Today is Ascension Day. Although I am not a religious person (wow, that’s an understatement!) and hence do not really feel the desire to commemorate the bodily ascension of Jesus Christ into heaven, I am grateful that I now have an extra day off and can do whatever I feel like doing.
Yeah, something like that.
Although I would skip the Chinese food and replace it with something more theatrical this time.
The following dishes are the most delightful vegetarian dishes imaginable. (If you’re not careful, you’ll be ascending into heaven just like good ol’ Jesus did.) They are yummy, astonishingly comforting and embrace a certain sense of drama quite appropriate for a day like this.
Grilled vegetable platter with Homemade garlic and cumin bread
This dish is ridiculously easy to make but -holy moly!- sure as hell packs a punch! The grilled Mediterranean vegetables were topped with tangy feta cheese, sweet-and-sour barberries and a fresh sprinkling of coriander, and were served in a huge pan which was put in the middle of table, ready for everyone to dig in. Moreover, I baked some incredible garlic and cumin bread to go with this. The breadcrumb was light and fluffy and the caramelized garlic gave the bread a heavenly sweet and pungent scent.
For the vegetable platter (serves 4)
- 1 red pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 yellow pepper, roughly chopped
- 1 aubergine, cut into 0,5cm slices
- 2 round courgettes, cut into 0,5cm slices
- 200gr feta cheese, crumbled
- Handful of dried barberries (or dried cranberries, if you can’t find barberries)
- Lots of fresh coriander
For the garlic-cumin bread (makes 2):
- 500gr strong white bread flour
- 10gr instant yeast
- 10gr salt
- 30gr butter
- 300 ml cool water
- 12 cloves of garlic
- 2 – 3 tbsp cumin seeds
- For the bread: put the flour, salt, yeast and butter together in a bowl (but make sure the yeast does not touch the salt in the beginning). Gradually add the water and mix with your fingers until it starts coming together.
- Tip the mixture out onto a lightly floured surface and knead the dough for 5 to 10 minutes until it is lovely and smooth. Put it in an oiled bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave the dough to prove for at least 2 hours.
- Meanwhile, peel the garlic cloves, put them on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Put in the oven for 15-20 minutes on 200°C until they are golden brown and mushy. Let them cool slightly before chopping them up.
- Tip the risen dough out onto your surface and fold in the caramelized garlic. Divide the dough in two and stretch each piece out into a semi rectangular shape. Let the breads prove for another hour.
- Sprinkle on the cumin seeds and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake for 25 minutes in the oven on 200°C.
- Meanwhile, for the vegetable platter. Grill all the vegetables in a hot griddle pan. Toss all the vegetables together in a large pan and heat through gently. Top the vegetables with feta cheese, barberries and lots of coriander.
Apple, Cheddar and Caramelized Onion Tart
Hallelujah! This was one seriously delicious tart! Heavenly sweet apples and caramelized onions in perfect harmony with salty cheddar and fragrant thyme… truly an angelic food combination you have got to try!
Ingredients (serves 3-4)
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- 3 apples, cut into segments
- 1 tbsp honey
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 150gr matured cheddar
- Generous splash of Calvados
- 3 tbsp fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven to 200°C.
- Make the caramelized onions by heating a knob of butter and frying the onions until golden brown and soft.
- Unroll the puff pastry and put on a layer of caramelized onions.
- Heat a knob of butter in a pan and fry the apples together with 1 tbsp of thyme and a good drizzle of honey. Make sure they have a lovely golden brown colour but don’t let them get soft, because they still need to go into the oven. Finish with a splash of calvados (make sure the alcohol is evaporated before you put the apples on the pastry.)
- Grate the cheddar cheese on top of the caramelized onions and now arrange the apples onto the cheddar. Sprinkle lots of fresh thyme over the top.
- Fold over the edges of the puff pastry and put in the oven for 20 – 30 minutes.