

Ingredients
  • one cup of water
  • one cup of sugar
  • 5 rosemary springs
Method
  • Place all the ingredients in a pot and heat over low heat, until sugar dissolves completely.
  • Remove from heat and set aside for 30 minutes.
  • Discard rosemary springs and chill the syrup in a fridge.

Chicken satay skewers

Chicken satay is a Malay-Indonesian dish of skewered and grilled meat, served with a dipping sauce. It's a simple idea for a dinner or a party snack. You can use shrimp, beef, lamb or fish instead of chicken.

Recipe: Chicken satay skewers

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • 2 chicken breast fillets
  • one tbsp. of vegetable oil
  • one garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 red chili pepper, chopped
  • one tbsp. of grated ginger
  • one tsp. of soy sauce
  • juice of 1/2 lime
Method
  • Wash, clean and slice the chicken fillets.
  • Place chicken and marinade in a bowl and toss to coat. Refrigerate for about an hour.
  • Heat the oil in a saucepan, add garlic, chili and ginger, cook for about a minute.
  • Add peanut sauce, soy sauce and lime, cook for another minute.
  • Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
  • Thread the chicken onto the skewers.
  • Heat a grill or a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil and cook or grill the skewers for 3-4 minutes each side, until cooked through
  • Before serving, drizzle satays with lime juice. Serve with peanut sauce.

Recipe: Marinade

Ingredients
  • one stalk of lemongrass, chopped
  • one red chili pepper, sliced
  • one garlic clove, minced
  • one tbsp. of grated ginger
  • juice and peel of one lime
  • one tsp. of soy sauce
  • one tsp. of brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. of coconut milk
Method
  • Combine all the ingredients

Recipe: Peanut sauce

Ingredients
  • 1/4 cup of unsalted peanuts
  • one tbsp. of vegetable oil
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • In a food processor, combine peanuts with salt and oil. Puree to combine.
  • The sauce doesn't have to be perfectly smooth, you can leave larger chunks of peanuts for a crunchy texture.
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