Tart and Salad

Having some time to kill in the Kelvinbridge area of Glasgow, I was looking for somewhere to have lunch.

Roots, Fruit and Vegetables

Roots, Fruit and Vegetables is a combination of cafe, deli and greengrocer. It looked very inviting and had a lot of character, maybe a little too hipster for some. The welcome was warm, friendly and open. I took my seat at a table and perused the menu.

There was a lovely choice of meals and snacks on the menu, but in the end I went with the savoury tart with salad.

Tart

This was an olive and manchego cheese tart served with some salad leaves and a choice of some delicious looking salads. I went with the orzo pasta salad with red onion and butternut squash.

In no time at all, I had in front of me a lovely generous plate of food. The tart was warm and a delicious combination of smooth cheese, crusty pastry and salty olives. The orzo salad was seasoned perfectly and the so called leaves included peppers and tomatoes and a little drizzle of dressing.

Overall a delicious meal and a perfect lunch.

Olive Focaccia

Olive Focaccia

This was the first time I have made Focaccia.

Taking 500gram strong white bread flour, I added a pack of quick acting years. I then added two spoons of olive oil and 350ml of water.

This was mixed into a dough which I then kneaded for ten minutes. I placed this in an bowl, greased with olive oil, this was covered in cling film and I placed it in a warm place for forty minutes.

After letting it rise I put it into a rectangular floured tin, pushed it into a square shape, and then poked it with holes, placed some olives in the bread, some slivers of garlic and a light scatter of dried Italian herbs. I would have liked to use some fresh rosemary, chopped, however I didn’t have any. If you want extra saltiness (or don’t use the olives) you can add some sea salt.

The bread was then left to prove for another thirty minutes. After that I brushed it with some olive oil and it was then baked in a hot oven 220ºC for twenty minutes or until browned.

Serve and tear apart on the table.

Not such a long queue today

Oxford covered market | 2


Within the Oxford Covered Market are many places to grab lunch, either to eat there, or to take back to the office.

The Alpha Bar is one of the most popular establishments, so much so, that the long queues usually put me off from buying lunch from there. Another problem with their popularity is that they often run out of their popular dishes. As a result I don’t go there as often as I probably would like to.

Today the queue was short, so I managed to grab a nice salad. There is plenty of choice, and you can choose small or large. Take a main, such as chicken, feta, tofu or as I chose, grilled halloumi. You then choose a couple of sides, I went with the orzo and pesto, with the cous cous. There are a range of toppings, including pesto, hummus or as I chose, some olives. The halloumi was freshly grilled, which was good, the rest of the salad was tasty and fresh and I thought good value at £3.95.

In addition there are a range of hot choices, such as Tuscan Beef served with potatoes or rice.

As well as food, there are a range of drinks available, and surprising for me I’ve not tried the coffee.

The Alpha Bar does have a few tables outside, but this is generally a place to buy lunch to take away. It does some great food and it is really good value for money. The only real downside for me, is that it is that good, that there are often long queues, so I am often forced to miss them out.

Image via Howard Stanbury on Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Bruschetta

Bruschetta #photo365

I haven’t made bruschetta for a while now, but recently put together a batch for an Italian style meal we were having.

I usually use a ciabatta loaf or rolls, slice them, butter them and then drizzle with olive oil.

For toppings I use a variety, they include:

  • garlic and herbs
  • chopped tomato and red onion
  • fresh tomato and fresh basil
  • tomatoes and olives
  • milano salami
  • mozarella (some with fresh basil)

These are baked in a hot oven and served immediately.

Baking the Bread

Homemade Bread

Over the last few months I have got into a habit of making and baking my own bread.

I don’t use a bread maker, all done by hand, but sometimes I will use a bread mix. The key I find is, both good kneading and letting the dough rise.

I use to think that making bread was too much effort, but as with any cooking technique, the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Yes I make mistakes, but generally the bread making process is quick and the results very tasty.

My personal preference is for more rustic breads, sometimes with seeds or wheat flakes. However I also quite like making ciabatta style bread, including dough sticks. I have also made olive bread.

Homemade Olive Bread

I have a couple of loaf tins for baking, but these aren’t essential. In theory you can use cake tins.

So do you bake your own bread? Do you have a favourite recipe?