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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.

Oysters with mignonette sauce

Do you like oysters? For me it was love at first sight. Or even love before first sight. People seem to eat oysters all the time in books and I was sure I was going to do the same. The sound of the word 'oyster', together with a somewhat vague idea of what an oyster could be, always resulted in serious oyster cravings. I saw myself enjoying an oyster platter and a bottle of fine champagne in a noisy Parisian restaurant. Do I need to mention that I was about 11 at the time?

I have a history of craving the unknown and it hasn't always been a success path. The same crazy feeling responsible for my love towards oysters, made me think that roasted chestnuts and I were made for each other. My first time with chestnuts turned out to be a bitter disapointment - they tasted like potatoes. Don't get me wrong, I love potatoes with all my heart. But I excpected something more from chestnuts. I like chestnuts, but it's a relationship without fireworks.

Oysters, however, that's another story. I have instantly fallen in love with their delicate texture and the briny taste of the sea. I usually eat them simple, with a dash of lemon juice. The mignonette sauce is a traditional condiment for oysters, made of shallots, vinegar and black pepper. Try a platter of oysters with mignonette, a fresh loaf of bread and champagne (prosecco or cava will do) or beer. It's better than chestnuts and better than potatoes.

Recipe: Oysters with mignonette sauce

Serves: 2 (or one eager oyster lover)
Ingredients
  • 6 fresh oysters
  • 1/4 cup minced shallots
  • 1/4 cup apple vinegar
  • one tsp frehs thyme leaves
  • 1/2 tsp freshly crushed black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
Method
  • Combine all the ingredients of the sauce and refrigerate for at least 2-3 hours.
  • Shuck the oysters and place on ice.
  • Serve with mignonette sauce and lemon wedges.

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.

Camembert baked with figs

Everybody has a bad day every once in a while. Especially when it's getting colder. This baked camembert won't bring back summer heat and late sunsets.

But it will make you feel better anyway.

Recipe: Baked camembert with figs

Serves: 2 (or one if someone really craves cheese)
Ingredients
  • one wheel of camembert cheese
  • one tsp. of olive oil
  • one tsp. of fresh rosemary
  • one tsp. of runny honey
  • a pinch of salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • one fig
Method
  • Thinly slice off some of the top rind and score both side of the camembert with a sharp knife
  • Spread a thin layer of olive oil whisked with rosemary and honey on top and sprinkle with salt.
  • Bake at 180C for 10 minutes.
  • Remove the cheese from the oven and top with thick slices of fig. Bake for another 5 minutes, until the camembert is runny inside.
  • Remove from the oven, top with freshly ground pepper and some more honey if you like it sweeter.
  • Serve immediately with crunchy baguette.

Warm tuna steak salad

This recipe falls into quick weeknight dinner that is not frozen pizza or Chinese takeaway category. All you have to do is to steam the vegetables, prepare dressing and pan-sear tuna steaks. It takes 15 minutes tops, but you can feel almost like a professional chef when serving dinner.

Recipe: Warm tuna steak salad

Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • one cup of broad beans
  • one cup of snow peas
  • 2 tuna steaks
Method
  • Marinade tuna steaks for abou 30 minutes (it can be longer or a little shorter, if you don't have time).
  • Steam snow peas and broad beans for a few minutes, so that they soften, but are not overly cooked.
  • Combine dressing with peas and beans. Transfer vegetables into two plates.
  • Pan-sear tuna steaks for one or two minutes each side.
  • Slice the steaks and place on top of the vegetables. Top with freshly ground pepper.

Recipe: Marinade

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • one tsp. of chopped parsley
Method
  • Combine the ingredients

Recipe: Lemon dressing

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp. of olive oil
  • juice of one lemon
  • one tsp. of chopped mint
  • one tsp. of chopped parsely
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Method
  • Whisk ingredients
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