7 October 2010

How to make Melba Toast and other recipes

~ Menu ~

Roasted Garlic Hummus with various Melba Toasts
White Wine Spritzer
Morsel of Alcoholic Marmalade Bread Pudding
Coffee

In the last couple of weeks or so we seem to have had someone new in charge of the weather and they are doing an excellent job. Every night it rains, often torrentially, and every day is glorious. 

Yesterday me old mucker, Carol, and I were Ladies who Lunch, as we frequently are, and went to Fifteen – Jamie Oliver’s place at Watergate Bay. The restaurant was large and attractive and the welcome warm and friendly. We had a table by the window overlooking the wide sun, sea and sand filled view, dogs and people playing in the water, lots of surfers including a guy kite surfing. 

We were immediately served a big jug of iced water and a board of warm breads with peppery olive oil to nibble whilst we waited for our meal. We had been attracted to eat at Fifteen by their special fish-celebrating menu – a fringe event to the Cornish Food & Drink thing I went to last week.

I had warm mackerel over a salad of charlotte potatoes and herbs and Carol had octopus in a Mediterranean tomatoey sauce. We both had sea bream with roasted squash, red onions, and beetroot with garlic aioli. It was a nicely thought out dish, I have never had sea bream before; it had a very good flavour but - not a fault, just a fact – too many bones for my liking. Tio Pepé, a delicous house rosé, fresh berry pavlova and coffee, and, you know, in its way it was as good as lunching at home! I shall definitely eat at Fifteen again as soon as I get the chance.


Jamie-Oliver's-Fifteen
So that was yesterday.  Today I was a bit low on leftovers, all I could find to play with was various bits of frozen bread. With the random shaped pieces I made bread pudding, not the eggy goo kind - the manly substantial stuff. 

Alcoholic Marmalade Bread Pudding


225g stale bread torn into pieces 
125g dried fruit plus 2 tablespoons rum or brandy or whisky (or, even better alcohol soaked fruit from your storecupboard) 
60g brown sugar 
180g marmalade 
1 egg

­~ Cover the bread with cold water and set aside half an hour or so. 
~ Preheat oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4 . 
~ Use your hands to squeeze the bread out as dry as poss and put into a mixing bowl. 
~ Add all the other ingredients and whisk or beat (or manually munge) to completely combined. 
~ Turn into a greased ovenproof dish and bake for about an hour till firm. 
~ Cool and cut into squares or wedges. 

Good with clotted cream but then what isn't?


marmalade-bread-pudding-recipe-suzy-bowler

With the whole slices of bread I did some Melba toast research. I had one slice of organic multigrain bread, 2 slices of Mediterranean Sourdough, a crust of wholemeal, 1 slice of normal white sandwich loaf and the end of a French stick.

Results - they were all crunchy and delicious but only the close textured soft breads (the wholemeal and the white sandwich) curled properly as Melba toast should, the sourdough tried but wasn't very curly. 


which-bread-for-melba-toast

I further experimented with brushing the toast with a little olive oil and sprinkling with sea salt before returning to the grill for a nano second or two and I seriously recommend this further step. 

Melba Toast 


Toast sliced bread till lightly golden on each side, cut off the crusts and lay the toast flat. Carefully slide a small knife between the two toasted sides of the toast to split into two slices. Toast the uncooked sides till golden and the slices (as research has shown, not all slices) have curled slightly. I ate this with Roasted Garlic Hummus which wasn't a leftover as I made a small batch specially.


how-to-make-hummus

Roasted Garlic Hummus


can chickpeas – drained 
1½ tablespoons tahini - sesame seed paste 
finely grated zest and juice of half a lemon 
60ml olive oil salt and pepper

~   Put the chickpeas, tahini, lemon zest and juice and roasted garlic into a food processor and process slowly whilst gradually pouring in about half the olive oil. 
~   Season to taste. 
~   Turn up the speed and process, adding more olive oil as necessary, till you have a hummus, chunky or a smooth, to your preference.

This was a popular item on my menu in the Caribbean (don’t know why, not very tropical!) with Seeded Pita Crisps and Black Olive Salad.
roasted-garlic-hummus-recipe-suzy-bowler

Seeded Pita Crisps


These are somewhat reminiscent of Melba toast now I think of it!

3 pita breads 
3 tablespoons of olive oil – maybe more 
salt and pepper 
1 tablespoon of sesame seeds – mixed black and white are pretty


~   Heat oven to 180ºC/350°F/160ºC fan/gas 4.
~   Cut pita breads in half and then use a small sharp knife to carefully open out the pita halves so they are only attached at the outer edge. Try not to pierce or tear the bread although it is difficult. 
~   Using scissors cut around the outer edge of each opened out piece of bread so that you have 2 half rounds each. 
~   Cut each half round into 3 wedges.
~   Arrange in one not-touching layer on a lightly greased baking tray. 
~   Mix together the oil, seeds and season to taste ~ Use a pastry brush to dab the oil and seeds onto the pita breads., if you run out of oil add more 
~   Put in the oven till golden and crisp - they don’t take long so watch’ em. 
~   Cool on a rack and when completely cold store in an airtight container at room temp – they will be fine for a couple of days.

Black Olive Salad



6-8 cherry tomatoes – quartered (or eight-thed) 
1 small red onion – diced 
10 or so stoned black olives – diced 
half a lemon 
2 tablespoons olive oil

~   Mix the tomatoes and olives together with the lemon juice and olive oil.


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