OMG! This is amazing. It’s like the easiest lasagne ever but no need to stand there layering stuff up. Instead you dunk garlicky buttery crisp bread into oozy cheese sauce and rich bolognese. A word of caution though, let it stand for 10-15 minutes once removed from the oven or prepare for a scalded mouth for the next 2 days. I learned the hard way.
For the garlic butter toasts:
- 4 slices white bread
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 3 garlic cloves, grated
- Parsley or oregano, chopped
For the fondue:
- 100g gruyere, grated
- 3 tsp corn flour
- 1 cup white wine
- A splash of milk
- Salt & Pepper
- 25g parmesan, grated
For the Bolognese:
- 1 Tbsp oil
- 1 onion
- 1 carrot, finely diced
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, grated
- 250g beef mince
- 1tsp each oregano, thyme, chopped
- 1 Tbsp tomato puree
- 400g can chopped tomatoes
- Salt & Pepper
- Chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 180ºC.
- Roll slices of bread flat with a rolling pin. Add the crushed garlic and herbs to the butter and melt in the microwave for 10 seconds. Brush the bread with garlic butter on both sides. Cut into four triangles, corner to corner.
- Place flat on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes flipping half way through until golden brown and crisp.
- To make the Bolognese, add the oil to a pan over a high heat and brown the beef mince. Add the onion, carrot and peppers, reduce the heat to medium and continue to brown gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for a further 2 minutes.
- Add the herbs, seasoning and tomato puree. Stir to combine.
- Add the chopped tomatoes and a little water then let the Bolognese simmer over a low heat for 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
- Mix together the cheese and toss in the cornflour.
- Heat the wine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the cheese mixture a handful at a time until you have a thick smooth sauce.
- Pour in some milk and allow the mixture to bubble and thicken.
- Spread Bolognese on the bottom of a dish. Pour fondue mixture over top and grate parmesan to cover. Bake in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes until bubbling.
- Top with chopped parsley.
- Dip toasts in and enjoy!
My rubbish phone picture really doesn’t do this dish justice but for something I rustled up out of odds and ends in the fridge, it tastes and smells incredible! The rich, spicy sauce is perfect for dunking fresh garlicky bread into.
Serves 1 as a main, 2 as a side
- 1 cooking chorizo, case removed and sliced
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1/2 red pepper, chopped
- 1 Tbsp tomato puree
- 3 cherry tomatoes, chopped
- dash of balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 1 Tbsp fresh basil
- Handful of spinach
- Strong goats cheese
- Garlic bread, to serve
- Heat the oven to 200C. Place a frying pan over medium heat and add the sliced chorizo. Cook the chorizo gently until it begins to release its oils. Flip the slices and continue to fry until beginning to brown. Drain and set aside.
- Discard most of the chorizo oil from the pan but keep a little to fry the garlic and peppers in until slightly softened. Add the tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, balsamic, seasoning and basil to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Put the spinach in the pan along with a dash of water and cover the pan so the spinach wilts.
- Return the chorizo to the pan and stir everything well to combine. Transfer to a little baking dish. Top with crumbled goats cheese.
- Place the dish on a baking tray long with some garlic bread and bake in the oven for 12 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and the garlic bread is crispy.
- Remove from the oven and try to resist the temptation of shoving it in your mouth instantly. This will result in searing pain although it would be totally justified and expected once you smell how amazing this is!
This dish would work really well with any bread or even as a stir through sauce for pasta as the meaty juices would combine beautifully.
Here you have a super speedy, easy and more importantly, delicious dip that can be spread on toast, be an accompanyment to a meal, eaten with nachos or provide a lovely filling for pitta breads.
I made my own pitta chips by baking some cut up pitta breads in the oven for a crunchy snack to take on the soft, salty feta and sweet peppers.
- 1 red pepper
- 100g feta cheese
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- balsamic vinegar, a splash
- On the oven hob, blister and burn the skin of the pepper completely. Turn with tongs to avoid burning yourself. Once the skin is completely black, place in a bowl and cover with cling film for 10 minutes to allow to steam.
- Once it is cool enough, scrape the black skin from the pepper. De-seed the pepper and very finely chop.
- Mix the pepper in a bowl with the crumbled feta, seasoning, oregano and a little balsamic vinegar.
This recipe is a take on a dish I had at a Basque tapas bar. The dish was called Baked Picos which google translate would have you believe is baked penis. So why wouldn’t I order it? Okay, I asked the waitress what it was. And she had me at melted cheese. A little pan of oozing, bubbly blue cheese covering bright purple beetroot sprinkled with crunchy, toasted nuts and seeds was presented to me alongside a basket of fresh sourdough chunks to dip in. I was in heaven. Something so simple but so satisfying. Here is my version which is pretty close to the original.
If you don’t like blue cheese, try goats cheese or garlic and herb roule as alternatives.
- 1 beetroot
- 100g whipped blue cheese (I used St Agur)
- 25g hazelnuts
- 25g mixed seeds (I used pumpkin, sunflower, linseed and sesame)
- Preheat the oven to 200C. Peel the beetroot and cut in half if it is particularly large. Wrap in foil and bake in the oven for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from the oven and cut into chunks.
- While the beetroot is baking, add the hazelnuts to a tray and roast for 5 minutes. If the hazelnuts have skins on, rub them between a tea towel to remove the skin.
- Roast the seed mix for 5 minutes or until you begin to hear them popping. Set the nuts and seeds aside.
- Arrange the beetroot pieces in a small ovenproof dish along with any juice that has collected in the foil. Dollop the blue cheese in, around and over the beetroot and place in the oven for 10-15 minutes so the cheese and beetroot mingle to become a vibrant pink, creamy bubbling good thing.
- Sprinkle the toasted nuts and seeds over the top and return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve with fresh crusty bread.
A cheese sauce that’s vegan, dairy free, tastes amazing and is good for you. Stuff of dreams, right? Wrong! This vegan queso dip is actually made from aubergines that have been grilled and finely blended with spice and garlic for a silky sauce that is great for dunking, spreading and pouring on all things Mexican.
I made this for a dinner night with my friends and yes, there’s always one who can’t eat anything but I presented her with this and she absolutely loved it. So did all the meat eating, dairy tolerant girls too!
- 1 medium aubergine, sliced into ¼ inch thick rounds
- Olive oil
- Sea salt
- 5-2 cups oat milk (or other vegan milk)
- 1 clove finely minced fresh garlic
- ¼ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp corn flour (optional for thickening)
- OPTIONAL: Smoked paprika and hot sauce for added colour and flavour upon serving.
- Sprinkle both sides of the aubergine slices with a little sea salt and arrange in a colander to help draw out some of the moisture and bitterness. Let set for 10-15 minutes then rinse with cool water and thoroughly pat dry between two clean towels.
- Preheat grill to high and place an oven rack near the top of the oven. Arrange the dried aubergine rounds on a baking sheet lightly spritzed with non-stick spray. Sprinkle with a very small amount of salt.
- Grill on high for 4-5 minutes on each side, watching carefully as to not let them burn. Flip at the halfway point to ensure even cooking. Once the aubergine appears tender and both sides have golden brown colour, remove from the oven and wrap loosely in foil to steam.
- After a few minutes, unwrap and peel the aubergine skin away. It should come right off.
- Place aubergine in a blender with the 1.5 cups (to start) oat milk, minced garlic, cumin, chili powder and corn flour and blend on high until smooth and creamy. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. To thin, add more oat milk.
- Transfer to a small saucepan and warm over medium to medium heat until slightly thickened and bubbly – about 5 minutes. The longer you go the thicker it will become.
- NOTE: If it isn’t looking as thick as you want, thicken with a slurry of corn flour by adding an additional 1 tsp corn flour to a small bowl with a little oat milk. Whisk to combine and then stir back into the pan. This should thicken it right up.
- Serve with nachos, salsa, crackers or veggie sticks.
- Refrigerate and cover leftovers. Reheats extremely well in the microwave or in a saucepan. This will keep for up to a few days but is best when fresh. It can be enjoyed hot or cold. I like mine on a massive nacho stack!